UCL Faculty of Laws


Dr Mark Dsouza wins Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference Best Paper Prize

19 November 2020

Dr Mark Dsouza, Associate Professor at UCL Laws, has been awarded the Society of Legal Scholars Annual Conference Best Paper Prize 2020 for his paper ‘Beyond Acts and Omissions: Remark-Able Criminal Conduct’.


The paper proposes a new approach (to replace the orthodox act-omission distinction) to use when identifying whether the conduct element of a criminal offence has been satisfied. This approach is shown to simplify the application of the law, offer principled limitations of the scope of offences drafted in overly broad terms, and help make progress in resolving longstanding philosophical puzzles.

Drafts of this paper were previously discussed in (amongst other places) a UCL Laws Staff Seminar, and a third year undergraduate law seminar.

Dr Dsouza expressed his gratitude to the participants at both, saying:

'The exceptional feedback and advice I received during these discussions vastly enhanced this paper'.

The Society of Legal Scholars said:

‘Those shortlisted all demonstrated high standards of rigour and ambition, and it was a difficult task to decide the winner. The panel was though unanimous in choosing Dr Mark Dsouza’s paper as the winner of the Best Paper Prize 2020. The paper was commended for its clarity and originality in its analysis of a complex problem’.

The judging panel was:

Professor Rebecca Probert (Exeter), President of the Society
Professor Christian Witting (National University of Singapore)
Professor James Lee (King’s College London), Subject Sections Secretary

The SLS Annual conference was held virtually in September 2020. The Annual Conference allows formal consideration to be given to matters of current importance and also provides a unique opportunity for academic lawyers to get to know each other and share information.