Doreen McBarnet is a sociologist working primarily in the area of business regulation.

Recently retired from full time academic work, she has been a long time member of the Centre and fellow of Wolfson College, having, prior to that, been lecturer in sociology at Glasgow University, where she graduated with an MA hons in History and Sociology, and PhD in the Sociology of Law. She was also for several years Visiting Professor at Edinburgh University Law School and Adjunct Professor at Australian National University.

After early work on criminal justice, her main research interest for many years now has been business, regulation, governance, compliance, and ‘whiter than white collar crime’ particularly in the context of corporate finance, tax avoidance, corporate governance, creative accounting, business and professional ethics and corporate responsibility.

She has published widely in academic and professional journals, presented papers around the world to academic, regulatory and business audiences, served on numerous international editorial boards, and contributed to public consultations and government initiatives on tax avoidance, accounting, corporate governance and corporate responsibility in the UK, US, European Union and Australia. She has received extensive research funding including a first round ESRC Professorial Fellowship in 2003. She has also been awarded the CBE for services to social science.

Selected publications


The New Corporate Accountability: corporate social responsibility and the law (edited with A Voiculescu and T Campbell, Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Crime, compliance and control (Ashgate, 2004)

Creative accounting and the cross-eyed javelin thrower (Wiley 1999, with C. Whelan)

Law and Capital, (editor) Special Issue of International Journal of the Sociology of Law,  Academic Press,  1984

Conviction (Macmillan, 1981, paperback 1983)

Selected recent articles/chapters

‘Financial engineering or legal engineering? Legal work, legal integrity and the banking crisis’ in Justin O’Brien and Iain Macneil (eds) The future of financial regulation, Oxford, Hart, 2010, pp 67-82; and EUWP2

Corporate Social Responsibility beyond law, through law, for law’ The 2008 CLS Annual Lecture and Edinburgh University School of Law Working Paper 2009/03

Position Description

Emeritus Professor of Socio-Legal Studies


Research Interests

  1. Tax avoidance
  2. Business regulation and governance
  3. Strategies of legal control
  4. Business practice and compliance
  5. Corporate  and professional responsibility

Research projects