Wednesday, 2 December 2015, 6:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

Prison and Why We Send People There: Does it Work? Should it?

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC

‘They deserve to be put away’; ‘Appeal the sentence – too short’; ‘They should lock him up and throw away the key’. How civilised has it ever been to imprison other humans – or to want to do it? How many prisoners had their fates determined by circumstance, how many by truly free will? How often has increasing prison building been used to increase a politician’s vote? How impossible would it be for most politicians to argue for fewer prisons because they do not work, when as a society we have to assume they do?

Modern experience in diverse countries - from Norway to the USA - may suggest that money can be better spent than on keys, bars and walls.

 

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Sir Geoffrey Nice QC has practised as a barrister since 1971.  He worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the ICTY – between 1998 and 2006 and led the prosecution of Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia.   Much of his work since has been connected to cases before the permanent International Criminal Court – Sudan, Kenya, Libya – or  pro bono for victims groups – Iran, Burma, North Korea – whose cases cannot get to any international court.  He works for several related NGO’s and lectures and commentates in the media in various countries on international war crimes issues.  He has been a part-time judge since 1984 sitting at the Old Bailey and has sat as judge in other jurisdictions, tribunals and inquiries.  Between 2009 and 2012 he was Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board, the body that regulates barristers.

The six free public law lectures for 2013/14 Sir Geoffrey delivered as Gresham Professor of Law included four lectures on how legal process can fail the citizen in armed conflict, one explaining advocacy work in courts, and a final lecture covering recent legal changes.

The first five of his 2012-13 lectures dealt with issues arising from the work of international criminal courts and tribunals.  The sixth contrasted the practice of law in international criminal courts where there is little or no effective regulation of lawyers and judges with the present working practices of the English Bar.

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC continues his Law series in the 2015/16 academic year, entitled 'Law and Lawyers - not all bad?'.

Professor Nice's previous lecture series are as follows:

2015/16 Law and Lawyers - not all bad?
2014/15 From Human Rights to Srebrenica
2013/14 Law Lectures by Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC
2012/13 International Criminal Courts

All of Professor Nice's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.

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2 December 2015

Prison and Why We Send People There: Does it Work? Should it?
Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC

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