UCL Faculty of Laws


Recording | The Thinkery and the Academy

17 November 2022, 6:15 pm–7:15 pm

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This lecture will be delivered by James Murray, as part of the Current Legal Problems Lecture Series 2022-23

Event Information

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UCL Laws

The Thinkery and the Academy: examining the legal parameters and interactions of academic freedom and freedom of expression under English law

Speaker: James Murray (Taylor Vinters)
Chair: Prof. Anthony Julius (Mishcon de Reya, UCL Laws)

About the Lecture

This lecture will examine how the right to free expression and academic freedom interact under English and international law, discuss how those two rights have traditionally been thought to interact, and consider how they can be brought together with the concept of academic free expression. In doing so, James will examine the legal parameters and key characteristics of academic free expression, namely: what is the protection afforded to it; what are its 'qualifying criteria'; what are its limits and how might the protection afforded to it be lost; and, where might such protection not be lost as compared to the general right to free expression. To end, James will ask why this all matters and examine how these issues interact with other UK law, in particular the upcoming Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill.

About the Speaker

James is a higher education and employment lawyer at Taylor Vinters, a law firm specialising in research and innovation.

He has a particular expertise on the law around academic freedom and free speech on campus, on which he has advised institutions, academics, think tanks, politicians and Government. He has published multiple articles on academic freedom, in addition to submissions of evidence to the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of expression, the UK Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights (twice), and the House of Commons Public Bill Committee in relation to the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill (both individually and in collaboration with English PEN, one of the world’s oldest human rights organisations). Most recently he published in the European Human Rights Law Review on the interaction between the Equality Act 2010 and the law protecting academic freedom.

He is also a Research Fellow at the University of Buckingham with a focus on the law around academic freedom.

About Current Legal Problems

The Current Legal Problems (CLP) lecture series and annual volume was established over fifty five years ago at the Faculty of Laws, University College London and is recognised as a major reference point for legal scholarship.

Watch the recording of this talk

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