Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Chloë Kennedy

Senior Lecturer

Profile photo

Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh
Master of Laws, University of Edinburgh
Bachelor of Laws, University of Glasgow


Chloë joined the Law School in September 2013. Prior to this, Chloë completed a PhD and Masters degree in Law at the University of Edinburgh and a Bachelor of Laws at the Universities of Glasgow and Sydney. She also spent a year working as a Legal Assistant at the Scottish Law Commission. Her main research interests include criminal law, legal theory, legal history, and the relationship between these areas. She is particularly interested in intellectual and cultural legal history, focussing on the ways that prevailing ideas (especially philosophical and religious ideas) have shaped the law's development and continue to inform our contemporary assumptions. 


Along with Prof Sharon Cowan (Edinburgh) and Prof Vanessa Munro (Warwick), Chloë is currently running the Scottish Feminist Judgments Project: https://www.sfjp.law.ed.ac.uk 


Chloë is also undertaking an AHRC research leader fellowship to investigate identity deception. The project asks when, if ever, it is appropriate to punish a person who engages in identity deception (pretending to be someone they are not). Focussing on two areas of identity deception in particular - identity 'theft' and intimate deceptions -  the project examines how the criminal law is increasingly being used, and is increasingly being expected to be used, to penalise this kind of conduct.

Although distinct in many ways, these two developments represent an expansion of the criminal law's scope and a redrawing of the lines between law and morality, and between deceptions that will be tolerated and those that will not. They also suggest a growing concern with protecting 'identity' via the criminal law and an elision of legal categories.

By tracing how law has responded to identity deception across the modern period (i.e. the 18th century to the present), and identifying the factors that have shaped these responses, the project aims to understand how and why these changes have occurred and to identify what is at stake in the transformation. By asking questions about how we have got to where we are, and what alternative normative resources and ethical frameworks we might have abandoned (or failed to explore) along the way, the project aims to transform and enrichen debates about how to conceptualise identity deception and how and when law ought to sanction this kind of conduct. These deliberations have important practical consequences for how law pursues justice, so the project will also aim to help shape how, and against whom, the law is applied in practice.

Chloë welcomes proposals for the supervision of PhD students who would like to work on i) criminal law theory ii) criminal law / justice iii) legal history and the history of legal thought (especially 18th and 19th century) iv) law and religion v) law and gender



Current Research Interests

Criminal law, criminal law theory, legal history, intellectual history, legal theory, law and religion, law and philosophy, critical legal studies, law and gender.

Research activities & awards

  1. Edinburgh International Book Festival 2020 *cancelled due to COVID*

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesPublic Engagement – Festival/Exhibition

  2. Bracton Centre for Legal History Research Summer Symposium 2020

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

  3. Lying and identity

    Activity: Academic talk or presentation typesInvited talk

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Latest prizes

  1. Outstanding Commitment to Liberation in the Curriculum

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  2. Research Facilitation Fund

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  3. AHRC Early Career Research Leader Fellowship

    Prize: Fellowships awarded competitively

View all (9) »

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