Dr Ilona Cairns

Dr Ilona Cairns


Dr Ilona Cairns
Dr Ilona Cairns

Contact Details

The University of Aberdeen Room 46D, Block C
Taylor Building
University of Aberdeen
AB24 3UB


Ilona joined the School of Law as a lecturer in February 2014 after initially joining the School as an AHRC funded PhD student in 2011. Ilona's expertise lies in criminal law, evidence, family law and feminist perspectives on law, and she has experience teaching in these areas at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.   

Ilona's research focuses mainly on the regulation and reform of the law relating to sexual offences and domestic abuse. She is particularly interested in these issues from an evidential standpoint and several of her publications relate to the Scottish corroboration rule and sexual offences. Ilona recently re-wrote the case ofSmith v Lees as part of the Scottish Feminist Judgments Project (http://www.sfjp.law.ed.ac.uk) and is currently involved in research examining the relationship parameters of the Scottish offence of domestic abuse and the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour in England and Wales. Ilona is Associate Director of the Law School's Centre for Scots Law (https://www.abdn.ac.uk/law/research/centre-for-scots-law-685.php).   

Ilona successfully defended her PhD thesis, entitled 'Feminism and the Legislative Modernisation of Scots Criminal Law and Justice' with no corrections in 2015. Ilona also holds an LLB from the University of Edinburgh (2007, First Class Honours) and an LLM in Law and Society from the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada (2010, no corrections). Ilona is a former research fellow of the John Kluge Centre in the Library of Congress, Washington DC and the Centre for Studies in Research in International Law and International Relations at the Hague Academy of International Law. She has several years' experience working as a research assistant at the University of Victoria, Canada where she was involved in an interdisciplinary qualitative research project examining religious equality in UK and Canadian prisons.

Ilona also has previous experience working for the Crown Office in British Columbia and as a legislative analyst for the Provincial Government of British Columbia. 

Ilona would be open to requests to supervise students with an interest in any aspect of criminal law & justice; the law of evidence; family law and gender & the law (including feminist approaches to law).




Teaching Responsibilities

Ilona currently teaches on the following courses at the School of Law:

  • Family Law 
  • Criminal Law (Ordinary)
  • Evidence (Ordinary)
  • Gender, Law and Society (Honours)
  • Gender, Law and Society (LLM)
  • Criminal Evidence & Proof (LLM)

Ilona currently co-ordinates Family Law Ordinary, Gender, Law & Society (Hons) and Gender, Law & Society (LLM).  

Further Info

Admin Responsibilities

  • Associate Director of the Centre for Scots Law
  • Level 2 co-ordinator
  • Absence Monitoring (DPLP) 
  • Personal tutor
  • Learning & Teaching Committee