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School of Law

Ms Amber Marks

Amber

Lecturer in Criminal Law and Evidence and Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Centre

Email: a.marks@qmul.ac.uk
Telephone: +44(0) 20 7882 3964
Room Number: Mile End
Website: http://www.law.qmul.ac.uk/cjc

Profile

Amber Marks worked as a barrister, civil servant and freelance journalist before joining academia. At Queen Mary she runs a course on Law and Pharmacology and lectures on the Law of Evidence and Criminal Law. Amber also convenes the Law of Evidence at the University of London. Amber is a Fellow of Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy) and a scholar of the Honourable Society of Gray´s Inn, a member of the London Toxicology Group, Criminal Bar Association, Society of Legal Scholars and the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. Amber is an Expert Reviewer for the European Science Foundation´s Community of Expert Reviewers. Amber regularly contributes legal analyses to parliamentary enquiries and has provided expert advice on drug law and human rights, criminal law, surveillance and forensic science to government departments and NGOs.

Amber’s principal area of academic interest is the intersection between science, law (human rights, health law, criminal law and evidence), literature and philosophy. Her research focuses on due process, autonomy, privacy and associated personality rights and on drug regulation, olfactory surveillance, forensic science, and criminal justice technology.

Amber has worked towards drug law reform for several years (see her recent submission to the Home Affairs Committee’s inquiry on the scope for legal reform within the international drug conventions). Amber drafted the award-winning Model Drug Law for West Africa which was selected for further funding at the 2019 Paris Peace Form. Amber´s 2019 publication in the ICLQ is the principal reference point for those seeking to understand the legal foundations of Spain´s cannabis clubs and both here and in a book chapter of the same year she argues in favour of a broad rights based conceptualisation of personal consumption/personal drug use. Amber is a long-standing Trustee of RELEASE.

Amber´s research on the reliability of forensic expert evidence has been cited in the criminal courts, her co-authored thought pieces on automatic justice and crime control technologies widely cited in academic literature on 'smart' technologies and her humorous memoir on surveillance research praised in the academic journal Surveillance and Society and in the Times Higher Education Supplement for its contributions to the field of criminology. Amber has served on ethical advisory boards to scientific projects funded by the European Commission including NANOSMELL and New Operational Sensing System.

Amber has participated in several projects on communicating forensic science to non-scientific audiences and in training workshops for lawyers and judges. In 2012 she co-wrote, co-produced and presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary on the science of smell. Amber has used stand-up comedy to communicate controversial legal issues to lay audiences in a wide range of venues including the literary tents of Latitude Festival, Standon Calling, Bestival and Laugharne. Amber has also written and presented on the law in the printed media and on the radio. She has been a regular contributor to The Guardian, The Register and Wired. Her articles have also appeared in The Times, Prospect and The Register, and she has worked as a columnist on criminal justice for the Big Issue and assistant editor for Benchmark. Amber has made several radio appearances (BBC Radio 4 and 3, Resonance FM, Talksport, Radio New Zealand) to discuss criminal justice and surveillance.

Undergraduate Teaching

  • LAW4002 Criminal Law
  • LAW5002 Criminal Law for BA Politics Students
  • LAW6037 Law of Evidence
  • Law6170 Law and Pharmacology

Postgraduate Teaching

Research

Publications

Legal Opinions and Briefing Papers and Collaborations with NGOs

Selected Legal Journalism

  • BBC Radio 4 programme on the Science of Smell, Sniffing out Danger
  • 'Don't Kill Me: Can we trust new weapons that are supposed to be non-lethal?' Prospect, 4 July 2009.
  • 'Smells Suspicious.' The Guardian, 31 March 2008.
  • 'Neuromancing the law: Regulating the techno-regulators'. The Register, 16 April 2007.
  • Criminal Justice and Surveillance Technologies:
    In 2016 Amber participated in several workshops of the Isaac Newton Institute (e.g. Probability and Statistics in Forensic Science Dissemination workshop ) the final outcome of which is Twelve Guiding Principles and Recommendations for Dealing with Quantitative Evidence in Criminal Law: For the Use of statisticians, forensic scientists and legal professionals (2017)10. One of our recommendations is that ‘law schools should teach sufficient statistical and probabilistic thinking to recognise and avoid common fallacies such as the prosecutor’s fallacy’; it is one we adhere to in the law of evidence undergraduate module.

Public Engagement

2022

  • Amber's written submission to the Home Affairs Committee’s inquiry into Drugs has been published on the Committee´s website.

2021

2020

  • Amber provided an overview of legal and ethical issues arising from the quasi-legalisation of cannabis sales at the 28th annual MCLE Training event for United States attorneys

2019

  • Amber made a presentation on ´Cannabis Associations and Social Clubs: An elegant and UN convention compliant solution?´ at the Nordic Reform Conference, Oslo
  • Participated in ‘Fair Trade Options for The Cannabis Market’,  London, UK, 4-5 February 2019

2018

  • (2018) Lead drafter and researcher for West Africa Commission on Drugs, Model Drug Law for West Africa: A Tool for Policymakers
  • (2018) Contribution to the Alan Turing Institute’s Submission to the House of Lords inquiry into Forensic Science in Criminal Justice
  • Speaker and workshop facilitator at Drug Policy Alliance Workshop on Model Drug Law Legislation, New York (2018)
  • Key note speaker at Expo Weed Mexico, August 2018 La Ley y Las Clubes Sociales –plenary speech on comparative and constitutional law on the cannabis clubs model (in Spanish) at cannabis trade fair legal panel (2018)

2017

  • Presenter on the Penal Provisions of UN drug control conventions, West Africa Civil Society Institute, Meeting of Expert, Accra, Ghana (2017)
  • Participant in KCL Algorithmic Government Workshops including ‘Big-Data-Driven Decision Making in UK Criminal Justice and Regulation’ (2017)
  • Panellist on the Right to Consume Drugs, Drug Policy Reform Conference, Atlanta, USA (2017)

2016

2015

2014

Recent Sponsored Workshop Participation, Conference Panels and Key Note Talks

  • Fair Trade Options for The Cannabis Market’,  London, UK, February 4th – 5th 2019
  • Speaker and workshop facilitator at Drug Policy Alliance Workshop on Model Drug Law Legislation, New York (2018)
  •  Key note speaker at Expo Weed Mexico, August 2018 La Ley y Las Clubes Sociales –plenary speech on comparative and constitutional law on the cannabis clubs model (in Spanish) at cannabis trade fair legal panel (2018)
  • Presenter on the Penal Provisions of UN drug control conventions, West Africa Civil Society Institute, Meeting of Expert, Accra, Ghana (2017)
  • Participant in KCL Algorithmic Government Workshops including ‘Big-Data-Driven Decision Making in UK Criminal Justice and Regulation’ (2017)
  • Panellist on the Right to Consume Drugs, Drug Policy Reform Conference, Atlanta, USA (2017)

Selected Conference Papers and Workshop Presentations

  • Marks, A. and Bowling B., (2017) ‘Automatic Justice’ The Centre for Technology, Ethics, Law & Society (TELOS) at the Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College.
  • Marks, A, (2016) ‘Relevance’ Probability and Statistics in Forensic Science, Turing Gateway to Mathematics, Isaac Newton Institute, Cambridge
  • Marks A (2016) ‘Personal Consumption in Spanish Drug Law’ Staff Work in Progress Presentation, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Marks A (2013) ‘Are Judges Enthralled to Science?’ at the annual judge's conference of the Canadian Provincial Court Judges, ‘From CSI to the SCC: The Impact of Science on the Judicial Process’;
  • Marks A (2013) ‘Sniffing out the Boundaries of Privacy’ at the Workshop Law and Senses (Ontario, Canada) (funded by Carleton University, Canada)
  • Marks A (2013) ‘Criminal Smells’ at Law and the Senses Conference (Westminister University)
  • Marks A (2013) ‘Legal Highs and Organised Crime‘ at the Renmin University and Queen Mary University of London Joint Conference: Policy and Criminal Justice: How to meet the challenges of organized crime in the context of globalisation in Beijing.
  • Marks A (2012) ‘Tracing the Fault Line in Forensic Science’ Staff Work in Progress Presentation, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Marks A (2011)‘Expert Evidence of Drug Traces’ at The Future of Expert Evidence Conference, Queen Mary, University of London
  • Marks A (2009) ‘Canine identification evidence: the need for reform’ at the UK Law Enforcement Agencies Dog Systems Bi-Annual Conference
  • Marks A (2009) 'The journey of the Mosquito: A case study on the legal and public acceptability of sonar deterrence in crime control' at the 5th European Symposium on Non-Lethal Weapons, Ettlingen, Germany
  • Marks A. (2009) ‘From Biological to Biotechnological Surveillance:
  • Towards an Analytical Framework and Research Agenda’ at ESRC/SSN Seminar Series, The Everyday Life of Surveillance, Newcastle University
  • Bowling, B. and Marks, A.  (2007) ‘Crime Control Technologies’, Regulating Technologies, TELOS, KCL
  • Marks A. (2007) ‘The ethical implications of olfactory research presented at The UK Semiochemistry  Network Workshop on Chemical Signals in Vertebrates
  • Marks A. (2005) ‘Forensic Olfaction:  The Legal Challenge Ahead presented at Gordon Research Conference on Detecting Illicit Substances
  • Marks A. (2004) ‘The Legal Implications of an expansion in olfactory surveillance’ presented at the DSTL (MoD) conference on The Security Applications of Olfaction.

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