School of Law

Image of Vicky Kemp

Vicky Kemp

Principal Research Fellow, Faculty of Social Sciences



Vicky Kemp is a Principal Research Fellow at the School of Law. She was previously a Principal Researcher with the Legal Services Research Centre, the independent research division of the former Legal Services Commission (from 2004 to 2013). In that role she conducted and managed policy-driven research for the Ministry of Justice into criminal legal aid, access to justice and the wider criminal justice system. As a visiting Fellow, she taught a module course on criminal justice issues at the University of Leicester. She was also a visiting Scholar at the University of Cambridge. Prior to completing her doctorate at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, in 2003, Vicky gained experience of the criminal process both as a policy advisor and practitioner. In the Legal Aid Board (1995-1998), she was the policy advisor responsible for reform of criminal legal aid. As a policy officer, she also has experience of working in multi-agency crime prevention and community safety partnerships, both for the Home Office (1991-1992) and Northamptonshire County Council (1992-1995). In the 1980s, she worked as a practitioner, providing legal advice to suspects detained in police custody and preparing Crown Court cases for trial.

Expertise Summary

Vicky Kemp's research interests lie in the areas of access to justice, law and technology, the criminal process, youth justice, clinical legal education, discretion in legal decision-making and research methods. Having worked as a government social researcher, she has a particular interest in conducting empirical research which has an impact on policy and practice. Vicky is currently working on a digital rights project with Computer Science at UoN and she has been commissioned by the University of Manchester to examine clinical legal education in light of the proposed reforms of legal education.

In a recent study Vicky worked on a comparative empirical study of young suspects' procedural rights, led by Maastricht University and other major project responsibilities have included research into police station legal advice. This included the 'Bridewell' study where she worked with the police and lawyers in Nottingham in improving access to legal advice. She has also undertaken a survey of over 1,000 users in the criminal process, asking about their choice and use of a solicitor and analysed over 30,000 police custody records in order to identify the take-up of legal advice.

Vicky is the author of a number of chapters in books, articles and research reports. The main publications are: Kemp, V. and Hodgson, J. (2016) 'England and Wales: Empirical findings' and as a co-author with Panzavolta et al. 'Integrated analysis' in Vanderhallen et al. (eds) Interrogating young suspects: Procedural safeguards from an empirical perspective (available at:; Hodgson, J. and Kemp, V. (2015) 'Ensuring 'Appropriate' Protections for Young Suspects: Country Report England and Wales' in M. Panzavolta et al. (eds) Interrogating Young Suspects: Procedural Safeguards from a Legal Perspective (; Kemp, V. (2014) 'PACE, Performance Targets and Legal Protections', Criminal Law Review; Kemp, V. (2013 and 2012) The Bridewell Legal Advice Study; Kemp, V. (2013 and 2012) 'No Time for a Solicitor: Implications for Delays on the Take-up of Legal Advice' and 'Whose Time is it Anyway? Factors Associated with Duration in Police Custody', Criminal Law Review, Kemp, V. (2010) Transforming Legal Aid: Access to Criminal Defence Services and Kemp, V. (2008) A Scoping Study adopting a 'Whole-Systems' Approach to the Processing of Cases in the Youth Courts.

Having a particular interest in policy-related research, Vicky is used to collaborative working and having experience as a researcher, policy adviser and paralegal, she can draw on a wide network of support across the criminal justice system. At a national level, this includes partnership working with the Ministry of Justice, the Home Office, Crown Prosecution Service, Law Society, Just for Kids Law and the Children's Commissioner. Working at a local level, she encourages joint-working practices to be adopted, which are facilitated through the Criminal Justice Research Centre and she was also instrumental in bringing together the Advisory Board for the Research Centre which is chaired by a former judge and includes the Recorder of Nottingham , the Chief Constable, the President of the local Law Society, the Chief Justices' Clerk, Chief Crown Prosecutor, Prison Governor, Director of Probation, Chief Executive of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and senior academics within the School of Law.

Teaching Summary

Dr Kemp has set up a 'Youth Justice' module which is available both to Law and Sociology students.

Research Summary

Dr Kemp is currently working on a digital rights project with Computer Science at UoN which involves developing an application to digitally deliver information to suspects about their legal rights.… read more

Recent Publications

  • VICKY KEMP and JACKIE HODGSON, 2016. England and Wales: Empirical Findings. In: VANDERHALLEN ET AL., ed., Interrogating Young Suspects: Procedural Safeguards from an Empirical Perspective II. Intersentia. 464
  • VICKY KEMP ET AL., 2016. Integrated Analysis. In: VANDERHALLEN ET AL., ed., Interrogating Young Suspects: Procedural Safeguards from an Empirical Perspective II. Intersentia. 464
  • JACKIE HODGSON and VICKY KEMP, 2015. Ensuring ‘Appropriate’ Protections for Young Suspects. Country Report England and Wales. In: PANZAVOLTA ET AL., ed., Interrogating Young Suspects: Procedural Safeguards from a Legal Perspective I. Intersentia. 428
  • VICKY KEMP, 2014. PACE, performance targets and legal protections Criminal Law Review. 278-297

Current Research

Dr Kemp is currently working on a digital rights project with Computer Science at UoN which involves developing an application to digitally deliver information to suspects about their legal rights. In order to gain support for this project she arranged a meeting at which representatives from the police, Ministry of Justice, Home Office, Law Society, Legal Aid Agency, College of Policing, children's rights groups and academics attended. The meeting was chaired by Lord Carlile QC and Professor Michael Zander was in attendance. It was agreed at the meeting that Vicky would work with the project team in developing the 'app' and, once it was available the meeting would reconvene and consider proposals for a feasibility study in which the 'app' will be tested out on suspects in police custody. Computer Science have obtained funding for a two month project which will involve a software designer developing an 'application' and Vicky will then test this out with a wide range of audiences, including school children and students, suspects, hard-to-reach young people, the police, lawyers and academics.

She has also been awarded a British Academy/Leverhulme small grant. This is to conduct interviews with lawyers and legal aid policy makers in six jurisdictions to establish the extent to which technology can be used in the delivery of police station legal advice. A researcher from Maastricht University is to undertake the interviews in Belgium and the Netherlands and Vicky will conduct interviews in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Vicky has also been commissioned by the University of Manchester to explore the potential for innovation in clinical legal education in light of the proposed reforms of legal education. She has examined clinical models at twelve universities in the United Kingdom and visited three legal advice clinics in Chicago. The project has included interviews with clinicians, academics and regulators in both the UK and the States. A report on this study will be published in the autumn.

Past Research

A recent comparative study was recently undertaken of suspects' procedural rights, led by Maastricht University. Dr Kemp was the lead researcher in England and Wales when undertaking fieldwork. This included analysis of police interviews and focus group interviews conducted with the police, lawyers, appropriate adults and young suspects. The findings are being used by the European Commission in finalisiing a proposed directive concerning young suspects' legal rights. There were two published volumes: one dealing with the law in books and the other law in action.

Vicky was also involved recently in a study of police station legal advice which involved six months of observation at a large police station and interviews being conducted with the police, lawyers and suspects. The study involved action research as she also worked with the police and the defence in helping to facilitate new arrangements which involved duty solicitors being based full-time in the police station.

Future Research

There will be a feasibility study which will test the 'application' to digitally deliver information about suspects' legal rights in police custody and also when undergoing a voluntary interview. West Midlands Police have agreed to participate in this feasibility study and we will be working with the University of Birmingham who will arrange for fieldworkers to be present while the 'app' is being present so that they can see how it is being used and what level of support is required for people when using the 'app'. A funding application is to be made to the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to cover this area of work.

In a separate study we will be promoting the use of the 'app' more widely by way of public legal education. We are anticipating using 'gaming' as a way to encourage people to use the 'app' in better understanding their legal rights. We will be applying to the Legal Education Foundation for funding this area of the study.

Following on from the feasibility study there will be a pilot project where the 'app' will be used in two or three areas - including in Wales, London and the East Midlands. It is intended that the pilot study will be a prelude to national roll-out and an application to the ESRC will be made.

Another issue which will be explored when developing the 'app' will be to use a video-link so that the suspect can connect to his or her solicitor while in police custody. The technology is available and we will be working with the police, lawyers, Home Office and Ministry of Justice in taking this forward. Funding will be part of the ESRC application.

School of Law

Law and Social Sciences building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact us