Portsmouth Law School


Photo of Mr James Kirby

Mr James Kirby

  • Role Title: Associate Senior Lecturer
  • Address: Richmond Building Portland Street Portsmouth PO1 3DE
  • Telephone: 02392844009
  • Email: james.kirby@port.ac.uk
  • Department: Portsmouth Law School
  • Faculty: Faculty of Business and Law


Having been to school in Portsmouth, I studied drama at Manchester University. After graduation I worked as an actor for 15 years, and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. I also worked as a role-play trainer for industry and governments departments such as the NHS.

I then took the CPE at Thames Valley University, and the BVC at the Inns of Court School of Law. I was called to the Bar in 1994.


I was in independent practice until 2009, and was a member of the Chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, practising exclusively in criminal defence. I was part of the advocacy training team at Grays Inn from 2004, training pupil barristers in the art of advocacy. For Legal Network Television (part of The College of Law) I devised and produced programmes (video plus written material) on the confiscation of the proceeds of crime; on computer crime; and on motoring offences. For Oxbridge Law Tutors I tutored non-criminal practitioners who wished to apply to become Crown Court Recorders (part time Judges). I helped devise and deliver an expert witness video-based training course for the School of Law, whilst still in practice. I have also taught voluntarily at an orphanage in India, but I think I learnt more than they did.

Teaching Responsibilities

I am unit co-ordinator for Criminal Law, and for the Law of Evidence. I teach on the Art of Persuasion course, the Expert Testimony and Advocacy course, and is the Mooting tutor. I have a keen interest in the ongoing development of clinical legal education within Portsmouth Law School.


My chief research interest is the direction of the prison estate: The policies and influences that have led to our prison population doubling in less than 20 years; the consequences of that, such as high levels of suicide and self-harm; and the impact of the privatisation of the prison estate on the prison regime, and on prison policy.


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

View profile