Prof Michael Freeman delivers first Hamlyn Lecture of 2015

On 11 November 2015 the School of Law and Centre for Social Justice was pleased to host the first of the 2015 Hamlyn lectures to be delivered by Professor Michael Freeman.

The Hamlyn lectures are the most prestigious series of public lectures in law in the United Kingdom.  The first Hamlyn lecture was delivered in 1947 by Lord Denning since when the most distinguished lawyers, judges, academics and public figures have considered it a great honour to be invited to deliver the lectures.

Prof Michael Freeman delivers first Hamlyn Lecture of 2015

Professor Freeman who is Emeritus Professor of English Law at UCL is one of the most vociferous campaigners for the rights of children having written or edited over 80 books in his long and distinguished career. Fittingly the theme of his 2015 lectures is: ‘A Magna Carta’ for Children? – Rethinking Children’s Rights’. The first lecture in the series delivered at Leeds and chaired by Mr Justice Holman was provocatively titled 'Are Children Human?’. 

The Head of the School of Law, Professor Alastair Mullis, introduced the lecture which uncovered the roots of children’s rights and early supporters including Karl Marx were discussed. The rise of children’s rights in recent times and the reasons for their prior marginalisation were discussed. This led Professor Freeman to ask the question in his lecture title “are children human?” The lecture was followed by a reception and then a meal attended by members of the School of Law and the Centre for Social Justice including its Directors, Professor Michael Thomson and Dr Julie Wallbank.

The Hamlyn Trust was created in 1948 to ‘further knowledge and understanding of the law’. The Trust is administered by representatives of 6 universities, a national newspaper (The Guardian) and a distinguished retired judge (Sir Steven Sedley). The School of Law at Leeds has a close association with the Hamlyn Trust. Professor Roger Halson is a trustee and has represented the School of Law at Leeds since 2006. The School has also previously hosted lectures by Professor Nicola Lacey in 2007 and the Rt Hon Jack Straw MP, himself a Leeds University Alumnus, in 2012.