The articles in this Special Issue of the journal explore diverse issues, but all in different ways are stimulated by developments in our understanding of the brain. It is coming to be understood that developments in neuroscience can help those who make the law and those who study it use the insights of scientific knowledge to assist in the understanding of human behaviour. Developments in cognitive neuroscience offer new insights into the nature of normative judgement. As Casebeer and Churchland (2003, p. 170) have noted, ‘the neurobiology of moral cognition is a justifiably hot topic’. As Goodenough and Prehn (2004, p. 1713) note, ‘the great advantage of the cognitive neuroscience approach is that we can now bring together psychological models of cognitive and affective process, experimental paradigms, various behavioural and psychophysiological measurements and functional brain imaging techniques’. Greene and Cohen have argued (2004, p. 1775) that neuroscience will probably have a transformative effect on the law, even though existing legal doctrine can, in principle, accommodate its findings. They foresee, and indeed recommend, a shift away from punishment rooted in retribution towards one adopting a consequentialist approach to the criminal law. That the US Supreme Court in 2005 (see Roper v. Simmons) eventually came to view the death penalty as unconstitutional for offenders who committed their offences when under 18 is in part the product of this shift in thinking. Steinberg and Scott (2003) had shown that adolescents did not meet the law’s requirements for rationality and so were unsuitable candidates for the death penalty.