Criminal Law Reform Now Network

Launched in 2017, the mission of the Criminal Law Reform Now Network (CLRN Network) is to facilitate collaboration between academics and other legal experts to gather and disseminate comprehensible proposals for criminal law reform to the wider community. We aim to include members of the public and mainstream media as well as legal professionals, police, policymakers and politicians. Our proposals might require legislation but we will not restrict ourselves to such projects. Reforms which public bodies such as the Home Office, Police or CPS could bring about by internal policies may interest us, as are reforms which require the support of some of the judiciary, bearing in mind the proper judicial constraints on law making. We will be ready to consult with and make suggestions to anyone who has the power to bring about reform.



26 Apr 18


Criminal Law Reform Now Edited Collection


If you could change one part of the criminal law, what would it be? We put this question to nine leading academics and practitioners. The first nine chapters of this collection present their responses in the form of legal reform proposals, spanning diverse topics from confiscation and attempts through to special measures in court and the right to silence. In each case, the reform proposal chapter is followed by a comment from another expert in the relevant field, bringing another perspective to the debate. Finally, the last two-part chapter of the collection opens up a wider discussion of criminal law reform, exploring and critiquing current mechanisms and approaches. Criminal Law Reform Now highlights and explores the current reform debates that matter most to legal experts, with each chapter making the case for positive change. 


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20 Apr 18


Private Prosecutions Symposium


Many thanks to all those attending the Private Prosecutions Symposium yesterday, and especially to our speakers. Update on next steps coming soon...


26 Mar 18

Criminal Law Reform Now symposium on Private Prosecutions
The Criminal Law Reform Now Network is pleased to announce a one-day symposium reviewing the law and practice of Private Prosecutions. this will take place will take place on 19th April 2018 at University College London, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, WC1H 0EG. The symposium will start at 10am, and finish by 4:30pm. Registration is free, and catering is provided, but places are limited - register now.   
The event is intended as an information gathering opportunity on six particular aspects of the law which are likely to inform any reform proposals that we might make. The event will take place under Chatham House Rules.
Our first subject will be the present policy of the CPS on overtaking private prosecutions, which was held to be lawful by a 3-2 majority of the Supreme Court. Whether this is an appropriate policy requires a study of its effect on disappointed would-be private prosecutors and affords an opportunity to consider what purposes private prosecutions may serve. Our first speaker, Jonathan Rogers (CLRNN Director), will begin with an introductory discussion about the 2009 Policy, its background and implications.
Our second session will focus on the position of charities as private prosecutors, in particular whether bringing prosecutions may always be compatible with their charitable functions. The RSPCA is the prominent charity which brings private prosecutions, and Stephen Wooler, formerly HM Chief Inspector of the CPS, and, later, Independent Reviewer of RSPCA prosecutions, will discuss the role of charities and oversight of their prosecutorial activities.
Our third session centres upon the possibility of internal regulation of private prosecutors, with an aim to ensure that obligations on the public prosecutor (eg to ensure that evidence is disclosed promptly) are discharged equally (if not better) by private prosecutors. Hannah Laming of Peters and Peters, and Chair of the Private Prosecutors Association, will discuss the role and possible impact of a voluntary code for private prosecutors.
After lunch, we shall consider private prosecutions as commercial remedies, and the proper advanatges and disadvantages (including questions relating to the recovery of costs) of a private prosecution over a civil suit. Paul Jarvis of 6KBW Chambers, and Matt Dyson, Associate Professor at Oxford University, will present the law and their own research in this area.
Our fifth session will examine the role of the private prosecutor in seeking confiscation orders. Kennedy Talbot QC, of 33 Chancery Lane Chambers, who has been involved in the leading cases where the courts have held that private prosecutors are competent to do this, will examine the challenges and opportunities that this provides.
Finally, after a short tea break, Rupert Bowers QC and Abigail Bright, both Doughty Street Chambers, explore the important topic of co-operation with police during investigations, including such questions as to whether the police should be spending their time and using their investigative powers for what is clearly intended to be a private prosecution.    
Other specialists in the field, offering both legal and non-legal perspectives will also be present. We will conclude the event with a group discussion, including an outline of further issues to investigate and the ways in which reforms might most likely be achieved, to be chaired by CLRNN Director and project Lead, Jonathan Rogers.

Following the symposium, the CLRNN Committee will draft terms of reference for the new project, and seek to assemble a writing team to take things forward.