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Dr Lisa Claydon

Profile summary

Professional biography

I started my academic career in 1995 after graduating in law and in 1997/8 gained an ESRC scholarship to support my PhD studies with Professor R.D. Mackay at De Montfort University, Leicester. I gained my PhD in 2001; my thesis title was Involuntary Action and the Criminal Law. I have remained interested in criminal responsibility throughout my career. My main research interest is in the overlap between neuroscience and the criminal law. I am particularly interested in what cognitive neuroscience may tell us about excusing conditions in criminal law defences and the implications of the use of brain computer interfaces to allow patients in locked in states to communicate their wishes to those who care for them. More broadly I am interested in the use of  neuroscience to inform decisions by the courts when it is used in evidence in the courtroom. I am also interested in the ethical issues raised by the claims made by neuroscientists as to the application of their findings in a broader societal context.

Research interests

I research criminal law and I am particularly interested in mental condition and other defences which are based on excusing conditions. I am actively researching the intersection between cognitive neuroscience and the criminal law. I have just successfully completed an AHRC funded project entitled A Sense of Agency  which was led by Professor Patrick Haggard of the Insititute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. This project examined neurocognitive and legal approaches to a personal sense of agency. I am working at present on researching what neuroscience may tell us about memory in the courtroom and looking at the effect of alcohol and drugs on criminal responsibility. I continue my research on involuntary action and the criminal law.

Teaching interests

At The Open University I teach on the Public and Criminal Law module, and on Law, Society and Culture. I am module leader for an undergraduate, level 3, independent study module called Exploring Legal Boundaries. This module provides undergraduate students with research training and allows them to explore an area of interest to them which is law related. I am interested in the pedagogy of learning and have a particular research interest in factors tending to promote the engagement of undergraduate students with their learning.

I have considerable teaching experience and have taught criminal law, crime and society and public law subjects at undergraduate level and law and neuroscience and law and bioethics at postgraduate level.

Impact and engagement

I have been a Programme Committee member of the International Neuroethics Society and I am a Steering Committee member of the European Association for Neuroscience and Law. In 2011 I was appointed to the Royal Society working group on Neuroscience and Law. Together with my colleague Paul Catley of The Open University I have researched the use of neuroscientific evidence in the appeal courts in England and Wales over an eight year period. The same research was mirrored by colleagues from five other jurisdictions: The United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Singapore and Malaysia.

External collaborations

The international collaboration between colleagues from five jurisdictions has been an interesting collaboration informing my teaching in the Law School module W340 Law, Society and Culture as well as leading to publications from each of the participating countries. My collaboration with Professor Patrick Haggard of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London has helped developed a greater understanding of how the brain generates a sense of agency over our behaviour.


I work with colleagues from all over the world to explore and add to our understanding of the interconnectedness of three disciplines cognitive neuroscience, law and philosophy. I have worked to support two organisations which have developed networks to further this knowledge. These are the International Neuroethics Society and the European Association for Neuroscience and Law. The websites for both of these organisations are given below:


Brain-based mind reading for lawyers: reflecting on possibilities and perils (2017-12-01)
Claydon, Lisa
Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 4(3) (pp. 594-598)

Fear, loss of control and cognitive neuroscience (2016)
Claydon, Lisa and Rödiger, Caroline
European Journal of Current Legal Issues, 22, Article 483(2)

The use of neuroscientific evidence in the courtroom by those accused of criminal offenses in England and Wales (2015-11-01)
Catley, Paul and Claydon, Lisa
Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 2(3) (pp. 510-549)

Reforming automatism and insanity: neuroscience and claims of lack of capacity for control (2015-07-01)
Claydon, Lisa
Medicine, Science and the Law, 55(3) (pp. 162-167)

Should there be a right to die with dignity in certain medical cases in the United Kingdom? Some reflections on the decision of the United Kingdom Supreme Court regarding the protection afforded by Article 8 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights (2015-07-01)
Claydon, Lisa
Jahbruch für Wissenchaft und Ethik, 19(1) (pp. 91-104)

Are there lessons to be learned from a more scientific approach to mental condition defences? (2012-03-01)
Claydon, Lisa
International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, 35(2) (pp. 88-98)

How much do you need to know? Perspectives on strict liability and criminal responsibility. (2020-12-18)
Claydon, Lisa
In: Claydon, Lisa; Derry, Caroline and Ajevski, Marjan eds. Law in Motion: Fifty Years of Legal Change (pp. 119-135)
ISBN : ISBN 978-1-4730-3148-7 | Publisher : Open University Law School | Published : Milton Keynes

Coercion Changes Sense of Agency (2019-12-17)
Claydon, Lisa
In: Walterman, Antonia; Roef, David; Hage, Jaap and Jelicic, Marko eds. Law, Science, Rationality. Maastricht Law Series (14) (pp. 237-263)
ISBN : 978-94-6236-989-4 | Publisher : Eleven International Publishing | Published : Maastricht

Criminal Law and the Evolving Technological Understanding of Behaviour (2017-02-28)
Claydon, Lisa
In: Brownsword, Roger; Scottford, Eloise and Yeung, Karen eds. The Oxford Handbook of Law, Regulation and Technology. Oxford Handbooks Online
ISBN : 978-3-642-21540-7 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Cognitive Neuroscience, Criminal Justice and Control (2016-12-15)
Claydon, Lisa
In: McGuire, M. R. and Holt, Thomas J. eds. The Routledge Handbook of Technology, Crime and Justice. Routledge International Handbooks (pp. 462-478)
ISBN : 9781138820135 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Abolishing the Insanity Verdict in England and Wales: A Better Balance between Legal Rules and Scientific Understanding? (2016-10-20)
Claydon, Lisa and Catley, Paul
In: Moratti, Sofia and Patterson, Dennis eds. Legal Insanity and the Brain: Science, Law and European Courts (pp. 207-237)
ISBN : 978-1-84946-791-9 | Publisher : Hart Publishing | Published : Oxford

Neuroscientific evidence in the English courts (2011-09-14)
Claydon, Lisa and Catley, Paul
In: Spranger, Tade Matthias ed. International Neurolaw: A Comparative Analysis (pp. 305-328)
ISBN : 978-3-642-21540-7 | Publisher : Springer | Published : Bonn

Law, Neuroscience and Criminal Culpability (2011-02-10)
Claydon, Lisa
In: Michael, Freeman ed. Law and Neuroscience: Current Legal Issues. Current Legal Issues
ISBN : 9780199599844 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Mind the Gap: Problems of Mind, Body and Brain in the Criminal law (2009)
Claydon, Lisa
In: Freeman, Michael and Goodenough, Oliver eds. Law MInd and Brain (pp. 55-80)
ISBN : 978-0-7546-7013-1 | Publisher : Ashgate Publishing | Published : Farham

Law in Motion: 50 Years of Legal Change (2020-12)
Claydon, Lisa; Derry, Caroline and Ajevski, Marjan eds.
ISBN : 978-1-4730-3148-7 | Publisher : Open University Law School | Published : Milton Keynes