Sally Kyd

Sally Kyd photoProfessor

Head of School

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 2372
Email: sally.kyd@le.ac.uk

Personal details

LLB (Leicester), LLM (Leicester), PhD (Leicester)

My research lies in the fields of Criminal Law and Criminal Justice.

My main specialism is in road traffic offences, having become interested in them through my PhD on vehicular homicide, after which my interest broadened and I published a book entitled 'Driving Offences: Law, Policy and Practice' with Ashgate in 2008.

In 2011-12, I held an AHRC Early Career Fellowship funding a project to examine how the new causing death by driving offences created by the Road Safety Act 2006 have been operating in practice, with further funding from the Society of Legal Scholars. My research formed the basis of one of the School of Law’s Impact Case Studies entered into the 2014 REF.

I was funded to conduct a project in 2018 with Dr Steven Cammiss which explored the enforcement of endangerment offences such as careless and dangerous driving and identified best practice in roads policing. A final report for the project and executive summary are available. Our research findings include:

  • The endangerment offences of careless and dangerous driving are prosecuted in the absence of harm, but there are inconsistent approaches to this. A prosecution will require an instance of bad driving to have been captured on video or witnessed by a police officer or an independent witness.
  • The acceptance of third party footage (daschcam and helmet video footage) from members of the public has the potential to develop into a ‘neighbourhood watch’ of the roads. However, different forces have different approaches to accepting such footage, and we recommend that guidance be produced to encourage a more consistent approach.
  • Traffic Process Units which process traffic offence reports and allegations of bad driving are seeing an increase in their workload, with little additional resource being invested to meet demand. The work of TPUs should be properly resourced and kept under review, with clear guidance and training provided to decision-makers.
  • Some forces have developed effective ways of enforcing offences on a limited budget. The police, and particularly roads policing, is under-resourced but we found examples of tenacious and passionate officers using imaginative approaches to maximise the impact that the law can have. These include Operation Close Pass and Operation Zig Zag, developed by West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team. We recommend that other forces adopt such approaches.
  • Cases of dangerous driving may be downgraded to careless driving because dangerous driving requires the involvement of the CPS in most areas (although there is inconsistency in this) and careless driving can be prosecuted without CPS involvement. Police officers expressed frustration with what they saw to be obstacles to prosecution and the threshold applied by many CPS lawyers before dangerous driving will be considered. Our data showed that some cases that warranted a charge of dangerous driving were dealt with as careless driving. An example of bad driving that would support a charge of causing death by dangerous driving if it had resulted in a fatal collision might be charged only as careless driving in the absence of serious injury. We recommend that specialist Crown prosecutors are trained to make decisions in such cases, and that the CPS be properly resourced.
  • The offence of using a handheld mobile phone whilst driving is ambiguously written and requires redrafting. Some forces provided clear guidance to officers in terms of evidence collection to overcome the problems with the current law and we applaud such guidance, but considerable confusion remains.

I am interested in all aspects of criminal law and justice. Beyond road traffic offences, I have recently been involved in a Ministry of Justice funded evaluation of the impact of the new sentencing guidelines for sexual offences and robbery (with Dr Anna Carline (PI) and Prof Mandy Burton (Law) and Dr Emma Palmer (Psychology):

https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/publications/item/sexual-offences-assessment-of-guideline/

https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/publications/item/robbery-assessment-of-guideline/

I am co-editor on the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth editions of the popular criminal law textbook by Clarkson and Keating.

Teaching

Criminal Law.

Publications

  • “Done to Death? Reform of Homicide Law” in Child and Duff (eds.) Criminal Law Reform Now, Hart 2018, pp.101-123, ISBN 978-1-509-91678-8
  • “Causing Death” in Reed and Bohlander (eds.) Homicide in Criminal Law: A Research Companion, Routledge 2018, pp.119-135, ISBN 978-1-138-49841-9
  • Kyd, S.  (with T Elliott & MA Walters) Clarkson and Keating: Criminal Law: Text and Materials 9th ed. (Sweet & Maxwell, 2017)
  • Kyd Cunningham, S. (with S Cammiss), “Swift and Sure Justice? Mode of Trial for Causing Death by Driving Offences” (2015) 15(3) Criminology and Criminal Justice 321-339
  • Kyd Cunningham, S. “Serious Driving Offences in England and Wales” in van Dijk and Wolswijk (eds.) Criminal liability for Serious Traffic Offences (Eleven International Publishing 2015), pp.39-66.
  • Kyd Cunningham, S., “Has law reform policy been driven in the right direction? How the new causing death by driving offences are operating in practice” [2013] Crim LR 712-729
  • Cunningham, S. “Recklessness: being reckless and acting recklessly” (2010) 21(3) King’s Law Journal 445-467
  • Cunningham, S. Driving Offences: Law Policy and Practice (Ashgate, 2008).
  • “Vehicular Homicide: Need for a Special Offence?” in CMV Clarkson, C.M.V. and Cunningham, S., Criminal Liability for Non-Aggressive Death (Ashgate, 2008)
  • Cunningham, S. “Punishing drivers who kill: putting road safety first?” (2007) 27(2) Legal Studies 288

Research

I'm interested in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice.

Supervision

I welcome approaches from prospective doctoral candidates in any field of Criminal Law and/or Justice, but especially the investigation of, or substantive law relating to, violent offences and traffic offences. I have supervised PGR students researching subjects as diverse as identity theft, fitness to plead and chemical castration.

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