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Claire Bessant

Dr

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  • Source: Scopus
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Personal profile

Biography

Dr Claire Bessant joined Northumbria University’s School of Law in 2002 having made the decision to move to academia from private practice where she worked as a solicitor specialising in family law. She has since published in the fields of family law, privacy law, information sharing and human rights, and has contributed to government and parliamentary consultations, on both domestic violence and online privacy.  Claire's PhD thesis integrates study of both family and information rights law, asking 'Do parents believe that the family should be afforded privacy, and if so, to what extent do parents believe the law affords effective protection to family privacy, particularly family information privacy.'  

Claire is joint Managing Editor of the open-access Journal of Law, Technology and Trust. At Northumbria, she is a member of both the Gender, Sexuality and Law Research Interest Group and the Family Justice Research Interest Group. Claire is also a member of the Association of Internet Researchers and the Society of Legal Scholars.

Claire’s teaching covers a variety of areas including research skills and information law (particularly access to environmental information and inter-agency information sharing for child protection purposes).  Claire has also taught on the undergraduate and postgraduate Childcare Law and Family Law modules and on the undergraduate distance learning English Legal Systems module.

Claire has undertaken a number of administrative roles whilst at Northumbria, including Programme Director, Faculty Director of Programme Approvals and Review, and Director of Education for Postgraduate Law Programmes. Claire is currently Director of Education for Law. 

Research interests

Claire’s current research interests focus upon family privacy and upon the conflict between family privacy and children’s rights. Family privacy is here understood as an ideology which protects the family from the intervention of state and society and enables the family (notably parents) to take decisions about the family and children’s upbringing. Claire's doctoral thesis titled 'Parental Views about the Importance of Family Privacy and its Protection in English Law was examined by Professor Jonathan Herring, Exeter College, Oxford and Professor Dawn Watkins, Leicester, and used empirical methods to explore parents’ understanding of family privacy and the laws protecting such privacy.  The thesis proposes a new framework for understanding the relationship between family, state and society and a new definition of family privacy which reflects both how parents understand the term and jurisprudential views on the family and how it should be protected from state and society.

Claire is also interested in the concept of 'sharenting' (a term used when parents share information about their children online). She recently published her analysis of the legal remedies afforded to children in the UK whose information is shared online by their parents . She is currently working with an international, interdisciplinary team of academics to develop further understanding of the sharenting phenomenon, the benefits that sharenting brings and the risks that it poses, with a view to identifying further avenues for research and developing policy recommendations.

Claire is co-investigator for the Observatory for the Monitoring for Data-Driven Approaches to Covid-19 (OMDDAC) project.   OMDDAC is a collaboration between Northumbria University & the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), funded by AHRC, which researches data-driven approaches to Covid-19, and is focused upon the legal, ethical, policy and operational challenges posed by data-driven approaches during the pandemic.

Education/Academic qualification

Law, PhD, University of Leicester

30 Sep 201320 May 2021

Award Date: 20 May 2021

Academic Studies in Education, MA

20082011

Award Date: 1 Nov 2011

Law, LLM

20002002

Award Date: 1 Jul 2002

Law, LLB (Hons)

1 Sep 199030 Jun 1994

Award Date: 1 Jul 1994

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