A Human Rights Assessment of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill


Since the introduction of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill by the Thatcher government of the mid 1980s, Universities have been under a statutory duty to take reasonably practicable steps to secure freedom of speech within the law for members, students, employees and visiting speakers. In the wake of a number of recent, high-profile cases in which academics and others have faced being no platformed and worse, the government is arguing that the existing duty is inadequate to satisfactorily protect speech rights on campus, and has introduced a Bill into Parliament with the stated intention of enhancing the protection. In this session, Tom Cross contrasts the Bill with the current law and considers its implications. In particular: is the premise for the Bill well-founded, and is the enforcement toolkit which it envisages likely to be effective?

Speaker: Tom Cross
Discussant: Arif Ahmed MBE
Chair: Tarunabh Khaitan
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