The Assize Seminars provide a space for cutting edge academic work to play a practical role in understanding and developing the law. They are a chance to challenge, debate and refine criminal justice, providing a bridge from academia to criminal legal practice. Just like the Assize of old, the seminars are peripatetic, in this case rotating over the next 18 months between three leading academic institutions: Oxford, Cambridge and University College London, all with the support of the Criminal Bar Association. Each institution normally offers a speaker or commentator at each event, with the other half of the slots filled by academics, judges, practitioners, law reformers and others. Events and speaker slots are open to all.

After a very successful first round of events, the Assize seminars will start a second round beginning in Autumn 2018, with the first event in Oxford on Friday 9 November. Fuller details will be available here, and on partner institutions' websites, in due course. 

The launch event was held in Oxford on 12 May 2017 in Magdalen College Auditorium, with 45 academics, barristers, solicitors, prosecutors and judges attending. 

1.      Dr Rebecca Williams, University of Oxford: “Why conditional intent should count as intent”

Comment by Mr Julian Knowles QC, Matrix Chambers.

2.      Prof. John Spencer, University of Cambridge: “Is our criminal appeal system fit for purpose?”

       Comment by Prof. David Ormerod QC (Hon), Professor of Criminal Justice at UCL; Law Commissioner for England and Wales

3.      Mr Paul Jarvis, 6KBW College Hill: “Are freedom, capacity and agreement always essential components of consent?"

       Comment by HH Peter Rook QC, Judge, Central Criminal Court; Judicial Fellow of the UCL Judicial Institute.


The second Assize Seminar was hosted by UCL on the 8th of November 2017. Details of the programme, including the handouts and videos from the event are available here.

1.      Prof. Jeremy Horder, LSE: “Justifying the criminalisation of misconduct in public office: how far should we go?”

Comment by Prof. Peter Alldridge, Queen Mary University of London. 

Comment by Prof. David Ormerod QC (Hon), Professor of Criminal Justice at UCL; Law Commissioner for England and Wales

2.      Prof. Julian Roberts, University of Oxford: “The evolution of sentencing law and practice as a result of the emerging sentencing guidelines” Comment by HH Judge Martin Picton, Circuit Judge and Judicial Member of the Criminal Procedure Rules Committee Comment by Prof. Loraine Gelsthorpe, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge. 


The third Assize Seminar took  place in Cambridge in on 27 April 2018: see here.

1.      Prof. Nicola Padfield, University of Cambridge: “What is a sentence?”

Comment by Prof. Andrew Ashworth, University of Oxford

2.      Prof. Ian Dennis, UCL: “Disclosure”

       Comment by Alex Chalk MP

3.      Mr Francis FitzGibbon, Doughty Street Chambers: “Conviction Appeals to the CACD – Barriers & Obstacles – ‘Substantial Injustice’"

       Comment by HH Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales