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Speech by the Rt. Hon. Sir Brian Leveson President of the Queen’s Bench Division: Law Reform Lecture


The Rt. Hon. Sir Brian Leveson

President of the Queen’s Bench Division

Law Reform Lecture

Tuesday 4 December 2018

London School of Economics and Political Science

  1. Let me start by saying that, whatever the history of sentencing, its importance in the modern age is simply indisputable. Sentencing serves a valuable purpose in punishing those who have committed crime, protecting the public, and in preventing future crime. It is critical component of respect for the rule of law.
  2. My first interest in sentencing was in 1969 as Professor Sir Rupert Cross, then the holder of the Vinerian Chair at Oxford introduced a course in Penology as part of the undergraduate law degree. I was sufficiently interested in the subject that I investigated undertaking post-graduate research in the subject, which Sir Rupert encouraged as it had been the subject of very little academic interest at the time. In the end, I decided against it and it is just as well because in 1970, the late David Thomas published his seminal work Principles of Sentencing in 1970 in which he provided the systemic analysis that I had been considering.


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