Professor Sir Adam Roberts heads 2020 FLJS Programme with call for a rethinking of the liberal order

Professor Sir Adam Roberts will call for a rethinking of liberalism in a Keynote Lecture that heads up the new events programme of the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society in 2020.

The programme will also feature our first ever Oxford-based Putney Debates, and has been designed to respond to three key issues of our times: the decline of the international order; climate justice; and human rights in the digital age.

Professor Sir Adam Roberts, former President of the British Academy, will deliver his Keynote Lecture, entitled Liberal International Order in Trouble, on 2 March. The lecture opens a workshop the following day at which a roundtable of experts will assess how the international order can respond to the threats it faces from the influence of new technologies on democratic structures and the erosion of international institutions and laws.

Our Hilary Term opened this week with a Book Colloquium on former Supreme Court Judge Jonathan Sumption’s provocative bestseller Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics. The book expands the argument first laid out in his 2019 Reith Lectures, that judicial review has reached a critical level, and the time has come to return some problems to the politicians. 

Other highlights from this year’s programme include a free film screening of Oscar-winning director Laura Poitras’s documentary The Oath on 17 February, which exposes the failures of anti-terror laws in the US’s response to the ‘war on terror’ through the riveting and divergent fates of Osama bin Laden’s driver and his jihadist brother-in-law.

Prof Liora Lazarus, Head of Research at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, will give a talk on the impact of national security legislation on human rights since 9/11 to accompany the screening.

Later this term, we will be discussing The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Shoshana Zuboff’s influential account of the challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, specifically, how the commodification of personal information threatens our core values of freedom, democracy, and privacy.

Mark your diaries for our first ever Oxford-based Putney Debates, planned for the first week of June. The venue for the Debate will be the historic Divinity School in central Oxford, previously used by Parliament during the English Civil War around the time of the Putney Debates of 1647.

The 2020 Debates follows our first three Putney Debates, organized in collaboration with the Oxford Faculty of Law at St Mary’s Church, Putney, which have attracted audiences of over 500 people. This year’s event will build on the success of those Debates – watch this space for announcements of the list of high-profile speakers in the coming months.

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