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Laura Hoyano

Laura Hoyano, Professor of Law and Senior Research Fellow


BCL, MA (Oxon), BA (Hons History), MA (History), JD (Alberta)

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  • Laura Hoyano

Laura Hoyano, Senior Research Fellow, Wadham College

Laura Hoyano's career in academia and at the Canadian and English Bars focuses on the intersections between areas of law commonly regarded as disconnected: Child Abuse and Criminal, Tort, Human Rights, Family and Evidence Law (taking a comparative approach);  Evidence Law and Human Rights; Medical Law & Ethics, Tort Law and Human Rights; and Criminal, Tort and Contract Law (deception and misrepresentation).

Contact Laura Law at Wadham

In 2008 her book with Caroline Keenan, Child Abuse Law and Policy across Boundaries (OUP 2007), examining how allegations of child abuse are litigated in criminal, family, tort, and human rights law, and the rules of evidence, across 76 jurisdictions, was awarded the first Inner Temple Book  Prize for outstanding contribution to legal scholarship and public policy, a competition open to all legal publications in English in the world in the previous four years. The OUP published an updated paperback edition in 2010, and a further complete edition, single-authored by Laura, will be published by the OUP in 2018.  The new edition adds the Republic of Ireland as a 77th jurisdiction, and a new chapter on public inquiries and historic allegations of abuse.

Laura graduated from the University of Alberta in Canada with two degrees in medieval history before being converted to law, receiving a JD (Gold Medallist) from the University of Alberta. She was called to the Alberta Bar in 1983 after clerking at the Alberta Court of Appeal, and practised commercial, insurance, public inquiries and medical law and catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death law for 10 years, interrupted by a sabbatical year in 1990-91 to read for the B.C.L. (First Class) at Balliol College, Oxford funded by the National Viscount Bennett Fellowship (awarded by the Canadian Bar Association). In 1994 she moved to England to an academic appointment at the Law Faculty of the University of Bristol, continuing part-time practice at the Alberta Bar. From 1999 to 2013 she held a Tutorial Fellowship at Wadham College and a joint appointment (CUF) at the Faculty of Law, Oxford University. In October 2013 her Wadham post was converted to a Stipendiary Senior Research Fellowship to allow her to concentrate on her research. She continues with her Professorial Faculty duties, teaching Tort Law, Medical Law & Ethics (BCL/MJur), Children and Families and the State (BCL/MJur) (focusing on child abuse and public inquiries), and supervising postgraduate research in all of her research fields.

Laura is a tenant at Red Lion Chambers, a leading criminal and regulatory set of barristers in London, where her practice mirrors her research interests. In 2009 Laura was elected as a Fellow of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, where she serves on the Education Committee and the Equality, Diversity& Social Mobility Committee.  She chairs the Human Rights Subgroup of the South Eastern Circuit's Access to Justice Working Party, which provides a 'rapid response' to government initiatives in the field of human rights.

She has conducted empirical research for the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office on prosecutorial decision-making and on child abuse prosecutions, and has been a consultant for the Ministry of Justice, Home Office, the Scottish Government, the Child Rapporteur for Ireland, and the Norwegian Law Commission. 

She chaired the Independent Advisory Committee on Child Maltreatment convened by Action for Children, which drafted a new offence of child maltreatment, part of which was enacted by Parliament. She also provides advice on law reform to the NSPCC, Action for Children, and the Loudoun Trust (which seeks to provide reliable research and educative materials on the root causes of child abuse). She collaborates with the Children's Rights Alliance and Just For Kids Law on strategic litigation to further children's rights, especially in the criminal justice system. In December 2012 she was invited by the Verma Committee on Amendments to the Criminal Law, appointed as a consequence of  the furore sparked by a gang rape and murder in December 2012, to advise them on reform of substantive sexual assault offences for adults, children and other vulnerable persons, and a range of issues pertaining to more effective trials of such offences, including special measures for vulnerable witnesses; her contribution was acknowledged in the Report and in the national press conference held by Chief Justice Verma.

She was consulted by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies and the NSPCC with regard to their enquiries into the investigation of sexual abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile and legal and practice responses to the issues raised. She is also frequently consulted by the Ministry of Justice, the College of Policing, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Criminal Bar Association on a range of issues relating to child abuse and exploitation prosecutions, and the intersection of criminal justice and human rights more generally. For several years she was on the case commentary team for the Criminal Law Review, commenting on criminal judgments involving sex offences, child abuse and vulnerable witnesses. She is frequently contacted by national and international news media for commentary and background information on legal issues, particularly child abuse, including the BBC, Channel Four, The Times, The Guardian, The Economist, and New Scientist.

Laura has provided training and lectures, particularly on the handling of vulnerable witnesses, for the Criminal Bar Association, Middle Temple, the South Eastern Circuit  and other Bar Circuits,  the Family Bar Association, the Judicial Studies College, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee (on neuroscience and young offenders),  the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Faculty of Forensic & Legal Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians.

Selected publications

Laura Hoyano, Hoyano & Keenan's Child Abuse Law and Policy across Boundaries by Laura Hoyano (2nd edition (this edition being single authored by Laura Hoyano) Oxford University Press 2018) (forthcoming)

Laura Hoyano, 'Chapter D14 Special Measures and Anonymity Orders' in David Ormerod QC and David Perry QC (eds), Blackstone’s Criminal Practice 2018 (Oxford University Press 2017)

Laura Hoyano and Angela Rafferty QC, 'Rationing Defence Intermediaries under the April 2016 Criminal Practice Direction' (2017) [2017] Criminal Law Review 90

Laura Hoyano, ' Chapter D14 Special Measures and Anonymity Orders' in (ed), Blackstone’s Criminal Practice 2017 (OUP 2016)

Nicholas Bamforth and Laura Hoyano, 'ECHR and Common Law Accountability of State for Past Atrocities' (2016) 132 Law Quarterly Review Law Quarterly Review 357 [Case Note]

Laura Hoyano, 'No Deal: a Refresher on the Barrister's Rule of Independence in Response to the Home Secretary's Proffered 'Deal' to Human Rights Lawyers' (2016) Counsel 16

Laura Hoyano, 'Special Measures and Anonymity Orders to Facilitate Testimony by Witnesses and Defendants' in Lord Justice Hooper and Prof David Ormerod (eds), Blackstone’s Criminal Practice 2016 (OUP 2015)

Laura Hoyano, 'McFarlane v Tayside Health Board and Cattanach v Melchior' in Jonathan Herring and Jesse Wall (eds), Landmark Cases in Medical Law (Hart Publishing – Landmark Cases Series 2015)

Laura Hoyano, 'Reforming the Adversarial Trial for Vulnerable Witnesses and Defendants' (2015) Criminal Law Review Sweet & Maxwell 105

Laura Hoyano, 'Straining the Quality of Justice for Children and Their Families in Public Law Cases' (2014) [2014] Family Law 598

Laura Hoyano, 'What Is Balanced on the Scales of Justice? In Search of the Essence of the Right to a Fair Trial' [2014] Criminal Law Review 4

Laura Hoyano, 'Withholding Potentially Life-Sustaining Treatment and the Mental Capacity Act 2005' (2014) 36 Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 1