2014 Talks

When ‘life’ means’ death’ – are life sentences really an appropriate alternative to the death penalty?


Thursday, 20 March 2014




Law Building, Lecture Theatre 2

..are life sentences merely the death penalty by another name?

The UK is currently struggling with the question of how to punish those who commit the most serious offences. Prime Minister David Cameron has recently criticized the European Court of Human Rights for holding that ‘whole life orders’ are unlawful, and there are many who believe that we should be able to ‘lock people up and throw away the key.’

In this talk, Dr Bharat Malkani will examine the pros and cons of whole life orders, and suggest that ‘whole life orders’ are, in practical terms, just the same as the death penalty. By denying prisoners the prospect of release, we are just subjecting them to death by incarceration, which is perhaps worse than death by lethal injection or death by electrocution. And if this is the case, we need to ask ourselves whether we want to bring back capital punishment.

Presented by Birmingham Law School