Professor Nicola Lacey

Nicola laceyNicola Lacey is Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. Until 2010, she was Professor of Criminal Law and Legal Theory at the London School of Economics. She has also been a member of the Global Law School Faculty, New York University.

Her other recent visiting positions include a Fellowship at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (1999-2000) and a visiting Professorship at the Program in Ethics, Politics and Economics and Department of Political Science, Yale University (Spring Semester 2004). She was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2001 and held a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship from 2006-2009.

Her biography, A Life of H.L.A. Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream (OUP 2004) was awarded the Swiney Prize and was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography and for the British Academy Book Prize.

Her most recent books are The Prisoners' Dilemma: Political Economy and Punishment in Contemporary Democracies (CUP 2008) and Women, Crime and Character: From Moll Flanders to Tess of the d'Urbervilles (OUP 2008).

In 2007 she was elected an Honorary Fellow of New College, Oxford.


Publications

Books 

  • Women, Crime and Character: From Moll Flanders to Tess of the d'Urbervilles (Oxford University Press 2008)

Women, Crime and Character: From Moll Flanders to Tess of the d'Urbervilles (Oxford University Press 2008)|In the early 18th Century, Daniel Defoe found it natural to write a novel whose heroine was a sexually adventurous, socially marginal property offender. Only half a century later, this would have been next to unthinkable.Lacey explores the disappearance of Moll, and her supercession in the annals of literary female offenders by heroines like Tess, serving as a metaphor for fundamental changes in ideas of selfhood, gender and social order in 18th and 19th Century England.

Drawing on law, literature, philosophy and social history, she argues that these broad changes underpinned a radical shift in mechanisms of responsibility-attribution, with decisive implications for the criminalisation of women.

publisher's site|

LSE research and expertise| 

  • The Prisoners' Dilemma Political Economy and Punishment in Contemporary Democracies (CUP 2008).

The prisoners dilema|

Over the last two decades, and in the wake of increases in recorded crime and other social changes, British criminal justice policy has become increasingly politicised as an index of governments' competence. New and worrying developments, such as the inexorable rise of the US prison population and the rising force of penal severity, seem unstoppable in the face of popular anxiety about crime. But is this inevitable? Nicola Lacey argues that harsh 'penal populism' is not the inevitable fate of all contemporary democracies. Notwithstanding a degree of convergence, globalisation has left many of the key institutional differences between national systems intact, and these help to explain the striking differences in the capacity for penal tolerance in otherwise relatively similar societies. Only by understanding the institutional preconditions for a tolerant criminal justice system can we think clearly about the possible options for reform within particular systems. 

publisher's site|

  • A Life of HLA Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream (OUP 2004).

A Life of HLA Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream (OUP 2004)|

An intellectual and psychological biography of the famous legal philosopher, HLA Hart. Winner of the RSA's Swiney Prize 2004 and shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Biography and for the British Academy Book Prize.

publisher's site|

 

  • Regulating Law edited by Christine Parker, Colin Scott, Nicola Lacey and John Braithwaite (edited collection including introduction co-authored with the other editors) (OUP 2004)

Regulating law|

A collaborative project across ANU RegNet and LSE: socio-legal essays developing the methodology of Hugh Collins' Regulating Contracts across a range of common law fields.

publisher's site|

 

 

  • Reconstructing Criminal Law (3rd Edition) Nicola Lacey, Celia Wells, Oliver Quick (Cambridge University Press 2003)

Reconstructing Criminal Law (3rd Edition) Nicola Lacey, Celia Wells, Oliver Quick (Cambridge University Press 2003)|

Reconstructing Criminal Law provides a radical and stimulating alternative to the standard black letter criminal law text. The authors analyse central aspects of criminal law in the context of the assumptions surrounding it, and employ a number of critical approaches, including a feminist perspective to give insights into the current state of the law. A comprehensive resource - it contains extracts that cover a wide range of materials from historical, political, sociological and philosophical sources and discusses offences considered to be at the margins of criminal law. It also offers an important practical element whereby students and teachers can attempt to answer the questions that the criminal justice system confronts on a daily basis.

publisher's site|

  • Unspeakable subjects : Feminist Essays in Legal and Social Theory  (Hart Publishing, 1998)

    Nicola Lacey's book presents a feminist critique of law based on an analysis of the ways in which the very structure or method of modern law is gendered. All of the essays in the book therefore engage at some level with the question of whether there are things of a general nature to be said about what might be called the sex or gender of law.

    Ranging across fields including criminal law, public law and anti-discrimination law, the essays examine the conceptual framework of modern legal practices: the legal conception of the subject as an individual; the concepts of equality, freedom, justice and rights; and the legal construction of public and private realms and of the relations between individual, state and community. They also reflect upon the deployment of law as a means of furthering feminist ethical and political values.

    At a more general level, the essays contemplate the relationship between feminist and other critical approaches to legal theory; the relationship between the ideas underlying feminist legal theory and those informing contemporary developments in social and political theory; and the nature of the relationship between feminist legal theories and feminist legal politics.

publisher's site|

 


Articles 

  • 'Historicising Criminalisation: Conceptual and Empirical Issues' Modern Law Review 2009 72 (6) pp.936-960

    This paper charts a renaissance in scholarly analysis of criminalisation, and suggests that we do not have the conceptual tools or empirical knowledge to make the claims about 'overcriminalisation' which motivate much of this scholarship. My argument gives further shape to projects under the umbrella of criminalisation, setting out some of the conceptual issues to be resolved before we can work towards an adequate interpretive, and normative, vision of how criminal law has been and might be used.

    The paper elaborates a number of projects in 'criminalisation scholarship', and suggests there is a failure adequately to distinguish the different senses of 'criminalisation' in the literature, or the varying methods which might be applied within historical, interpretive, analytic and normative studies of criminalisation. In conclusion, the paper argues for a certain genre of criminalisation scholarship, and for a multi-disciplinary criminalisation research agenda informed by history, sociology and political science as much as by law, criminology and philosophy. 

full text via Blackwells Synergy [ON CAMPUS]|
full text via Blackwells Synergy [OFF CAMPUS]|

  • 'Psychologising Jekyll, Demonising Hyde: The Strange Case of Criminal Responsibility '. LSE Law, Society and Economy Working Paper Series, WPS 18-2009, November 2009; published in Criminal Law and Philosophy 2010 4 (2) pp.109-133

    This paper puts the famous story of Jekyll and Hyde to work for a specific analytic purpose. The question of responsibility for crime, complicated by the divided subjectivity implicit in Mr. Hyde's appearance, and illuminated by Robert Louis Stevenson's grasp of contemporary psychiatric, evolutionary, and medical thought as promising new technologies for effecting a distinction between criminality and innocence, is key to the interest of the story.

    I argue that Jekyll and Hyde serves as a powerful metaphor both for specifically late Victorian perplexities about criminality and criminal responsibility, and for more persistently troubling questions about the legitimacy of and practical basis for criminalisation.

                                                                                                                                                  full text|

  • 'Philosophy, Political Morality and History: Explaining the Enduring Resonance of the Hart-Fuller Debate' 83 New York University Law Review  1059 (2008)

    This article argues that the historical, moral, and political dimensions of the Hart-Fuller debate deserve much credit for its continuing appeal and should prompt a reconsideration of Hart's own claims about the universality of analytical jurisprudence.

    The debate illuminates the sense in which conceptual analysis needs to be contextualized and, in so doing, demonstrates the importance of clarity and rigor in legal theorizing.

    Moreover, the debate's power to speak to us today is a product of its connection with pressing political issues. In analyzing the postwar development of international criminal law, this Article argues that Hart's modest realism, pitched against Fuller's more ambitious optimism, speaks to us in compelling ways.

access via westlaw [ON CAMPUS]|
access via westlaw [OFF CAMPUS]|

[Westlaw International ; search/find 'New York University Law Review' and then search "Nicola Lacey"]

  • 'Out of the 'Witches' Cauldron'?: Reinterpreting the context and re-assessing the significance of the Hart-Fuller Debate' LSE Law and Society Working Paper  WPS 18-2008 December 2008

    Just over half a century ago, Harvard Law School provided the setting for a debate between the two most influential British and American legal theorists. H.L.A. Hart, Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford, was invited to give the Law School's annual Holmes Lecture.

    Hart took this opportunity to enunciate the kernel of his emerging theory of legal positivism, staking out his claim to be the 20th Century successor to Jeremy Bentham and John Austin. Lon L. Fuller, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence at Harvard, and a man who had long ploughed a rather lonely jurisprudential furrow as a scholar and teacher committed to exploring the morality of law, demanded a right to reply. The rest, as they say, is history. In this paper, I revisit that history, and give it a somewhat different interpretation from the one which it has generally received.

    My argument is that Fuller was at an inevitable disadvantage in the debate. Because of Hart's agenda-setting position, the terms of the debate are those of analytic legal philosophy: and the reception of the debate has, understandably, both interpreted and evaluated Fuller's argument largely in terms of criteria internal to that discipline. But while Hart's Holmes lecture can justly be seen as exemplary of his broader contribution, Fuller's most original interventions in legal scholarship originated not so much in a philosophical view but rather in a broader socio-legal and interdisciplinary interpretation of legal institutions and processes.

    Though Fuller might have drawn on this broader work to raise questions about Hart's approach, he did not do so as effectively as he might have done. Hence the salience to Fuller's reputation of his role as Hart's natural law opponent marginalises some important strengths of his scholarship. I preface this argument with a historical and biographical sketch: introducing the protagonists and their intellectual and personal preoccupations; setting the scene for the debate in terms of contemporary legal scholarship and legal education; and providing a richer context in which to assess the debate's overall significance for legal scholarship today.

                                                                                                                                       full text 
  • Peter Cane and Joanne Conaghan (eds.), The New Oxford Companion to Law (2008); member of the advisory editorial committee and contributor of 3 entries.

                                                                                                                                  publisher's site|

  • 'The Prisoners' Dilemma in England and Wales', in Mike Hough et al (eds.), Tackling Prison Overcrowding (Policy Press 2008) pp. 9-23

    Lord Patrick Carter's Review of Prisons, published in 2007, proposed the construction of vast 'Titan' prisons to deal with the immediate problem of prison overcrowding, the establishment of a Sentencing Commission as a mechanism for keeping judicial demand for prison places in line with supply, along with further use of the private sector, including private sector management methods. Tackling prison overcrowding is a response to these controversial proposals.

                                                                                                                                  publisher's site |

  • 'Denial and Responsibility', in Christine Chinkin, David Downes, Conor Gearty and Paul Rock (ed.) Crime, Social Control and Human Rights (London, Willan Publishing, 2007).

    The work of Stanley Cohen over four decades has come to acquire a classical status in the fields of criminology, sociology and human rights. His writing, research, teaching and practical engagement in these fields have been at once rigorously analytical and intellectually inspiring. It amounts to a unique contribution, immensely varied yet with several unifying themes, and it has made, and continues to make, a lasting impact around the world. His work thus has a protean character and scope which transcend time and place.

    This book of essays in Stanley Cohen's honour aims to build on and reflect some of his many-sided contributions. It contains chapters by some of the world's leading thinkers as well as the rising generation of scholars and practitioners whose approach has been shaped in significant respects by his own.

publisher's site|

  • 'Legal Constructions of Crime', in Mike Maguire, Rod Morgan and Robert Reiner (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (4th Edition) Oxford University Press (2007) pp. 179-200

    The most comprehensive and authoritative single volume text on the subject, the fourth edition of the acclaimed Oxford Handbook of Criminology combines masterly reviews of all the key topics with extensive references to aid further research. In addition to the history of the discipline and reviews of different theoretical perspectives, the book provides up-to-date reviews of diverse topics as the criminal justice process, race and gender, crime statistics, and the media and crime.

    The fourth edition has been substantially revised and updated and is essential reading for all teachers and students of criminology and an indispensable sourcebook for professionals.

publisher's site|

  • 'Crime, Responsibility and Institutional Design', in Michael Smith, Robert Goodin and Geoffrey Brennan (eds.) Common Minds (Oxford University Press 2007) 182-98

    During a career spanning over thirty years Philip Pettit has made seminal contributions in moral philosophy, political philosophy, philosophy of the social sciences, philosophy of mind and action, and metaphysics. His many contributions would be remarkable enough in themselves, but they are made all the more remarkable by the ways in which Pettit connects them with each other. Pettit holds that the lessons learned when thinking about problems in one area of philosophy often constitute ready-made solutions to problems we faced in completely different areas. His body of work taken as a whole provides a vivid example of what philosophy looks like when done with that conviction.

    Common Minds presents specially written papers by some of the most eminent philosophers alive today, grappling with some of the themes derived from the larger programme that Pettit has inspired.

publisher's site|

  • 'Character, Capacity, Outcome: Towards a framework for assessing the shifting pattern of criminal responsibility in modern English law.' in Markus Dubber and Lindsay Farmer (eds.) Modern Histories of Crime and Punishment (Stanford University Press 2007) pp. 14-41

    Modern Histories of Crime and Punishment showcases a variety of disciplinary, methodological, and theoretical approaches that, taken together, frame historical analysis in the study and teaching of criminal law.

    Featuring work by historians, lawyers, theorists, and sociologists, Modern Histories approaches the history of crime and punishment not as the freestanding study of a distinct institution or body of legal doctrine, but as part of a broader inquiry into the webs of governance and control that constitute social and political life.

publisher's site|

  • 'Criminal Justice', in Robert Goodin and Thomas Pogge (eds.) A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell 2007) pp. 511-20.

publisher's site|

  • 'Space, time and function: intersecting principles of responsibility across the terrain of criminal justice' Criminal Law and Philosophy Vol 1 (3) (2007)

    This paper considers the interpretive significance of the intersecting relationships between different conceptions of responsibility as they shift over space and time. The paper falls into two main sections.

    The first gives an account of several conceptions of responsibility: two conceptions founded in ideas of capacity; two founded in ideas of character, and one founded in the relationship between an agent and the outcome which she causes.

    The second main section uses this differentiated conceptual account to analyse and interpret certain aspects of the contemporary criminal law of England and Wales. In conclusion, the paper considers a number of hypotheses about what the evidence of certain shifts in the relationship between the three families of responsibility-conception can tell us about the current state and significance of criminal law among other systems of social governance.

 full text|

  • 'Interview' in Morton Ebbe Juul Nielson, Legal Philosophy: Five Questions (Automatic Press 2007)

  • 'Autonomy and Criminal Responsibility in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century England'. LSE Law Department Working Papers WPS05-2007

    In the early 18th Century, Daniel Defoe found it natural to write a novel whose heroine was a sexually adventurous, socially marginal property offender. Only half a century later, this would have been next to unthinkable. In this paper, the disappearance of Moll Flanders, and her supercession in the annals of literary female offenders by heroines like Tess of the d'Urbervilles, serves as a metaphor for fundamental changes in ideas of selfhood, gender and social order in 18th and 19th Century England. Drawing on law, literature, philosophy and social history, I argue that these broad changes underpinned a radical shift in mechanisms of responsibility-attribution, with decisive implications for the criminalisation of women.

    I focus in particular on the question of how the treatment and understanding of female criminality was changing during the era which saw the construction of the main building blocks of the criminal process, and of how these understandings related in turn to broader ideas about gender, social order and individual agency.

full text|

  • 'Criminal Justice and Democratic Systems: Inclusionary and Exclusionary Dynamics in the Institutional Structure of Late Modern Societies'; Harvard Center for European Studies Working Papers 2007

    It is generally agreed that the humanity, fairness and effectiveness with which a governments manages its criminal justice system is a key index of the state of a democracy. But the constraints on realization of democratic values and aspirations in criminal justice are markedly variable.

    In the last two decades, in the wake of both increases in recorded crime and a cluster of cultural and economic changes, criminal justice policy in both Britain and the U.S. has become increasingly politicized: both the scale and intensity of criminalization, and the salience of criminal justice pol-icy as an index of governments' competence, have developed in new and, to many commentators, worrying ways.

    These developments have been variously characterized as the birth of a "culture of control" and a tendency to "govern through crime"; as a turn towards the "exclusive society"; and in terms of the emergence of a managerial model which focuses on the risks to security presented by particular groups ...

full text|

  • 'H.L.A. Hart's rule of law: the limits of philosophy in historical perspective.' Quaderni Fiorentini 36 (2007), pp. 1203-1224.

full text|

  • 'Analytical Jurisprudence versus Descriptive Sociology Revisited' 84 Texas Law Review (March 2006)

    A 15,000 word article developing the analysis of Hart's work, and the state of contemporary legal theory, embedded in the biography.

full text via EBSCO [ON CAMPUS]|
full text via EBSCO [OFF CAMPUS]|

  • 'Historicizing Contrasts in Tolerance' in The Politics of Crime Control: Essays in Honour of David Downes (Clarendon Studies in Criminology)  (OUP September 2006)

proof copy of the article|

  • 'The Constitution of Identity: Gender, Feminist Legal Theory and the Law and Society Movement', in Austin Sarat (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Law and Society (Oxford: Blackwell 2004) pp. 471-486

    An assessment of current state of play in feminist legal theory.

publisher's site|

  • 'Feminist Legal Theories and the Rights of Women', in Karen Knop (ed.), Gender and Human Rights (Oxford University Press 2004) pp. 13-56

    An analysis of contributions of feminist legal theory to the analysis of human rights of women.

publisher's site|

  • 'Criminalization as Regulation: The Role of Criminal Law', in Regulating Law edited by Christine Parker, Colin Scott, Nicola Lacey and John Braithwaite (Oxford University Press 2004) 

    The book is a collaborative project across ANU RegNet and LSE: socio-legal essays developing the methodology of Hugh Collins' Regulating Contracts across a range of common law fields.

publisher's site|

  • 'In Search of the Responsible Subject: History, Philosophy and Criminal Law Theory' 64 Modern Law Review (2001) 350-71

    This article and the next set and out and develop my long term project on criminal responsibility: they cut across legal, intellectual and social history and criminal law theory.

full text via Blackwells Synergy [ON CAMPUS]|
full text via Blackwells Synergy [OFF CAMPUS]|

  • 'Responsibility and Modernity in Criminal Law' 9 Journal of Political Philosophy (2001) 249-77

    This article and the previous one set and out and develop my long term project on criminal responsibility: they cut across legal, intellectual and social history and criminal law theory.

full text via Blackwells Synergy [ON CAMPUS]|
full text via Blackwells Synergy [OFF CAMPUS]|

 


 

Share:Facebook|Twitter|LinkedIn|