Are there principles that trump democracy?

This was one of a number of profound philosophical and legal questions addressed by former UK Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption in his recent and controversial Reith Lectures, which addressed subjects such as law’s expanding empire, the challenges posed by human rights, and the advantage of an unwritten constitution. For a flavour of the resulting debate arising from these Reith Lectures, I highly recommend Helena Kennedy QC’s response in Prospect Magazine, available here.

The Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association (ALBA) recently hosted its annual summer law conference, and one of the many illustrious panels it hosted responded to these Reith Lectures. We are enormously grateful to the Chair and Committee of ALBA, and to the participants, for enabling us to record these sessions, which are available on Law Pod UK  below.

The panel featured Lord Dyson, Sir Stephen Laws, Lord Falconer, Professor Meg Russell, Professor Vernon Bogdanor and was Chaired by Mrs Justine Thornton. A second panel featured Lord Sumption responding to this response, in interview with Lord Justice Singh.

This year the conference also included a keynote by Lady Arden on human rights challenges in the digital world, and talks and panels by leading practitioners on equality and public law, the constitutionality of ouster clauses, practice and procedure and the use of social media by lawyers.

Listen to the responses recorded at the ALBA Annual Conference on Law Pod UK and a link to Lord Sumption’s Reith Lectures below,

Episode 88: A response to Lord Sumption

Episode 89: Lord Sumption’s response to the panel

Episode 91: Audience questions

The Reith Lectures, 2019: Jonathan Sumption

ALBA is the professional association for barristers in England and Wales practising in ‘public law’. Its members also include solicitors, academics and judges with an interest in public law.

Details on joining ALBA can be found here, and their upcoming events here.

All episodes are available on your favourite podcast platforms including AudioboomSpotifyApple Podcasts, AudioboomPodbean or you can find out more on the UK Human Rights Blog.
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