Excess of power and absence of mechanisms of control often lead to abuse, monopoly or corruption. Cori Crider and Rosa Curling are co-directors of Foxglove, a British platform that fights against the power of algorithmic systems managed by giants such as Facebook or the CIA. They are working with Mercy Mutemi (who joins the event via video link) in a claim against Meta/Facebook and Sama for the appalling conditions in which content moderators are forced to work in Nairobi. Zelda Perkins is co-creator of Can’t Buy My Silence, a campaign that raises awareness of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) used to threaten people with legal consequences, to cover up abuse and in some cases criminal acts. They discuss how speaking the truth has helped them fight oppressive power, with Emma Graham-Harrison, International Affairs Correspondent for the Observer.
Is abortion law a litmus test for democracy and the rule of law? Adequate protection of reproductive rights should be viewed as an essential element of the legal fabric of democratic society, argues the academic. She examines the relationship between reproductive rights, democracy, and the rule of law, taking as a case study, Poland, which, like Hungary, Brazil, USA, has experienced two processes: anti-constitutional backsliding and restrictive abortion reforms. Long before these processes became apparent the implementation of reproductive rights, especially by doctors and law enforcement agencies, indicated that the rule of law was weakly institutionalised.
Britain’s famously unwritten constitution is coming under unprecedented strain. Power-hungry governments view checks and balances with contempt. Is now the time to strengthen our ancient patchwork of norms and conventions – and write the rules down in one place? Speakers include Mary Ann Sieghart, journalist, author and broadcaster; and Helena Kennedy QC, barrister and human rights advocate. Chaired by Alan Rusbridger, Editor of Prospect magazine.
Leslie Thomas QC is author of Do Right and Fear No One, an account of an idealistic and outspoken lawyer’s coming-of-age and a powerful portrait of the lives of those he has fought for. Lady Brenda Hale retired as President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, the UK’s most senior judge, in January 2020. Baroness Helena Kennedy QC is a distinguished lawyer and advocate of civil liberties and human rights. These three exceptional experts talk about speaking the truth and the power of law with writer, editor and translator Daniel Hahn.
Lady Hale is the first woman to have been appointed to the Supreme Court and the youngest and first Commissioner to be selected for the Law Commission. Famed for her insect brooches and dubbed the ‘Beyoncé of the legal world’ for her pioneering reputation among students and young lawyers, she presents her memoir of a bold, glass-ceiling-breaking woman. She talks to Helena Kennedy, one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers who has spent her professional life giving a voice to those with the least power within the system, defending civil liberties and promoting human rights.
In April 1944 the teenager Rudolf Vrba planned a daring escape from Auschwitz. After hiding in a pile of wooden planks for three days while 3,000 SS men and their bloodhounds searched for him, Vrba and fellow escapee Fred Wetzler eventually crossed Nazi-occupied Poland on foot. He produced from memory a 30-page report revealing the scale of Auschwitz, which reached Roosevelt, Churchill and the Pope, and saved 200,000 Jews. This is the story of a complex man who would seek escape again and again – first from Auschwitz, then from his past, even from his own name. Journalist and broadcaster Freedland is author of the Sam Bourne novels.