Current Legal Problems Lecture Series 2013-14
‘Frenzied Law Making’: Overcriminalisation by Numbers
Professor James Chalmers, Glasgow University
Thursday 24th October 2013
from 6 - 7pm
The New Labour government was accused of frenzied law making, creating a criminal offence for every day spent in office. The current government, responding to these concerns, has introduced a “gateway” mechanism to halt the tide of criminalisation. New research suggests that the accusations levelled against the last government badly underestimated the reality: criminal offences were – and despite the gateway mechanism, are still – created at a far greater rate than one a day. But what does this actually mean, and what should we do about it?
Biography of the speaker
James Chalmers was appointed to the Regius Chair of Law in 2012, having previously taught at the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen. He is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen and the Tulane University of Louisiana, has taught on a visiting basis at the Universities of Baltimore, Cape Town and Maryland, and held a visiting research fellowship at Queen Mary, University of London in 2007.
His research is primarily in the area of criminal law, evidence and procedure, and he has broader interests in Scots law and the Scottish legal system, and the relationship between law and public health. This research has been supported by funding from a variety of sources, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy and the Scottish Government. His published books include The New Law of Sexual Offences in Scotland (2010), Walker and Walker: The Law of Evidence in Scotland (3rd edition, 2009, with Margaret Ross), Legal Responses to HIV and AIDS (2008), Criminal Defences and Pleas in Bar of Trial (2006, with Fiona Leverick) and Trusts: Cases and Materials (2002). He has published over 80 book chapters and articles in a wide range of journals.
Professor Chalmers is currently Editor of the Edinburgh Law Review and assistant editor of Renton and Brown's Criminal Procedure. He is a member of the Criminal Courts Rules Council and the Criminal Law Committee of the Law Society of Scotland, and a trustee of HIV Scotland, Scotland’s national HIV policy charity. In 2011, he was named as one of the founding members of the Young Academy of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has regularly provided professional training for practicing lawyers, judges, doctors and other healthcare professionals, as well as evidence to the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament on various occasions. In 2013, he gave evidence before a House of Lords committee considering the UK's 2014 decision on whether to opt out from European Union police and criminal justice measures.
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