University of Cambridge, Faculty of Law

Ms Joanna Miles

Trinity College

LL.B. (Nott), LL.M. (Cantab.)

Fellow and Director of Studies (Trinity College); University Senior Lecturer in Law; Secretary of Degree Committee


Family law, especially the legal regulation of adult relationships, family property law and financial remedies on relationship breakdown and death. Access to (family) justice and legal aid, especially exceptional funding. Criminal Law. I would be interested in supervising doctoral work in the area of financial remedies and family property law, and other aspects of "adult" and financial family law (including child support).

CV / Biography

Fellow at Trinity since 1999; appointed University Lecturer in 2007, following a two-year secondment as a team lawyer to the Law Commission for England and Wales to work on its Cohabitation project, 2005-7; Senior Lecturer from October 2011.

For information about studying Law at Trinity College, see

Academic door tenant at 1 Hare Court (Chambers of Nicholas Cusworth QC), the specialist family law set, since April 2011. Academic Fellow of Inner Temple for three years from December 2011. Assistant editor of the Child and Family Law Quarterly. Elected member of the Executive Council of the International Society of Family Law. Chair of the Cambridge Socio-Legal Group: 

My main research is in family law, particularly issues relating to the regulation of adult relationships and their financial consequences. I also have a strong interest in legal aid, exceptional funding and access to (family) justice.

I am the co-author of OUP title Family Law: Text, Cases, and Materials with Sonia Harris-Short, soon to enter its 3rd edition. I recently acted as research consultant to the Law Commission on its Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements project and act as a consultant on financial remedy case appeals.

Empirical research: In 2010, I completed a one-year empirical study of the operation of the new cohabitation laws in Scotland with Professor Fran Wasoff and Dr Enid Mordaunt, University of Edinburgh, funded by the Nuffield Foundation. Our findings were referred to in the Supreme Court judgments in Gow v Grant [2012] UKSC 29. 

I am currently working as a consultant on several empirical projects, including: examining public attitudes to child support using the British Attitude Survey (with Bryson, Ellman and McKay):; an MoJ project on self-represented parties in private law family proceedings (led by Prof Liz Trinder); and a new project led by Caroline Bryson scoping the need for a dedicated new survey focusing on issues related to family separation.

I am co-principal with Dr Emma Hitchings (Bristol) on a project examining the settlement of financial disputes on divorce.  The first findings from this study, focused on the "how, when and why" of settlement were published in November 2013 at  The next phase of this project, due to be progressed in 2014-15, will examine the content of the settlements reached.

I have a strong interest in the comparative and international aspects of family law, co-teaching a specialist LLM paper on Comparative Family Law & Policy. Together with the Organising Committee of the Commission for European Family Law, Jens Scherpe and I hosted the highly successful fourth conference of the Commission in April 2010 on the future of family property in Europe. My work on the domestic and private international law aspects of marital property agreements was cited in argument before the Supreme Court in Radmacher v Granatino.

At the Law Commission, I was responsible for a large amount of the research and writing for the consultation paper (CP 179) and report (LC 307) on Cohabitation: the Financial Consequences of Relationship Breakdown, and benefited both from working closely with empirical legal researchers and from meeting with stakeholders interested in family law reform, from practising lawyers, interest groups, religious bodies, and other governmental and law reform agencies.

As Chair of the Cambridge Socio-Legal group, I have an interest in inter-disciplinary work, and have co-ordinated two book / workshop projects under the aegis of the Group. I am co-editor, with Rebecca Probert (Warwick) of a volume of social science essays bearing on the themes of money, property, relationships and separation. The aim of the project was to explore the empirical basis for the principles currently underpinning financial provision on divorce and property division on separation of cohabiting relationships, to see what light non-legal disciplines can cast on this difficult area for the law. More recently, with Prof Probert and Perveez Mody (Social Anthropology) I am co-editing a new project on Marriage Rites and Rights.


Prior to Cambridge: undergraduate law degree at Nottingham (top graduating student), LLM at Cambridge. First teaching post at Christ Church and Lincoln College, Oxford.

Lecturing & Supervising

Lectures and supervises Criminal Law and Family Law.


Publication 1308 Sharing Lives, Dividing Assets (Ed) (Hart Publishing)

Publisher Hart Publishing
Published Aug 2009
ISBN 10 1841132594
ISBN 13 9781841132594
Co Authors Rebecca Probert
Available at heffers

Publication 4011 "Assembling the jigsaw puzzle: understanding financial settlement on divorce" [2014] Family Law, March issue

Published Mar 2014
Co Authors Emma Hitchings (Bristol), Hilary Woodward (Cardiff)
Book Chapters
Book Reviews
Case Notes

Publication 2858 "Written evidence to Public Bill Committee on Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill 2011" (, Jul 2011) LA 45

Reference Number LA 45
Published Jul 2011
Conference Papers

Publication 4201 "Assembling the Jigsaw Puzzle Understanding financial settlements on Divorce" (Judicial College, Oct 2014)

Published Oct 2014
Co Authors Emma Hitchings (Bristol), Hilary Woodward (Cardiff)

Publication 4085 "Assembling the jigsaw puzzle: understanding financial settlement on divorce" (Socio-Legal Studies Association, Apr 2014)

Published Apr 2014
Co Authors Emma Hitchings (Bristol), Hilary Woodward (Cardiff)