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Patrick McAuslan Lecture

The Patrick McAuslan Lecture invites eminent socio-legal scholars to discuss a legal issue in modern society.   The 2016/17 lecture will be given by the eminent South African judge D. Moseneke, on Rule of Law, Social Justice and Education – the crisis of the social transition from apartheid to democracy.  Please click here for further information about this event.

2015/16 lecture

The 2015/16 Annual Law Lecture was delivered by Bianca Jagger (Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation) on 6th November.

The title of the lecture was: 'Why we must defend the Human Rights Act'.


Lecture Abstract

The Conservative Party's 2015 manifesto commits the government to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a 'British Bill of Rights'. These proposals, asoutlined in a 2014 publication, would substantially weaken the power of individuals to bring cases against the government and could sever the link between the UK and the European Court of Human Rights. Replacing the Human Rights Act and with a diluted national 'Bill of Rights' would jeopardise some of the safeguards that hold our government to account. Furthermore, as claims of threats to national security increase, it is essential to ensure there are adequate protections against the expansion of state power and surveillance.

In my lecture I will outline the reasons why we must defend the Human Rights Act. I will clarify some of the misconceptions that surround the Act and dispel the 'Human Rights myths' which have surrounded its operation. In particular I will challenge the claims that the Human Rights Act undermines Parliamentary Sovereignty and weakens the ability of the government to respond to threats to national security. I will argue the political desire to repeal the Act is partly rooted in a specific form of anti-European xenophobia, which is often perpetuated by sections of the British media.

About Bianca Jagger

Bianca Jagger is President and Chief Executive of her Human Rights Foundation, and holds the offices of Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador; IUCN Bonn Challenge Ambassador; Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation and Member of the Executive Director's Leadership Council of Amnesty International USA.


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