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Neuroscience, Children and the Law

June 2012, Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament.

An online resource, Developmental Neuroscience and the Law, hosted by the University of Exeter with further information on this topic is available. The resource includes contact details for experts in pyschology, neuroscience, psychiatry and the law and a discussion of the issues raised in a three part ESRC-funded seminar programme

 Download Neuroscience flyer (pdf 296KB)

Neuroscience offers insights into how brain development and function can affect behaviour. Factors that influence brain development in childhood may affect the likelihood of a child committing an offence, their ability to understand criminal proceedings and inform which interventions could decrease their risk of re-offending. For example, emerging research shows links between childhood brain injury and future offending. But how can these discoveries inform the law and legal proceedings? And what are the repercussions for determining whether a child is legally responsible for an offence? This seminar will feature presentations from leading forensic psychiatrists, psychologists and legal experts who will highlight how policymaking – from setting the age of criminal responsibility to protecting vulnerable children in the justice system – could take account of the latest research.


Professor Nigel Eastman, Professor of Law and Ethics in Psychiatry. Honorary Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist,
St George's University of London Audio
Dr Eileen Vizard,Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Institute of Child Health, University College London (Audio unavailable)
Laura Hoyano,Hackney Fellow and Tutor in Law, Wadham College, University of Oxford (Audio unavailable)
Dr Eamon McCrory,Consultant Clinical Psychologist,
University College London Audio
Dr Seena Fazel, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist, University of Oxford Audio
Professor Huw Williams, Associate Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology, Exeter University Audio
Dr Karen McAuliffe, Lecturer in Law, Exeter University Audio
Dr Atina Krajewska, Lecturer in Law, Cardiff University Audio