Simon joined the Open University Law School as a Lecturer in Law in October 2013. Prior to this he studied for a PhD in Law at the University of Nottingham, which he was awarded in 2015. Simon initially completed undergraduate and masters degrees in history at the University of Sheffield, specialising in historical theory and the history of Nazi Germany, before undertaking the GDL and LPC at the College of Law, Guildford. He trained and qualified as a solicitor at commercial firm DLA Piper UK LLP between 2007-2009 (currently non-practising) and re-entered academia via an LLM from the University of Birmingham, in which he studied aspects of legal and criminal theory and international law.
Simon's research covers aspects of history, theory and law, particularly public law. He is interested in the role law plays in authoritarian regimes, past and present, including to communicate ideology, regulate compliance, and foster consent.
Much of his research is in the nexus between law, history and theory in relation to Nazi Germany, including the history of the legal system in the Third Reich, its theoretical nature, and its implications for the concept and practice of law today; as well as the representation of Nazi law in academic legal and historical discourse. He is also interested in research in public law (particularly the state of exception and UK and comparative constitutional law).
Simon's PhD thesis, titled 'The Conundrum of Nazi Law: An historiographical Challenge to the Anglo-American Jurisprudential Representation of the Nazi Past' is concerned with the historical and contemporary implications of the period of National Socialist rule in Germany, as well as the way in which legal and historical knowledge and meaning are constructed. It explores how legal scholars, and those from related disciplines, write about the Nazi past and the impact this has on the way in which this period is perceived and understood as having legal and historical significance. His thesis counters the theoretical assumptions that lead to the exclusion of the Nazi experience of law in the construction of legal knowledge. It also examines and develops encounters between law and other disciplines, history in particular, in writing about Nazi Germany, in order to trace parallel approaches between these subject-areas and make further connections across these disciplines.
Simon's current research involves examining the relationship between ideology and law in the Third Reich in order to understand the role of law in constituting consent in Nazi Germany and shaping the normative environment. His recent publications include 'The Distorted Jurisprudential Discourse of Nazi Law: Uncovering the ‘Rupture Thesis’ in the Anglo-American Legal Academy' (2018) International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, and '"No one wants the taint of an association with the crimes of Nazism": (Sometimes) in search of the meaning of Nazi Law' (2018) Holocaust Studies, and he is currently working on an edited collection on the historical and theoretical state of exception with Cosmin Cercel of the University of Nottingham and Gian Giacomo Fusco, University of Kent.
Simon is Module chair of W203 Public and Criminal Law at Level 2 of the Open University LLB programme. He is also a module team member on W340 and W350.
He is an associate lecturer on W203 (since October 2016), W340 (since October 2018) and W350 (October 2019- only). He has also tutored on W821 Exploring the Boundaries of International Law on the LLM programme (2017). He previously taught public law and contract law at the University of Nottingham.
He has written various blog posts for different audiences, including:
- Day 80, Year of #Mygration: Interdisciplinary Belonging Symposium on the OU's Year of Mygration project.
- The Prosecutors – Consulting on Series 2 and the Criminal Law Principle of Conspiracy on the OU's Open Justice blog.
As well as the proposed collection on states of exception, Simon has ongoing research collaborations with UK and international scholars, including in particular a series of streams co-convened with Dr Cosmin Cercel at the Critical Legal Conference (2015-2018).