Mr Alex Batesmith

Mr Alex Batesmith


I joined the School of Law at the University of Leeds at the start of the 2020/21 academic year to take up a Lectureship in the Legal Profession. 

I had previously spent five years as a Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, which was my first academic post after more than twenty years’ professional practice in a variety of domestic and international roles.

I have close ties to the city of Leeds: for the first ten years of my career I was a barrister practising from St Paul’s Chambers, where I specialised in domestic criminal law.

I then spent five years as a United Nations prosecutor in Cambodia and Kosovo, working on cases involving genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. I was the lead UN prosecutor in the investigation and initial phase of the public trial of Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, the first case at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Phnom Penh.

I subsequently practised for ten years as an independent consultant in international criminal law, transitional justice, rule of law, justice sector capacity building and project evaluation in over a dozen different countries, focusing particularly on South East Asia and the Balkans but including Central Asia and West Africa. I worked extensively on post-conflict justice development projects for numerous international organisations, including the United Nations Development Programme, the International Development Law Organisation, the International Center for Transitional Justice, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and GiZ, the German development organisation.  

I am also a qualified mediator in both the community and civil/commercial sectors, with a particular interest in developing community engagement strategies involving mediation principles, and have been a practising community mediator for Manchester City Council.


  • Director of Employability (Law)
  • Co-director of Legal Professions Research Group

Research interests

Drawing on experiences from my years in practice, and pursuing a reflexive and socio-legal approach to my research, I focus on lawyers’ professional sense of self, how they engage with each other and how their interactions shape the law, the institutions within which they operate, and society more broadly.

I have a particular interest in cause lawyering (the practice of law for a moral, ideological or political cause over and above client service, or what some might call ‘activist lawyering’), lawyers’ motivations (both vocational and non-vocational) and the impact on emotion and empathy on understandings of legal professionalism.

In recent and ongoing projects, I explore the practice and motivation of lawyers within international criminal tribunals (in particular the existence of the practice of cause lawyering within international justice), and the relationship of lawyers to the rule of law in transitional / authoritarian countries (particularly South East Asia).

I am one of the founder members of the new Legal Professions Research Group (LPRG), based in the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Education in the School of Law. Established in 2021, the LPRG’s aim is to promote world-leading, interdisciplinary and international research on legal professions, legal professionalism and legal education’s links with professional training.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (University of Lancaster, 2005)
  • Bar Vocational Course (Inns of Court School of Law 1994)
  • BA/MA in Law (University of Cambridge, 1992)

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Authority)
  • Society of Legal Scholars
  • Socio-Legal Scholars' Association
  • Member of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn
  • Visiting Fellow of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law
  • Deployable Civilian Expert, Stabilisation Unit (FCO)
  • Member of the Human Rights Lawyers Association
  • Member of the International Network to Promote the Rule of Law

Student education

I teach Criminal Law and Criminal Evidence at Undergraduate level and Security, Conflict and Justice and Criminal Justice Processes at Postgraduate level.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Criminal Justice Studies
  • Centre for Innovation and Research in Legal Education

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>