Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017

May should put Brexit talks on hold and bring Labour on board for advice

My latest for LabourList HERE!

Government should launch hate crime register, expert says

For immediate release – Monday, 19 June 2017
*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

The recent terrorist incident at Finsbury Park Mosque should lead government to launch a new hate crime register, according to a leading expert at Durham University.

Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School, says: ‘The rise in extremist violence must be met with a new approach. The government can start by taking a tougher line on hate crime by launching a new register similar what is used for sex offenders to ban offenders from working with children or other vulnerable people’.

The Crown Prosecution Service states that hate crimes are criminal offences motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s real or perceived disability, ethnicity, gender identity, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. Any one can report what she or he perceives to be a hate crime to the police, but there is a higher bar to pass for successful prosecution of an offence as a hate crime conviction.

Professor Brooks argues that anyone convicted of a hate crime should be placed on a hate crime register for ‘at least a considerable time, providing opportunities for reform and rehabilitation’. He says: ‘Hate crimes are different from other kinds of harms. They target what someone is and not who they are making these crimes even more dangerous’.

Brooks does not believe a hate crime register will end such attacks, but says it should be part of a wider strategy. ‘We must begin by acknowledging a difference between being convicted for a crime and for a hate crime. A register will help send a signal of the seriousness government has in preventing hate crimes and the greater consequences in limiting employment opportunities. Doing nothing is not an option’.



NB – Please note that Professor Brooks is a member of the Labour Party.


Professor Thom Brooks, Dean of Durham Law School & Professor of Law and Government, Durham University, is available for comment on Monday & Tuesday, 19 & 20 June 2017 on:  email

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

Durham University’s academic experts are available for interview via down-the-line broadcast quality TV facilities from our Durham City campus, via broadcast provider Globelynx.

You can book the Globelynx fixed camera and circuit direct by logging into www.globelynx.com. The IFB number is +44 (0)191 384 2019.

If you have not booked a Globelynx feed before please call +44 (0)20 7963 7060 for assistance.

A broadcast quality ISDN radio line is also available at Durham University and bookings can be arranged via the Media Relations Team on the contact details above. The ISDN number is +44 (0)191 386 2749.

A landline number is available in our Media Suite which houses the television and radio facilities - +44 (0)191 334 6472.


A high resolution headshot of Professor Thom Brooks is available on request from Durham University Marketing and Communications Office on +44 (0)191 334 6075

Further reading

Crown Prosecution Service, ‘Leaflet on Hate Crime Support’, https://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/docs/hate_crime_leaflet_support.pdf  

Professor Thom Brooks, Durham University Law School website https://www.dur.ac.uk/law/staff/?id=11140

About Durham University

-          A world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education

-          A member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities

-          Research at Durham shapes local, national and international agendas, and directly informs the teaching of our students



Brexit talks start today - and the UK is not in a good position

Some talking points for tv/radio producers (I'm available - get in touch):

·         Britain’s Brexit talks could not begin from a worse position.

·         The Government asked voters for a big sign of support to enhance its hand in negotiations – which flopped as a slim majority was wiped out and still an open question about how long the current minority government can limp along.

·         As of Friday, the Government failed to provide even an outline sketch of its position paper for the EU ahead of negotiations – which is standard protocol. This strongly suggests two things: first, the Government is still uncertain about its aims and objectives for Brexit on the eve of talks and, second, the Government is failing to do much at all to win trust and confidence from the EU.

·         If Theresa May’s Government continues to be so vacuous, uncertain and perhaps insincere about the direction and seriousness of these talks, a positive outcome is almost impossible to foresee – and such consequences are avoidable, but the clock is ticking.

·         After a campaign of promising “strong and stable leadership” during the election, we’re seeing nothing of the kind now with Brexit talks. A real gap between the government’s rhetoric and reality.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My advice for the Prime Minister post-election. Not that she'll listen to it...

May must reassemble the Brexit team in a grand, all-party coalition, writes  -- in today's The Times

Turns out I did have a letter published once in The Times

I've dedicated many pages to the letters sent to, but never published in, The Times. It turns out one slipped through. In 2011 -

Sir, However compelling arguments may be in favour of an elected House of Lords, now is not the time. The public has little interest in such constitutional matters, as was evident in the recent AV referendum. Moreover, it is perhaps the actions of MPs, not peers, that have dented public confidence. Reform should centre on the House of Commons first: calls for reform of “the other place” is a convenient distraction from the central problem and no cure.
Dr Thom Brooks
Reader in Political and Legal Philosophy, Newcastle University

Friday, June 02, 2017

PRESS RELEASE: Theresa May doesn’t need Brexit to cut net migration

Theresa May doesn’t need Brexit to cut net migration

For immediate release, Friday, June 2, 2017

-With picture-

*TV and radio broadcast facilities available*
The Conservative manifesto retains a pledge made in 2010 to reduce net migration to ‘the tens of thousands’. This commitment has been controversial as net migration has never been higher than under the Tory-led governments led by David Cameron and Theresa May.

In March, May told Parliament that Brexit was an opportunity to make progress in cutting migration ‘so that our immigration system serves the national interest’. A key stumbling block has been the free movement of EU nationals into the UK.

Leading immigration expert Professor Thom Brooks, Head of Durham Law School, claims that the Prime Minister does not need to wait for Brexit to cut net migration to under 100,000 if she really wanted to meet this target.

Brooks says: ‘Theresa May has several options she can use now. Her government can start by reducing visas for non-EU workers and students who make up a large bulk of annual net migration. While there is evidence this could cause real damage to the economy, she can reduce net migration now without waiting two or more years for Brexit talks to conclude if sincere about meeting this campaign promise’.

Over the last year, more than 93,000 skilled visas were granted with 1 in 10 to an American. Since 2011, some visas for skilled workers earning salaries of £20,800 or more have been restricted to an annual quota of 20,700 – a cap that has not been breached once. There are nearly 200,000 foreign students in the UK with about half from China, the United States and India. Big cuts in these areas could bring net migration under 100,000.

Professor Brooks argues that the government should begin taking greater responsibility for its immigration record instead of blaming past governments or the EU. He says: ‘The failure of the Tories to meet their net migration is a choice they made because the power to meet it is in their hands. It’s time the government came clean and explained why it chose to continue welcoming migrants as skilled workers and students rather than enact their very public manifesto pledge’.

A dual national of the US and UK, Professor Brooks further claims more can also be done about enforcing existing regulations on EU free movement. ‘Like any freedom – on free speech or assembly – there are restrictions. Our EU neighbours like France and Germany do much better than us in enforcing existing rules. If the government wants curbs on EU movement, it can act now to reduce numbers – its failure to do so again more a lack of political will than political impotence’.


Contact me HERE

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How to talk about immigration and refugees

How to talk about immigration and refugees - I'm live next month in Newcastle for Refugee Week. Check it out -- https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-talk-about-immigration-and-refugees-tickets-34797909484

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Get a Fulbright Graduate or Scholar Award to come to Durham University - and work with us!

Applications are now open for the 2018/19 academic year. The student awards support US students wishing to pursue a one year Master’s degree at Durham (or the first year of a postgraduate research degree). The Scholar awards support US citizens to spend 3-12 months at Durham for the purposes of either teaching or research. Applications are made online through Fulbright directly, and further information can be accessed here:


PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH ME IF INTERESTED IN COMING TO DURHAM! Opportunities to work or study in Law, Philosophy and Government.

Discussing net migration on BBC Wales

Me on why we don't need another broken Tory promise on net migration (from 5.00) on @BBCWales http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08p1mlz

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hegel's Political Philosophy: On the Normative Significance of Method and System

My new book - co-edited with Sebastian Stein - is published next month with Oxford University Press. More details are here.

  • Unique focus on Hegel's method and system applied to political philosophy
  • Brings together leading Hegel scholars from across the world to consider this topic in one book for the first time
  • Includes original essays by Terry Pinkard, Robert Pippin and Allen Wood

  • Hegel famously argues that his speculative method is a foundation for claims about socio-political reality within a wider philosophical system. This systematic approach is thought a superior alternative to all other ways of philosophical thinking. Hegel's method and system have normative significance for understanding everything from ethics to the state. Hegel's approach has attracted much debate among scholars about key philosophical questions - and controversy about his proposed answers to them. Is his method and system open to the charge of dogmatism? Are his claims about the rationality of monarchy, unequal gender relations, an unelected second parliamentary chamber and a corporation-based economy beyond revision?

    This ground-breaking collection of new essays by leading interpreters of Hegel's philosophy is dedicated to the questions that surround Hegel's philosophical method and its relationship to the conclusions of his political philosophy. It contributes to the on-going debate about the importance of a systematic context for political philosophy, the relationship between theoretical and practical philosophy, and engages with contemporary discussions about the shape of a rational social order.

    Introduction, Thom Brooks and Sebastian Stein
    1: What Might it Mean to have a Systematic Idealist, but Anti-Platonist, Practical philosophy?, Paul Redding
    2: Systematicity and Normative Justification: The Method of Hegel's Philosophical Science of Right, Kevin Thompson
    3: In What Sense is Hegel's Philosophy of Right 'Based' on His Science of Logic? Remarks on the Logic of Justice, Robert B. Pippin
    4: Method and System in Hegel's Philosophy of Right, Allen W. Wood
    5: The Relevance of the Logical Method for Hegel's Practical Philosophy, Angelica Nuzzo
    6: The State as a System of Three Syllogisms: Hegel's Notion of the State and Its Logical Foundations, Klaus Vieweg
    7: Hegel's Shepherd's Way Out of the Thicket, Terry Pinkard
    8: To Know and Not Know Right: Hegel on Empirical Cognition and Philosophical Knowledge of Right, Sebastian Stein
    9: Individuals: the Revisionary Logic of Hegel's Politics, Katerina Deligiorgi
    10: Hegel on Crime and Punishment, Thom Brooks
    11: The Logic of Right, Richard Dien Winfield
    12: Hegel, Autonomy and Community, Liz Disley
    13: Hegel's Natural Law Constructivism: Progress in Principle and in Practice, Kenneth R. Westphal

    Monday, April 03, 2017

    Durham Law School - a top 40 world-class centre for legal education and research

    I'm enormously proud to be Head of Durham Law School as we progress from success to success - and now firmly established in top 40 in world rankings:

    "Durham Law School is a world leader in legal education and research. Our academic staff shape the development of law through their ground-breaking research, influential work with policy makers and active public engagement both nationally and internationally. Durham Law School is in the QS World Rankings top 40 law schools and our research was ranked 3rd best in the UK in the last national Research Excellence Framework in 2014. We have some of the best results for student satisfaction and employability – and our graduates include some of law’s leading figures, such as current members of the UK Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, and in Government. Our top-ranked global law courses are very competitive with an excellent and diverse student population from across the world delivering a cutting-edge, research-led curriculum."

    Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Hate crime offenders should sign a Hate Crime Offenders Register

    Very pleased to see a policy that I've been arguing for since 2013 -- and more recently submitted written evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee in Parliament last year -- has made a big splash in the press today. This was followed by two television interviews and another two interviews on national radio.

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    Research Fellowship -- at St Mary's College of the University of Durham. Join today!

    St Mary’s College Research Fellowship

    This annual scheme allows a Visiting Fellow to come to Durham University to be based at St Mary’s College for up to one term. The Fellowship provides the recipient with food and accommodation in College during the period of residence. By negotiation and depending on need, the fellowship may also provide a contribution towards travel costs to Durham from the Scholar’s home institution.

    • The purpose of the fellowship is to allow researchers from outside the University to spend a period of time resident in the College to undertake work in conjunction with any academic department in Durham.

    • Each Fellow will be expected to participate in College activities and make a research presentation at the College during their residence which will be open to the public and to colleagues from across the University.

    • Applicants must be educated to postgraduate level.

    • Applicants from overseas must be eligible to enter the UK as an Academic Visitor (see: https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa/overview )

    • The Fellowship is normally tenable for a maximum of one term (either Epiphany term 2018 or Easter term 2018), though shorter periods are possible. Visiting Fellows must visit for one consecutive period.

    Application Procedure: Each applicant for a St Mary’s College Research Fellowship must submit a proposal of up to three pages (maximum) describing the purpose and proposed focus of the fellowship. Applications must be accompanied by a letter from the supporting academic department.

    The proposal must be accompanied by a curriculum vitae, a proposed travel budget, and two letters of reference. All application materials must be submitted by the 24 April 2017 (first day of Easter term 2017).

    Applications should be submitted to: carole.laverick@durham.ac.uk

    Selection Criteria: Proposals received will be reviewed by a small panel of academic members of the College, chaired by the Principal.

    Final decisions will be made and the successful applicant notified of their appointment by the end of Easter term (23 June 2017).

    Friday, January 27, 2017

    Durham Law School is hiring! THREE permanent posts

    Durham Law School is seeking to recruit outstanding new staff

    We are seeking to build on our reputation as one of the UK’s leading law schools by recruiting exceptional lecturers who research in three areas of existing strength. The posts are linked to three vibrant research centres: Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences), the Human Rights Centre and Institute of Commercial and Corporate Law.

    Lecturer in Biolaw:
    Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law:

    Lecturer in Public and Human Rights Law:

    Our courts are no enemies of the people – they are champions of our liberties

    . . . is my latest piece for The Journal here - http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/news-opinion/courts-no-enemies-people--12514235#ICID=sharebar_twitter

    Tuesday, January 24, 2017

    My thoughts on Brexit case

    Here's my response to today's #Brexitruling on #Article50 by @UKSupremeCourt ↓

    Thursday, December 22, 2016

    PRESS RELEASE: Life in the UK test may cause unexpected problems for EU citizens, says immigration expert


    Life in the UK test may cause unexpected problems for EU citizens, says immigration expert

    -With picture-

    *TV and radio broadcast facilities available*

    Prime Minister Theresa May has come under increasing pressure to allow EU citizens currently resident in Britain to stay post-Brexit. She has called on European leaders to make a reciprocal agreement protecting British and EU citizens after Brexit is triggered.

    These plans may run into problems because of Britain’s “Life in the UK” citizenship test, according to an immigration expert. Professor Thom Brooks, Head of Durham Law School, claims that the test must be passed for both new citizens and permanent residents. EU citizens wanting to stay long term post-Brexit would need to pass it.

    Professor Brooks says: “While the citizenship test was first launched to help support a bridge for migrants to integrate, it has quickly become a barrier to keep more people out.”

    He likens the test to “a bad pub quiz” urgently needing reforms if it is to be fit for purpose. Brooks says: “The UK citizenship test is the test few British citizens can pass. There has never been any consultation with the more than two million that have sat it. No wonder it is grown into the oddity we see today.” Brooks sat the test in 2009 and became a British citizen in 2011.

    The test handbook requires new applicants to know the age of Big Ben, the height of the London Eye and the name of the first person to start a curry house in London in order to become a permanent resident or citizen. There is no need to know how to contact emergency services or report a crime. The test is in its third edition and unchanged since 2013.

    Professor Brooks argues that the government will have problems guaranteeing long term residency for EU citizens in the UK unless the citizenship test is revised urgently. “This is not only about ensuring a fair deal for EU migrants, but for British citizens too,” Brooks says. “Many in government and the civil service are rightly embarrassed by the test and will admit they could not pass it either. If they can’t, then neither should anyone else. Either the test goes or it’s revised – and with clear input from new citizens who passed it to get this right.”



    Question 1

    In 1999, what happened to hereditary peers in the House of Lords?

    A – Their numbers were greatly increased

    B – Their salaries were stopped

    C – Women were allowed to inherit their titles

    D – They lost their automatic right to attend the House of Lords

    Question 2

    Why is 1918 an important date in the history of women’s rights?

    A – The first divorce laws were introduced

    B – Women were given the right to vote

    C – Equal pay laws were passed

    D – Women were made legally responsible for their children

    Question 3

    Which TWO are examples of civil law?

    A – Disputes between landlords and tenants

    B – Carrying a weapon

    C – Discrimination in the workplace

    D – Selling tobacco

    Question 4

    Which of the following statements is correct?

    A – Magistrates usually work unpaid and do not need legal qualifications

    B – Magistrates must be specially trained legal experts who have been solicitors for three years

    Question 5

    Which language was spoken by people during the Iron Age?

    A – Latin

    B – Celtic

    C – English

    D – Anglo-Saxon

    Question 6

    Which TWO religions celebrate Diwali?

    A – Buddhists

    B – Hindus

    C – Christians

    D – Sikhs

    Question 7

    Which of the following statements is correct?

    A – The Speaker of the House of Commons remains a Member of Parliament (MP) after election as Speaker

    B – The Speaker of the House of Commons has to give up being an MP when elected Speaker

    Question 8

    When walking your dog in a public place, what must you ensure?

    A – That your dog wears a special dog coat

    B – That your dog never strays more than 3 metres away from you

    C – That you dog does not come into contact with other dogs

    D – That your dog wears a collar showing the name and address of the owner

    Question 9

    Which of the following statements is correct?

    A – Halloween is a modern American festival that has recently become popular in the UK

    B – Halloween has its roots in an ancient pagan festival marking the beginning of winter

    Question 10

    For approximately how many years did the Romans stay in this country?

    A – 50 years

    B – 100 years

    C – 400 years

    D – 600 years

    Question 11

    Which of the following statements is correct?

    A – After the age of 70, drivers must renew their licence[s] every three years

    B – After the age of 70, drivers must renew their licence[s] every five years

    Question 12

    Which TWO are 20th-century British discoveries or inventions?

    A – Cloning a mammal

    B – Cash machines (ATMs)

    C – Mobile phones

    D – Walkmans

    Question 13

    How many people serve on a jury in Scotland?

    A – 8

    B – 11

    C – 15

    D – 20

    Question 14

    What is the highest-value note issued as British currency?

    A – £20

    B – £70

    C – £50

    D – £100

    Question 15

    Which of the following statements is correct?

    A – James VI of Scotland was related to Queen Elizabeth I of England

    B – James VI of Scotland was not related to Queen Elizabeth I of England

    Question 16

    Which of the following statements is correct?

    A – If your driving licence is from a country in the European Union you can drive in the UK for as long as your licence is valid

    B – If your driving licence is from a country in the European Union you have to apply for a UK licence in order to drive

    The correct answers are below – remember, you need 12 (75 per cent) correct to pass!

    Question 1 = D; Question 2 = B; Question 3 = A and C; Question 4 = A; Question 5 = B; Question 6 = B and D; Question 7 = A; Question 8 = D; Question 9 = B; Question 10 = C; Question 11 = A; Question 12 = A and B; Question 13 = C; Question 14 = C; Question 15 = A; Question 16 = A


    Professor Thom Brooks, Professor of Law and Government, in Durham Law School, Durham University, is available for comment on Thursday, December 22, and Friday, December 23, 2015, on thom.brooks@durham.ac.uk

    Monday, December 19, 2016

    The sooner we have a conversation about immigration and citizenship, the better

    ....is my new column for The Journal which can be read here (full access).

    Immigration expert accuses Sajid Javid of 'guesswork' over oath of British values

    Details online here (full access). Story in International Business Times about my comments re: the communities secretary.

    PRESS RELEASE: Government oath betrays British values

    All public office holders must swear a new oath of allegiance to British values to help combat extremism. Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, wants political and civic leaders to lead by example saying “We can’t expect new arrivals to embrace British values if those of us who are already here don’t do so ourselves.”
    Javid has also said that he wants every new migrant to swear an oath in plans expected this spring. Only migrants becoming British citizens must do so at present.
    The communities secretary’s remarks have been accused of betraying the British values they are meant to uphold. Professor Thom Brooks, Head of Durham Law School, said that British values like equality and the rule of law require that the government to avoid creating second class citizens. Brooks said: “If an oath to British values will help combat extremism, why is it only for public officers and new migrants but not everyone? The government has agreed to ban extremist right wing groups born in Britain. What is best for all should not only be limited to a few – and this selective decision about who must take an oath and who need not shows a lack of respect and fair play for all citizens new and old.”
    An immigrant from the United States, Professor Brooks became a British citizen in 2011 after taking an oath of loyalty. He says: “British values are important to our democracy. The government acts against these values when it dictates our values. It should begin a public consultation and let the British people – and not ministers – decide what our values are.”