Personal profile

Personal Statement

I am currently the Head of the Law School having been appointed to this position in March 2019. I joined the School in 1999 having studied at Glasgow University (LLB, 1st class hons 1988; Diploma in Professional Legal Practice 1989; PhD 2004) and McGill University, Montreal, Canada (LLM 1994).  I worked for Dundas & Wilson CS, from 1989 until 1993, first as a trainee then as a qualified solicitor.

I was promoted to Professor in 2019. My research interests are in Criminal Law, especially the law of Homicide and in Childhood and Crime, particularly the way in which the law responds to children who offend.  I have written extensively on the age of criminal responsibility.  I was seconded to the Scottish Law Commission's project on reform of the law of Homicide from September until December 2019.

I am a member of the AHRC’s Peer Review College and a peer reviewer for the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.  I am also the Lead on the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities Law Catalyst which provides discipline-specific training to all Law PGR students in Scotland. I am the Chair of the Law Society of Scotland’s Board of Examiners and its examiner in Criminal Law, and a member of the Executive Governance Group of the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice, based at Strathclyde.  I am the Assistant Editor of the Juridical Review.

I was the PI on a Scottish Government–funded project on the Role of the Safeguarder in the Children’s Hearings System (2017) and  on a Carnegie Trust-funded project on Decision-Making in relation to Jointly Reported Children (2018).

I have held the role of Associate Dean (Postgraduate Research) and Head of the Graduate School (2013 - 2015) within the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. I was a member of the Children's Panel from 1996 until 2006.


Research Interests

My research interests are focussed in the areas of children who offend and in criminal law.  I have worked extensively on the age of criminal responsibility and on aspects of the Scottish children’s hearings system.  I have a particular interest in the criminal capacity of the child and in the difficulty for law in dealing with child-criminals – individuals who are, simultaneously, vulnerable and in need of protection as children and, also, offenders.  The relationship between concepts of childhood and criminal law is also important in this context.  I have a monograph in these areas: Childhood and Crime (Dundee University Press: 2007) and I have recently published a piece in a special edition of Youth Justice on the age of criminal responsibility.

In criminal law, I have a general interest in all areas of Scots Criminal Law with a focus on homicide.  I have published on the partial defence of provocation and the mens rea of murder  I am currently working on a second edition of Scots Criminal Law: A Critical Analysis (1st ed: Dundee University Press, 2009) with Professor Pamela Ferguson of the University of Dundee.

Teaching Interests

My main teaching interest is in Criminal Law which I have taught at all levels (pass degree; honours and masters).  I have also recently created and developed an LLM/MSc module in Childhood and Crime.  I have extensive experience of dissertation supervision at honours, masters and PhD level.  In 2009, Claire received a teaching excellence certificate from the Strathclyde Students’ Union.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, The Sleep of Reason: Childhood and Criminal Capacity, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 2004

Master of Laws, Scotland and Quebec as Mixed Jurisdictions, McGill University

Award Date: 1 Jan 1995

Bachelor of Laws, University of Glasgow

Award Date: 1 Jan 1988


  • criminal law
  • childhood
  • age of criminal responsibility
  • homicide
  • children's hearings system
  • criminal capacity


Dive into the research topics where Claire McDiarmid is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles