Marie Manikis writes:

After four unforgettable years in Oxford, I successfully defended my DPhil in Law in October 2013. My doctoral work was supervised by Professors Andrew Ashworth and Carolyn Hoyle and looked at the recent policies in England and Wales and the United States that have recognised for the first time enforcement mechanisms for victims of crime under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act in the United States as well the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime in England and Wales.

Although very different from one another, these policies ostensibly aimed to provide a stronger commitment to victims’ rights, by implementing an accessible, timely and impartial process that recognises accountability and provides individual remedies in cases of breaches. The existing literature on enforcement and redress mechanisms remained limited and thus I decided to contribute and develop this area by using a comparative perspective and Roach’s theoretical models of victims’ rights.

I undertook an in-depth analysis of these mechanisms and their implementation based on elite qualitative interviews, case law analysis and a multidisciplinary examination of the relevant literature in both jurisdictions. I argued that on the whole, these mechanisms have presented a number of limitations, and thus in many respects cannot and have not delivered fully accessible, and timely means to respond to victims’ rights breaches. Most importantly, I demonstrated that for certain types of breaches and in certain contextual settings, these mechanisms recognised only limited or no redress at all for breaches. I suggested that many of these promises have been closer to rhetoric than reality and I provided a more nuanced portrait of the substantial difficulties and limitations that relate to these enforcement mechanisms. In effect, I highlighted that these limitations can be understood in light of the nature and structural components of the selected mechanisms, the ways they have been implemented by the main actors involved in these processes, and the different contexts under which the different types of breaches take place.

Finally, I argued that despite their limitations, when compared to one another, each mechanism can be considered a better option for access, timeliness and redress – depending on context and the type of breach. Building on this analysis, I developed and set the foundations for a complementary approach in order to facilitate and increase opportunity for redress for a wider range of situations.

Some of my doctoral research’s preliminary findings were published in scholarly journals (see here, here and here), as well as policy-based reviews (for example here). I plan to continue publishing the more in-depth findings and analysis in the near future in order to advance this research area and provide policy-makers with evidence-based research to facilitate the development of measures that will take victims into account in the criminal process.

My experience in Oxford and particularly at the Centre for Criminology was extremely formative and intellectually enriching. I undertook a number of academic as well as policy-related projects with Professor Julian Roberts and worked alongside inspiring colleagues and lifelong friends with whom I plan to continue to collaborate on a number of projects.

In August 2013, I started working as an Assistant Professor at McGill University, where I have been teaching criminal procedure and criminal law as well as supervising a number of upper-year research projects that relate to victims, criminal law and sentencing. I hope to share my interest for criminal law and criminal justice with my students and plan to continue my research in these areas, while expanding my analysis to developments that engage the relationship between gender and criminal law.

I can be reached at marie.manikis@mcgill.ca