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Thom Brooks is Professor of Law and Government at Durham University’s Law School and its longest-serving Dean from 2016 to 2021 (with Associate Membership in the Philosophy Department and School of Government & International Affairs). He is the founding editor of the Journal of Moral Philosophy and serves on 20 editorial boards including Hegel Bulletin, Journal of Criminal Law, Journal of Global Ethics among others and 10 book series.

Brooks has held visiting positions at the University of Chicago Law School, Columbia Law School, Harvard Law School, LUISS Guido Carli in Rome, New York University Centre for Bioethics, University of Nice (Cote d’Azur) Law School, University of Oxford Faculty of Philosophy (and St John’s College, Oxford), University of Pennsylvania Law School, University of St Andrews Department of Moral Philosophy, Uppsala University Department of Government and Yale Law School and has been a Senior Associate Research Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS) at the University of London. He worked previously at Newcastle University.

Brooks’s most recent publication is New Arrivals that outlines a post-Brexit, points-based immigration system from entry to exit for a Labour government. It won the Fabian Society’s Jenny Jeger Prize for outstanding Fabian publication of the year and POLITICO describes it as “the first major pamphlet on Labour’s immigration policy for over a decade”. His previous publications on citizenship and immigration include Becoming British (2016) described by Labour Leader Keir Starmer as “” and Reforming the UK’s Citizenship Test (2022), whose research contributed to a parliamentary inquiry by the House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee.

Brooks also recently published a substantially revised and expanded second edition of his book Punishment (2012, 2nd ed 2021) launched in the Houses of Parliament. This work develops a new “unified theory” of punishment identified by Research Councils UK as one of the top 100 Big Ideas for the Future in British universities. John Gardner described this work in this way: “whose grasp of the literature and feel for the issues is second to none” and Rutgers’ Criminal Law & Criminal Justice book review said: “Thom Brooks’ Punishment is a rare thing: a book about a complex and important topic that is both of interest for experts and accessible to non-experts.” Brooks’s related work on capital punishment is quoted approvingly by the Connecticut Supreme Court in support of the “watershed” case State v. Santiago (Santiago II), 318 Conn. 1, 105 (2015) abolishing the death penalty in his native state.

His other major publications include Hegel’s Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right (2007, 2nd ed 2013) that develops a new “systematic” approach to interpreting Hegel that is showcased in Hegel’s Political Philosophy: On the Normative Significance of Method and System (co-edited with Sebastian Stein). He is co-editor (with Martha C. Nussbaum) of Rawls’s Political Liberalism (2015) with contributors including Frank I. Michelman, Onora O’Neill, Jeremy Waldron and Paul Weithman. Brooks has also published widely in the area of global justice, including The Oxford Handbook of Global Justice (2020), The Global Justice Reader (2008, rev ed 2023) and its companion Global Justice: An Introduction (2023) where his work is noted being a “pioneer” of cross-cultural “global” approach to global justice.

UK Immigration Law & Policy: Described as “a leading authority on immigration law and policy” and “the UK’s leading expert” on Britain’s the Life in the UK citizenship test, Brooks is the author of the only comprehensive report examining it (brief, report, video) and successfully advocated for the inclusion of British culture and history in the test. His recommendations have been supported by the House of Lords Select Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement (2018), the House of Lords Liaison Committee (2022) and House of Lords’ Justice and Home Affairs Committee, which led to the latter holding an inquiry examinations issues raised in his work. The government has confirmed it will produce a new fourth edition. Brooks is widely cited from evidence he gave to the Law Commission review of the Immigration Rules, accepted by government, and a fundamental reform of these rules.. Brooks is a member of the Office for National Statistics Government Statistical Service Migration Expert Group, working with the Home Office, other key government departments and devolved administrations. His report Sea Change on Border Control on small boat crossings in the English Channel has been discussed in Parliament (a video about it seen over 6 million times). Brooks currently works on reforming the UK’s Life in the UK test and the wider immigration system, as well as developing an improved integration strategy. He has advised the award-winning BBC One drama “Call the Midwife” and the BBC One programme “Rip Off Britain” on immigration-matters.

Crime and Punishment: Brooks has developed policies for tackling fraud and economic crime and better support for victims. He is currently writing on theories of punishment with interest in the historical development of what he’s coined ‘penal pluralism’ and its contemporary relevance. He was a member of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) North East Community Involvement Panel.

Philosophy & Public Policy: Brooks has broad interests in this area. His book The Trust Factor collects his columns and op-eds from over two decades covering major issues in American politics and British politics – and quoted in the House of Lords Queen’s Speech Debate in 2022. ITV News called him “the man behind Leave and Remain” after he was quoted by the Electoral Commission in its report on why the planned European Union Referendum should be reworded, which the Commission and David Cameron’s government accepted. He was a “Brexpert” on Brexit matters for the UK’s Sky News and USA’s CNN. His work supporting legal reforms has been noted, most recently in relation to the National Security Act. Brooks is currently under contract for a major new book on jurisprudence.
Research Interests British Politics
Constitutional Law
Criminal Law
Global Justice & Human Rights
Immigration Law & Policy
Labour Party
Law & Public Policy
Penal Theory & Ethics
Political & Legal Philosophy
Restorative Justice
ResearcherID J-4633-2012
Scopus Author ID 7102155435