Umar is a dual qualified barrister and solicitor, and is currently undertaking DPhil research into terrorism sentencing, focusing on and critiquing the current framework in England and Wales: his thesis is that the current terrorism sentencing scheme is unfit for purpose, with a more bespoke framework required. He is supervised by Professor Julian Roberts and Professor Andrew Ashworth QC. He is presently a solicitor at BCL Solicitors LLP, one of the leading firms in the jurisdiction focusing on white collar crime, investigations, and business crime.
This is Umar’s second time at Oxford having received an M.Sc. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Oxford (Worcester College) for which he was awarded a distinction and the Roger Hood Prize for the highest marks in the year. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple who awarded him a Benefactors’ Scholarship to fund his studies on the Bar Vocational Course.
Umar practised as a barrister, predominately specialising in criminal law for several years, and also conducted litigation on behalf of the Attorney General. He went on to qualify as a solicitor at a City firm in London, where he gained significant experience of corporate crime and investigations. He then worked at the Criminal Appeal Office at the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) as a lawyer, which included working with and advising the senior judiciary. He was also part of a small team of lawyers that represented the Registrar of Criminal Appeals in the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee.
Whilst studying for his M.Sc. at Worcester College, Umar was Research Assistant to Professor Julian Roberts, and he subsequently assisted Professor Roberts in preparing his book Criminal Justice: A Very Short Introduction (part of the Very Short Introduction series published by Oxford University Press). He was also a Research Associate at the Centre for Criminology at the University of Oxford after his M.Sc., conducting research into crime reporting in the Thames Valley.
More recently, Umar attended a symposium in Hamburg in 2018 on the use of artificial intelligence within the criminal justice system, for which he drafted a detailed paper. His paper and research formed part of an application to the VW Stiftung, which resulted in a 4-year award for a project entitled Deciding about, by, and together with algorithmic decision making systems. He has also recently spoken at various events at the University of Oxford and University College London on terrorism sentencing. Umar is also due to speak at an event at a House of Lords webinar on the terrorism sentencing aspects of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021.
Umar endeavours to keep abreast of legal developments both in academia and practice, and publishes both academic and practitioner-relevant articles on various aspects of law and procedure. His academic articles can be seen in the Publications tab on this page, and practitioner-focused topics include the charging practices of the Serious Fraud Office, private prosecutions, and legal professional privilege, all available at www.bcl.com.