Dr Piers Von Berg

Dr Piers Von Berg

Lecturer in Law

School of Society and Culture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Lecturer in Law

Marketing lead for Law
Academic Liaison for Partner Colleges (ALP)
Creative lead with the Centre for Sustainable Futures


Doctor in Education (EdD), Institute of Education, University College London, 2021
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2019
Barrister in Law, (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 Group, London specialising in administrative and family law 
2007-2009 City Law School, London and internship at the Special Court of Sierra Leone, The Hague
2000-2006 Project manager with international development NGOs

Professional membership

36 Group barristers' chambers (door tenant) 
Association for Citizenship Teaching 
Fellow of Higher Education Academy
Honourable Society of Gray's Inn
Howard League for Penal Reform 
Society for Research into Higher Education 



Teaching interests

1. Public Law (module lead) 
2. Human Rights (module lead)
3. Contemporary Legal and Human Rights Issues (module lead)
4. Dispute Resolution Skills
5. Dissertation



Research interests

I specialise in youth justice, citizenship and civic education. I am interested in the lived experience of young people, specially how they exercise their rights and how they learn to be citizens. 

Other research

My doctoral research focused on the experience of citizenship among undergraduate students and what pedagogical innovations can help foster citizenship education at a UK university. See von Berg (2019) in publications for part of this research.

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

I am currently supervising PhD students in the areas of international human rights. 

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. 




Von Berg, P. (2019). 'Exploring the development of a hybrid and synthetic meaning of citizenship at a British university law school'. Critical Studies in Teaching and Learning, 7(2), 52-74. https://www.ajol.info/index.php/cristal/article/view/191947

Gooch, K and von Berg, P. (2019). 'What Happens in the Beginning Matters in the End: Achieving Best Evidence with Child Suspects in the Police Station'. Youth Justice, 19(2), 85-101. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1473225419868840?journalCode=yjja

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. https://pearl.plymouth.ac.uk/handle/10026.1/13284

Von Berg, P (2013). ‘Children’s evidence and new EU Directives’, Archbold Review, Issue 3, April 12, 2013. https://www.archbolde-update.co.uk/PDF/2013/Archbold%203-2013%20v%203.pdf


Von Berg, P (ed) (2014). Criminal Judicial Review. London: Hart Publishing. https://www.bloomsbury.com/au/criminal-judicial-review-9781849468305/ 


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

'Citizenship education in a liminal space in higher education', Higher Education Close Up (HECU) 2022, University of Lancaster, UK. 04-06.07.22. (Paper accepted but not presented due to illness).

‘Cultivating civic identity and agency at a UK university’, The Role of Universities in Addressing Societal Challenges and Fostering Democracy, University of Akureyri, Iceland. 25.03.21.

'Academics as citizenship educators: insights from an ongoing action research project’, Early Careers Researchers Conference, Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), 10 December 2019. 

'A right to a fair trial in police custody', 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 (HECU), 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 (ICEDC), Institute of Education, University College London (UCL), 15 June 2018.

'Formation of identity and individualisation among undergraduate law students', Exploring the Civic Curriculum, Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence, University of Leeds, 9 June 2017.

'Police interviews of child suspects: neglected in a time of change'. Justice and Penal Reform: Re-shaping the penal landscape, Howard League for Penal Reform, Keble College, University of Oxford, 16–18 March 2016.

Internet Publications


Von Berg, P. (2013). ‘Disclosure of Criminal Records’, The Justice Gap. Available from: http://thejusticegap.com/2013/05/disclosure-of-criminal-records/

Von Berg, P. (2010). ‘Unlawful detention by Magistrates’ Courts – a test case in waiting?’ JD Supra. Available from: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/unlawful-detention-by-magistrates-courts-68389/


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 speaker and facilitator at Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Plymouth, 16 March 2022. Workshop: 'Exploring pedagogies for active citizenship and sustainable education'.  
  • Invited speaker and facilitator at Creative Pedagogies for Sustainability and Citizenship workshop, Plymouth Marjon University, 9 March 2022. Workshop: 'Exploring pedagogies for civic identity and agency at university'. 
  • 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'. 

Conferences organised

ESRC Festival of Social Science. Roundtable on effective participation of vulnerable suspects in police interviews. 19 October 2022, University of Plymouth. 

iSPER Child Suspects Symposium. Obtaining best evidence from child suspects in police custody - challenges and opportunities. 30 November 2018, University of Plymouth.

Other academic activities

Joint coordinator of the Global Transformative Education Network (GTEN). A global network of early career researchers (ECR's) in citizenship, human rights, peace, sustainability education. Monthly seminars and networking meetings organised for ECR's in these areas.