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Professor Trevor Buck

Job: Emeritus Professor of Socio-Legal Studies

Faculty: Business and Law

School/department: Leicester De Montfort Law School

Address: The Gateway, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 257 7176




Personal profile

I retired from full-time work at De Montfort University on 1st September 2016 and was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor from that date.

I am still involved in some academic and professional activities, in particular:

External examinership of PhD theses;

Some writing projects in my fields of interests;

Reviewing books, articles and research grant applications in my fields of interest

I have continued teaching an LLM module, by distance learning, in International Child at De Montfort University.

Over the course of my career I have pursued three related research fields: administrative justice; international child law and social security law. 

I was a REF 2014 Law sub-panel Member (2011-2014).

My work on administrative justice has received external recognition.  I have been invited to undertake research work on several occasions for the Ministry of Justice  (and its predecessors Departments) and have conducted research projects with the assistance of external funding from the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation, National Audit and other government departments in relation to mediation, judicial review, tribunals and ombudsmen.  I have held External Examinerships at various Universities in Public Law and other LLB modules. 

An ESRC-funded project that examined Ombudsmen in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand resulted in a number of publications and invitations to provide keynote presentations. The key ouput, a monograph, co-authored with two colleagues The Ombudsman Enterprise and Administrative Justice, has received many positive reviews in a number of scholarly journals and continues to be cited by parliamentary Select Committees and the Law Commission. I am currently working on public inquiries.  I delivered a public lecture on public inquiries in the Professorial Law Lecture series at De Montfort University on 9 February 2017.

My work on international child law is underpinned by my textbook International Child Law (3rd ed., 2014) which has been used for specialist undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the UK and internationally and appears in the bibliography of the Hague Conference on Private International Law. I have also published some journal articles in the area of international children's rights.  One of my previous doctoral students, Dr Michael Wabwile, a Kenyan academic, won a Commonwealth Academic Fellowship to undertake postdoctoral work on international child law hosted at DMU (October to December 2012). I completed a research report that evaluates the Long-term effects of mediation in international parental child abduction cases in collaboration with Reunite, a Leicester-based charity.  More recently I was commissioned to write an article on ‘Children’s Rights’ for the International Law section of Oxford Bibliographies, published by Oxford University Press in March 2017. I have contributed to the Children’s Rights Judgments project - see publications below

 My work on social security law. I was seconded from my previous post at the University of Leicester for three years (1993-96) to serve as the national legal adviser to the Social Fund Commissioner and Social Fund Inspectors of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  I was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Social Security Law for many years. My book, The Social Fund: Law & Practice (3rd edition, 2009) was the key legal reference work on the social fund in the UK for both Department for Work and Pensions officials and welfare advice advocates prior to the abolition of the discretionary Social Fund in April 2013.   I led a Nuffield Foundation funded research project that examined the work of the Social Security and Child Support Commissioners (now ‘Upper Tribunal Judges’), a project that involved interviewing all Commissioners and resulted in a number of publications including a monograph (Making Social Security Law, 2005), co-authored with Professors Roy Sainsbury (SPRU, York) and David Bonner (Law, Leicester).  

Publications and outputs 

  • Child Abuse and Public Inquiry Methodologies
    Child Abuse and Public Inquiry Methodologies Buck, Trevor, 1951- This chapter examines the development of public inquiries into child abuse and the various policy processes and methods deployed to support them. It contains two central propositions: firstly, that the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse provides an unprecedented opportunity to capture and disseminate more deeply the emerging knowledge of child abuse; and secondly, that there is now a significant need to establish in the UK a permanent centralised Public Inquiries Office to support public inquiry work in the child protection sector and elsewhere.
  • International Criminal Court: The Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dyilo
    International Criminal Court: The Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dyilo Buck, Trevor, 1951- A redrafting of Lubanga, the first case to be tried in the International Criminal Court, from a children's rights perspective.
  • Expert Commentary: Public Inquiries – continuity, change and institutional infrastructure
    Expert Commentary: Public Inquiries – continuity, change and institutional infrastructure Buck, Trevor, 1951- This commentary focuses upon the legal process, in particular its ability (or lack of it) to capture and sustain important knowledge generated from the inquiry process and how such experience could be utilised to respond appropriately to the challenges of the ever-changing landscape of public events that require the inquiry process. The commentary proposes the creation of a secretariat dedicated to delivering the inquiry process - a permanent Inquiry Office. Such a reform could provide continuity in the knowledge gained from one inquiry to the next, and develop flexibly to accommodate the changing requirements of individual inquiries driven by their different subject matter.
  • Children's Rights
    Children's Rights Buck, Trevor, 1951- Oxford Bibliographies in International Law has become an essential research tool. Each article provides a skeleton for research, with general topic headings first, followed by more thematic headings, each introduced by a commentary paragraph and followed by a select list of annotated citations. The author, as an acknowledged specialist in this field, was commissioned to write an article (c 16,000 words) on 'Children's Rights', which provides a general overview in addition to specialist sections covering key international law instruments and perspectives in the field..
  • International Child Law
    International Child Law Buck, Trevor, 1951- International Child Law examines and discusses the international legal framework and issues relating to children. Analysing both public and private international legal aspects, this cross-disciplinary text promotes an understanding of the ongoing development of child law, children’s rights and the protection of the child. Examining the theoretical background to the law, and providing a concise and clear overview of the instruments and institutions that protect children internationally, this text then focuses on key themes and issues in child law and children’s rights. This new edition has been updated and revised throughout, including expanded material on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as discussion of recent landmark developments on the law relating to recruiting child soldiers as a result of Lubanga (2012). The third edition also includes a new case study feature that critically considers key themes and issues in international child law in a real world context. Drawing on a range of legal and other disciplines, International Child Law is a valuable resource for those in the course of study and research in this area.
  • The Potential and Promise of Communications Procedures under the Third Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child
    The Potential and Promise of Communications Procedures under the Third Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child Buck, Trevor, 1951-; Wabwile, Michael The Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (OP3-CRC) presents new opportunities for States and non-state actors/interest groups to advance the cause of children’s rights in the global context. Since international legal apparatus for protecting human rights is generally weak, and depends largely on cooperation and support of States, the best approach would be to explore how to integrate available mechanisms to maximise their impact. OP3-CRC provides the Committee on the Rights of the Child with individual and interstate complaint mechanisms, and an inquiry procedure regarding ‘grave and systematic violations,’ which may in appropriate cases be applied to contest state policies and practices. We argue that the potential and promise of this new communications/complaints regime can be harnessed through strategic phased implementation, establishing the office of a Special Representative on CRC Communications Procedures and rebranding the Committee in anticipation of its enhanced mandates.
  • An Evaluation of the Long-term Effectiveness of Mediation in Cases of International Parental Child Abduction
    An Evaluation of the Long-term Effectiveness of Mediation in Cases of International Parental Child Abduction Buck, Trevor, 1951- This research report focuses on capturing the long-term effectiveness of mediation as deployed by reunite, the UK's main NGO that provides advice on international parental child abduction cases brought under the Hague Convention of 1980. The aim was to see whether the mediation model operated by reunite has worked over time. The main research tool used was the use of in-depth telephone interviews with individuals who had participated in reunite’s mediation process from January 2003 to December 2009. 52 individuals were interviewed between September 2010 and August 2011, using a semi-structured interview guide which is reproduced as Appendix 1 of this report. Overall (see Table 7.1, at p. 27) the dataset comprised: 29 men, 23 women; 22 taking parents and 30 left-behind parents; and at the time of our interview work 21 of the total dataset could be classed as the residential parent and 31 the contact parent. Our second and supplementary research tool was a system of case reading by the research team – there were regular meetings set up after a batch of transcripts had been pre-read and where reunite’s case file was available to supplement and provide further information about the chronology and process of each case under consideration. An important element in the architecture of this report is the distinction that we draw between: i) cases where the mediation was completed – i.e. an MoU had been reached and quickly followed by a consent order in the courts: we call these ‘resolved cases’ in the report; and ii) cases where the mediation was not completed, i.e. where it was not agreed in mediation and had to be referred back to the courts for an authoritative decision: we call these ‘unresolved cases’ in the report. Of our overall set of 52 cases, we identified 29 that were ‘resolved’ and 23 that were ‘unresolved’ according to our definition. The analysis of all this material was further supported by the use of a computer-assisted qualitative data programme. A summary of the findings can be found on pp. 8-12 of the report in relation to both 'resolved' and 'unresolved' cases. Overall the key message of the report is that mediation in this specialised context should be used selectively and proportionately. The Nuffield Foundation is an endowed charitable trust that aims to improve social well-being in the widest sense. It funds research and innovation in education and social policy and also works to build capacity in education, science and social science research. The Nuffield Foundation has funded this project, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation. More information is available at .
  • Modelul Ombudsmanului britanic, irlandez şi Australian: expansiune, redimensionare şi noi orizonturi
    Modelul Ombudsmanului britanic, irlandez şi Australian: expansiune, redimensionare şi noi orizonturi Thompson, Brian; Kirkham, Richard; Buck, Trevor, 1951- This Chapter is derived from the authors’ project ‘Public Services Ombudsmen and Administrative Justice: Models, Roles, Methods and Relationships’ funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. In this study we supplemented research of the literature on the ombudsmen (annual reports, investigation reports, speeches and articles) with interviews with over 20 ombudsmen (see schedule) who deal with public services in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. We also interviewed some private sector ombudsmen, auditors and, in the UK, some complaints handlers intermediate between an agency and the public services ombudsman. In this Chapter we consider the roles that are being performed by the Public Services Ombudsmen (PSO) in our study and the methods that they have adopted to perform those roles. This leads us to speculate that in practice the roles of the PSO may be expanding, and there are new horizons to explore in the ombudsman community. This Chapter is a Romanian translation of: ‘The British, Irish and Australasian Ombudsmen Model: Expansion, Contraction and New Horizons,’ a paper presented to Annual Conference of the European Group of Public Administration, Permanent Study Group X: Law and Public Administration, 5 September, 2008, and revised October 2011.
  • Time for a "Leggatt-style" review of the Ombudsman system?
    Time for a "Leggatt-style" review of the Ombudsman system? Buck, Trevor, 1951-; Kirkham, Richard; Thompson, Brian The article argues that the “system” of ombudsmen that operates in the United Kingdom, together with the rapid evolution of internal complaints systems, has developed into a fundamental feature of the twenty-first century administrative justice system. Yet this system is in need of a fundatmental review akin to the Leggatt review of tribunals conducted in 2001. Further, the Law Commission’s current work in this area is a welcome development, but a wider review of the institution is required.
  • The ombudsman enterprise and administrative justice.
    The ombudsman enterprise and administrative justice. Buck, Trevor, 1951-; Kirkham, Richard; Thompson, Brian The statutory duty of public service ombudsmen (PSO) is to investigate claims of injustice caused by maladministration in the provision of public services. This book examines the modern role of the ombudsman within the overall emerging system of administrative justice and makes recommendations as to how PSO should optimize their potential within the wider administrative justice context. Recent developments are discussed and long standing questions that have yet to be adequately resolved in the ombudsman community are re-evaluated given broader changes in the administrative justice sector. The work balances theory and empirical research conducted in a number of common law countries. Although there has been much debate within the ombudsman community in recent years aimed at developing and improving the practice of ombudsmanry, this work represents a significant advance on current academic understanding of the discipline. Contents: Foreword; Preface; Part I Theory and Context: The ombudsman enterprise: an introduction; The constitutional role of the ombudsman; Concepts, theories and policies of administrative justice. Part II The Ombudsman Technique: Putting it right: resolving complaints and assisting citizens; Promoting good administration and helping to get it right. Part III Setting It Right: Independence and accountability: legitimising the ombudsman; Relationships, networks and the administrative justice system; Part IV Conclusion: The 21st century ombudsman enterprise; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

Click here to see a full listing of Trevor Buck's publications and outputs.

Key research outputs

Buck, T. (2018) 'Child Abuse and Public Inquiry Methodologies'. In: Douglas, G., Murch, M. and Stephens, V. (eds) International and National Perspectives on Child and Family Law: Essays in Honour of Nigel Lowe, Cambridge, Intersentia, pp. 97-110.

Buck, T. (2017) Public Inquiries – continuity, change and institutional infrastructure, Expert Commentary in book chapter 17 (Inquiries). In: Elliot, M. and Thomas, R. (eds) Public Law, 3rd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press

Buck, T (2017) 'International Criminal Court: The Prosecutor v Thomas Lubanga Dyilo'. In: Stalford, H., Hollingsworth K, and Gilmore, S. (eds) Rewriting Children’s Rights Judgments: from academic vision to new practice, Oxford: Hart Publishing, pp 447-460

Buck, T. (2017) Children's Rights. Oxford Bibliographies in International Law. 13-Apr-2017. <>.

BUCK T, (2014) International Child Law, Third edition, (with Gillespie A, chapter 7), London & New York: Routledge.  478pp + xxx. ISBN: 978-0-415-82591-7 (hbk); ISBN: 978-0-415-82592-4 (pbk); 978-0-203-53813-5 (ebk).

BUCK, T. and Wabwile, M. (2013) ‘The Potential and Promise of Communications Procedures under the Third Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child’, 2 (2) International Human Rights Law Review, pp. 205–239.

BUCK T, (2012) An Evaluation of the Long-term Effectiveness of Mediation in Cases of International Parental Child Abduction (104 pp), Leicester: Reunite.  Also available on Nuffield foundation website.

Review: ‘It does work! – Research on the Long Term Effectiveness of Mediation’ by Sabine WalshSabine Walsh Mediation, 6 December 2012.

BUCK T, Kirkham R and Thompson B, (2011) ‘Time for a “Leggatt-style” review of the ombudsman system?’ Public Law Spr: 1, 20-29. ISSN  0033-3565.

BUCK T, Kirkham R and Thompson B, (2011) The Ombudsman Enterprise and Administrative Justice, Farnham: Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-7556-3. 

Book reviews:

The Ombudsman: newsletter of the British and Irish Ombudsman Association, (2011) p. 6.

Forum Strafvollzug (German Prison Law Journal) (2011).

Giddings P. (2011) 30(4) Civil Justice Quarterly 465-6.

Tinker J (2011) LSE’s British Politics and Policy blog

Cane, P (2011) 70(3) Australian Journal of Public Administration 332-34.

Gill, C. (2011) 21(1) Social & Legal Studies 135-138.

Carl, S (2012) 75(2) Modern Law Review 299–300.

O’Brien, N (2012) 90(2) Public Administration 561-62.

Hay C, McKenna K and BUCK T (2010) Evaluation of Early Neutral Evaluation Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal, Ministry of Justice Research Series 2/10, January 2010 (London: Ministry of Justice). Full report (104pp) and summary report (10pp), ISBN 978 1 84099 349 3.

             Book review: (2010) Journal of Social Security Law 17(2), pp 132-34.

BUCK T, Bonner D and Sainsbury R (2005) Making Social Security Law: the role and work of the Social Security and Child Support Commissioners, Aldershot: Ashgate. 249 pp + xi. ISBN 0754643816

      Book review: (2006) Journal of Social Security Law pp. 228-29.

Research interests/expertise

1.     Administrative Justice, in particular tribunals, ombudsmen, proportionate dispute resolution, public inquiries and theories of administrative justice

2.     International Child Law, in particular the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children and armed conflict, child labour and children’s ombudsmen

3.     Social Security Law, in particular the Social Fund (UK) – I authored the nationally recognised authoritative work on social fund law and practice. Note: the discretionary social fund was abolished in the UK (other than Northern Ireland) in April 2013.

Areas of teaching

International Child Law, Public Law, Social Welfare Law


LLB (Hons)

LLM (by research)

Legal Practice Course

Courses taught

Masters (by distance learning) at DMU

LLMP5301 International Child Law  (30 credit module)

Membership of external committees

REF 2014 Law sub-panel (C 20) Member 2011-2014

National Customer Representative Liaison Forum, Appeals Service/Office of the Social Security Commissioners 2001–2007 Member

Child Support Appeal Tribunal, Midlands Region 1994 – 1999 Member

Social Security Appeals Tribunals, Midlands Region 1990 – 1999 Member 

Membership of professional associations and societies

1993 – present  Member, Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA).

1999 – 2002  Honorary Secretary to the Executive Committee, SLSA.

1989 – 2019  Member, Society of Public Teachers of Law/Society of Legal Scholars. 

Professional licences and certificates

1996 Diploma in Legal Practice, De Montfort University, Leicester.

Professional esteem indicators

REF 2014 Law sub-panel member

1994 – 2019 Editorial Advisory Board Journal of Social Security Law.

1990 – 1996 Section Editor Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law.

(1990 – 1993) Ombudsman Decisions; (1993 – 1996) Social fund inspectors decisions

Case studies


Prof Trevor Buck

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