Plymouth University was proud to host on 28 October 2014 Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC FKC, who spoke to lawyers, academics and students about the abolition of the death penalty and differing attitudes towards ‘life’ in prison.
Sir Louis was involved in the founding of Amnesty International, has chaired high profile committees including the Press Council (UK) and the Mental Health Act Commission, and is a trustee of the Howard League for Penal Reform.
Sir Louis focused on the legislation, judicial discretion, political weight and public perceptions behind changes in the ways in which serious offenders have been punished since the death penalty was abolished in 1965.
For the corporate lawyer – Harry Perrin attended from Murrell Associates – his insights into how these different ‘levers of power’ have interacted over the past five decades have relevance beyond the criminal law. Human rights, the attitudes of the press, the timing and drafting of legislation, and judicial interpretations of the law are as key to businesspeople in the commercial sphere as they are to prosecutors and defendants in criminal proceedings. The extent of Sir Louis’s range of roles and experiences have provided him with a unique overview of these processes, which made for a fascinating and – in these changing times – highly pertinent morning for everyone who came to hear him.