16 Jan 24


CLRNN 2 - Private Prosecutions - Update


As readers will likely know already, the government has promised as yet unspecified reforms to private prosecutions as part of the fallout from the Post Office scandal and the (literally) dramatic way in which the matter has recently reached the public consciousness.


In a sense some promise of reform is not entirely new. The Justice Select Committee made recommendations regarding possible safeguards, in 2020 and again in 2021. On behalf of the CLRNN, as project lead, I also sent a paper to the MoJ in August 2021 concerning the merits of an inspection regime, which was acknowledged by the MoJ in a response to the JSC in January 2022. In that letter, James Cartlidge MP, then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, indicated that his team would be further in touch with us. Since then, the matter went quiet while Sir Wyn Williams started his inquiry into the Post Office saga. But we are, as ever, willing to advise or work with the Ministry as they see fit, according to their timetable as it may now be.  


We expect to complete our report in spring of this year (2024), but it may be of interest if we already outline our direction of thinking, and specify the ways in which any interested persons might still assist us.


  • We believe that there is still a place for so-called private prosecutions, by which term (which has no statutory or other definition, and the meaning of which thus usually depends on the context in which the term is used) we mean any prosecution which is not conducted by the Crown Prosecution Service or the Serious Fraud Office.
  • We believe that it is possible to set some limits on the circumstances in which the DPP may be invited to take over a private prosecution at the behest of the accused.
  • However, persons or bodies which undertake prosecutorial work, including their legal representatives, should be accredited. Where this has not happened, a magistrate should only issue a summons to start the proceedings in exceptional circumstances. Further information should also be supplied than is currently the case to the examining magistrate in all cases when a summons is requested.
  • The possibility of compulsory inspection of private prosecutors should be created. (At the moment there is only a statutory power to inspect the CPS and SFO) and powers to restrict or inhibit prosecutors might then follow from that inspection.
  • We will also propose various reforms to the costs regime, but we do not support any move to tie recovery of prosecutors’ costs to those which apply to legal aid work. We have already set out some of our thinking on s.17 and s.18 Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 here.


Individuals or bodies who should like to be involved, and interested journalists, should jointly email me at and our network facilitator Laura at . We are particularly interested to hear from:


  • Those with experience in regulating lawyers in private practice,
  • Those with experience in inspecting the work of prosecutors,
  • Those with experience in applying for summonses in the magistrates’ courts,
  • Those with relevant experience in conduct or defending private prosecutions, including applications for cost orders.


16 Jan 24


CLRNN 2 - Private Prosecutions - Article in The Conversation


Just published: Why the Post Office was able to bring private prosecutions in the Horizon IT scandal


07 Sep 23


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.       


05 Jun 23


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.



18 Jan 23


CLRNN 3 - REPORT - Reforming the Relationship between Sexual Consent, Deception and Mistake


Final report published here.


18 Nov 22


New Blog Post: Vulnerability in the Witness Box: Reforming Special Measures to Enhance Resilience


Dr Samantha Fairclough on how we should recast (and reform) the use of special measures in courts as a way of building the resilience of vulnerable witnesses. Read the post here.


20 Oct 22


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.


29 Sep 22


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.


11 Jul 22


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 <> 

* CLRNN Facilitator: Dr Laura Noszlopy <>

* CLRNN co-Director: Dr John Child <>


02 May 22


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.


29 Apr 22


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 ( for more information and/or to get involved. 



03 Mar 22


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.


13 Dec 21


CLRNN3. Consent and Deception Project: Launch Event Videos


Recordings from the December launch are now available on our YouTube Channel: 


10 Dec 21


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.


30 Nov 21


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.   


22 Nov 21


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.

Details here


17 Nov 21




Dr Jonathan Rogers (CLRNN co-Director) provides a 'Reaction to the case of Sophie Moss'.


20 Oct 21


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.

Available on our On our YouTube channel playlist; and our conference page 



18 Oct 21


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.


04 Sep 21


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: 


02 Sep 21


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 (*** Any problems accessing the stream, email for technical support ***


13 Aug 21


Funding Success!


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). 


17 Jun 21


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!


11 May 21


Computer Misuse Act - Home Office Review


We welcome news that the Government has decided to review the Computer Misuse Act 1990 - 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. 


27 Apr 21


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


01 Apr 21


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.   


01 Feb 21


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) <>.


30 Nov 20


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) <>. 


23 Nov 20


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 ( and/or John Child ( 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. 



23 Oct 20


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. 


12 Oct 20


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

SpeakersMr 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.


09 Oct 20


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:


  1. 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.
  2. 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 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. 


21 Sep 20


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.

20 Jul 20


*** NEW BLOG POST *** 


“Abolition” of the “Rough Sex” Defence: Hurried Legislation and Missed Opportunities

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.


14 Jul 20


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.


28 May 20


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



18 Mar 20

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). 


06 Mar 20


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. 




28 Jan 20


Photos from the Launch of our first Report - Reforming the Computer Misuse Act 1990

Thanks to Victoria Beddoes, University of Birmingham


22 Jan 20


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 ( with any comments or questions, and follow the launch via #CMAReform.  


10 Dec 19


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 Thanks to all our contributors, across academia, legal practice and industry!


05 Aug 19


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. 


16 May 19

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. 


09 Apr 19


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.


04 Dec 18


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.  


Follow this link for full details and to APPLY.


For more information, contact Dr John Child (CLRNN Co-Director) - 


29 Nov 18


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? 
Michael Levi
Comment from Colin King 
2. Rationalising Civil Preventive Orders: Opportunities for Reform 
Stephen Shute
Comment from Zachary Hoskins 
3. Reforming the Law of Criminal Attempt: Take Two 
Shachar Eldar
Comment from JJ Child 
4. Done to Death? Reform of Homicide Law 
Sally Kyd
Comment from Simon McKay 
5. The CPS, Policy-Making and Assisted Dying: Towards a 'Freedom' Approach
Andrew Sanders
Comment from RA Duff 
6. How Should the Criminal Law Respond to the 'Special Status' of Children? 
Heather Keating
Comment from Gideon Yaffe 
7. The Time Limit on Prosecutions for Underage Sexual Intercourse in the Sexual Offences Act 1956: A Continuing Problem 
Jonathan Rogers
Comment from Hannah Quirk 
8. Safe and Effective Courtroom Participation for Domestic Violence Complainant-Witnesses 
Charlotte Bishop
Comment from Vanessa Munro 
9. The Case for Restoring the Right of Silence 
Hannah Quirk
Comment from Abenaa Owusu-Bempah 
10A. 'Lawyers' Law' and the Limitations and Flaws of the Role of Reform Bodies in Criminal Law 
Peter Alldridge
10B. Criminal Law Reform: A View from Across the Border 
Pamela R. Ferguson



22 Oct 18


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 -

Alternatively, you may also contact Co-CLRNN Director Dr John Child - 



26 Apr 18


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. 


Pre-Order Now!       


20 Apr 18


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...


26 Mar 18

Criminal Law Reform Now symposium on Private Prosecutions
The Criminal Law Reform Now Network is pleased to announce a one-day symposium reviewing the law and practice of Private Prosecutions. this will take place will take place on 19th April 2018 at University College London, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, WC1H 0EG. The symposium will start at 10am, and finish by 4:30pm. Registration is free, and catering is provided, but places are limited - register now.   
The event is intended as an information gathering opportunity on six particular aspects of the law which are likely to inform any reform proposals that we might make. The event will take place under Chatham House Rules.
Our first subject will be the present policy of the CPS on overtaking private prosecutions, which was held to be lawful by a 3-2 majority of the Supreme Court. Whether this is an appropriate policy requires a study of its effect on disappointed would-be private prosecutors and affords an opportunity to consider what purposes private prosecutions may serve. Our first speaker, Jonathan Rogers (CLRNN Director), will begin with an introductory discussion about the 2009 Policy, its background and implications.
Our second session will focus on the position of charities as private prosecutors, in particular whether bringing prosecutions may always be compatible with their charitable functions. The RSPCA is the prominent charity which brings private prosecutions, and Stephen Wooler, formerly HM Chief Inspector of the CPS, and, later, Independent Reviewer of RSPCA prosecutions, will discuss the role of charities and oversight of their prosecutorial activities.
Our third session centres upon the possibility of internal regulation of private prosecutors, with an aim to ensure that obligations on the public prosecutor (eg to ensure that evidence is disclosed promptly) are discharged equally (if not better) by private prosecutors. Hannah Laming of Peters and Peters, and Chair of the Private Prosecutors Association, will discuss the role and possible impact of a voluntary code for private prosecutors.
After lunch, we shall consider private prosecutions as commercial remedies, and the proper advanatges and disadvantages (including questions relating to the recovery of costs) of a private prosecution over a civil suit. Paul Jarvis of 6KBW Chambers, and Matt Dyson, Associate Professor at Oxford University, will present the law and their own research in this area.
Our fifth session will examine the role of the private prosecutor in seeking confiscation orders. Kennedy Talbot QC, of 33 Chancery Lane Chambers, who has been involved in the leading cases where the courts have held that private prosecutors are competent to do this, will examine the challenges and opportunities that this provides.
Finally, after a short tea break, Rupert Bowers QC and Abigail Bright, both Doughty Street Chambers, explore the important topic of co-operation with police during investigations, including such questions as to whether the police should be spending their time and using their investigative powers for what is clearly intended to be a private prosecution.    
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 Director and project Lead, Jonathan Rogers.

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. 

03 Nov 17


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.  


12 Sep 17


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 or  


04 Aug 17


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.


29 Jun 17


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 or

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

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


14 Jun 17


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.  

09 May 17



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.