Our 20th Annual Conference was a sell out this year. Whether you missed it or not, here are just a few of the excellent speeches made by our outstanding guest speakers:

In the face of pressing human rights issues, PLP’s annual conference in October asked the timely question: what are the limits of legal power? 

A fantastic line-up of speakers joined us for our 20th annual look at trends and forecasts in judicial review. The discussions ranged from climate and environmental justice to government impunity and human rights beyond the ECHR, as well as recent public law cases and the forces that have shaped judicial review domestically in the last 20 years. 

Shameem Ahmad, CEO, PLP 

In her first conference as PLP’s CEO, Shameem Ahmad started the day with a reminder of how vital the application and development of public law is to people like our client ‘K,’ whose challenge to the DWP ensured that it must exercise greater discretion on recovering debt through benefits payments.  

As ‘K’s case and others like it showed, when power is unchecked, those without privilege can suffer, weakening society as a whole; greater checks on power strengthen our systems, which have been stretched to breaking point in recent years. 

Read Shameem’s introduction here

Professor Leslie Thomas KC, Garden Court Chambers 

Professor Leslie Thomas KC gave the opening address and invited us to reimagine our legal systems in a way that incorporates restorative, transformative, and community-based approaches. 

Professor Thomas encouraged us to focus not just on reforming structures but on redistributing power equitably to ensure that every voice, irrespective of its socio-economic or racial background, resonates with equal potency.

Read Leslie’s opening speech here

Charlotte Kilroy KC, Blackstone Chambers 

When it comes to immigration and terrorism, why don’t the usual rules of law-making apply? Charlotte Kilroy KC, Blackstone Chambers, spoke about exceptionalism from a constitutional perspective, and specifically in the context of anti-terrorism and immigration law. 

As we have seen, in times of national stress or turmoil, the executive will frequently resort to exceptional legislative measures which threaten the fundamental rights of small and unpopular minorities.

Read Charlotte’s talk on the history of exceptionalism here

Nani Jansen Reventlow, Founder, Systemic Justice 

Our closing speech came from Nani Jansen Reventlow, founder of Systemic Justice and associate at Doughty Street Chambers. She reflected on the problem of a “law first” approach, in which lawyers neglect the communities they work with, and challenged us to embrace intersectionality and let go of superiority. 

Lawyers, said Nani, need to learn to work in partnership and in deference to communities, remembering that we are not the hero of the story.

Read Nani’s thoughts on the future of strategic litigation here