Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics

Prison Hallway


Deputy Director

Dr. Antje du Bois-Pedain

Founding Director


The Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics is a research centre at the Institute of Criminology. Founded in 2000 by Professor Andreas von Hirsch, the purpose of the Centre is to explore ethical and philosophical issues in criminal law and policy. The Centre brings together leading philosophers, criminologists, and criminal-law theorists to discuss and write about these issues.

The Centre is directed by Professor Sir Anthony Bottoms. The Centre's Deputy Director is Dr Antje du Bois-Pedain.

The Centre has completed projects on situational crime prevention, restorative justice, strict criminal liability, the legal prohibition of offensive behaviour, the German Rechtsgut theory, mediating principles for criminalisation, criminalisation theory, and previous convictions at sentencing. It is currently undertaking research into the empirical and normative legitimacy conditions of criminal justice systems. Other Centre activities address the relationship of criminal law and criminological studies with norms and normativity and the legitimacy of international penal institutions.

Visiting Fellows & Scholars

The Centre maintains an active programme of visitors. The programme gives visitors the opportunity to conduct their own research in Cambridge on issues of penal theory and penal ethics, and participate in colloquia and informal discussions with Centre and Institute staff. Further information can be found on the Visiting Fellows & Scholars page.

Completed Projects


Various books have been published by the Centre for Penal Theory & Penal Ethics. Details can be found on the publications page.


Centre for Penal Theory
Institute of Criminology
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom

Professor Sir Anthony Bottoms
Director, Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics

Dr. Antje du Bois-Pedain
Deputy Director, Centre for Penal Theory and Penal Ethics