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What has the European Convention on Human Rights ever done for us?

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  • Date and time: Tuesday 1 October 2013
  • Speakers: Martin Howe QC, Professor Philip Leach, Caroline Lucas MP, Professor Alan Sked, Emily Thornberry MP.
  • Chair: Professor Francesca Klug

   Caroline LucasPhilip LeachMartin HoweFrancesca KlugAlan SkedEmily Thornberry

On the 60th anniversary of the entry into force of the European Convention on Human Rights, a panel of politicians and experts consider, what has the ECHR ever done for us?

Is it a vital outside check on the way those in power treat the people they govern, or an unwelcome and undemocratic interference in domestic affairs? Is the court an overloaded and inefficient machine, or a victim of its own success? Is the effect to prioritise the rights of the few at the expense of the interests of the many, or the realisation of a post-war commitment to the value of all human beings? What does UK positioning on ECHR membership mean for those outside our borders?

In light of senior Conservative members of the UK government canvassing the possibility of the UK leaving the Convention, this ‘Question Time’-style event will give audience members the chance to grill the panel on whether Churchill’s legacy has passed its use-by date or remains just as vital today as it was sixty years ago.


Martin Howe QC was a member of the coalition government’s Commission on a Bill of Rights.

Philip Leach is  professor of human rights law at Middlesex University and Director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre.

Caroline Lucas is the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion.

Emily Thornberry is Shadow Attorney General.

Alan Sked is professor of international history at LSE.

Francesca Klug (chair) is Professorial Research Fellow in the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and Director of the Human Rights Futures Project.

Audio Recording

An audio recording of the event is online here