Centre for Criminal Law

Centre for Criminal Law

Forthcoming Events

Coming soon

A new events program is in development. Please check back at a later date.

Past Events

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Diversions from Prosecution: Policy and Practice
UCL Centre for Criminal Law

Sarah Boland (Legal Manager, Crown Prosecution Service)
Tony Edwards (TV Edwards LLP, Visiting Professor at QMUL)

Lord Justice Peter Gross (Judge, Court of Appeal)

1.5 learning hours for Bar Standards Board training records

Please visit the event website for further information.

About the talk:
As more magistrates’ courts close and funds for criminal justice remain very limited, diversions from court are again likely to be increasingly used by police and prosecutors. In this session, senior figures from the CPS and private practice considered some of the ongoing questions. How are decisions to offer diversions controlled internally, and what are the possible remedies where an inappropriate offer has been made? What are the various considerations when advising a suspect whether to accept a diversion?

Themes and learning outcomes at a glance:

  • Increased understanding of decision-making on diversions from prosecution
  • Up-to-date knowledge of remedies for inappropriate offers of diversion
  • Insight into defence strategies in relation to acceptance of diversions.

Friday 12 May 2017

Assize Seminars: Cutting Edge Criminal Law Launch Event

The first event was sponsored by the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford.

About the event:
The launch of the Assize Seminars on Criminal Law took place on 12 May 2017 in Oxford. The seminars will provide a space for cutting edge academic work to play a practical role in understanding and developing the law. They will be a chance to challenge, debate and refine criminal justice, providing a bridge from academia to criminal legal practice. Just like the Assize of old, the seminars will be peripatetic, in this case rotating over the next 18 months between three leading academic institutions: Oxford, Cambridge and University College London, all with the support of the Criminal Bar Association.

15.00 Welcome by Dr Matthew Dyson, with a Prologue by Prof. Andrew Ashworth CBE QC FBA, Vinerian Professor of Law Emeritus; Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.

15.15 “Why conditional intent should count as intent”
Dr Rebeccca Williams, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Tutorial Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Oxford;
Comment by Mr Julian Knowles QC, Matrix Chambers.

16.15-16.45 Break for refreshments.

16.45 "Is our criminal appeal system fit for purpose?"
Prof. John Spencer CBE QC (Hon) Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge; Bye-Fellow of Murray Edwards and Life Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge; Academic Bencher of the Inner Temple.
Comment by Prof. David Ormerod QC (Hon), Professor of Criminal Justice at UCL; Law Commissioner for England and Wales; Door Tenant at 18 Red Lion Court and Bencher of Middle Temple.

17.45-18.00 Break

18.00 “Are freedom, capacity and agreement always essential components of consent?"
Mr Paul Jarvis, 6KBW College Hill
Comment by HH Peter Rook QC, sometime judge of the Central Criminal Court; Judicial Fellow of the UCL Judicial Institute.

19.00 Drinks for 19.30 Dinner

on behalf of the Assize Seminar Committee
Mark Dsouza (UCL), Matthew Dyson (Oxford, Chair), Paul Jarvis (CBA), Findlay Stark (Cambridge)

Wednesday 30 November 2016
UCL Centre for Criminal Law, with the UCL Centre for Law & Ethics

Issues in Open Justice


  • Stephen Parkinson, Partner Kingsley Napley LLP
  • John Jackson, Professor of Comparative Criminal Law and Procedure, University of Nottingham
  • Jonathan Hall QC, 6 King’s Bench Walk

Professor Ian Dennis (UCL Laws)

Accredited with 1.5 CPD hour by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board

About the talk:
The principle that justice should be open and freely reportable has been widely regarded as fundamental. However, challenges to the principle have increased in recent years, and this seminar will review some of the key issues.  The panel of expert speakers considered closed hearings, the use of special and security-cleared counsel, restrictions on publication of judgments, and anonymity of participants in legal process.

Wednesday 9 March 2016
UCL Centre for Criminal Law

The Psychoactive Substances Act

Speakers: The Rt. Hon. The Lord Howarth of Newport CBE, Rudi Fortson QC (25 Bedford Row) and Dr Robert E Ardrey (Director, Triple A Forensics Ltd)
Chair: Professor Ian Dennis (UCL Laws)
Accredited with 1.5 CPD hour by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Bar Standards Board

About the talk:
The Psychoactive Substances Act gives effect to the government’s policy to prohibit the production and supply of drugs commonly referred to as ‘legal highs’. The Act is controversial and the offences it creates may present significant issues for their use in practice. The issues will be discussed by Lord Howarth of Newport, a former Minister who has taken a particular interest in the Act, and Rudi Fortson QC, a barrister and noted expert on serious crime, including the drug laws.
Monday 19 January 2015
UCL Centre for Criminal Law
Reforming Offences Against the Person
Speakers: Professor David Ormerod QC (Law Commission), Rudi Fortson QC (25 Bedford Row), and Professor Ian Dennis (UCL)
Chaired by Dr Jonathan Rogers (UCL)
Accredited with 1.5 CPD hour by the SRA, and BSB
About this lecture:
This lecture will discuss the Law Commission’s recent scoping consultation paper, Reform of Offences Against the Person. The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 is in daily use in the criminal courts in England and Wales, but there have been many calls over the years for its replacement. The scoping paper examines the case for reform and present numerous important questions for consultation.
Thursday 31 July 2014
UCL Centre for Criminal Law with Thomas Bingham Chambers
Challenging Proecution Decisions
Speakers: Professor Ian Dennis and Dr Jonathan Rogers (UCL)
Accredited with 1.5 CPD hour by the SRA, and BSB

About this lecture:
The speakers will discuss developments in the law governing challenges to prosecution decisions. Professor Dennis, Director of the Centre, will deal with decisions to prosecute and challenges to them by way of judicial review and applications to stay for abuse of process. Dr Rogers, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Laws UCL, will deal with challenges to decisions not to prosecute, with consideration of possible human rights arguments.
Monday 7 April 2014
UCL Centre for Criminal Law
Juror Misconduct
Speakers: Professor David Ormerod QC (QMUL) and Professor Cheryl Thomas (UCL Laws)
Accredited with 1.5 CPD hour by the SRA, and BSB

About this lecture:
This lecture will discuss the issues for criminal justice presented by misconduct on the part of jurors. The primary focus will be on the proposed new offences in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill relating to research by jurors on cases they are trying and other misconduct. The provisions in the Bill follow the recommendations of the Law Commission in their report, Contempt of Court (1): Juror Misconduct and Internet Publications (LC 340, December 2013). Professor Ormerod is head of the criminal law team at the Law Commission and Professor Thomas has carried out ground-breaking research on juries for the Ministry of Justice.
Thursday 25 July 2013
UCL Centre for Criminal Law with Old Bailey Chambers
Expert Evidence
Speakers: Professor Ian Dennis, Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Criminal Law, UCL
Professor Nigel Eastman, Emeritus Professor of Law and Ethics in Psychiatry, St George’s, University of London
Accredited with 1.5 CPD hour by the SRA, and BSB

About this lecture:
This lecture is organised by the Centre for Criminal Law at UCL, in collaboration with Old Bailey Chambers, London. Professor Dennis will review the law on expert evidence, dealing with admissibility, the duties of an expert witness, and current controversies. Professor Eastman will discuss psychiatric evidence relating to the partial defences to murder, a subject on which the law was changed significantly by the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.
Wednesday 5 December 2012
UCL Centre for Criminal Law
Prosecution Decisions and Discretion: Revising the Code
Speaker: Keir Starmer QC (Director of Public Prosecutions) and Dr Jonathan Rogers (Senior Lecturer, UCL)
Chair: Professor I.H. Dennis (Director, UCL Centre for Criminal Law)
Accredited with 1.5 CPD hour by the SRA, and BSB

About this lecture:
This lecture discussed issues relating to decisions to prosecute, and not to prosecute, in the context of the current revision of the Code for Crown Prosecutors. The extent and exercise of discretion in prosecution, the role of proportionality in prosecution decision-making, and the development of detailed policies in particular areas are all topics of great current interest.
Thursday 12 July 2012
UCL Centre for Criminal Law and Old Bailey Chambers
Criminal Defences: Diminished Responsibility & Provocation
Speaker: Professor Ian Dennis (Director, UCL Centre for Criminal Law)
Chair: The Hon Mr Justice Fulford (Presiding Judge South-Eastern Circuit, and Judge at the International Criminal Court)
Accredited with 2 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB
About this lecture:
Professor Dennis reviewed recent legislative and case law development in the law of criminal defences. There will be ample opportunities for questions and discussions.
Wednesday 16 November 2011
UCL Centre for Criminal Law
An Update on Hearsay and Anonymous Evidence
Speakers include:
Professor Ian Dennis (Director, UCL Centre for Criminal Law)
David Perry QC (6 King's Bench Walk)
Accredited with 1.5 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB

About this lecture:
This seminar will examine recent developments in the law relating to hearsay and anonymous evidence in criminal proceedings. It is hoped that by this date we shall have the long-awaited judgement of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Al-Khawaja and Tahery v United Kingdom. There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.
Wednesday 2 November 2011
UCL Centre for Criminal Law
Current Issues in the Prosecution and Trial of Serious Fraud
Speakers include:
The Rt Hon Sir John Thomas (President, Queen's Bench Division)
Richard Alderman (Director, Serious Fraud Office)
Stephen Parkinson (Partner, Kingsley Napley)
Chair: Professor Ian Dennis (Director, UCL Centre for Criminal Law )
Accredited with 1.5 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB

About this lecture:
This seminar will discuss some current issues in the prosecution and trial of cases of serious fraud. The speakers will examine these issues from the perspectives of the judiciary, prosecution agencies and defence lawyers. There will be ample opportunity for questions and discussion.
Monday 1 November 2010
UCL Centre for Crimninal Law
Legal Advice in Police Stations
Professor Pascoe Pleasence (UCL)
Dr Layla Skinns (University of Sheffield)
Professor Michael Zander (LSE)
Accredited with 1.5 CPD hours

About this lecture:
This event will explore legal advice in the police station, 25 years after the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 created a statutory right of access to legal advice for suspects in police stations for the first time. Professor Pleasence and Dr Skinns will be presenting the results of their latest research with new and important quantitative and qualitative data. Professor Zander will comment on the results from his position of unique authority on PACE.
Thursday 2 & Friday 3 September 2010
UCL Centre for Criminal Law
Two-day Conference
Seeking Security: Pre-empting the Commission of Criminal Harms

Speakers include:
  • Lawrence Alexander (San Diego)
  • Ian Dennis (UCL)
  • Anthony Duff (Stirling)
  • Jeremy Horder (Law Commission)
  • Peter Ramsay (LSE)
  • Jonathan Rogers (UCL)
  • Stephen Shute (Sussex)
  • Andrew Simester (Singapore)
  • John Stanton-Ife (KCL)
  • Robert Sullivan (UCL)
  • Malcolm Thorburn (Queen's University, Kingston)
  • Shlomit Wallerstein (Oxford University)
  • Clive Walker (Leeds)
  • Martin Wasik (Keele)
  • Lucia Zedner (Oxford)

About this conference:
The papers presented at this conference will analyse the issues of principle and policy that are raised by the increasing use of state resources to prevent the commission of criminal acts that may be committed at some future and uncertain point in time. Critical examinations will be made of the extensive use of covert surveillance, of coercive interventions under the criminal and civil law at points well in advance of any realised harm, and the use of imprisonment not as punishment for harms done but to prevent  harms that might be done.The aim of the conference is to inform criminal law/ justice policy makers and scholars of the nature and extent of these preventative measures. The objective will to increase the capacity of these communities to make informed assessments of the efficacy of these measures and their ethical and policy implications. This objective will be assisted by the undertaking of a leading legal publisher to publish a monograph based on the conference papers. 
Tuesday 11 May 2010
Centre for Criminal Law
Are Juries Fair?

Speaker: Professor Cheryl Thomas, UCL Faculty of Laws
Prof. Michael Zander, LSE
David Perry QC, 6 King's Bench Walk
Accredited with 1.5 CPD hours

About this seminar
The Ministry of Justice has recently published a major report by Professor Cheryl Thomas, "Are Juries Fair?". The report sets out the findings of a large-scale research project designed to explore the fairness of jury decision-making. Professor Thomas's findings do much to clarify contested claims about jury behaviour and dispel a number of  popular myths about the willingness of juries to convict in certain courts and in certain types of crime. The findings also provide valuable data about the current workings of the criminal justice system. At the same time the report highlights some issues for concern, where further research would be desirable. The publication of the report made headline news and it is destined to set the agenda for future discussion of the process and outcomes of jury trial. This seminar offers an unrivalled opportunity to hear Professor Thomas present her report and discuss its findings with the assistance of expert commentary from Professor Michael Zander, member of the former Royal Commissions on Criminal Procedure and Criminal Justice, and David Perry QC, a leading criminal silk who has appeared in many major jury trials.

The formal launch of the Centre took place on Tuesday 27 October from 6.00 - 9.00 pm at UCL. The Provost and President of UCL, Professor Malcolm Grant CBE, opened the proceedings.

Professor Andrew Ashworth CBE QC DCL FBA, Vinerian Professor of English Law in the Universitry of Oxford, delivered the keynote address on the subject of Risk, and risk management, in the criminal law.

This was followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Professor Bob Sullivan, Professor of Criminal Law at UCL. The panellists are:

  • The Rt Hon Sir Richard Buxton, former Lord Justice of Appeal,
  • Professor Jeremy Horder (Law Commission) and
  • Professor Nicola Lacey, Professor of Criminal Law, LSE.