New Law Commission link; and New Project
The Criminal Law Reform Now Network (CLRNN) is pleased to announce a Memorandum of Understanding with the Law Commission of England and Wales, facilitating a closer working relationship and the increased exchange of ideas. The MoU, the first of its kind, sets out agreement for
- The institution of periodic meetings between the Law Commission and CLRNN to discuss potential law reform projects;
- The receipt from CLRNN (and public acknowledgment from the Law Commission) of proposals and reports that would address the feasibility, value and scope of potential law reform projects;
- The joint discussion of ideas and the provision of feedback from the Law Commission to CLRNN so as to increase the potential value of CLRNN ideas to the Law Commission; and
- The receipt from CLRNN of invitations to attend and/or present at relevant conferences on areas of mutual interest. The MoU will initially run for two years.
Under the second heading of the MoU, the CLRNN is also pleased to announce a new project exploring reform options in relation to International Co-Operation and Extradition (ICE), led by Dr Gemma Davies. The CLRNN has been invited to undertake the ICE Project by the Law Commission Criminal Law Commissioner – Professor Penney Lewis – following the Commission’s 14th Programme consultation. CLRNN will conduct a scoping study to examine whether a law reform project in these areas may be warranted and, if so, what the scope of a project might be. We expect to deliver a Report to the Commission by the end of 2024, and will make the Report publicly available thereafter.
The CLRNN welcomes any and all engagement from stakeholders, including criminal law academics and practitioners. For updates (and to get involved) in this and/or our other reform projects, please keep checking the website; follow us on twitter/X @CLRNNetwork; our YouTube Channel; and (new) via LinkedIn.
The CLRN Network Welcomes Sandra Paul as a New Member of the Committee
Sandra is a partner in the Criminal Litigation & Investigations team at the law firm Kingsley Napley. We are extremely grateful to Sandra for agreeing to join the CLRNN Committee; we look forward to working her across our various ongoing criminal law reform projects.
CLRNN 3 - REPORT - Reforming the Relationship between Sexual Consent, Deception and Mistake
Final report published here.
New Blog Post: Vulnerability in the Witness Box: Reforming Special Measures to Enhance Resilience
Centralised criminal justice system is facing disaster
Comment in The Times today from STEPHEN WOOLER - former HM Chief Inspector of the CPS from 2000 to 2010 and committee member of the Criminal Law Reform Now Network.
CLRNN 3 - Reforming the Relationship between Sexual Consent, Deception and Mistake - News Article
New article in The Times today discussing our deception and sexual consent project - check it out here.
Published: CLRNN 4 Drugs Project - Sup - Framework Document
We are pleased to publish our Drugs Project (CLRNN 4) Framework Document, which sets out the policy areas that our project will engage with. Our framework document was greatly influenced by discussion at our project scoping symposium in April, and we already have a number of relevant experts commissioned from that event to take the lead on various sub-sections. The framework document is published here for general information - please let us know if you have any feedback that might assist our work - as well as to encourage other potential expert authors we have not yet been in contact with to come forward. The strength of CLRNN project work is its collaborative nature, and so we encourage anyone interested in contributing as a potential author/editor/source of information to make contact.
Relevant contacts for this project:
* Project Lead: Dr Melissa Bone <email@example.com>
* CLRNN Facilitator: Dr Laura Noszlopy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* CLRNN co-Director: Dr John Child <email@example.com>
CLRNN 3 - Reforming the Relationship between Sexual Consent, Deception and Mistake - CONSULTATION
The deadline for consultation responses has now passed. Many thanks to all those who have submitted responses. The CLRNN will now - over the coming month - finalise our recommendations for reform, to be published within our Report later in 2022.
CLRNN 4 - The Regulation of Drugs - Scoping Event
Many thanks to the panel of experts attending our scoping event today for our new project on the Regulation of Drugs. It was great to hear about lots of exciting research and policy work, and to discuss where our CLRNN project can provide most assistance. Project Lead - Dr Melissa Bone - and the CLRNN Committee will be publishing our project framework document later in 2022, setting out the aims of the new project. Please get in touch with our Network Facilitation Dr Laura Noszlopy (L.Noszlopy@bham.ac.uk) for more information and/or to get involved.
CLRNN 3 - Reforming the Relationship between Sexual Consent, Deception and Mistake - CONSULTATION
Please remember to respond to our latest consultation - CLRNN3: Reforming the Relationship between Sexual Consent, Deception and Mistake. Following an introduction from CLRNN Project Lead Paul Jarvis, ten legal experts provide alternative options for reform. The consultation will remain open until 1st April 2022, in which time we are seeking your views on which approach the CLRN Network should adopt and recommend.
CLRNN3. Consent and Deception Project: Launch Event Videos
Recordings from the December launch are now available on our YouTube Channel:
CLRNN1 Computer Misuse Project - Sup - Comparative Report: Computer Misuse Act 1990
As part of our ongoing work on the reform of the Computer Misuse Act 1990, today we publish a short supplementary comparative report. The new comparative report focuses, in particular, on the potential for a public interest style defence of the kind we recommended in 2020. The comparative report provides further material to feed into the current Home Office review of the Computer Misuse Act.
CLRNN 3 - Reforming the Relationship between Sexual Consent, Deception and Mistake - CONSULTATION
Out NOW! Our new Consultation Report - CLRNN3: Reforming the Relationship between Sexual Consent, Deception and Mistake. Following an introduction from CLRNN Project Lead Paul Jarvis, ten legal experts provide alternative options for reform. The consultation will remain open until 1st April 2022, in which time we are seeking your views on which approach the CLRN Network should adopt and recommend.
We will be hosting an online launch event for the Consultation Report, including short talks from four of the authors, on Wednesday 8th December 3-4:30pm. Details and registration here.
CLRNN 3 - Consent and Deception Project - Consultation Launch - Change of Date
Please note the change of date: Our consultation launch will now take place on Wednesday 8th December.
** NEW BLOG POST **
Dr Jonathan Rogers (CLRNN co-Director) provides a 'Reaction to the case of Sophie Moss'.
CLRNN September Conference - Videos
Short videos (with transcription) from our 2021 Conference now available to view.
10 criminal law experts tell us what they would change about the current law.
CLRNN 3 - Consent and Deception Project - Consultation Launch
We will be launching a consultation on the Consent and Deception Project on Wednesday 1st December. The Consultation Paper and questions will be published on this site (open access).
We will also be marking the launch with a short online event, with presentations on three proposals and a discussion from the project lead. This will take place on the 1st December 3-4:30pm. See here for details and registration.
Reform Conference Playback
Many thanks to all those presenting and watching live yesterday! We will crop and publish the individual proposal videos on our YouTube Channel soon, but in the mean time you can watch the full playback here: https://youtu.be/hAfDnOAPZek.
Criminal Law Reform Now Conference
Final reminder of our event this Friday (3-7:30pm) - full details here.
Watch Live Online (No Registration Required): Presentations will be streamed live on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmVg4sHRZsV3zchVhpVTXww).*** Any problems accessing the stream, email A.J.Croston@bham.ac.uk for technical support ***
We are pleased to announce that the CLRN Network has been successful in our bid for AHRC Follow-On funding. The funding will support our work during the next 12 months, and particularly our impact work following the Computer Misuse Act Project (CLRNN 1).
LINE-UP CONFIRMED for the Criminal Law Reform Now Conference
We are happy to publish an exciting line-up for our 3rd September Law Reform Conference, in association with the Criminal Law Team at the Law Commission for England and Wales. Check out all the details here!
Computer Misuse Act - Home Office Review
We welcome news that the Government has decided to review the Computer Misuse Act 1990 - https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/computer-misuse-act-1990-call-for-information. We continue to advocate the reforms we recommended in our 2020 Report, and we hope this latest move in government will be a significant step on the path to constructive reform.
Criminal Law Reform Now Conference - CALL FOR ABSTRACTS
If you could change one thing about the criminal law, what would it be? In collaboration with the Law Commission and its 14th Programme of Law Reform Consultation, the CLRNN will host a reform conference showcasing the best ideas in criminal law reform. See full details of the call for abstracts here.
New Blog Post: Rogers, 'Private Prosecutions – Scissors and Scythe'
Click here for our latest blog post, where Dr Jonathan Rogers (CLRNN Director and Private Prosecution Project Lead) discusses the Ministry of Justice response to the Justice Committee Report on Private Prosecutions.
Private Prosecutions Project - Scrutiny Symposium
Many thanks to all those attending this session, and particularly to our speakers. Your insights are greatly appreciated and will continue to inform the project. Whether you attended the symposium or not, we continue to welcome any inputs - please email Dr Laura Noszlopy (Birmingham Law School) <L.Noszlopy@bham.ac.uk>.
Private Prosecutions Project - Scrutiny Symposium
We are pleased to confirm that following various Covid-related delays, the scrutiny symposium for the Private Prosecutions Project will take place online 2-6pm on Friday 29th January 2021. The symposium will allow roundtable discussion of key policy recommendations within the report, as well as discussion of the final write-up and editing stages of the project. If you are interested in knowing more and/or attending, please email Dr Laura Noszlopy (Birmingham Law School) <L.Noszlopy@bham.ac.uk>.
Deception and Sexual Consent - Project Launch
We were very happy to launch the Deception and Sexual Consent Project today with a web-seminar hosted by project lead Paul Jarvis and guest speaker Sandra Paul. The project will centre around a collection of brief individual policy-focused proposals relating to sexual consent and deception, commissioned by the Network and representing a variety of academic and practitioner responses. To discuss providing such a proposal, please contact Paul Jarvis (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or John Child (email@example.com) before the 1st December 2020. These proposals will form the basis of a consultation document, to be launched in autumn 2021; followed by a report in 2022.
Dr Melissa Bone joins the CLRNN Committee
We are pleased to confirm that Dr Melissa Bone (University of Leicester) has joined the Network Committee. Melissa will take a leading role on the upcoming 'Drugs Project', as well as lending her expertise across all ongoing projects. We look forward to working with her.
Consent and Deception Project Launch Event
Register now for the launch event of our new project on Consent and Deception. One hour online event.
When: Monday 23rd November, 4:30-5:30pm
Speakers: Mr Paul Jarvis (Project Lead, 6KBW and CLRNN Committee Member): Outlining the scope and structure for the new project, including details on how members of the Network can contribute; Ms Sandra Paul (Partner at Kingsley Napley): Discussing the current law relating to consent and deception, setting out the legal and human 'problem' the project is designed to address.
New Projects on Sexual Deception and the Regulation of Drugs
Following open consultation and a very useful scrutiny meeting on the 21st September, we are pleased to announce that the CLRN Network will take on two new projects:
- Deception and Sexual Consent (proposed by Paul Jarvis). This project will start immediately, and will be led by Paul Jarvis. We will shortly announce an online open launch event to discuss the scope of the project in November 2020.
- Drugs Regulation (proposed by Rudi Fortson QC). This project will start later in 2021, and will be co-led by a small expert team. The initial launch and scoping event will take place around September 2021, and we welcome preliminary views and/or expressions of interest in advance of this.
We would like to thank all those who took time to propose new project ideas, as well as those who provided expert feedback at (and around) our scrutiny event. We also take this opportunity to remind everyone about our recently completed project on Computer Misuse, and our ongoing project on Private Prosecutions, both of which you can read about at www.clrnn.co.uk. The founding ideals of the Network were about the facilitation of expert collaboration and open access reporting, and it is great to see these being realised across a series of excellent and impactful works.
New Project Open Meeting
Many thanks to all those attending our ‘New Projects Open Meeting’ earlier this afternoon. Each proposal was well made, and the critical discussion was very useful indeed.
The CLRN Network Committee are now left with the difficult task of selecting between the projects. We will take a little time for this, but hope to be able to confirm which within the next few weeks.
*** NEW BLOG POST ***
Dr Jonathan Rogers (CLRNN Co-Director)
Quick summary – I share some of the concerns of We Can’t Consent to This, but I do not think that clause 65 of the Domestic Abuse Bill will meet their objectives. I propose two other reforms instead.
Evidence to Justice Committee - Private Prosecutions - CLRNN 1 July 2020
In view of our ongoing project on Private Prosecutions, Co-Director and Project Lead Dr Jonathan Rogers was invited to give evidence to the Justice Committee, feeding into their current inquiry. Our written evidence to the Committee (available here), as well as the details provided in oral evidence (available here), will both be discussed at our next open project meeting. Details on the next stages of this project - delayed because of Covid-related venue cancellations - will be updated later in July.
New Blog: Reforming the Computer Misuse Act 1990, and Cyber-Up
Dr Laura Noszlopy, CLRNN Network Facilitator, introduces the new Cyber-Up campaign of the NCC Cyber Securities Group.
Check it out here!
Open Projects Meeting Postponed
Due to the Covid-19 shutdown, the open projects meeting has been postponed. Please continue to forward any proposals to us for discussion, but the projects meeting will now take place at a later date (tbc).
New Projects Open Meeting
We invite proposals for a new CLRNN Project to being in 2020 (See Project Process). We encourage you to submit written proposals in advance of the meeting, which can be quite brief, and/or attend in person to discuss which options should be selected.
* PLACE: University of Birmingham, Alan Walters Building, Room 111.
* TIME: 5-7 pm on Monday 27th April 2020.
Following the meeting, the CLRNN Committee will make a final decision on the project, and appoint a Project Lead to co-ordinate.
Photos from the Launch of our first Report - Reforming the Computer Misuse Act 1990
Thanks to Victoria Beddoes, University of Birmingham
Reforming the Computer Misuse Act 1990 - Full Report and Summary
Today we launch our first project report, with executive summary and full report available here open access. Please contact Dr John Child (J.J.Child@bham.ac.uk) with any comments or questions, and follow the launch via #CMAReform.
Reforming the Computer Misuse Act 1990 - Report Launch
Our first project report - Reforming the Computer Misuse Act 1990 - will launch at Westminster 22nd Jan 2020. The report and exec summary will also be available on our website clrnn.co.uk. Thanks to all our contributors, across academia, legal practice and industry!
Book Review of our 2019 collection 'Criminal Law Reform Now: Proposals and Critique'
Check out this month's edition of the Criminal Law Review for a review of our 2019 collection Criminal Law Reform Now: Proposals and Critique (Crim. L.R. 2019, 9, 820-824). Many thanks to Professor Bob Sullivan for writing the review.
Computer Misuse Act Scrutiny Event
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to our scrutiny event on the 7th May. We are now in the process of gathering final comments and edits to feed back to the chapter authors. Please look out for the launch of our final report in January 2020.
Computer Misuse Act Project
Scrutiny Symposium on the 7th May 2019, at the University of Birmingham.
Click the link on the right for details and registration.
Part-Time Job Opportunity working with the Network
We are advertising for a Network Facilitator to work with the CLRNN Committee - coordinating across the projects; assisting with research events, and engaging with our target reform audiences. The position is a fractional 0.2 contract (one day a week), with the potential for flexible and remote working.
For more information, contact Dr John Child (CLRNN Co-Director) - firstname.lastname@example.org
Criminal Law Reform Now Edited Collection - OUT TODAY
If you could change one part of the criminal law, what would it be? The editors put this question to nine leading academics and practitioners. The first nine chapters of the collection present their responses in the form of legal reform proposals, with topics ranging across criminal law, criminal justice and evidence – including confiscation, control orders, criminal attempts, homicide, assisted dying, the special status of children, time restrictions on prosecution, the right to silence, and special measures in court. Each chapter is followed by a comment from a different author, providing an additional expert view on each reform proposal. Finally, the last two chapters broaden the debate to discuss criminal law reform in general, examining various reform bodies and mechanisms across England, Wales and Scotland. Criminal Law Reform Now highlights and explores the current reform debates that matter most to legal experts, with each chapter making a case for positive change.
Table of contents:
1. Reflections on Proceeds of Crime: A New Code for Confiscation?
Comment from Colin King
2. Rationalising Civil Preventive Orders: Opportunities for Reform
Comment from Zachary Hoskins
3. Reforming the Law of Criminal Attempt: Take Two
Comment from JJ Child
4. Done to Death? Reform of Homicide Law
Comment from Simon McKay
5. The CPS, Policy-Making and Assisted Dying: Towards a 'Freedom' Approach
Comment from RA Duff
6. How Should the Criminal Law Respond to the 'Special Status' of Children?
Comment from Gideon Yaffe
7. The Time Limit on Prosecutions for Underage Sexual Intercourse in the Sexual Offences Act 1956: A Continuing Problem
Comment from Hannah Quirk
8. Safe and Effective Courtroom Participation for Domestic Violence Complainant-Witnesses
Comment from Vanessa Munro
9. The Case for Restoring the Right of Silence
Comment from Abenaa Owusu-Bempah
10A. 'Lawyers' Law' and the Limitations and Flaws of the Role of Reform Bodies in Criminal Law
10B. Criminal Law Reform: A View from Across the Border
Pamela R. Ferguson
Private Prosecutions Project - Framework Document and Project Opportunities
Building from our successful launch event for the Private Prosecutions Project on the 19th April 2018, and a series of CLRNN Committee discussions, we are now able share our Framework Document for the Project. Thanks to all those who have contributed to the project so far, both within and beyond the launch symposium. The framework document sets out the basic structure that we propose for our collaborative report.
We now seek your help with:
1) Feedback on the Framework Document: If you believe we have missed something within our framework, or have any comments about the document, please let us know;
2) Joining the writing team: Our projects work through the collaborative writing of reports, assisted by the CLRNN Committee and future evaluative symposiums. We therefore ask you contact us if you are in a position to write a chapter (or part of a chapter, however small) from the framework. We would also like to hear from you if you are not in a position to contribute as an author, but you could provide some expert commentary/editing. Feel free to contact us to discuss all options for potential involvement.
In each event, please contact our Project Lead (and Co-CLRNN Director) Dr Jonathan Rogers - email@example.com.
Alternatively, you may also contact Co-CLRNN Director Dr John Child - J.J.Child@bham.ac.uk.
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.
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...
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.
Computer Misuse Act Project - Framework Document
Our new Framework Document sets out a proposed structure for our review of the Computer Misuse Act, modelled from the symposium in September. Work is currently ongoing to confirm author teams for each chapter, as well as reviewers.
Computer Misuse Act Project Update
Thank you to everyone who contributed to our scoping symposium yesterday; it was an enjoyable and productive event. In the coming weeks the CLRNN Committee will be working to form a Project Team to move into the research and report writing stage (see Project Process). If you would like to form part of this team, or for further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Symposium - Reviewing the Computer Misuse Act 1990
The Criminal Law Reform Now Network one-day symposium on reform to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 will take place at Sussex University on 11 September 2017, starting at 10am and finishing by 4pm. Registration is free, but places are limited - Register Now. We hope shortly afterwards to assemble a writing team for the project, with a view to completion in 2018.
We have chosen the subject of computer misuse as our first project because, notwithstanding being twice amended, there are particular reasons to think that the Act has still not kept up to date with advances in technology (eg, whether smart phones should be regarded as “computers”, whether denial of service attacks fall under any of the provisions of the Act). At the same time, in some respects, it remains unsatisfactorily wide (the term “unauthorised access” is capable of very wide interpretation and common industrial practices such as time-locking may be technically illegal) and the absence of a public interest defence is seemingly inconsistent with the recent inclusion of such provision in relation to data protection laws.
Our first speaker, Professor Ian Walden, will give an outline of the 1990 Act, the subsequent amendments that proved necessary and of proposals that have not been implemented. Professor Peter Sommer will then speak of the concept of “authorisation” under the Act, followed by Naomi Colvin on the case for including a public interest defence. Lyndon Harris will address the difficulties in sentencing the offence in the absence of any sentencing guidelines, and Dr Audrey Guinchard will offer comparative perspectives on the issues so far under discussion. Finally Dr Nicola Searle will discuss research methodology in cyber- crime, concerning techniques for accessing trade secrets.
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 committee member and project Lead, Simon McKay.
First Project Confirmed – Review of the Computer Misuse Act 1990
We are pleased to confirm that the CLRN Network’s inaugural project will be a review of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. The first step for the new project will be a one day symposium hosted at the University of Sussex on Monday 11th September 2017 – see details and registration here. If you have relevant expertise (academic and/or practice) and you would like to discuss taking part in this project, speaking at the conference and/or potentially forming part of the project writing team, then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The CLRN Network’s inaugural project will focus on the Computer Misuse Act 1990, working towards proposals for potential reform. As we begin this project, our aim is to identify areas of the statute most in need of further review, and we will be seeking wider views on this at our September symposium and beyond. The 1990 Act has remained controversial in its content and application since it was first created. The offences revolve around “unauthorised" acts, without defining the parameters of what this means, albeit that it seems clear that state-sanctioned hacking or Computer Network Exploitation has recently been avowed (in 2015) and may be authorised by warrant under new provisions contained in the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. But the absence of any form of public interest defence creates problems when any interference is "unauthorised", eg in the prevention or exposure of criminal activity. By contrast other legislation with comparable aims does make express provision for public interest defences as in the Data Protection Act 1998. In the age of so called “cybercrime” where law enforcement and private industry needs to respond to the proliferation of hacking-related offending there is a pressing need to consider whether it is time for the 1990 Act to provide specific defences arising out of a range of explicit authorised purposes.
We would also like to announce our commitment to a second project reviewing Private Prosecutions. This project will begin with a symposium hosted at University College London in April 2018 (details to follow later in 2017). If you have relevant expertise (academic and/or practical) and you would like to discuss taking part in this project, speaking at the conference and/or potentially forming part of the project writing team, then please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will not be taking forward any of the other projects proposed to us at this time. However, the CLRN Network will make further calls for reform ideas in time, which may include a review of previous proposals. Further, we remain open to publishing reform focused blogs and/or other papers on our website that will be taken into account when selecting future projects – if you are interested in knowing more about this, please contact email@example.com.
Our first open meeting yesterday was very productive. Thank you to all who were able to attend, and to those who sent comments/proposals in advance.
The potential first projects discussed include:
Private prosecutions; Parental liability for truanting children; Coroners’ verdicts; The (non)application of legal rules in magistrates courts; Reviewing the Computer Misuse Act; and Civil preventative orders.
The next step is for the committee to meet and decide on a project to take forward. We expect to be able to confirm the first project by the end of June.
NEW PROJECT - REGISTER FOR OUR OPEN MEETING - 13TH JUNE 2017, 6-8PM
Our first open meeting will take place in the Garden Room in the Wilkins Building, at University College London. The meeting will be used to discuss options for our first reform project (see the Project Process), and we encourage people to come along and share their ideas freely.
If you are not able to attend the meeting, but you would like to suggest a project to the Network, please contact us separately before the meeting.