Phil Scraton

Phil Scraton


  • Room 05.031 - Main Site Tower

    United Kingdom


Research activity per year

Personal profile


Phil Scraton was appointed Professor in the School of Law at Queen’s University in 2003. He became Emeritus Professor in 2017 to concentrate full-time on his research and writing. A graduate of the University of Liverpool, where gained a Masters by research, his PhD was awarded by Lancaster University. More recently he has been awarded honorary doctorates from Edge Hill University (DPhil), Lancaster University (DLaws) and the University of Liverpool (DPhil). He has held Visiting Professorships at: Amherst College, Massachusetts, USA (Lowenstein Fellow); University of Auckland, NZ; Monash University, Australia; University of New South Wales; and the University of Sydney.

Derived in a critical social and socio-legal theoretical perspective, his primary research focuses include: controversial deaths and the State; rights of the bereaved and survivors following deaths in contested circumstances; the politics of incarceration; children and young people in conflict with the law. Widely published in academic journals, his books include: The State of the Police ( sole author, Pluto Press); Law, Order and the Authoritarian State (ed., Open University Press); In the Arms of the Law - Coroners’ Inquests and Deaths in Custody (joint author, Pluto); Prisons Under Protest(joint author, Open University Press); Beyond September 11 (ed., Pluto Press); ‘Childhood’ in ‘Crisis’? (ed., UCL Press);Hillsborough The Truth (sole author, Mainstream/ Penguin); Power, Conflict and Criminalisation (sole author, Routledge); The Incarceration of Women (co-editor, Routledge); Women’s Imprisonment and the Case for Abolition (co-author, Palgrave Macmillan). He is co-author of Childhood, Transition and Social Justice (to be published by Routledge, 2022)

He is co-author of reports for the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (Children’s Rights) and the NI Human Rights Commission (Women in Prison). He was appointed to the Liberty Advisory Committee on deaths in custody and, more recently, a member of the JUSTICE Working Party into inquests and public inquiries. Having founded The Hillsborough Project in 1989 he co-authored two extensive reports on the disaster (1990 and 1995). In 2010 he was appointed to the Hillsborough Independent Panel and led its research team, based at Queen’s. In 2012 he was principal author the Panel’s ground-breaking report, Hillsborough, and was seconded to the families’ legal teams throughout the 2014-2016 inquests. Consultant on, and contributor to, the 2017 BAFTA winning ESPN/BBC documentary Hillsborough, he was awarded a Leverhulme Fellowship to consider the significance of the unique work of the Panel and the legal processes that followed.

In 2018 he co-convened a community-based, international research programme at Sydney University on deaths in custody and during arrest. In 2020 he co-authored ‘I Am Sir: You Are A Number’: The Report of the Independent Panel of Inquiry into the Circumstances of the H-Block and Armagh Prison Protests 1976-1981. He was lead researcher on the Irish Council of Civil Liberties study, Death Investigation, Coroners’ Inquests and the Rights of the Bereaved published in March 2021. Appointed by the NI Assembly to the three person Truth Recovery Panel working with survivors of Mother and Baby Institutions/ Magdalene Laundries/ Workhouses in Northern Ireland, he co-authored its report, Truth, Acknowledgement and Accountability, published in October 2021.

He is a founder member of INQUEST: United Campaigns for Justice and a member of Statewatch. Currently he is Chair of the Haldane Society’s Inquiry into Official Inquiries. Awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool and the Political Studies Association Campaigner of the Year in recognition of his Hillsborough research, he refused an OBE and was castaway on BBC Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs.




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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


Dive into the research topics where Phil Scraton is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • When Things Go Wrong

    Phil Scraton (Participant)


    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  • University of Sydney

    Phil Scraton (Chair)

    30 Oct 201813 Dec 2018

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

  • University of Sydney

    Phil Scraton (Advisor)

    Oct 2018Dec 2018

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

  • University of Auckland

    Phil Scraton (Visitor)

    Oct 2016Dec 2016

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

  • Amherst College

    Phil Scraton (Visitor)

    Jan 2013Aug 2013

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation