Centre for Criminal Law


Centre for Criminal Law

The Centre for Criminal Law aims to promote research and teaching at UCL in criminal law subjects, namely substantive criminal law, criminal procedure and evidence, the criminal justice system, criminology and the philosophy and practice of punishment

Criminal law is a major subject of academic and practical importance. This has always been so in England, where the subject has a rich history and occupies a very prominent place in popular awareness of the legal system.

The many questions raised by the use of criminal law as a means of social control continue to engage the attention of scholars in law and many other disciplines, to say nothing of politicians, policymakers, the judiciary, the legal profession and many other groups and individuals. New challenges are presented by the growth in terrorism, organised crime and money-laundering, all of which frequently occur across national boundaries.

In addition, in recent years criminal law studies have taken on a substantial European dimension, by virtue of the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights. The development of international criminal law and its associated tribunal jurisdiction has generated new issues and provided a further stimulus to the ‘globalisation’ of the subject.

A global outlook

As London’s global university UCL has recognised the significance of criminal law and its increasing international dimensions by the establishment of the Centre. The Centre stands alongside the Department of Crime Science, with its broad interdisciplinary focus on crime prevention, and its work similarly addresses including the issue of security in UCL's Grand Challenges research programme.

The Centre's work includes:

  • the organisation of courses, conferences, seminars and lectures. The Centre has always had strong links with the legal profession. It is outward facing in all its activities and has a strong reputation for hosting events on topical, practical issues and attracting high calibre speakers from the professions and the judiciary.
  • the preparation of responses to Government legislative proposals, Law Commission consultation papers, and other law reform proposals
  • the building of networks of contacts with government departments, the judiciary, the criminal Bar, solicitors’ firms, the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Prison Service and other institutions and groups with interests in criminal justice
  • co-operation with other universities with special interests in criminal law subjects, with a view to developing programmes of visits, staff exchanges, and collaborative research; increasing the profile of criminal law studies at UCL with the aim of attracting greater numbers of LLM and PhD students
  • promoting cross-disciplinarity in the study of the criminal law. The emphasis on cross-disciplinarity has been evident in many of the Centre’s activities - members bring a wide range of research perspectives to include doctrinal law, theory, criminological and empirical research.

News and views

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