John’s research interests are insolvency law, bankruptcy history and equity and trusts. He is currently researching insolvent charities, charity patronage, and timeliness in corporate insolvency. An exponent of progressive communitarianism, John approaches his bankruptcy scholarship from a normative and critical reform perspective. This work is underpinned by his legal history scholarship. John's work has appeared in leading journals and edited collections published in England and Australia.
John writes for a number of authoritative works. He is joint author, with John Briggs of 3/4 South Square, of Muir Hunter on Personal Insolvency, "the leading textbook on personal bankruptcy" (per Lord Millett, 2015). The work was first produced by Lord Justice Vaughan Williams in 1870 and is frequently cited with approval in the Superior Courts of England and Wales, including five references in 2017, four in 2019, nine in 2020, and three in 2021. The work has also been cited in a number of Commonwealth jurisdictions, most recently in New Zealand's Court of Appeal. John has also contributed chapters to Tolley's Insolvency Law, including a chapter on insolvent charities.
John has been involved in policy and legislation reform work and has given expert evidence to the UK Parliament and the Scottish Parliament. In 2006 he gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Enterprise and Culture Committee during the passage of the Bankruptcy and Diligence, etc (Scotland) Bill. In 2021 John gave evidence to the Public Bills Committee of the House of Commons on the Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill. In 2021 John chaired an Insolvency Service (part of the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)) workstream consisting of representatives from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, Her Majesty’s Treasury, the Financial Conduct Authority, UK Finance, debt advice charities, and the professions. The group were examining the reform of personal insolvency law. In early 2022 John joined the Government’s ‘Director Education Advisory Group’ which is examining director education in the United Kingdom.
John sits on a number of editorial boards including the BPIR law reports, Corporate Rescue & Insolvency, and Mithani: Directors' Disqualification. In 2006 he gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament on bankruptcy reform. He has undertaken funded commissioned research for, inter alia, the Insolvency Service (UK Government), Grant Thornton, Baker Tilly, KPMG and ICAEW. An experienced media commentator, John has appeared on Sky television, BBC television and radio and given a number of quotes to the national and international press on insolvency matters. In 2016 John was appointed as an Academic Associate of Exchange Chambers. John is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.