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Social Justice Debate

November 4 2021@ 8:30 pm11:30 pm
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‘This House Believes that Courtroom Should Not be a Forum for Advancing Social Justice’
Activists are increasingly turning to the law in their efforts to bring about change. Legal rulings on abortion, the right to assisted suicide, environmental protections, immigration, and LGBTQIA+ rights provision show that the advancement of civil liberties is often behind the bench instead of at the ballot box. Whilst some celebrate this approach, others question whether judges, so often criticised for their unaccountability and lack of diversity, are best placed to legislate on social justice issues. Should we keep activism out of the courtroom and instead place our faith in the political process?
Proposition Speakers
1. Nazir Afzal OBE
British-Pakistani solicitor and former Chief Crown Prosecutor for North West England. He famously prosecuted the Rochdale sex trafficking cases and is an outspoken advocate against forced marriage, female genital mutilation, and honour killings.
2. Rt. Hon. Lord Hoffmann
Former UK Supreme Court judge and current non-permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong. He has criticised the European Court of Human Rights for increasing activism and judicial overreach.
3. Jeffrey Dudgeon MBE
Former Ulster Unionist Party councillor, who successfully brought the landmark case of Dudgeon v United Kingdom to the European Court of Human Rights, challenging Northern Ireland’s laws criminalising homosexuality.
Opposition Speakers
1. Jolyon Maugham QC
Barrister and Founder and Director of the Good Law Project, whose mission is ‘to achieve change through the law’. He has brought multiple legal cases challenging Brexit and the Government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Helen Mountfield QC
Principal of Mansfield College and practicing barrister, specialising in human rights and equality law. She represented the winning parties before the Supreme Court in R (Miller) v Secretary of State, and has co-authored seven editions of Blackstone’s Guide to the Human Rights Act 1998.
3. Yasmine Ahmed
UK Director of Human Rights Watch and former Executive Director of Rights and Security International. She has successfully litigated on issues including arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the detention of women and children in Northeast Syria.
Date: November 4 2021
Time: 8:30 pm11:30 pm
Event CategoryDebates