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Dr Adam Harkens


Adam is currently a Lecturer in Public Law at the University of Strathclyde. From 2019-2022 he worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, on the international and interdisciplinary FATAL4JUSTICE? Programme. He was responsible for developing and delivering research pertaining to social and legal issues relating to the use of algorithmic decision-making (ADM) tools in criminal justice. During his time at Birmingham, Adam also served as a founding member of the LEADS Lab (Legal, Ethical and Accountable Digital Society).

Prior to his role at Birmingham, Adam worked as a Research Assistant for King's College London and the Public Law Project, investigating the use of ADM tools by public authorities in England and Wales. He also holds a PhD in Law from Queen's University Belfast, funded by the Leverhulme Interdisciplinary Network on Cybersecurity and Society (LINCS).

Adam's research is primarily motivated by a desire to critically analyse and understand the ways in which the exercise of public power - conferred upon public authorities in pursuit of defined legal duties and obligations - is transformed and/or displaced through the design and deployment of digital decision-making tools and platforms. He is concerned about the potential for abuse(s) of power in this regard, and this leads his research towards engagement with concepts including constitutionalism, surveillance, privacy and data protection, human rights, and legal and political theory.
Adam has published his research in a range of academic journals, including Legal Studies and Public Law. He has provided expert advice on the use of ADM tools in the public sector, to organisations and public bodies including the Public Law Project, and the Raad Van State in the Netherlands.

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