Professor Peter Ramsay

Professor Peter Ramsay

Professor of Law

LSE Law School

Room No
Cheng Kin Ku Building 6.3
Key Expertise
Criminal law

About me

Peter Ramsay studied Law at University College London and the University of Westminster, and Economics at the University of Nottingham. He wrote his PhD thesis at King's College London.

Administrative support:

Research interests

  • criminal law as a branch of public law
  • the penal theory of democratic retributive abolitionism
  • the legal construction of a vulnerable subject

External activities

  • Editorial Board Member, The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice
  • Associate Editor, New Criminal Law Review



Taking Control: Sovereignty and Democracy After Brexit
(Polity, 2023) with Dr Philip Cunliffe, George Hoare, Prof Lee Jones

Taking Control combines Christopher Bickerton’s state transformation theory of European integration with Martin Loughlin’s theory of sovereignty and David Edgerton’s history of 'the fall of the British nation' in order to explain Britain’s membership of the EU, the 2016 vote to leave, and the course of the political crisis that followed the vote. It argues that EU membership was necessitated by the decay of Britain’s representative political traditions, and that both the process of leaving the EU and subsequent events have demonstrated the final exhaustion of those traditions. It proposes that the sclerosis of Britain’s political system can be addressed by developing a new democratic internationalist politics based on a perspective of nation-building. 

click here for publisher's site



The Insecurity State: Vulnerable Autonomy and the Right to Security in the Criminal Law (Oxford University Press, 2012)

The Insecurity State is a book about the recent emergence of a 'right to security' in the UK's criminal law. It sets out from a detailed analysis of the law of the Anti-Social Behaviour Order and of the Coalition government's proposed replacement for the ASBO. It shows that the liabilities contained in both seek to protect a 'freedom from fear'. The book identifies the normative source of this right to security in the idea of vulnerable autonomy. It demonstrates that the vulnerability of autonomy is an axiomatic assumption of political theories that have enjoyed a preponderant influence right across the political mainstream. It considers the influence of these normative commitments on the policy of both the New Labour and the Coalition governments. The Insecurity State then explores how the wider contemporary criminal law also institutionalizes the right to security, and how this differs from the law's earlier protection of security interests. It examines the right to security and its attendant penal liabilities in the context of both human rights protection and normative criminal law theories. Finally the book exposes the paradoxical claims about the state's authority that are entailed by penal laws that assume the vulnerability of the normal, representative citizen. 

click here for publisher's site

also available at Oxford Scholarship Online