Accessibility statement

Ailbhe O'Loughlin



Dr Ailbhe O'Loughlin

LLB Ling. Franc. (Dubl), MSc (Oxon), PhD (LSE)

Senior Lecturer

I joined York Law School in September 2016. Previously, I taught Criminal Law at King's College London and at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). I was a guest lecturer on the Mental Health Law LLM module at LSE.

I am the Institute of Mental Health Research at York (IMRY) Faculty Lead for the Faculty of Social Sciences and York Law School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion.

I hold an LLB in Law and French from Trinity College Dublin and an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Oxford. I gained my PhD from LSE in 2016.



My research focuses on the intersection between mental health and criminal justice, and I am particularly interested in the overlap and tensions between criminal law, mental health law and human rights law. I use both doctrinal and socio-legal methodologies in my work, and draw on theoretical frameworks from law and criminology.

Research interests

  • Sentencing
  • Prisons and penal policy
  • Vulnerable defendants
  • Personality disorder
  • Risk assessment in criminal justice and mental health law
  • Preventive detention in the criminal justice and mental health contexts
  • Human rights


Offenders with personality disorder

My monograph Law and Personality Disorder: Human Rights, Human Risks, and Rehabilitation, is forthcoming in the Oxford University Press Clarendon Studies in Criminology series. Law and Personality Disorder deconstructs competing images of offenders who are diagnosed with personality disorders and the dilemmas they present, combining insights from criminology, psychiatry, psychology, and law. It critically engages with the alluring narrative that the state has a duty to protect the public from ‘dangerous’ individuals, but that it can also protect the human rights of the ‘dangerous’ by providing them with rehabilitation opportunities.

Defendants as victims

I am leading a collaborative research project with Dr Kate Leader (Queen Mary University of London) and Dr Stephanie Classmann (University of York) entitled Defendants as victims: a scoping review of vulnerability, victimhood and safeguards from charge to conviction. This project is funded by the University of York and affiliated with the ESRC Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre. It explores how vulnerability and victimisation can affect a suspect or defendant’s ability to mount an adequate defence, and how the criminal justice process may exacerbate existing vulnerabilities or result in re-victimisation. One output from this project will be a scoping paper submitted to the Law Commission of England and Wales. The paper will consider whether and, if so, how a future Law Commission project might review the way the law should treat defendants who are also victims of crime.


In 2022, I led a literature review for the Scottish Sentencing Council on sentencing offenders with mental health issues in collaboration with Dr Jay Gormley (University of Strathclyde), Dr Lucy Willmott (University of Cambridge) and Professor Julian Roberts, Dr Jonathan Bild and Anna Draper of the Sentencing Academy. The report explores the challenges of sentencing offenders with mental health issues and the available research on the outcomes associated with criminal justice and mental health disposals. It will support the Scottish Sentencing Council's commitment to undertake work on mental health and sentencing and inform the Council’s further consideration of a future sentencing guideline on this topic: Scottish Sentencing Council-report on the challenges of sentencing offenders with mental health issues

The legal consequences of a criminal conviction

I co-edited an anthology published by Hart entitled Fundamental Rights and Legal Consequences of Criminal Conviction with Sonja Meijer (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) and Harry Annison (University of Southampton). The book explores the consequences that a criminal conviction can have for the rights of convicted offenders both within and beyond the criminal justice system. The book is the result of a successful workshop organised by Sonja Meijer that took place at the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law in April 2017. The workshop brought together legal academics and practitioners working in countries including Switzerland, Germany, France, the UK, Hungary and Australia to present and reflect on the consequences a criminal conviction can have in Europe and beyond.




  • Criminal Law
  • Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice


  • Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law

I welcome inquiries from prospective PhD students within my areas of expertise.

External activities


  • Society of Legal Scholars
  • Socio-Legal Studies Association

Other activities

  • Member of the JUSTICE Working Party on Decision-making in Prisons
  • Member of the Academic Sub-committee of the Criminal Bar Association Education Committee

Contact details

Dr Ailbhe O'Loughlin
York Law School

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 5825