Scarman lectures

Every two years or so the Commission hosts the Scarman lecture, in honour of Lord Scarman, the first Chairman of the Law Commission. The lecture is attended by members of the senior judiciary, lawyers, parliamentarians and government officials.

Scarman lecture 2015

The fifth in our series of Scarman Lectures was given by Sir Geoffrey Palmer KCMG AC QC at Middle Temple Hall, London, on 24 March 2015.

Sir Geoffrey was President of the Law Commission of New Zealand from 2005 to 2010. He has served as Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of New Zealand, and is currently a Distinguished Fellow of the Victoria University of Wellington Law School.

In his lecture, The Law Reform Enterprise: Evaluating the Past and Charting the Future, Sir Geoffrey Palmer looks back at the original vision that lay behind the establishment of the Law Commissions of Great Britain and examines their performance over 50 years. Building on the Law Commission experience, Sir Geoffrey sets out the elements necessary for a rigorous, effective and successful law reform process, and asks what can government, specifically Westminster, learn from the Law Commissions about making “accessible…intelligible, clear and predictable” law. 

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A transcript is also available.

Legal Education Foundation

We are grateful to the Legal Education Foundation for their generous sponsorship of the 2015 Scarman Lecture. The Foundation exists to promote the advancement of legal education and the study of law in all its branches.

Previous Scarman lectures

What you can do with Rights (transcript, video)
South Africa’s experience - over the years since the end of apartheid and the creation of democracy - of constitutionalism and the rule of law, and of rights-talk.
25 January 2012, Justice Edwin Cameron, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa

Judicial Stimulation of Legislative Change: A View from the United States (transcript)
Third Leslie Scarman Lecture, delivered on 11 February 2010 by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Human Rights and the Battle on Terror (transcript)
Second Leslie Scarman lecture, delivered on 13 February 2008 by Professor Aharon Barak, former President of the Supreme Court of Israel.

Law Reform and Human Rights: Scarman’s Great Legacy (transcript)
Inaugural Leslie Scarman lecture, delivered on 20 February 2006 by the Hon Justice Michael Kirby AC CMG.

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