Professor Laura Hoyano

Professor of Law; Senior Research Fellow, Wadham College; Barrister


Laura Hoyano's career in academia and at the Canadian and English Bars focuses on the intersections between areas of law commonly regarded as disconnected: Child Abuse and Criminal, Tort, Human Rights, Family and Evidence Law (taking a comparative approach); Evidence Law and Human Rights; Medical Law and Ethics, Tort Law and Human Rights; and Criminal, Tort and Contract Law (deception and misrepresentation). Her book with Caroline Keenan, Child Abuse Law and Policy Across Boundaries (OUP 2007), examining how allegations of child abuse are litigated in criminal, family, tort, and human rights law, and the rules of evidence, across 76 jurisdictions, was awarded the first Inner Temple Book Prize for outstanding contribution to legal scholarship and public policy. An updated paperback edition was published in 2010 and a further complete edition, single-authored by Laura, will be published in 2017.

She is a tenant at Red Lion Chambers, a leading criminal and regulatory set of barristers in London, where her practice mirrors her research interests. She chairs the Human Rights Subgroup of the South Eastern Circuit's Access to Justice Working Party, which provides a 'rapid response' to government initiatives in the field of human rights. She has conducted empirical research for the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office on prosecutorial decision-making and on child abuse prosecutions, and has been a consultant for the Ministry of Justice, Home Office, the Scottish Government, the Child Rapporteur for Ireland, and the Norwegian Law Commission. She chaired the Independent Advisory Committee on Child Maltreatment convened by Action for Children, which drafted a new offence of child maltreatment, part of which was enacted by Parliament. She also provides advice on law reform to the NSPCC, Action for Children, and the Loudoun Trust (which seeks to provide reliable research and educative materials on the root causes of child abuse). She collaborates with the Children's Rights Alliance and Just For Kids Law on strategic litigation to further children's rights, especially in the criminal justice system. In December 2012 she was invited by the Verma Committee on Amendments to the Criminal Law to advise them on reform of substantive sexual assault offences for adults, children and other vulnerable persons, and a range of issues pertaining to more effective trials of such offences, including special measures for vulnerable witnesses. She has recently been consulted by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies and the NSPCC with regard to their enquiries into the investigation of sexual abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile and legal and practice responses to the issues raised. She is also frequently consulted by the Ministry of Justice, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Criminal Bar Association on a range of issues relating to child abuse and exploitation prosecutions, and the intersection of criminal justice and human rights more generally. For several years she was on the case commentary team for the Criminal Law Review, commenting on criminal judgments involving sex offences, child abuse and vulnerable witnesses.


  • Child abuse – in all forms and contexts
  • Sexual offences
  • Criminal justice, especially vulnerable witnesses
  • Human rights, especially in the UK context
  • Medical law, especially voluntary euthanasia, physician-assisted dying and end of life issues
  • Compensation for civil wrongs, especially for child abuse and human rights violations
  • Public inquiries

Media experience

Laura is a regularly contacted by national and international news media for commentary and background information on legal issues, particularly child abuse, including the BBC (Today, Question Time), Channel Four,  The Times, The Guardian, The Economist, and New Scientist.