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 clrnn.co.uk. Thanks to all our contributors, across academia, legal practice and industry!
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.
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.
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.
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.
For more information, contact Dr John Child (CLRNN Co-Director) - email@example.com
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?
Comment from Colin King
2. Rationalising Civil Preventive Orders: Opportunities for Reform
Comment from Zachary Hoskins
3. Reforming the Law of Criminal Attempt: Take Two
Comment from JJ Child
4. Done to Death? Reform of Homicide Law
Comment from Simon McKay
5. The CPS, Policy-Making and Assisted Dying: Towards a 'Freedom' Approach
Comment from RA Duff
6. How Should the Criminal Law Respond to the 'Special Status' of Children?
Comment from Gideon Yaffe
7. The Time Limit on Prosecutions for Underage Sexual Intercourse in the Sexual Offences Act 1956: A Continuing Problem
Comment from Hannah Quirk
8. Safe and Effective Courtroom Participation for Domestic Violence Complainant-Witnesses
Comment from Vanessa Munro
9. The Case for Restoring the Right of Silence
Comment from Abenaa Owusu-Bempah
10A. 'Lawyers' Law' and the Limitations and Flaws of the Role of Reform Bodies in Criminal Law
10B. Criminal Law Reform: A View from Across the Border
Pamela R. Ferguson
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you may also contact Co-CLRNN Director Dr John Child - J.J.Child@bham.ac.uk.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
NEW PROJECT - REGISTER FOR OUR OPEN MEETING - 13TH JUNE 2017, 6-8PM
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.
Join the network
Enter your email here for updates on CLRN Network work and publications.