Dr Ilona Cairns

Dr Ilona Cairns
Dr Ilona Cairns
Dr Ilona Cairns

Senior Lecturer


Room 46D, Block C

Taylor Building

University of Aberdeen

AB24 3UB


Ilona is Co-Director of the Law School's Centre for Scots Law. She has expertise in criminal law, evidence, family law and gender and the law and has experience teaching in these areas at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. 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 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, sexual offences and domestic abuse. Ilona recently re-wrote the case of Smith v Lees as part of the Scottish Feminist Judgments Project and is currently undertaking a comprehensive analysis, partially funded by the Carnegie Trust, of recent developments in the interpretation of the corroboration rule. Her most recent work explores the application of the Moorov doctrine in the context of proving the new Scottish offence of domestic abuse.  

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).

Internal Memberships

  • Co-Director of the Centre for Scots Law
  • Student Progress Convenor (Law)
  • Level 2 Year Co-ordinator
  • Research Committee
  • Learning & Teaching Committee
  • UG Policy Committee
  • Personal tutor

Teaching Responsibilities

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

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

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


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