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Professor David Ormerod
Professor David Ormerod

Press release -

Deputy High Court Judge honoured by Northumbria University

Deputy High Court Judge and Professor of Criminal Justice, Professor David Ormerod, has received an honorary degree of Doctor of Civil Law from Northumbria University, Newcastle, in recognition of his distinguished career as both an academic and a practitioner, his role as a Criminal Justice Law Commissioner and his editorships of critical legal texts.

Having been described as having an “encyclopaedic knowledge of criminal law, intellectual rigour and practitioner focus", Professor David Ormerod’s unique ability to examine the law through both an academic and a practitioner lens has earned him the respect of many in his profession.

After studying law at Essex University, Professor Ormerod taught at Nottingham University for 12 years before being called to the Bar in 2002 and becoming a member of Red Lion Chambers in 2003. There, for eight years, he was instructed in Serious Fraud Office and HMRC Prosecution Office fraud cases, when he acted for both the defence and the prosecution.

In 2013 he was awarded Honorary Silk – an award given to lawyers who have made a major contribution to the law of England and Wales outside practice in the courts, and in 2021 Professor Ormerod was awarded a CBE for services to criminal justice in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

He is the author of the criminal law textbook Smith, Hogan and Ormerod’s Criminal Law, the editor-in-chief of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice and editor of the UK’s leading criminal law journal The Criminal Law Review.

Speaking about his honorary degree, Professor Ormerod said: “I am delighted to accept this honorary degree. I have long admired Northumbria University's reputation for excellence in legal research and education. I extend my warm congratulations to the graduate and undergraduate classes of 2022 for their academic achievements.”

In 2010 he was appointed the Criminal Law Commissioner for England and Wales, a post which he was to hold for almost 10 years. During this time, he was responsible for leading on all criminal law related projects produced by the Law Commission. Here again his academic expertise and practical focus came to the fore. His role was to have a vision of how the law should respond to the practical problems faced across the criminal justice system.

Professor Ormerod became a Deputy High Court Judge in 2018 and also returned to academia in 2020. He is currently a Professor of Criminal Justice and Director of the Criminal Law Centre at University College London, where he teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

For the last 15 years David has worked with the Judicial College on criminal law training. He was a co-author of the Crown Court Compendium used by judges every day in the criminal courts. Along with a team of judges, David is responsible for drafting the Judicial College Bench Book, “The Crown Court Compendium”.

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Northumbria University, Newcastle
Northumbria University, Newcastle
NE1 8ST Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom