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Immersive teaching

Special feature on “Public Law and the Human Rights Act”

All modules at Goldsmiths Law engage leading thinkers and policy experts, who join forces with our dynamic academic faculty to enrich the learning experience, especially through an immersive learning approach that brings to life, and allows us to deconstruct, academic theory.

Dr Lena Holzer, who is leading on Public Law this year, has integrated a broad range of guest lectures and activities, including from eminent Visiting Professors at Goldsmiths Law.

“The immersive teaching approach as employed in the Public Law module enables students to grasp the real-life implications of making and implementing the law. It shows law in action and therefore makes law less of an abstract concept and more of a tool of the everyday,notes Lena.

In this second term, the module will expose students to an exciting line-up of guest lecturers and activities.

First, we will be welcoming back to the module, Dominic Grieve, again this year. We are thrilled that the former Attorney General for England and Wales and former MP for the constituency of Beaconsfield, will be teaching in our LLB Law programme for a third year now; he joined us a Visiting Professor, in 2020-21 academic year, with a focus on the interaction between Politics and Law. Dominic will be delivering a guest lecture on the public law impacts and the constitutional crisis created by Brexit on 17 January 2023. With his extensive background in law and government, Dominic will provide a unique perspective on these important issues.

Next, we are delighted to welcome back Eleanor Hourigan, whose contributions have also become an annual feature of this module. Eleanor is a leading expert in human rights who currently acts as the Counsel for Human Rights and International Law to the House of Commons and Secretary to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Eleanor will be joining us for a guest lecture on the role of parliamentarians in the protection of human rights in the UK on 7 February 2023.

Additionally, we are thrilled to have Adam Wagner, also a Visiting Professor in our Department (since September 2019. Adam is a leading human rights barrister and commentator with specific expertise on the human rights impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. He will be joining us for two guest lectures, addressing the human rights impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on 14 February 2023 and the Equality Act 2010 on 28 March 2023. Adam has appeared in numerous high-profile cases before the UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights; his insights and practical experiences will be of great value to our students.

The Head of the Department, Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, commented: “Our Visiting Professors who are contributing to Public Law this year have been at the forefront of shaping public policy and debate. In addressing the constitutional crisis created by Brexit, the former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve – who has had a long and impressive career in the Conservative governments and party – will be reflecting on constitutional developments that he and colleagues had set in motion themselves and on political action they had been central to. Eleanor Hourigan will be similarly drawing on many years of operating from the centre of key parliamentary committees affecting the operation of human rights, while Adam Wagner will be sharing with students invaluable insights acquired in his numerous contributions to television and radio in the UK, as the key commentator in the country on Covid legislation, as well as his deep theoretical knowledge on the topic, as expertly captured in his recent book, Emergency State.

Public Law class during their visit of the UK Supreme Court in March 2022

The module also includes a broad range of experiential learning activities including a parliamentary debating exercise and a visit to the UK Supreme Court. The students will have the opportunity to observe the Court’s chambers, participate in an interactive workshop where key Supreme Court cases will be discussed, visit the historic exhibition and learn more about the inner workings of the highest court in the country.

These guest lectures and activities are designed to provide our students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the fundamental role that public law and the Human Rights Act 1998 play in our society and politics.

In view of the broader interest of the topics taught in the guest lectures scheduled this term, we are delighted to open them up to other students and colleagues at Goldsmiths. If you are interested to attend, please email re the dates below:

All lectures are on Tuesdays, 11-1, at the cinema, in the Richard Hoggart Building:

Dominic Grieve on constitutional crisis created by Brexit, January 17

Eleanor Hourigan, on the role of Parliamentarians in the protection of human rights, February 7

Adam Wagner on the human rights impacts of Covid, February 14

Adam Wagner on the Equality Act, March 28