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Law on Trial 2015

The university was on ‘trial’ at the School of Law’s annual week-long programme of free-to-attend public lectures, panel discussions and workshops.

Law on Trial 2015: The University on Trial ran from Monday 15 June – Friday 19 June.

The annual showcase, run by the School, brought together academic staff - recognised internationally as authorities in their field - to discuss a different legal theme each year.

This year’s week of lectures and workshops put the University on Trial. Taking a range of contexts, the series of events will examine the Magna Charta Universitatum - a document which celebrates university traditions and encourages bonds among European universities.

Discussions focused on how the Charta’s principles are simultaneously challenged and upheld by law; and explored the special role of the University Law School in upholding the constitutional principles of the University.

The event programme for Law on Trial 2015 was as follows:

Monday 15 June 6.00PM: The Islamophobic university

This panel explored the way in which free speech is being increasingly instrumentalised for Islamophobic ends, a case in point being the #JesuisCharlie response to the attack on Charlie Hebdo... Read more

Organisers: Dr Nadine El-Enany (@NadineElEnany) and Dr Sarah Keenan (Birkbeck; @sarahjkeenan). Speakers include: Malia Bouattia (@MaliaBouattia), Souhail Chichah, Nadine El-Enany (Birkbeck), and Arzu Merali (@arzumerali).


Tuesday 16 June 6.00PM: Barring Access: Criminal Convictions, Risk Management and Higher Education

Are universities becoming overly concerned with ‘risk management’ and ‘securitisation’ policies – and at what social, political and ethical cost?... Read more

Organiser: Dr Sarah Lamble (@slamble1). Speakers: Dr Gail Lewis (Panel Chair; Birkbeck), Christopher Stacey (UNLOCK & the “Ban the box” campaign), Sarah Lamble (Birkbeck), Wail Qasim (Defend the Right to Protest @WailQ), Sacha Darke (University of Westminster), and Patrick Williams (Manchester Metropolitan University).


Wednesday 17 June 5.00pm: Inaugural Lecture: "Lives That Slide Out of View": Jurisprudence and Poverty

Although we are all equal in the eyes of the law, modern jurisprudence has been profoundly myopic towards the brute realities of poverty and material inequality... Read more

Professor Adam Gearey's Inaugural Lecture. Professor Louis E. Wolcher Charles I. Stone Professor of Law, Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of Washington commented and offered the vote of thanks.

Video and Podcast

Thursday 18 June 6.00PM: Scholars, Intellectuals and Research Evaluation Exercises

This panel session debated the effect that research evaluation exercises and consequent research rankings have on the university as a public institution and on the shape and significance of academic research... Read more

Organiser: Professor Fiona Macmillan. Speakers include: Diamond Ashiagbor (SOAS), Patrick Hanafin (Birkbeck), Stewart Motha (Birkbeck) and Alan Norrie (Warwick).


Friday 19 June 1.30PM: The End(s) of the Legal Academy

The obituaries of academic freedom, the humanities, and indeed the university itself are coming to focus not just on the end of an erstwhile academy but also on what the ends, the purport, of the academy should and could now be. This workshop brought this concern to bear on the role of the legal academy… Read more

Organiser: Professor Peter Fitzpatrick



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©Image copyright Tesher Fitzpatrick