UCL Faculty of Laws


Prof David Ormerod

Chair in Criminal Law

Faculty of Laws


Joined UCL
1st Sep 2014

Research summary

As Director of the Criminal Law Centre at UCL, and a legal academic of 30 years, David has written a wide range of academic articles, practitioner text and teaching materials on the criminal law. His published work is widely cited by academics, frequently relied upon by practitioners and cited by the appellate courts in this jurisdiction and abroad. 

David’s research interests are in all areas of criminal justice and related areas. He seeks to provide comprehensive and thorough doctrinal analysis of the current law and to identify practical and constructive reform.  David’s research has always demonstrated a strong commitment to law reform. The focus of much of his research involves comprehensive analysis of case law and proposed or recently enacted legislation.

Teaching summary

David is currently involved in teaching undergraduate classes on criminal law, evidence and procedure as well as a cross faculty introduction to law.  He teaches postgraduate seminars on “Criminal Justice and Human Rights” and “Judges, Courts and Judicial Decision-Making” as well as a course on the MSc in Security and Crime Science - “Law and Expert Evidence”.

He has previously taught a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses including constitutional law, revenue law, human rights and tort.

He has also have supervised numerous successful PhD and MPhil students and served as an external examiner at the Universities of Cambridge, Durham, Liverpool, Aberystwyth, Northumbria and Brunel. 

David has lectured by invitation in Holland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Pakistan, Sweden, Singapore, Ukraine and the USA.

He has delivered hundreds of training courses to barristers, solicitors and Crown Prosecutors, as well as organisations including the Army Legal Services Corps, Service Prosecuting Authority, the police service and the Criminal Bar Association. David has acted as an adviser to the Criminal Bar Association on a number of projects and contributed to their responses to government agencies. 


David is the General Editor of the Criminal Law Review (2012-date) and (jointly) Editor in Chief of Blackstone's Criminal Practice (2008-date).

He is in part time practice as a barrister (Door Tenant, Chambers of Anthony Shaw QC and Gillian Jones QC, 18 Red Lion Court, London. He is a Bencher of the Middle Temple (2009) and was made an Honorary Bencher of the Inn of the Court of Northern Ireland in 2017.

David was appointed Queen’s Counsel (Honoris Causa) in 2013, and as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2018 (Queen's Bench Division)

In 2021 he was appointed a CBE in recognition of his services to criminal justice.

Between 2010-2019 David was the Criminal Law Commissioner for England and Wales. He was responsible for leading on all criminal law related projects produced by the Law Commission. 

In 2014-15 he chaired a sub-committee of the Leveson Review of Efficiency in Criminal Justice (2015).

He regularly appears before Parliamentary Committees (recent appearances include House of Lords Constitution Committee, on Legislative Standards (2017); Liaison Committee (2018); House of Lords Science and Technology Committee on Forensic Science (2018); Special Public Bill Committee on Sentencing (2019)).  

David makes regular media appearances to highlight and explain matters of criminal law reform. Recent appearances include Radio 4 Today Programme; Law in Action; Women’s Hour, BBC TV and radio for local and national broadcast and Sky TV interviews.

David lectures throughout the year on behalf of the Judicial College on Criminal Law, Expert Evidence, Hearsay, Bad Character, Fraud, Homicide and on Sexual Offences. His audiences range from Court of Appeal judges to part-time Recorders of the Crown Court and District Judges. In 2010 he was responsible with Lord Justice Pitchford for redrafting the Specimen Directions to be used by Crown Court judges in directing juries – see the Crown Court Bench Book (2010) and supplement (2011). He has also completed a manual on expert evidence for the Judicial Studies Board’s training purposes.  Along with three judges David was responsible for drafting the Judicial College Bench Book – “The Crown Court Compendium” which is the daily guide for every judge sitting in criminal court. The Compendium published in 2016. It has been revised every 6 months since. David is one of the editors responsible for ongoing updates. Since February 2008 David has co-authored a monthly newsletter for all those judges sitting in criminal courts in England and Wales. The newsletter analyses recent developments in criminal law, evidence and procedure.