Thom Brooks

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Thom Brooks

Thomas Brooks

(1973-10-14) 14 October 1973 (age 46)
Nationality United States
United Kingdom
Title Professor of Law and Government & Dean of Durham Law School
Academic background
Education Xavier High School
Alma mater
Thesis Taking the System Seriously: Themes in Hegel's Philosophy of Right (2004)
Doctoral advisor Robert Stern and Leif Wenar
Academic work
Institutions Durham University
Newcastle University
Notable works
  • Hegel's Political Philosophy (2007)
  • Punishment (2012)
  • Becoming British (2016)
Notable ideas

Thomas "Thom" Brooks, FRHistS, FAcSS, FRSA, FHEA (born 14 October 1973) is an American-British political philosopher and legal scholar. He has been professor of Law and Government at Durham University since 2014, the Dean of Durham Law School since 2016. He was previously a lecturer then Reader at Newcastle University. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard University's Harvard Law School, University of Pennsylvania's Penn Law School, the University of St Andrews, the University of Oxford, and Yale University's Yale Law School. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Moral Philosophy.

Early life and education

Brooks was born on 14 October 1973 in New Haven, Connecticut and raised nearby in Guilford, Connecticut. He was educated at Xavier High School, an all-boys private Catholic school in Middletown, Connecticut, United States.[1] From 1992 to 1997, he studied at William Paterson University. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1997, majoring in music and political science. He then studied political science at Arizona State University and graduated with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in 1999. He studied for an MA in philosophy at University College Dublin, graduating in 2000 with first class honours.[2] From 2001, he undertook postgraduate research in philosophy at the University of Sheffield under the supervision of Robert Stern and Leif Wenar.[2][3] He completed his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in 2004.[2] His doctoral thesis was titled "Taking the System Seriously: Themes in Hegel's Philosophy of Right".[3][4]

Academic career

Brooks started his academic career at Newcastle University. He was a lecturer in political thought from 2004 to 2007.[1] From 2004 to 2005, he was also a visiting fellow at the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, University of St Andrews.[2] In 2007, he was promoted to reader in political and legal philosophy.[1] From 2010 to 2011, he was an academic visitor to the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford and received a visiting fellowship to St John's College, Oxford in 2012.[2] His "Publishing Guide for Graduate Students" is a popular resource for new academics interested in getting published.[5]

In 2012, Brooks joined the Durham Law School, Durham University, as a reader in law, and its Philosophy Department as an associate member.[1][2] He was appointed professor of Law and Government in 2014.[2] Between 2014 and 2016, he served as Director of the Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice at Durham University.[1] In 2015, he was a visiting fellow to Yale Law School, Yale University.[2][6]

In 2013, Brooks wrote a report analysing the United Kingdom's new citizenship test. His report was titled "The 'Life in the United Kingdom test': Is It Unfit for Purpose?". He was highly critical of the test, concluding that it was "unfit for purpose". He criticised the test's focus on "British culture and history at the expense of practical knowledge".[7]

Brooks publishes widely on criminal justice and sentencing. His "unified theory of punishment" is noted as one of the top 100 Big Ideas for the Future in a report by RCUK.[8] Brooks has written three books, edited two reports and 23 collections, published over 130 articles and 150 columns.[2]

His research on capital punishment is quoted and cited by the Connecticut Supreme Court lead decision in its case of State v. Santiago (Santiago II), 318 Conn. 1, 105 (2015) abolishing capital punishment in Connecticut.[9]

In 2015, the Electoral Commission quotes Brooks in support of its proposed changes to the EU Referendum. They proposed changing the ballot choices to "Remain" and "Leave" and this was later accepted by the UK Government.[10][11]

Since 1 August 2016, he has been Head of the Durham Law School and the school's inaugural Dean. As Dean, Brooks introduced Chinese Law into the LLB and LLM curriculum alongside a new annual Chinese law summer school - the first ever in the UK and first time in English outside Asia.[12]

Brooks appears frequently on media, including television, radio and newspapers often discussing migration policy.[13][14] He has been interviewed by Andrew Marr.[15]

Brooks is an Advisory Editor of the University of Bologna Law Review, a general student-edited law journal published by the Department of Legal Studies of the University of Bologna.[16]

Personal life

Brooks has been a citizen of the United States since birth. In 2009, he gained indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. He became a citizen of the United Kingdom in 2011, and therefore holds dual citizenship.[17] His report is cited several times in Parliamentary debates.[18]

Brooks is a member of the British Labour Party and the University and College Union trade union.[19] He has made past comments supporting New Labour and Tony Blair,[20][21] and supported Liz Kendall in the 2015 Labour leadership contest.[22][23][24] He has championed party unity over factionalism and now backs Jeremy Corbyn as leader.[25][26]

Brooks advises the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.[27] He has expressed support for unity across the Labour Party factions since 2015 and repeatedly following the 2017 General Election.[28] Brooks is cited in Labour's policy commission report on 'stronger, safer communities' that underpinned the 2015 General Election manifesto[10] and advised on Labour's 2017 General Election manifesto[10] and supports Diane Abbott's new immigration reforms.[29]

Brooks writes columns for The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, LabourList, The Times and others often on immigration topics.[30][31][32][33][34]


In 2009, Brooks was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS).[1] In 2010, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS). In 2012, Brooks was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). In 2014, he was elected a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).[1] In 2018, he became an Academic Bencher of the Honourable Society of Inner Temple.[2]

Selected works

  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2005). Rousseau and Law. Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 9780754624417.
  • Brooks, Thom; Freyenhagen, Fabian, eds. (2005). The Legacy of John Rawls. London: Continuum. ISBN 978-0826478436.
  • Brooks, Thom (2007). Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right (1st ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0748625741.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2008). The Global Justice Reader. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 978-1405169653.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2009). The Right to a Fair Trial. Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 9780754628088.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2010). New Waves in Ethics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0230232754.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2011). Ethics and Moral Philosophy. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 978-9004203426.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2012). Hegel's Philosophy of Right. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1405188135.
  • Brooks, Thom (2012). Punishment. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415431811.
  • Brooks, Thom (2013). Hegel's Political Philosophy: A Systematic Reading of the Philosophy of Right (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0748645107.
  • Brooks, Thom (2013). The 'Life in the United Kingdom' Citizenship Test: Is It Unfit for Purpose? (pdf) (Report). Durham: Durham University. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2013). Just War Theory. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004228504.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2014). Ethical Citizenship: British Idealism and the Politics of Recognition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1137329950.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2014). Alcohol and Public Policy. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415730242.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2014). New Waves in Global Justice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781137286383.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2014). Sentencing. Aldershot: Ashgate. ISBN 9789004228504.
  • Brooks, Thom (2015). A Practical Guide to Living in the United Kingdom: A Report (Report). Durham: Durham University. SSRN 2622908.
  • Brooks, Thom; Nussbaum, Martha C., eds. (2015). Rawls's Political Liberalism. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231149709.
  • Brooks, Thom, ed. (2015). Current Controversies in Political Philosophy. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415517522.
  • Brooks, Thom (2016). Becoming British: UK Citizenship Examined. London: Biteback Publishing. ISBN 978-1849549769.
  • Brooks, Thom; Stein, Sebastian, eds. (2017). Hegel's Political Philosophy: On the Normative Significance of Method and System. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198778165.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Thomas (Thom) BROOKS". People of Today. Debrett's. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Recent MPhil and PhD theses titles and supervisors". Department of Philosophy. University of Sheffield. Archived from the original on 16 February 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  4. ^ Brooks, Thom (2004). "Taking the system seriously: themes in Hegel's philosophy of right". E-Thesis Online Service. The British Library Board. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Thom Brooks, "Publishing Advice for Graduate Students"". SSRN 1085245. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  6. ^ "Professor Thom Brooks". Durham Law School. Durham University. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  7. ^ "UK Citizenship Test For Foreign Nationals Is 'Unfit For Purpose' Says Academic". HuffPost. 17 March 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  8. ^ "RCUK Top 100 Big Ideas for the Future". Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  9. ^ "State v Santiago (Santiago II), 318 Conn 1 (2015)" (PDF). Connecticut Supreme Court. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  10. ^ a b c "Home Page". Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  11. ^ Retrieved 25 June 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Chinese law offers great career prospects". The Times. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Thom Brooks, What should Theresa May do about immigration? A 6-point plan". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  14. ^ "Professor Thom Brooks, How Labour is failing voters". Daily Express. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  15. ^ "Start the Week". BBC. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Advisory Board". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  17. ^ Sanghani, Radhika (13 June 2013). "British citizenship test is just a 'bad pub quiz'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  18. ^ Hansard Retrieved 17 March 2016. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ "Labour Party". Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  20. ^ Brooks, Thom (18 June 2015). "Blairism isn't about moving right – it's about doing what's right". The New Statesmen. Retrieved 11 February 2016. Whatever else Blairism is, it is not a move to the right, but the right choice.", "this is why a touch of Blair could be what is needed.", "It's time we embraced New Labour's legacy
  21. ^ Thom Brooks [@Thom_Brooks] (23 July 2015). "@JohnRentoul I remain a big fan of Blair - sage advice yesterday" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 March 2018 – via Twitter.
  22. ^ Brooks, Thom (4 June 2015). "Liz Kendall for leader of the Labour Party". The Brooks Blog. Retrieved 11 February 2016. [dead link]
  23. ^ Thom Brooks [@Thom_Brooks] (15 May 2015). "I'm supporting @leicesterliz for @UKLabour leader. Great MP, highly talented & able to win back voters we've let slip away. #LizKendall" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 March 2018 – via Twitter.
  24. ^ Thom Brooks [@Thom_Brooks] (22 July 2015). "Thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Labour Party members. Good advice. … via @labourlist" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 March 2018 – via Twitter.
  25. ^ Thom Brooks [@Thom_Brooks] (16 June 2017). "Only one showing real leadership - Jeremy Corbyn is impressive" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 March 2018 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Brooks, Thom (14 September 2015). "Now for the real campaign - and time to come together". LabourList. Retrieved 26 March 2018. he can count on my support and I hope others will rally around him now, too. Winning back 10 Downing Street is an enormous challenge no matter who is Leader of the Opposition, widely recognised as the most difficult job in politics. That's true for anyone in that position and yes that includes Tony Blair. Let's not make the job more difficult for Corbyn than it already is. We can each play our part in making the most of the positive energy and clear mandate he has to lead the Labour Party. The leadership campaign was just a warm up act for the real fight ahead. And we'll need every supporter we can find if we're to have a chance. I'm in. Are you?
  27. ^ "Jeremy Corbyn launches Labour's 'radical, responsible' UK election manifesto". ABC News 24. 17 May 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  28. ^ Brooks, Thom. "Labour is on a roll - so let's abandon the old divisions and work together for victory". LabourList. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  29. ^ Brooks, Thom. "Why I'm thrilled by Diane Abbott's immigration speech". LabourList.
  30. ^ "Thom Brooks, The Daily Telegraph". Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  31. ^ "Thom Brooks, The Guardian". Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  32. ^ "Thom Brooks, The Independent". Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  33. ^ "Thom Brooks, LabourList". Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  34. ^ "Thom Brooks, The Times". Retrieved 11 June 2017.

External links

  • His personal website
  • His Durham University website
  • Twitter profile
  • Thom Brooks – Daily Telegraph
  • Thom Brooks – The Independent
  • Thom Brooks – The Times
  • Thom Brooks WTNH interview with Ann Nyberg
  • The Brooks Blog
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