Personal profile

Personal profile

Dr Shailesh Kumar is an interdisciplinary socio-legal researcher, a criminologist, and an ethnographer working as a Lecturer in Law at the Department of Law & Criminology. He is a first-generation academic and lawyer (non-practising) registered with the Bar Council of India.

Before joining Royal Holloway, Shailesh was a Lecturer at the University of East London, where he convened and taught the core modules of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Process and an optional module of Policing and Criminal Investigation to undergraduate law and criminology students. He also taught Research Skills and Race, Ethnicity, Crime and Justice modules, and supervised an LLM dissertation. For two terms, Shailesh had a short stint at SOAS, University of London, as a Teaching Fellow of Criminal Law for LLB students.

He completed his PhD (in Criminal Law), funded by the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship of the UK government, from Birkbeck, University of London. He passed his viva without any corrections and was awarded his PhD in April 2023. At Birkbeck, he also taught several core modules as an Associate Tutor of Law and Criminology to both undergraduate and postgraduate students: Criminal Law, Constitutional and Administrative Law (Public Law), Legal Theory, English Legal Systems and Methods, Contract Law, Law of the European Union, and Social Research Methods.

His PhD thesis is an empirical work on the experiences and perceptions of stakeholders dealing with the implementation of the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act 2012, a special law dealing with child sexual violence cases in India. He published the first set of findings from his PhD thesis as an article titled Child Sexual Abuse Cases in India and Judicial Officers' Perceptions and Experiences of POCSO-related Special Training in Socio-Legal Review.

Before pursuing his PhD, he completed his MPhil from JNU, Delhi, as a UGC Junior Research Fellow funded by the Indian government, where he successfully defended his thesis on the ethnography of Delhi's courts, both at the trial and the appellate levels, including the Supreme Court of India, and secured a Distinction. A part of his MPhil research findings was published as an article titled Interpreting the Scales of Justice: Architecture, Symbolism and Semiotics of the Supreme Court of India in the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law.

Shailesh has published his research in many peer-reviewed journals, including the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law, Contexto Internacional, the Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Socio-Legal Review, and the Journal of Law and Public Policy. He has also contributed chapters in the Routledge International Handbook of Penal Abolition and the Palgrave International Handbook of Youth Imprisonment. He has extensive experience using qualitative research methods and is trained in MAXQDA - a qualitative and mixed methods data analysis software.   

More broadly, he is interested in the anthropological and sociological study of law, legal institutions, legal actors, and legal cultures, and the roles played by emotion, power, and intersectional experiences of actors and participants across these entities in how laws, particularly criminal laws, are enacted and implemented. He is also interested in the interdisciplinary study of law and humanities, which stems from his interest in art, architecture, theatre, and poetry, with a penchant for historical and political non-fiction works, along with films depicting courtroom drama and different forms of representation of law, crime, and social justice. He keeps exploring the methods of using the humanities for more engaging and effective law teaching.

Shailesh is also a co-convenor of the Law and Emotion Collaborative Research Network (LSA) and sits on the editorial board of the Project39A Criminal Law Blog and the Hedgehogs and Foxes (Law & Humanities Blog). He has been a peer reviewer for several regional and international journals and leading international book publishers such as Oxford University Press and Routledge.

Dr Kumar's 'X' (erstwhile 'Twitter') account is @Shailesh_RHUL

His academic and non-academic works can be accessed from his website:

Research interests

Child Sexual Abuse; Access to Justice; Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Justice; Penal and Prison Abolition; Legal Anthropology; Court Ethnography; Legal and Judicial Profession; Qualitative Research Methods; Social Policy; Legal Pluralism; Law and Society in South Asia; South Asian Diaspora; Decolonisation; Legal Education; Caste and Race-based Discrimination and Violence; Gender and Crime; Intersectionality; Socio-Legal Theory; Philosophy of Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Constitutional Politics & Legal Theory; Law and Visual Culture; Law and Emotion.


Shailesh is a co-convenor for the Criminal Law module and teaches the following modules on the LLB and 'LL.B. Law with' courses:

  • LL1002: The Law of Contract
  • LL1003: Criminal Law
  • LL3003: Law Dissertation

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD in Criminal Law, Access to justice and sexual violence against children in India: an empirical study of the reforms under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act 2012, Birkbeck, University of London


MPhil in Law, Legal Architecture in India: Law, Image and Justice, Jawaharlal Nehru University


LL.M., NALSAR University of Law


B.A. LL.B. (Hons.), Chanakya National Law University


External positions

Editorial Board member, The Project 39A Criminal Law Blog (India)

Jan 2023 → …

Book Review Editor, Hedgehogs and Foxes (Law & Humanities site)

2023 → …

Co-convenor, Law and Emotion CRN42- Law and Society Association (USA)

2021 → …

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or