What are the critical factors that determine whether a country replaces, retains or restores the death penalty? Why do some countries maintain the death penalty in theory but in reality rarely invoke it? By asking these questions, the editors hope to isolate the core issues that influence the formulation of legislation so that they can be incorporated into strategies for advising governments considering changes to their policy on capital punishment. They also seek to redress the imbalance in research, which tends to focus almost exclusively on the experience of the USA, by covering a range of countries such as South Korea, Lithuania, Japan and the British Caribbean Commonwealth. This valuable contribution to the debates around capital punishment contains contributions from leading academics, campaigners and legal practitioners and will be an important resource for students, academics, NGOs, policy makers, lawyers and jurists.