UWE hosts annual lecture of Centre for Legal Research

Issue date: 16 February 2006


Justice logo 'Five years of a Human Rights Act: What difference has it made?'

Roger Smith, Director of Justice, a leading human rights organisation, will deliver this year's Annual Lecture of the Centre for Legal Research at the University of the West of England. The event will take place on Wednesday 22 February 2006 at 18:15, in the Glendinning Lecture Theatre, (2D67), Frenchay Campus, UWE.

The Human Rights Act 1998, which entered into force on 2 October 2000, has been described as the most significant statement of human rights in domestic law since the 1689 Bill of Rights. The Act seeks to give domestic effect to rights and freedoms guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights, so that people can rely on their rights guaranteed by the Convention before domestic courts, rather than having to incur the cost and delay of taking a case to Strasbourg. However, the Act continues to be controversial. On the one had, it has been criticised for encouraging a limited view of human rights, but on the other, has led to serious tension between the government and the judiciary.

Roger Smith says, β€œIn this lecture I will explore the difference that five years of implementation of the Human Rights Act has made – to lawyers and judges, politicians, the public and the constitution of the UK. Should the Act be amended to reflect new pressures such as those raised by terrorism and how, in general, should it develop?”

Roger Smith has been Director of JUSTICE since November 2001. Before that he was Director of Legal Education and Training at the Law Society from 1998 to 2001, and for twelve years was Director of the Legal Action Group, a charity dedicated to improving access to justice. Roger has also been the solicitor to the Child Poverty Action Group 1980-86 and Director of the West Hampstead Law Centre. He is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Kent.

-ENDS-

Editor's notes

The lecture is open to the public but places must be pre-booked by calling:
Helena Eagles, Centre for Legal Research Annual Lecture, UWE, Frenchay Campus, Bristol, BS16 1QY
Tel: 0117 32 83878, Fax: 0117 32 82268 or E-mail: law@uwe.ac.uk

Background:
1. Roger Smith is the author of a wide range of publications, particularly on publicly funded legal services, including Children and the Courts (Sweet and Maxwell) 1980, Shaping the Future: new directions in legal services (Legal Action Group) 1995, Justice: redressing the balance (LAG) 1997, Legal aid contracting: lessons from North America. He was legal journalist of the year in 1997. Roger is also a member of the Legal Services Commission's public interest advisory panel.
2. The Faculty of Law at the University of the West of England is one of the top-rated `new university' law departments in the country, with a rating of 4 in the most recent official research assessment exercise carried out in 2001. This reflects the fact that many staff in the School are engaged in research of national and international significance. The Faculty's major research interests lie in the fields of domestic commercial law, comparative law, criminal justice, European law, environmental and planning law, human rights law, insolvency law, legal education and the legal professions, licensing law, public law, public international law and refugee law.
For more information on the Centre for Legal Research see: http://law.uwe.ac.uk/school/research/centre/index.cfm

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