UCL Faculty of Laws


Corruption by Organised Crime – a Matter of Definition?

05 November 2015, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm


Event Information

Open to



Current Legal Problems 2016-17


UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Speaker: Dr Liz Campbell (The University of Edinburgh)
Chair: Emeritus Vinerian Professor Andrew Ashworth (University of Oxford)
Admission: Free
Accreditation: This event is accredited with 1 CPD hour with the SRA and BSB
Series: Current Legal Problems 2015-16

About the lecture

Long regarded as a concern in (and arguably for) other jurisdictions only, the particular phenomenon of “corruption by organised crime” is receiving increased attention from policy makers in the UK.

This is despite little consideration of the precise scope of the term, in a policy or scholarly sense.

Both “organised crime” and “corruption” are difficult phenomena to pin down, definitionally and empirically, and of course such complexity is compounded by their intersection or conjunction.

Dr Campbell suggests that the dominant usage of the term and the accompanying political narrative are too broad and uncertain, and rest, problematically, on the presumption that the constituent components are definable.

So, in this lecture Dr Campbell aims for some definitional honesty and clarity. This, she suggests, is important conceptually, but also in respect of proper labelling, given the potential influence on the law, in addition to the policing and resource implications.

Dr Campbell does not posit one conclusive definition, but rather seek to uncover the ambiguities and reach of the term as currently deployed.

And while she does not advocate a radical limitation on the concept, she outlines the problems with creeping definitional expansion and call for caution in its use. 

About the speaker

Dr Liz Campbell is a senior lecturer in criminal law and evidence at Edinburgh Law School (2012-to date).

Her principal areas of research are criminal law and justice, with a particular interest in the legal responses to organised crime, corruption, DNA databases, and the presumption of innocence.

Liz’s first monograph, Organised Crime and the Law, was published by Hart Publishing in 2013.

Other publications have appeared in the Modern Law Review, the British Journal of Criminology, the Criminal Law Review, the Edinburgh Law review etc.

In addition, Liz has co-authored a textbook on Irish criminal law. Liz’s work has been funded by the Fulbright Commission, the Law Foundation of New Zealand, the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Modern Law Review.

She is a regular participant at national and international conferences, and has given guest lectures in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Liz has been a visiting lecturer and scholar at the Universities of Maryland and Baltimore and the Victoria University of Wellington, and spent time as visiting researcher at the New York University.

About Current Legal Problems

The Current Legal Problems annual lecture series was established over sixty years ago. The lectures are public, delivered on a weekly basis and chaired by members of the judiciary.

The Current Legal Problems (CLP) annual volume is published on behalf of UCL Laws by Oxford University Press, and features scholarly articles that offer a critical analysis of important current legal issues.

It covers all areas of the legal scholarship and features a wide range of methodological approaches to law. With its emphasis on contemporary developments, CLP is a major point of reference for legal scholarship.

Find out more about CLP on the Oxford University Press website