Professor Ashworth, who has held the Vinerian Chair since 1997, will retire from this post at the end of 2013. During the half day seminar invited speakers presented papers on various aspects of his scholarship all of which provoked lively debate; no doubt fuelled by the presence of many of the leading criminal lawyers and sentencing specialists in the country. The fact that other attendees had flown in from several countries in Europe, North America and even from New Zealand is testament to the very high esteem and warm regard in which Andrew Ashworth is held.
The event was also a book launch for a collection of essays entitled Principled Approaches to Criminal Law and Criminal Justice: Essays in honour of Andrew Ashworth (2012) edited by Oxford colleagues Lucia Zedner and Julian Roberts and published by Oxford University Press. The Press kindly produced a special, leather bound volume that was presented to Andrew Ashworth on the day. World-renowned for elaborating a body of principles and values that should underpin criminalization, the criminal process, and sentencing, Ashworth's contribution to the field has been immense. The book celebrates Ashworth’s achievements over forty years of scholarship, his important influence on criminal justice practice, and his more recent, authoritative work in human rights law. Together the contributors, all leading international scholars, seek to advance the Ashworthian project of normative engagement with issues in criminal law and criminal justice, penal theory, sentencing and human rights. As the editors noted in the Introduction, it is surely ‘telling that 20 leading academics tackle only some of the topics that a single individual has written upon with such easy authority and accomplishment.’ It was even more telling that Andrew, with characteristic modesty, described the event as ‘overwhelming’ and declared himself to be gratified and ‘amazed at how many people had travelled such a distance to be there’.
This splendid celebration was kindly sponsored by the Faculty of Law, the Centre for Criminology, and Oxford University Press.