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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.

The first Assize seminar was held in Oxford in May 2017, and have since been held again at University College London (November 2017); Cambridge (April 2018); Oxford (November 2018); The Criminal Cases Review Commission, Birmingham (May 2019); UCL (November 2019).

The next seminar was due to be held in Cambridge in May 2020. However, this event has been postponed, due to the ongoing uncertainty caused by Covid-19. Further updates will be posted to this page, as and when planning for future Assize Seminars can resume.

Third Assize

The third Assize seminar took place in Cambridge on 27 April 2018, with support from the Faculty of Law's Impact Fund. The programme for the event is provided below, together with audio recordings of most of the presentations.


16.00-16.05: Introduction

16.05-16.50: Session 1

Speaker: Professor Nicola Padfield QC (Hon), University of Cambridge, "What is a Sentence?" 

Commentator: Professor Andrew Ashworth QC (Hon), University of Oxford

16.50-17.35: Session 2

Speaker: Professor Ian Dennis, University College London, "Prosecution Disclosure: Are the problems insoluble?"

A copy of Professor Dennis's paper 'Prosecution Disclosure: are the problems insoluble?' (240k PDF) is available for download. Please note that this paper is a work in progress and not to be cited without the permission of the author.

Commentator: Alex Chalk MP

17.35-18.00: Tea and Coffee

18.00-18.45: Session 3

Speaker: Francis FitzGibbon QC, Doughty Street Chambers, "Difficulties in Getting Into the Court of Appeal Following a Change in Law"

Commentator: The Hon. Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb 

18.45-20.00: Wine reception, The Atrium, Faculty of Law, David Williams Building


Rachel Clement Tolley (