The Putney Debates 2019 were held on 13-14 March at St Mary's Church, Putney, in association with the University of Oxford Law Faculty, to address the constitutional implications of the EU Referendum result for our judiciary.
Debaters examine the impact of the ‘Enemies of the People’ controversy and threats to the independence of the judiciary posed by populist movements in the UK and further afield.
In this session, Ezeqiuel Gonzalez Ocantos, Oxford Professor in Politics, expressed an optimistic vision that progressive judgments by international courts such as the ECJ have the power to embolden national courts to expand human rights; Joshua Rozenberg follows up with insights from his interview with President of the UK Supreme Court Lady Hale, who told him that the Lord Chancellor could have done more to support the judges following the 'Enemies of the People' controversy, and that the damage may be long-term:
In addressing these issues, the speakers draw on a variety of case studies across Europe and beyond where the courts are under attack, and consider whether there are common causes, or whether each case is different: a product of its history and circumstances.
Session II: Is Judicial Independence Under Attack? If So, How - and Why?
1.30–3.30pm, Thursday 14th March
Chair: Denis Galligan, Oxford Socio-Legal Professor and Putney Debates convenor
Ezequiel Gonzalez Ocantos, Associate Professor in Politics & International Relations, Oxford
Joshua Rozenberg, renowned legal commentator
Katarína Šipulová, Senior Researcher, Judicial Studies Institute, Masaryk University, Brno
Bogdan Iancu, Associate Professor, University of Bucharest
Daniel Smilov, Political Scientist, and Programme Director at the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
Amir Paz-Fuchs, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Sussex
John W Adams, Adjunct Professor in Political Science, Rutgers University
Nick Friedman, Biegun Warburg Junior Research Fellow in Law, Oxford
Frank Vibert, Senior Visiting Fellow, London School of Economics, formerly UN and World Bank