Guest Speaker Series

2019/20 guest speakers

18 February 2020

Fear and Hope. The revolution of individual liability in international law between justice and politics.

The case of international terrorism.

Judge Rosario Salvatore Aitala

The idea that individuals, not only States, may be held liable for mass atrocities amounts to a subversive theory within traditional international law. Through this revolution, the legacy of immense suffering of the Second World War has eventually generated hope for humanity. However, the achievements of international criminal justice have not always met the expectations, due to structural factors, organisational inefficiencies as well as the complicated interactions between justice and politics.

One of the next challenges ahead arguably lies in achieving universal punishment for international terrorism, a crime which throughout the centuries has relied on instrumentally exploiting human frailty with a view to achieving and retaining power.

The lecture will be followed by a reception.


30 January 2020

‘Privacy International and Judicial Authority: are courts guardians of the law, or of the rule of law?’ 

Professor Alison Young, University of Cambridge

In R (Privacy International) v Investigatory Powers Tribunal ([2019] UKSC 22), the Supreme Court ‘reinterpreted’ an ouster clause. The clause in question stated that decisions of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, including decisions as to whether it had jurisdiction, could not be questioned by the courts. 

Event postponed to Semester 2, new date TBC

Exploring constitutionalism and counter-costitutionalism in the system of the ECHR: The constitutionalist attitude of the ECtHR and its backlash 

Prof Maurizio Arcari, University of Milano-Bicocca

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in its case law has contributed to the identification of the core concepts and values laying behind the legal system of the European Convention of Human Rights, thereby enhancing an incremental process of constitutionalization of this same system. However, the constitutional approach pursued by the ECtHR may ignite as side-effect a counter-constitutionalism discourse at the domestic level.

13 November 2019

Coming Of Age: The Human Rights Act At 21

Prof Conor Gearty, London School of Economics

The Human Rights Act received Royal Assent on 9 November 1998. In the week of its 21st birthday, how has it fared?  Well it is still alive, having faced a difficult childhood and a near fatal adolescence. What trends can we detect in how the legislation is being interpreted by the courts?  And what difference, if any, is it making to ‘real life’? 

16 October 2019

Parliamentary Sovereignty and The Locus of Constituent Power in the United Kingdom 

Alan Greene, Birmingham Law School

This paper argues that parliamentary sovereignty’s assimilation of constituent power — the ultimate power in a legal order to create and posit a constitution — has stultified the development of British constitutional law. The result is a deeply ideological, as distinct from oft-heralded pragmatic, constitutional structure that is incapable of confronting the systemic challenges the UK currently faces.