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Annual Human Rights Symposium, and Lecture with Prof Conor Gearty


This hybrid symposium gathered leading academic experts who explored contemporary challenges to social and economic or labour rights and the current state of these rights. It was followed by a keynote lecture by the distinguished scholar, Professor Conor Gearty.

The Symposium started with Goldsmiths Law’s Dr Dimitrios Kivotidis and Dr Aristi Volou reflecting on the socio-political backdrop, domestically and internationally, against which our annual symposium on human rights would be situated, while also providing illustrations of how the LLB Law, LLB Law with Politics and Human rights and LLM in International Human Rights programmes in our department place strong emphasis on developing cutting edge knowledge and understand around socio-economic rights.

The panel on social rights, chaired by Dr Aristi Volou.  The first presentation by Dr Koldo Casla emphasised the central importance of the right to property for social and economic rights and the need to re-conceptualise this right, taking examples from domestic law and foreign legal systems. Dr Meghan Campbell’s powerful presentation followed, which highlighted how courts and the society turn a bling eye to women’s socioeconomic inequalities. The need for courts to take a more active role in bringing governments to account was emphasised in Dr Campbell’s presentation. Dr Luke Graham’s presentation brought to the fore the State’s problematic reliance on charitable assistance, which can be seen as a deflection of its responsibility under international law, while Ms Clare James has shown how the right to food is eroded in the UK, an advanced economy, due to the disproportionate number of people lacking access to basic food.

The second panel, on economic and labour rights, was chaired by Dr Dimitrios Kivotidis. Dr Maria Tzanakopoulou kickstarted the debate. Drawing inspiration from recent cases of litigation concerning the rights of workers in the gig economy, such as Uber and Deliveroo, Dr Tzanakopoulou explored different forms of struggle and resistance to algorithmic exploitation. Dr Ioannis Katsaroumpas took up the theme of resistance in his presentation of UK labour law as a ‘tragic hero’, in the original sense of the term, trying in futility to escape a fate of juridification. Approaching the Minimum Service Levels Act 2023 as a potential neoliberal ‘hybris’, Dr Katsaroumpas explored the possible paths of redemption: political, legal, and social. Last but not least, Dr. Ricardo Buendia further solidified the presentation of the Minimum Service Levels Act 2023 as a neoliberal ‘hybris’ by arguing that the Act does not draw inspiration from ILO standards but from dictatorial and neoliberal Chile.

Our annual human rights (keynote) lecture followed, by the ever inspiring, highly distinguished human rights scholar, Professor Conor Gearty, of the LSE and Matrix Chambers, who took us on a journey and showed us the false divide between civil and political rights and socio-economic rights. Professor Gearty emphasised the anachronism of dividing the two sets of rights and called on the European Court of Human Rights to adopt a holistic and an interactional understanding of ECHR rights that draws on socioeconomic rights (and the European Social Charter in particular).

The day ended with the Head of the Law Department, Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, offering concluding observations that brought the themes explored during the day together, to extrapolate from them to the right-wing political climate that has given rise to attacks to the European Court of Human Rights and the ECHR, distracting our academic human rights community, and human rights activists in the UK, from the optimistic, forward-looking work urgently required when we’re confronted with epoch-defying challenges concerning socio-economic rights, at both the domestic and international level.


Access to leading law firms, and commercial awareness


Annual visit to Linklaters LLP

Annual visit to Linklaters LLP (February 2024)

Our Law Department receives significant attention for its emphasis on topics that are closely in line with the social justice ethos and politically active atmosphere at Goldsmiths, notably human rights, criminal justice and the interconnection between Law, Politics and Sociology.

However, we apply the same social justice lens to commercial and corporate law, and have developed an outstanding focus on Law and technology and 21st century law. Let us explain further.

We give our students unique access to a range of law firms, including those in the ‘Magic Circle’ (prestigious multinational law firms). We incorporate in our degree an annual workshop and visit to Linklaters’ offices, submit our students to Freshfields’ Stephen Lawrence Scholarship scheme, and are partnering up with Clifford Chance to give our students access to their award-winning Spark programme for exceptional first-year law students. We also organise annual career insights and training contract visits to their offices.

Mishcon de Reya, one of the largest independent law firms in London, with niche areas of practice including AI and machine learning, copyright and design, art law, fintech, business immigration, and politics and law (they led on the Miller 2 case against Boris Johnson in relation to the prorogation of Parliament in 2019), is co-delivering our Art Law module, and supporting our AI and the Law module, from their London office. Our students learn the law in these modern areas from within the offices of a pioneering Law firm.

Mishcon de Reya visit (February 2024)

Law and the art market lecture at Mishcon de Reya (February 2024)

Visits to and workshops in law firms are embedded across all our modules and include a range of disciplines and career development opportunities, from becoming an immigration law adviser (at law firm Kingsley Napley) to working as an in-house lawyer in leading mobile, broadband and entertainment company Liberty Global (offering services in cutting-edge areas such as gaming and cloud computing, and servicing major clients such as Virgin and O2).

And for students who feel they might be interested in future career opportunities in media and journalism, our close collaboration with the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Department at Goldsmiths ensures they get access to distinctive modules covering subjects like podcasting and social media in everyday life. Our students could also become student journalists publishing work for top human rights awareness web platform, EachOther, which we embed in our LLB programme.

Through an ever-present social justice and human rights lens, our students build commercial awareness in sector-leading ways, in contact with these prestigious law firms, in the context of studying a fascinating array of modules including AI and the Law, Corporate Law, Commercial Law and International Trade Agreements, Art Law, EU Law in the UK, Trusts, Land Law, the Solicitors Qualifying Examination module and Intellectual Property.