Dr Richard Martin

Dr Richard Martin

Assistant Professor of Law

LSE Law School

Room No
Cheng Kin Ku Building 7.30
Key Expertise
Policing; Human Rights; Criminal Law; Public Law; Social Scientific Methods

About me

Richard conducts socio-legal and doctrinal research at the intersection of criminal justice, human rights and public law. He teaches Criminal Justice and Sentencing, Criminal Law and Public Law. Richard’s monograph, Policing Human Rights (OUP, 2021) was joint runner up of the Inner Temple Book Prize – New Author’s Prize, and shortlisted for the Peter Birks Prize for Outstanding Legal Scholarship and the Hart-SLSA Book Prize for Early Career Academics. His article ‘Righting the Police’ was winner of the British Society of Criminology’s Brian William Prize and his article ‘When Police Kill in the Line of Duty’ was cited with approval by the UK Supreme Court in R(W80) 2023 UKSC 24 (at [85]).

Richard is qualified as a barrister in England and Wales (non-practicing) and a member of Lincoln’s Inn, where he was a Lord Denning Scholar. He is a graduate of the University of Bristol (LLB) and University of Oxford (MSc, DPhil – New College). Previously, Richard was a Fellow at LSE (2017-9) and a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, University of Oxford (2019-20). He was a visiting fellow at the University of New South Wales and Managing Editor of the Oxford Human Rights Hub Blog. 

Administrative support: Law.Reception@lse.ac.uk

Research interests

Policing Human Rights

Policing Human Rights (Oxford University Press) draws on a year of fieldwork with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to produce an account of how human rights law is interpreted and applied, but also re-defined and resisted, by a variety of officers conducting routine police. Deploying concepts from socio-legal studies, criminology and anthropology, it examines the role of human rights norms in everyday police practices and vernaculars. Policing Human Rights is animated by the country’s recent conflict and lingering ethno-politics; contestation over human rights abounds.

The Statutory Reform of Pre-Charge Bail

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 overhauled the law governing police use of pre-charge bail. It established a presumption in favour of a suspect’s release from custody without bail, introduced new statutory tests of ‘necessity’ and ‘proportionality’ and instigated a rigorous internal police authorisation process. The reforms have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the use of pre-charge bail and been hotly contested by senior police and victims groups. Working with a police force in England and Wales, this project draws on qualitative and quantitative data to explore how police are interpreting and applying the new statutory tests, and the impact on investigatory practices and decision-making in custody.

In Pursuit of ‘Ethical Duties’

This British Academy funded project sought to compare the crafting and performance of the statutory duties to have ‘due regard’ to equality commitments in England (s149(1) Equality Act 2010) and to give ‘proper consideration’ to human rights in Victoria (s38(1) Victoria Charter of Rights and Responsibilities). Doctrinally, the project analyses how the courts interpret and apply these duties. Empirically, it constructs an account of public law from the ground-up. It sought to use qualitative methods to elicit equality and rights practices, vernaculars and assumptions that animate the administration of state power and allocation of resources. The research hopes to encourage greater appraisal of the particular role and capacity of public authorities as actors involved in equality and rights ‘dialogues’ alongside the judiciary and legislature.


Public engagement


Online publications


Policing Human Rights: Law, Narratives and Practice (Oxford University Press, 2021)

Human rights go to the heart of policing in democratic societies. Across the world, police are now governed by human rights principles and increasingly detailed standards - from arrest and detention to the regulation of protest and the use of lethal force. Yet there has been remarkably limited research examining human rights as a central feature of contemporary police reform, rhetoric and regulation. Policing Human Rights breaks new ground by offering one of the first sociologically inspired and empirically grounded accounts of how officers encounter and experience human rights law in their everyday work. The substantive insights and associated arguments of the book are based on unprecedented fieldwork with Police Service of Northern Ireland, including interviews and focus groups with over one hundred police officers, from over twenty police stations and five departments. Adopting an interdisciplinary style of analysis that draws on sociology, anthropology and organizational studies, the book takes the reader on a tour of four sites of policing to expose how and why human rights law comes to be socially constituted, organizationally conditioned and routinely interpreted and applied by police officers. The book offers an insight into the function of human rights law in modern policing, exposing the visions and values police officers' express in their daily narratives, sensemaking and practices.

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