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.”

    Monday, November 28, 2016

    How Theresa May could win back the public's trust on immigration [UPDATED]

    . . . is the title of my new column in today's The Daily Telegraph.

    UPDATE: I am delighted to see that the Daily Telegraph has since published an editorial in support of my call for abandoning the government's migration figures.

    Friday, November 11, 2016

    My PMQ question for Theresa May - on Brexit

    Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn invites the public to submit possible questions he might put to Theresa May in each week's Prime Minister's Questions in Parliament. This is mine:

    ""Brexit means Brexit" says nothing at all. Will you please ask the Prime Minister if this spin means nothing - or has her government scribbled a plan during their so-called Brexit brainstorm retreat?

    As Professor of Law and Government at Durham University where I'm Head of Law, it is increasingly clear that Brexit means much more that breaking away from the EU or agreeing a new trade deal with the EU. There are difficult issues - relating to maternity pay, workers' rights and others - that need to be divided into what will be kept, what will be reformed and what will be binned and with a plan for each part. This can't be hammered out in a weekend at Chequers or in two years. So why won't the PM come clean and say she won't do it after all?"

    Donald Trump's latest hypocrisy

    It now appears increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton wins the popular vote - more voters across the United States are choosing her for President than Donald Trump. If true, this means the Democrats have won the popular vote for the White House in 6 of 7 elections in a row.

    Great news? Not exactly. 2016 looks like second time that the Republicans won the election without winning the most votes - the last time was when Al Gore beat George W. Bush at the polls, but Bush won in the Electoral College so became President.

    If you think the Electoral College is "a disaster for a democracy" that makes the country "divided" putting it "in serious and unprecedented trouble...like never before" as the system "is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!" as the world looks on and "is laughing at us" THEN YOU AGREE WITH DONALD J. TRUMP! See what he said ---

    For some reason, Trump has now deleted these Tweets sent when he thought Romney won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College. Trump has not commented on this since. I can't figure out why....

    Wednesday, October 12, 2016

    STATEMENT: Theresa May's Brexit plans

    Statement by Thom Brooks, Head of Durham Law School -

    ·      Little has changed since Theresa May said “Brexit means Brexit”. We still lack much substance on what comes next – except that May wants to keep us all in the dark.

    ·     It’s a relief to see growing unease in Parliament for May to trigger Article 50 without a plan given proper scrutiny by MPs and the public.

    ·     The Referendum was for leaving the EU, but not on any terms.

    ·     Vote Leave promised £350 million per week to the NHS and a points-based immigration system – neither will happen.

    ·     Vote Leave also promised that leaving would mean Parliament could ‘take back control’. And so it should in deciding the terms and timing for any Brexit.

    ·     If May fails to do that too, she ignores the three main pledges that won the referendum for Brexit – and risks abusing a vote for one future by giving us something very different. And none of us know what that is. Perhaps not even her Cabinet.

    Monday, October 10, 2016

    STATEMENT: On Clinton v Trump in Presidential Debate No. 2

    ·    Americans watching the second Presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump saw the most heated confrontation in this increasingly personal campaign.

    ·     Viewers favoured Clinton over Trump, but we should not overstate the importance of the debate on changing minds.

    ·     It wasn’t the debate that put a nail in the coffin of Trump’s campaign for the White House but his lewd remarks about women that look like a significant turning point – with more voters turned off from supporting Trump.

    ·     While Clinton’s chances improve daily – although her campaign has been far from perfect – the real problem for Republicans is where they go next. While their establishment retract endorsements to Trump in their droves, the GOP base still favour Trump overwhelmingly. Trump may not be the face of America or ever lead it, but the longer the Republicans cannot unseat him as their most popular member they will remain looking at the White House from outside the Rose Garden gates rather than from inside the Oval Office.

    Monday, October 03, 2016

    Theresa May triggers Brexit - by ensuring all EU law is embedded in UK law?

    Remarks on Theresa May's recent speech on Brexit to the Conservative Party conference by Professor Thom Brooks, Head of Durham Law School:

    ·         We’re still no further forward about what ‘Brexit’ means.

    ·         PM Theresa May has set a deadline for triggering Article 50 by the end of March 2017. But this assumes she can pull the trigger without the consent of Parliament  – and this is hotly contested and will be decided by the courts.

    ·         Leaving the EU does not mean leaving behind EU laws. May’s new Great Repeal Bill actually keeps all EU laws currently recognised in UK law. The big change is that it opens the door to the repeal of EU laws over time.

    ·         This is likely to take many years – not only to do a trade deal with the EU, but to select which of the thousands of EU regulations we will keep, which we will amend and which we will reject. This is a revolution that will come no sooner than “in due course” – and it will test the patience of many a Brexiteer.

    ·         May’s speech made plain her wish that government ministers make executive decisions about EU rules, but this is likely to be challenged by Parliament with fierce resistance.

    ·         If ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and leaving the EU, the Great Reform Bill will have Brexit mean the UK still having all EU laws – for now and the near future until a plan is on offer. We still seem no closer to that.

    Journalists can contact me HERE