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New Law module

Alex Benn in black jacketAlex Benn (2018, Law), Senior Lecturer in Law, has set up a new module with the Law Faculty.

Together with Professor Rebecca Williams and the Law Faculty, Alex has created the module, “Hate Crime and Discrimination”, as part of the Law Finals option, Advanced Criminal Law. In an effort to achieve a more comprehensive approach to the doctrine and the enforcement of the criminal law, the module focuses on the law’s ability to address discrimination – often with tools that themselves cause a great deal of discrimination. Abimbola Johnson, a criminal barrister and head of the Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Board for the police, also teaches the module.

Last year, Alex wrote the article, “Classism as Hate Crime: Proposing Class as a Protected Ground in Criminal Law“, which was published in the Criminal Law Review (2021). The article addresses the absence of “class” in the criminal law relating to hate crimes. It argues that, just as discrimination law has failed to recognise the importance of class and the concept of classism, the criminal law is deficient. The article is the first full, academic argument proposing class as a ground for hate crime laws. The Law Commission cited the article at the end of its consultation process, Hate Crime Laws: Final Report (2021).

This year, with David Young, Alex wrote the book chapter, “The Loss or Destruction of Evidence”, published in the practitioner textbook, Young, Corker and Summers on Abuse of Process in Criminal Proceedings (2022, 5th edn).

Elsewhere, for Counsel magazine, Alex has written two pieces. The first was the article, ‘”‘Virginity Testing’, Hymen Surgery and Misogyny: What Should the Law Do?” (2021) with Riel Karmy-Jones QC. Looking at a proposal to criminalise the conduct of medical professionals who undertake unnecessary hymenoplasty, the article considers issues surrounding the consent of patients, the concept of harm within so-called “cosmetic” surgery and the danger of entrenching discriminatory norms when using the criminal law. The second was the article, “Gender Non-Conformity at the Bar” (2022). It considers being gender non-conforming as a barrister and related issues, both professional and personal.

Outside academia, Alex accepted an offer of tenancy from Red Lion Chambers in London and now practises as a criminal barrister. Alex has taught criminal law for University College since 2019.

Published: 19 August 2022

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