I am Associate Professor of Law, and Director for the Centre of Child and Family Law and Policy at Edinburgh Napier University. As a researcher and teacher, I aim to influence present and future rule-makers, rule-interpreters and policy makers, including (but not limited to) lawyers and government officials, by showing how existing rules, policies and practices unfairly exclude or marginalise people, so that they can bring about positive change. I have a particular interest in disempowered groups, especially relating to gender and sexuality.
In my role with the Centre for Child and Family Law and Policy, over the coming months, I will be organising a Network Launch event, Workshop Series and international conference to establish the Centre’s work, in fulfilment of an Arts and Humanities Research Network Grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
At present, I am PI (with Richard Whitecross as Co-I) for a pilot study examining domestic abuse support for trans+ people in Edinburgh at a time when there is heated debate about gender recognition reform in Scotland, and claims about the risks posed to women and girls by trans women accessing single sex spaces.
I have published and presented on: equality issues and the Church of England; non-binary people and the law; the conservative backlash to restrictions on Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (often known as ‘conversion therapy’); a law-specific disciplinary approach to pedagogy in higher education; and as B. Clucas, on legal theory; medical ethics, including the separation of conjoined twins; human rights, and children's rights and welfare. With Gerry Johnstone and Tony Ward, I co-edited the Nomos collection Torture: Moral Absolutes and Ambiguities. Earlier in my career, I was supported by the AHRB Research Leave Scheme for the project "Children’s rights: autonomy and the welfare/best interests tension. A Welsh perspective", a study on the practice of the first Children's Commissioner for Wales. My PhD thesis was concerned with a modified application of Alan Gewirth’s moral theory to the rights of children.
I have organised conferences on the morality of torture, and on legal theory. I co-organised a Critical Sexology Up North seminar on ‘Sex and Religion’, and organised a seminar series ‘Sexualities’ for the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Hull. I am on the steering committee for the LGBT Clergy Project led by Dr Chris Dowd and Dr Christina Beardsley.
I have obtained external funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Board and the City Solicitors’ Educational Trust, and internal funding for research projects, conference organisation, and student-staff partnership working.
In addition to academic publications, I have written for Modern Church and Changing Attitude; produced a Diversity Report for the York Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, and have written and coordinated responses to consultation on legislative change for various groups. I have presented at LGBT History Month and for a local theological group. I was National Trustee for Changing Attitude England, Anglican Pressure Group, and part of the Changing Attitude delegation to the House of Bishops Working Group on Sexuality (Pilling Enquiry); I was the inaugural Chair of the LGBT+ Network at the University of Hull. I am currently a member of the Diversity Group for York Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.
Prior to joining Edinburgh Napier University in February 2022, I was a Lecturer, then Senior Lecturer at the University of Hull, where I undertook a number of senior leadership roles including Director for Student Experience and Programme Director. There, I was the Project Lead for the Student-Staff Partnership project, ‘Surviving Your First Year’, a collaborative project with student researchers, which created resources to support the transition of new students to Hull.