The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP

MP Jack Straw talks law

The Rt Hon Jack Straw MP delivered a lecture on ‘The Human Rights Act and Europe’ at the University of Exeter at 6.15pm on Tuesday 13 November.

The keynote speech forms part of the 2012 Hamlyn Lecture series, which are free-of-charge national public lectures aimed at encouraging a greater understanding of the Common Law.

The Hamlyn Trust was created in 1948, by Miss Emma Warburton Hamlyn in memory of her father, a solicitor and Justice of the Peace in Torquay, Devon. The object of the Trust is to further knowledge and understanding of the law among members of the public in addition to lawyers. This is achieved through an annual series of public lectures by distinguished judges, legal practitioners, academic lawyers and other eminent speakers. It has become the most prestigious series of lectures in the Common Law world. The first lecture in 1949 was delivered by the Rt Hon Lord Denning on, ‘Freedom under the Law’, with  subsequent issues raised over the years including ‘Trial by Jury’, ‘Protection of the Public’ and ‘Law and Order’.

Chantal Stebbings, a trustee of the Hamlyn Trust and Professor of Law and Legal History at the University of Exeter, said: “The importance of these lectures is best described by the wishes of Emma Hamlyn herself, who felt that people in the UK should be aware of the privileges of the laws and customs which we enjoy in comparison with other European peoples. Emma was an intelligent woman of strong character, a lover of her country and she inherited an interest in law. It was important to her that as citizens of the United Kingdom we should recognise our responsibilities and the obligations attached to our Common Law and its importance and usefulness within our daily lives.”

Emma Hamlyn was from an old and well known family in Devon. She was cultured and well travelled and during these trips she gathered impressions of comparative studies and theories of law and was interested in how different cultures functioned. In 1941 she died at the age of eighty, an exceptional woman for her time and following her death the Hamlyn Trust came into existence.

The annual Hamlyn Lectures consist of a series of three lectures delivered by a single invited speaker. This year, Jack Straw began his series at the University of Leeds talking about the ‘Future of the Criminal Courts’. His second lecture took place in Exeter on ‘The Human Rights Act and Europe’ and his final lecture will be at the Inner Temple Hall, in London on 4 December on the theme of ‘Judicial Appointments’.

For further information about the Hamlyn Lecture at the University of Exeter in the Alumni Lecture Theatre, The Forum, contact:

Date: 13 November 2012