Dr Federico Picinali

Dr Federico Picinali

Associate Professor of Law

LSE Law School

Room No
Cheng Kin Ku Building 7.25
English, French, Italian
Key Expertise
Theoretical questions in evidence law and in criminal law

About me

I earned a Degree in Legal Sciences and a Specialized Degree in Law at the Università degli Studi di Milano. I then studied at the Yale Law School and at the Università degli Studi di Trento, where I earned an LL.M. and a Ph.D. in law, respectively. During these formative years I was an exchange student at the UC Berkeley School of Law and a visiting researcher at the UC Hastings College of the Law, at the Cardozo School of Law, and at Penn Law. Just prior to becoming an Assistant Professor at LSE Law School, I was a visiting fellow at LSE Law School and a LSE Fellow. I have been admitted to the Italian Bar.

I teach and research in criminal law and evidence law, with a particular interest in theoretical approaches to these subjects. I have written on the criminal standard of proof, on inferential reasoning in legal fact-finding, on statistical evidence, on improperly obtained evidence, on criminal intention and on self-defence, among other topics. I have published in several journals, including the Modern Law Review, Law & Philosophy, the Canadian Journal of Law & Jurisprudence, the Journal of Applied Philosophy, Criminal Law & Philosophy, the International Journal of Evidence & Proof, Jurisprudence, and Law, Probability & Risk. In 2022 I have published Justice In-Between, a monograph on intermediate criminal verdicts for the Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice Series (OUP).

I am currently investigating how epistemic injustice affects fact finding in the criminal process.

I am the coordinator of the LSE Criminal Justice Forum.

I live in Sheffield with my wife – philosopher Jules Holroyd – our two daughters and our dog. I am a keen rock climber and a qualified rock climbing instructor and coach, and I often visit the crags of the nearby Peak District.

Administrative support: Law.Reception@lse.ac.uk

Research interests

I am a scholar of evidence law and criminal law. My main interest is in the philosophy underlying these two areas of law. I enjoy reading in epistemology, inductive logic, moral philosophy and philosophy of mind, and studying legal problems with the support of these disciplines.



Justice In-Between (Oxford University Press, 2022)

Most contemporary criminal justice systems adopt a 'binary' system of verdicts. In a binary system, there is a single evidential threshold, or standard of proof. If the standard is met, the verdict is 'guilty', the defendant is convicted, and punishment is permitted. If the standard is not met, the verdict is 'not guilty', the defendant is acquitted, and punishment is forbidden. There is no middle ground between the verdict of 'not guilty' and that of 'guilty'. An intermediate verdict represents such middle ground, intermediate between acquittal and conviction both in terms of the strength of the incriminating evidence that is needed to warrant the verdict and in terms of the severity of the consequences that the verdict may produce for the defendant.

Justice In-Between is a study of intermediate criminal verdicts and advances a novel justification of such controversial devices, with the aim to produce a consensus amongst scholars subscribing to different theories of punishment. Indeed, the book shows that one cannot investigate the choice of the standard of proof nor, importantly, that of the verdict system, in isolation from the question of the justification for punishing.

Justice In-Between studies historical and extant examples of intermediate criminal verdicts and engages with the debates that have accompanied them, including the popular argument that intermediate criminal verdicts are incompatible with the presumption of innocence. In doing so, the book offers an original account of the meaning and of the justification of the presumption. Relying on decision theory, Justice In-Between makes a case for intermediate criminal verdicts and shows that such decision-theoretic case is viable under any of the main theories of punishment.

Click here for publisher's site.

For a presentation of the book, please click here.

The Edinburgh Law Review, Volume 28, Issue 2, May 2024 includes articles on the book written by, respectively, Antony Duff, Fiona Leverick, Martin Smith and Gabrielle Watson, along with my replies (the articles and replies are available open access)

Book Chapters

  • 'Implicit Bias, Self-Defence, and the Reasonable Person' (with Jules Holroyd), in C. Lernestedt and M. Matravers (eds.), The Criminal Law’s Person (Hart, 2022)
  • 'Excluding Evidence for Integrity’s Sake? (with Jules Holroyd), in C. Dahlman, A. Stein, G. Tuzet (eds.) The Philosophical Foundations of Evidence Law (OUP 2021)
  • ‘Lo Stato d’Ebbrezza tra Accertamento Sintomatico e Soglie di Rilevanza Penale’, in La Prova dei Fatti Psichici (Carmela Piemontese and Emma Venafro eds., Giappichelli, 2009)


Book reviews

  • review of Dale A. Nance, The Burdens of Proof: Discriminatory Power, Weight of Evidence, and Tenacity of Belief (Cambridge University Press, 2016), 330 pp., ISBN 978-1-107-12418-9’, in Jurisprudence, Vol. 9, Issue 1, p. 192 (2018)
  • review of Michele Caianiello, Ammissione della Prova e Contraddittorio nelle Giurisdizioni Penali Internazionali (Giappichelli 2008), 232 pp., in Jus-17, Vol. 2, p. 154 (2009)


  • Winner of the LSE Student-Led Teaching Excellence Award 2017 in the category ‘Feedback and Communication’
  • My paper ‘Base Rates of Negative Traits: Instructions for Use in Criminal Trials’, in Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 33(1), pp. 69-88 (2016) won the prize for best essay published in the Journal of Applied Philosophy in 2016 (the prize included a monetary award, and free registration and accommodation for the next Society for Applied Philosophy annual conference)
  • Nominee for the LSE Student-Led Teaching Excellence Awards, 2015 and 2016
  • Class Teacher Prize, awarded by the LSE Law Department, 2013