School of Law

Calling for a Royal Commission on the Penal System

18 November 2014

Time: 1:00am

Please note that this event is by invitation only. 

Hosted by the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London and supported by Waterside Press.

For some twenty-years Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC and Professor Seán McConville have been urging the establishment of a new Royal Commission on the Penal System. They have published letters in The Times which have attracted the support of opinion leaders such as a former Archbishop of Canterbury and a former Prime Minister, as well as other figures in public and academic life. This autumn they will publish a pamphlet in which they will repeat the call. The pamphlet will carry a vigorous foreword by Rt Hon Sir Henry Brooke, (Lord Justice of Appeal, 1996 -2006) and – as it happens - son of the Home Secretary who established the last Royal Commission on this subject.


Rt Hon Sir Henry Brooke 

Sir Henry became a Lord Justice of Appeal in 1996, and the Vice-President of the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales in 2003. He retired from judicial office on 30 September 2006. In the 2012 Birthday Honours he was appointed CMG for services to justice reform in Albania. He also serves as a Patron of Prisoners Abroad, a charity that supports the welfare of Britons imprisoned overseas, and their families.

Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC 

Sir Louis Blom-Cooper has been a leading silk in the public law field for many years and has been at the forefront of administrative law throughout its modern development. From 1966-78 he was a member of the Home Secretary’s Advisory Council on the Penal System. He held an academic appointment at the University of London from 1962 to 1984 and has written extensively on all areas of law. He was Chair of the Mental Health Act Commission from 1987-94, a Judge in the Court of Appeal of Jersey and of Guernsey from 1988-96, and has been a Bencher of the Middle Temple since 1978. In December 1992 he was appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as the first Independent Commissioner for the Holding Centres. He held this appointment until April 1999. He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland and granted Silk in Northern Ireland.

Professor Seán McConville

Professor of Law and Public Policy at Queen Mary, Professor McConville has advised legislatures and governments on both sides of the Atlantic and has extensive prison litigation experience. He frequently contributes to international symposia and is a member of the Queen Mary Senate. He is the author of a multi-volume history of punishment and numerous other works.

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This event is by invitation only.


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