School of Law

Ms Amber Marks

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 is a barrister and is Director of the Criminal Justice Centre and Convenor for the Law of Evidence and Criminal Justice and Surveillance Technologies at Queen Mary, University of London, where she lectures in the law of evidence, criminal law and criminal justice and surveillance. She is a co-founder of the multi-disciplinary network 'Bayes and the Law', a member of the Metropolitan Police Firearms and Taser Reference Group and sits on the ethical advisory board to both NANOSMELL (Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Commission); and New Operational Sensing System (EC funded research project).  Amber is a trustee of RELEASE.  

Amber’s principal area of research is at the intersection between science, criminal justice and human rights. Within the discipline of evidence Amber is particularly interested in theories of fact-finding, the impact of science and technology on due process and fact-finding, forensic evidence and sexual history evidence.  In criminal law Amber is particularly interested in theories of criminalisation and comparative criminal law, and in drugs offences and prostitution law. Amber’s scientific interests are in forensic science, zoology, olfaction and neuroscience.  In the field of human rights Amber’s focus is on autonomy, privacy and associated personality rights.

Amber has used stand-up comedy to communicate controversial legal issues to lay audiences. She has given talks on the science of sniffer dogs and on legal and zoological definitions of prostitution in a variety of London pubs and in 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.  In 2012 she co-wrote, co-produced and presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary on the science of smell.

A Gray's Inn scholar, Amber was called to the bar in 2000 and worked as a criminal barrister (3 Raymond Buildings and 3 Temple Gardens) before joining the Government Legal Service as a lawyer in the Criminal Appeal Office, and King’s College London as a Visiting Lecturer. She lectured on miscarriages of justice (Anglia Ruskin) and the English legal system (King’s College London) and taught criminal law (London School of Economics) before joining Queen Mary University of London, as a lecturer in the Law of Evidence and Criminal Law.

Research

Amber’s principal area of research is at the intersection between science, criminal justice and human rights. Within the discipline of evidence Amber is particularly interested in theories of fact-finding, the impact of science and technology on due process and fact-finding, forensic evidence and sexual history evidence.  In criminal law Amber is particularly interested in theories of criminalisation and comparative criminal law, and in drugs offences and prostitution law. Amber’s scientific interests are in zoology, olfaction and neuroscience.  In the field of human rights Amber’s focus is on autonomy, privacy and associated personality rights.

Publications

Journal Articles

Marks, A. ‘Treating the ‘Personal’ as Private: a normative definition for ‘personal consumption’ in legal instruments on drug control’ International and Comparative Law Quarterly, forthcoming)

Marks, A. ‘Expert Evidence of Drug Traces: Relevance, Reliability and the Right to Silence’ Criminal Law Review 2013,10, 810-825;

Marks A. ‘Drug Detection Dogs and the Growth of Olfactory Surveillance: Beyond the Rule of Law?’   Surveillance & Society Part 1, 4(3):257-271 (2007)

Books

A.Marks et al, Evidence (University of London, 2016)

A.Marks, Headspace: Sniffer dogs, Spy Bees and One Woman’s Adventures in the Surveillance Society, Virgin Books, 2008. (Reviewed in  Times Higher Education (https://www.timeshighereducation.com/books/linda-asquith-daniel-binney-stephen-halliday-sen-hand-and-aw-purdue/2007344.article) and in Surveillance & Society 7(1): 85-6)

Book Chapters

Marks, Amber and Bowling, Ben and Keenan, Colman, ‘Automatic Justice? Technology, Crime and Social Control’ R. Brownsword, E. Scotford and K. Yeung (eds), The Oxford Handbook of the Law, Regulation and Technology, OUP, 2017;

Marks ‘Legal Perspectives on Drug Trafficking’ in Mitsilegas, V.  and Hufnagel, S. (eds.) Research Handbook on Transnational Crime (Edward Elgar, 2018);

O.Casals and A.Marks ‘La Rosa Verda: El florecer de los derechos fundamentales en el debate sobre las drogas en España’ (The Green Rose Citizens’ Initiative and the Flourishing of Human Rights in the Drugs Debate in Spain’ in The Paths to Regulation of Cannabis in Spain (Edicions Bellaterra, 2017)

Marks, A et al (2008). 'Crime Control Technologies: Towards an Analytical Framework and Research Agenda.' Regulating Technologies, ed. R. Brownsword, K. Yeung. Oxford: Hart.

Marks, A (2006). 'Drug detection dogs and the growth of olfactory surveillance: Beyond the rule of law?' Surveillance and Society, 4, 257-271.

Legal Opinions and Briefing Papers

(2016) .Marks, Evidence to the Parliament of Catalonia on the Legal Framework for the Bill to Regulate Associations of Cannabis Consumers (10,000 words) published on the websites of Pensamiento Penal (Argentina) and the Observatorio Civil de Drogas (Spain);

(2015) Amicus Curae in the Mexican Supreme Court decision on cannabis clubs in amparo appeal no 237/2014 of Sociedad Mexicana de Autconsumo Responsable y Tolerante, A.C. y Otros . Click here to read the opinion piece

(2015) Submission to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee Report on the Psychoactive Substances Bill makes several references to the submission by Amber Marks. The text of Amber’s submission can be read here.

Selected Legal Journalism

BBC Radio 4 programme on the science of smell, Sniffing out Danger (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01jwk3c)

'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.

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.

Public Engagement

Amber is regularly consulted by NGOs, governmental bodies, professional associations and the media.   Amber is a member of the Metropolitan Police Firearms and Taser Reference Group and sits on the ethical advisory board to both NANOSMELL (Horizon 2020 project funded by the European Commission); and New Operational Sensing System (EC funded research project).  Amber is a trustee of RELEASE.  

Amber has 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.  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. She has given talks on the science of sniffer dogs and on legal and zoological definitions of prostitution in a variety of London pubs and in the literary tents of Latitude Festival,  Standon Calling, Bestival and Laugharne.

  • Trustee for the charity RELEASE
  • Member of the Firearms and Taser Reference Group
  • Member of Ethical Advisory Board for NanoSmell.

2015

2014


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