Professor Claire McDiarmid

Head Of School

School of Law

Personal statement

Claire McDiarmid has been employed in the Law School since 1999 and was promoted to Professor in 2019. She was the Head of the Law School from March 2019 until December 2022, holding the post throughout the Covid pandemic. She specialises in Criminal law, with a particular interest in the law on Homicide. In this regard, she was seconded to the Scottish Law Commission from September to December 2018 to work on its project on possible reform of the Scots law of Homicide. Her other main research interest is in youth justice particularly in legal responses to children who commit serious crimes. She has written extensively on the age of criminal responsibility, the Scottish children’s hearings system, the child’s criminal capacity and children’s rights. She teaches Criminal Law at pass and honours levels and also introduced a masters level class in Childhood and Crime. She was the PI on a Scottish Government–funded project on the role of the safeguarder in the children’s hearings system (2017) and a Carnegie Trust-funded project on jointly reported children (2018). She was a member of the AHRC’s Peer Review College from 2016 until 2020 and is currently a peer Research Assessor for the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, a role which she has carried out since 2018. She was the Chair of the Law Society of Scotland’s Board of Examiners from 2017 until 2021 and its examiner in Criminal Law from 2013 until 2021. From 2018 until 2021 she was the first chair of the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities Law Catalyst which provides discipline-specific training to all Law PGR students in Scotland. She is the Assistant Editor of the Juridical Review and is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Criminal Law. She was a member of the children’s panel for the city of Glasgow from 1996 until 2006.


Between accidental killing and murder : culpable homicide
McDiarmid Claire
Juridical Review Vol 2023, pp. 19-47 (2023)
Children as perpetrators of crime
McDiarmid Claire
Oxford Bibliographies in Chilldhood Studies (2019) (2019)
Killings short of murder : culpable homicide in Scots law
McDiarmid Claire
Homicide in Criminal Law A Research Companion (2018) (2018)
Scottish Criminal Law Essentials
McDiarmid Claire
Edinburgh Law Essentials Edinburgh Law Essentials (2018)
Cadder and beyond : suspects' rights and the public interest
McDiarmid Claire
Scottish Criminal Evidence Law Current Developments and Future Trends (2017) (2017)
Role of the Safeguarder in the Children's Hearings System
McDiarmid C, Barry M, Donnelly M, Corson S

More publications


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.

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.

Professional activities

contemporary childhoods conference: Scotland's Children: Possible Futures?
Central Law Training: The Criminal Law Conference
Gerald Gordon Seminar on Crimina
Invited speaker
Examiner in Scots Criminal Law
External Examiner
Contingency in Practice: Applying a Threshold Concept in Law
External Examiner in Criminal Law
External Examiner

More professional activities


Exploring Justice Inequalities and rights for children in conflict with the law
Vaswani, Nina (Principal Investigator) Taylor, Yvette (Co-investigator) McDiarmid, Claire (Co-investigator) Donnelly, Michelle (Co-investigator) Mabon, Karyn (Post Grad Student)
Scoping exercise, literature review and workshops exploring the evidence base and evidence gaps around children with protected characteristics in conflict with the law, and their experiences of justice.
01-Jan-2021 - 31-Jan-2021
The Public Interest and the Child’s Best Interests: Jointly-Reported Children in Scotland
McDiarmid, Claire (Principal Investigator) Donnelly, Michelle (Researcher)
01-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2018
The role of Safeguarder in the Children's Hearings System
McDiarmid, Claire (Principal Investigator) Barry, Monica (Co-investigator) Corson, Stephen (Co-investigator) Donnelly, Michelle (Researcher)
07-Jan-2016 - 31-Jan-2017
AHRC - Doctoral Training Partnership Scotland | Gavin, Mhairi
Piacentini, Laura (Principal Investigator) McDiarmid, Claire (Co-investigator) Gavin, Mhairi (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2014 - 22-Jan-2018

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