Mr Piers Von Berg

Mr Piers Von Berg

Lecturer in Law

School of Law, Criminology and Government (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)


Lecturer in Law

Stage 1 tutor


Barrister in Law, called to the Bar at Gray's Inn, 2009

Graduate Diploma in Law, City University, 2007
Master of Arts (Hons), International Relations, University of St Andrews, 2000

Professional background:
2010-2017 Barrister at 36 Bedford Row, London specialising in administrative and family law 
2007-2009 City Law School, London, and an internship at the Special Court of Sierra Leone, The Hague
2000-2006 Project manager with international development NGOs in Azerbaijan (IFES)

Professional membership

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Door tenant (non-practising barrister), 36 Group (Chambers of William Harbage QC and Richard Wilson QC)
Howard League for Penal Reform 
National Association of Youth Justice 
Society for Research into Higher Education 
Association for Citizenship Teaching

Teaching interests

1. Public Law (module leader) 
2. Human Rights 
3. Contemporary Legal Issues (module leader)
4. Dispute Resolution Skills
5. Introduction to Law
6. Legal Systems and Skills

Research interests

I specialise in youth justice, citizenship and civic education. I am interested in the lived experience of young people and how they exercise their rights. This arises from working with young people in various contexts over the past 15 years from marginalised communities in Azerbaijan and Central Asia, to representing children in the criminal and family courts in UK.  

1. In youth justice, I take a multidisciplinary approach, using public and criminal law and policy, to desk-based research of the treatment of child suspects and defendants in the youth justice system. 

I recently completed an investigation into police practice on the questioning of child suspects in police custody with Dr Kate Gooch at the University of Leicester (see forthcoming Youth Justice below). The study has identified significant gaps and shortcomings affecting the quality of evidence obtained and the treatment of children generally.  

I organised a symposium in November 2018 on the obstacles and opportunities to obtaining best evidence from child suspects in police custody. Leading researchers in the fields of law, psychology and policing from the UK and Belgium as well as lawyers and police from Devon attended. A report on the research presented and ideas discussed can be found here .  

2. In citizenship and civic education, I take an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on sociology, psychology and political science, to investigate young people’s experience of citizenship using qualitative and participatory methodologies. I am interested in using research to inform pedagogical innovation using methodologies and approaches such as critical reflection (Mezirow 1990, 1991) and forum theatre (Boal 2002). 

Other research

I am completing a Doctorate in Education at the Institute of Education, UCL. My research focuses on the experience of citizenship among undergraduate students and what pedagogical innovations can help foster citizenship education at a UK university. 

Grants & contracts

Foreign and Commonwealth Office, June 2005, Project Manager at IFES Azerbaijan (technical assistance project to municipalities in Azerbaijan)

British Council, June 2005, Project Manager at IFES Azerbaijan (as above)
USAID, February 2004, Project writer and researcher at Save the Children (community based care for vulnerable and marginalised children in Azerbaijan)
Gray's Inn Award for Legal Training in Europe 2008 (to support internship at Special Court of Sierra Leone)

Creative practice & artistic projects

I have completed Masters' classes in Forum Theatre with Cardboard Citizens. I am interested in ways in which this can be incorporated into pedagogical practice. 

Key publications are highlighted


Gooch, K and von Berg, P. (Forthcoming). 'What Happens in the Beginning Matters in the End: Achieving Best Evidence with Child Suspects in the Police Station'. Youth Justice. 

Von Berg, P and Rich, B. (2017). ‘One strike and you are out? Judicial review of criminal matters and interpretation of the procedural rule on ‘totally without merit’ applications’, Criminal Law Review, 6.

Von Berg, P (2013). ‘Children’s evidence and new EU Directives’, Archbold Review, Issue 3, April 12, 2013.


Von Berg, P (ed) (2014). Criminal Judicial Review. London: Hart Publishing.


Von Berg, P (2018). ‘Civic Education at Higher Education: Lessons from Azerbaijan’ in Hazeldine, G, Morgan, D and Salem, A (eds.), Higher Education in Post-Communist States: Sociological Perspectives. Stuttgart: Ibidem.

Von Berg, P. (2014). ‘Children, Young Persons and Juveniles’, ‘Remedies’ (with Ball, D), ‘The Police’ (with Taylor, R), ‘Magistrates’ Courts’ (with Parkes, S) in von Berg, P (ed) Criminal Judicial Review. London: Hart Publishing.

Von Berg, P (2004). ‘Civic Education and Young People in Azerbaijan: results and implications’, in Papoutsaki, V and Zurabishvili, T (eds), Caucasus Higher Education in Transition. Tbilisi: Civic Education Project, Caucasus.

Von Berg, P (2002). ‘A Question of Method: Challenges of Teaching in Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan’, in Salem, A (ed), A Question of Method: teaching social sciences at post-soviet universities. Budapest and Washington DC: Civic Education Project.

Conference Papers

'A Right to a Fair Trial', Vulnerability, Justice and Communication conference, Centre for Forensic Interviewing, University of Portsmouth, 17 May 2019. 

'Exploring the development of a hybrid synthetic meaning of citizenship at a British university law school', Higher Education Close Up, University of Cape Town, 15-16 November 2018. 

'Left to figure it out for themselves: the formation of a hybrid or synthetic civic identity among undergraduate students at a university in the UK', International Conference on Education and Democratic Citizenship, Institute of Education, UCL, 15 June 2018.

Internet Publications


Von Berg, P. (2013). ‘Disclosure of Criminal Records’, The Justice Gap. Available from:

Von Berg, P. (2010). ‘Unlawful detention by Magistrates’ Courts – a test case in waiting?’ JD Supra. Available from:


Harris, R, Bath, C, Bevan, M, Huang, C, Laver, L and von Berg, P. (2019). 'Obtaining best evidence from child suspects in police custody: challenges and opportunities'. A report on a symposium held at the University of Plymouth on 30 November 2018. (Available on request). 

Reports & invited lectures

Invited panel chair and speaker, Vulnerability, Justice and Communication conference, Centre of Forensic Interviewing, University of Portsmouth, 16-17 May 2019. Panel: 'Safeguards and Suspects'. Paper: 'A Right to a Fair Trial in Police Custody?' 

Invited speaker, Co-Creating Best Practice in the Criminal Justice System conference, Department of Psychology and Centre of Excellence in Learning, Bournemouth University, 1 March 2018. Paper: 'Barriers to effective juvenile suspect interviewing in the UK'.

Invited speaker with Dr Kate Gooch, Re-thinking Youth Justice, British Society of Criminology, University of Leicester, 25 April 2017. Paper: 'Re-thinking children in police custody'.