Professor Claire McDiarmid

Head Of School

School of Law

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.



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
The Role of the Safeguarder in the Children's Hearings System : Executive Summary
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
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

More projects