The Inaugural Criminal Theory Conference

The Criminal Law Theory Conference aims to bring together, in an annual forum, researchers working on the theory of criminal law, criminal procedure, punishment, and the philosophical questions that underlie these areas of inquiry. The Conference seeks to advance research in the field and to foster interaction and collaboration between the growing number of researchers working on these and related questions.


The inaugural Conference was to have been held on December 6-7 2020 at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. For obvious reasons, that is not now possible. However, given the number of interesting abstracts that were submitted for the conference, and our desire to get discussions started this year, we have decided to hold the first part of the Conference online, with a series of monthly sessions between now and May 2021.


Update: While we will continue holding the first part of the conference online in the Dec-May, workshops listed below, with great regret, we have decided that we must now cancel the second portion of the conference that was to be held in Jerusalem in May: the continuing uncertainties about the course of the pandemic, about the speed and the efficacy of vaccination programmes, and about travel restrictions, make it impossible to be confident that an in person conference in May would be feasible.
We intend to hold the inaugural in person conference as it is feasible to do so, and hope you will join us in the meantime for the online sessions.


At each two-hour session, we will discuss two previously circulated short papers: each paper will be introduced by a commentator, but we will aim to allow as much time as is possible for discussion. We hope that these sessions will enable authors to get useful feedback on their papers, and all participants to enjoy the kinds of trans-national and interdisciplinary conversation that we aim to foster.


The sessions will be held on the following Thursdays, at 17:00-18:50 Coordinated Universal Time/ Greenwich Mean Time 


3 December

Amit Pundik, ‘The Wrongfulness of Prostitution’

       Commentator: Cornelia Spörl

Andrei Poama, ‘Poverty, Provocation, and Punishment’

       Commentator: Ester Herlin-Karnell


7 January

Hsin-Wen Lee, ‘Self-Defense Theories of Criminal Punishment’

       Commentator: Valerij Zisman

Federico Picinali, ‘Convicting vs Acquitting: Aren’t We All Expected Value Maximisers

       about this Choice?’

       Commentator: Krzysztof Szczucki


4 February

Eric James Miller, ‘The Public Authority Model of the Police’

       Commentator: David Sklansky


4 March

Hylke Jellema, ‘Inferring to the best explanation about eyewitness testimony’

       Commentator: Michael Pardo

Kenneth Silver, ‘When Should the Master Answer? Respondeat Superior and the Criminal


       Commentator: Matthew Dyson


8 April

Zach Hoskins, ‘Punishment's Burdens on the Innocent’

       Commentator: Mark Dsouza

Gniewomir Wycichowski-Kuchta, ‘The Rationality of "Irrational Criminalisation”’

       Commentator: Julia O’Rourke


6 May

Kat Hadjimatheou and Christopher Nathan, ‘Policing and its Absence: Legitimacy, Special

       Obligations, and Omissions in Law Enforcement’

Commentator: Michal Krolikowski

Andrew Botterell, ‘Rethinking the Defence of Diminished Capacity’

       Commentator: Gustaf Almkvist


There is no charge for participation in these sessions, but registration is required. To register, please go to:

Further details, and information on how to access the papers, will be sent in advance of each session to those who have registered; papers will be available at least a week before the session at which they are to be discussed.

The Conference CFP can be accessed here.


The Organizing Committee:

  • Vincent Chiao, University of Toronto 
  • Leora Dahan Katz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem 
  • Antony Duff, University of Stirling 
  • Tatjana Hörnle, Max Planck Institute, Freiburg, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 
  • Gabe Mendlow, University of Michigan 


The conference is hosted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with the generous support of:

The Greene Foundation

The Sacher Institute

The Barak Center