Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory
Nicola Lacey holds a Senior Research Fellowship at All Souls College. She moved to Oxford in October 2010, having held a chair in Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the London School of Economics since 1998. Before that, she was Professor of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London (1995 to 1997); Fellow and Tutor in Law at New College and CUF Lecturer at Oxford (1984 to 1995); and Lecturer in Laws at University College, London (1981 to 1984). She has held visiting appointments at the Humboldt University in Berlin, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University, New York University, Yale and Harvard. She is an Honorary Fellow of New College and of University College, and a Fellow of the British Academy.
In December 2011 she was awarded the Hans Sigrist Prize by the University of Bern: http://www.diesacademicus.unibe.ch/content/diesacademicus2011/preise/index_ger.html
Nicola's research is in criminal law and criminal justice, with a particular focus on comparative and historical scholarship. Over the last few years, she has been working on the development of ideas of criminal responsibility in England since the 18th Century, and on the comparative political economy of punishment. Her next project will be a comparative study combining analysis of penal policies with analysis of practices of legal responsibility-attribution in selected areas of criminalisation, framing these issues within a broad comparative political economy of crime and control. Nicola also has research interests in legal and social theory, in feminist analysis of law, in law and literature, and in biography.
Showing selected publications sorted by year, then title [change this]
N Lacey, 'Political Systems and Criminal Justice: The Prisoners\' Dilemma After the Coalition ' (2012) Current Legal Problems
N Lacey, 'The Resurgence of Character: Criminal Responsibility in the Context of Criminalisation' in Antony Duff and Stuart Green (eds), Philosophical Foundations of Criminal Law (Oxford University Press 2011) [...]
In this paper, I further develop the diagnosis of a revival of character in contemporary criminal law. First, I offer a more differentiated conceptual framework for identifying and analysing the waxing and waning influence of character in criminal law. In doing so I set out, deliberately, from a broad definition of character as a pattern or practice of responsibility-attribution which is premised in whole or in part on an evaluation or estimation of the quality of the defendantís (manifested or assumed) disposition as distinct from his or her conduct. Second, drawing on this broad model of character, I aim to demonstrate in greater detail the variety of ways in which contemporary criminal law is marked by a resurgence of character, paying particular attention to the ways in which this resurgence both resembles and differs from the reliance on character typical of pre-modern or 18th Century criminal justice, and realises itself with particular force within certain areas of criminalization. The broad model of character serves to illuminate family relationships between a range of ostensibly varied phenomena. In particular, by including within my purview the notions of not only bad character as constitutive of guilt but also bad character as probative of guilt, I am able to explore the ways in which, in the practical context of criminal justice, the recognition of the latter may shade into a practice closer to the former. In other words, I argue that criminal conviction, understood within prevailing conventions of communication, is coming more frequently to imply a judgment of criminal character. The upshot of this analysis is that the doctrinal arrangements of substantive criminal law, though not without importance, are in themselves rather rarely determinative of whether a character- or a capacity- approach to criminal responsibility prevails. Hence, third, I sketch an extra-doctrinal explanation of why we have seen a resurgence of interest in and reliance on ideas of character responsibility: one which finds the roots of the ideology of responsibility which shapes the criminal law in broad practices of criminalization, themselves influenced by a broader political, economic and social context. Finally, I draw some conclusions from this analysis for methodology in criminal law theory, and in particular for the appropriateness of a framework which locates its interpretation of criminal responsibility primarily within a conceptual analysis of legal doctrine in isolation from an analysis of the context of the criminal process, the rules of criminal procedure, the substantive scope of criminal law, and patterns of criminalization and punishment more generally.
N Lacey, 'Out of the Witches\' Cauldron?: Reinterpreting the Context and Re-assessing the Significance of the Hart-Fuller Debate' in Peter Cane (ed), The Hart-Fuller Debate Fifty Years On (Hart Publishing 2010)
N Lacey, 'Psychologising Jekyll, Demonising Hyde: The Strange Case of Criminal Responsibility' (2010) 4 Criminal Law and Philosophy 110
N Lacey, 'Historicising Criminalisation: Conceptual and Empirical Issues' (2009) 72 Modern Law Review 936
N Lacey, The Prisoners\' Dilemma: Political Economy and Punishment in Contemporary Democracies (Cambridge University Press 2008)
N Lacey, Women, Crime and Character: From Moll Flanders to Tess of the d\'Urbervilles (Oxford University Press 2008)