UCL Faculty of Laws


The social contribution injustice of punishment

28 January 2016, 6:00 pm–7:00 pm

Statue of Justice

Event Information

Open to



Current Legal Problems 2016-17


UCL Pavilion (Main Quad), Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Speaker: Associate Professor Kimberley Brownlee (University of Warwick)
Chair: Professor John Gardner (University of Oxford)
Admission: Free
Accreditation: This event is accredited with 1 CPD hour with the SRA and BSB
Series: Current Legal Problems 2016-16

About the lecture

People are social beings. We wrong a person as a social being when we deny her adequate access to decent human contact. We also wrong her as a social being when we deny her the chance to contribute socially.

This lecture explores this second type of wrong, which we can call social contribution injustice.

The obvious victims of social contribution injustice are the people we deem to be socially useless or threatening. Offenders are a paradigm example.

This lecture applies an analysis of social contribution injustice to our standard practices of punishment to expose the many ways that we wrong offenders as social beings.

About the speaker

Brownlee is an Associate Professor of Legal and Moral Philosophy at the University of Warwick.

Before this, she was a Senior Lecturer in Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of Manchester.

She has written on conscience, conviction, and civil disobedience; punishment; ideals and virtue; and human rights.

Her current work focuses on the ethics of sociability and the human right against social deprivation understood as a persisting lack of minimally adequate access to decent human contact. This work includes a monograph (under contract with OUP) and a series of articles.

Kimberley holds a BA in Philosophy (First Class Hons) from McGill, MPhil in Philosophy from Cambridge, and DPhil in Philosophy from Oxford (Rhodes Scholar).

She has held visiting positions at Vanderbilt, Oxford, St Andrews, UCLA, UBC, and Monash.

She is the author of Conscience and Conviction: The Case for Civil Disobedience (OUP, 2012), and the co-editor of Disability and Disadvantage (OUP, 2009).

Her articles have appeared in Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Ethics, Law and Philosophy, Utilitas, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Journal of Applied Philosophy, Criminal Law and Philosophy, and Res Publica.

She the author of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on civil disobedience. In 2012, she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize.

She is a member of the Editorial Board of Law and Philosophy and the Advisory Board of the Springer series in Ethics and Public Policy.

From 2010-2012, she was a member of the Review Board for the International Encyclopedia of Ethics (Wiley, 2013).

She is a member of the British Philosophical Association Executive Committee and, from 2014-2017, a member of the Aristotelian Society Executive Committee.

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

Find our more about CLP on the Oxford University Press website