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Baby Boomers on Trial

Department of Law, Grantham Research Institute and LSE IPA Literary Festival event supported by Matrix Chambers

Date: Friday 28 February 2014 
Time: 6-8.30pm
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building
Judge: Professor Judith Rees
Prosecution: Richard Hermer QC, Alice Stapleton
Defence: Richard Gordon QC, Zahra Al-Rikabi
Expert Witnesses: Professor Oriana Bandiera, Shiv Malik, Emma Soames, Bob Ward
Chair: Professor Conor Gearty

The post-war generation stands accused of wrecking the world for the generations that follow them. It is those younger people - the victims of this excess - who are the prosecuting authorities in this unique legal proceedings.

The charge sheet is long. The Baby Boomers may have signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the later international covenants but by their actions they have destroyed or greatly diminished the substance of the rights it contains for Generations X and Y, and all the others still to come. The resources of the world have been so plundered that the basics of a decent life - water; food; fresh air - can no longer be taken for granted. Nor even can a habitable world be assumed, for many already alive who have the misfortune to be born at the wrong time. Baby Boomers have breached the trust they owed to the world's peoples coming after them. They stand accused as multiple violators of fundamental human rights.

The Baby Boomers defence will, though, be robust. They inherited a world laid waste by war and rebuilt it, staying clear of further war despite the power of the weapons they had to hand. They evolved a welfare state to provide security for all people and brought freedom to colonies the world over. The world they handed over was in decent shape. It is generations X and Y, with their compulsion to embrace the market, their lack of any kind of social solidarity and their failure to think imaginatively and together to solve the issues that confront them (much smaller than anything they faced) that are the true culprits for the mess we are in.

So who is right? The charges against the Baby Boomers will be brought by a team of legal experts, backed by human rights and other specialist witnesses. The Baby Boomers will be defended by an equally distinguished legal team. Overseen by Professor Judith Rees, the trial will involve an audience verdict and then one delivered by a mixed jury of young and old people, specially convened to hear the case.

This event will be followed by a complimentary drinks reception. 

Zahra Al-Rikabi is a barrister at Brick Court Chambers, who commenced practice in September 2013.

Oriana Bandiera is professor of economics at LSE and director of STICERD.

Richard Gordon of Brick Court Chambers is widely recognised as one of the leading silks in administrative and public law, constitutional law and human rights/civil liberties. He is a visiting professor at University College London and honorary professor at the University of Hong Kong. He is currently on the Panel of Queen's Counsel as an advocate for the Welsh Government.

Richard Hermer of Matrix Chambers' practice spans public and private law litigation within both the domestic and international spheres. He was called to the Bar in 1993 and took silk in 2009 after 16 years in practice.

Shiv Malik (@shivmalik1) is an investigative journalist and the co-author of Jilted Generation: How Britain Has Bankrupted Its Youth. 

Judith Rees is co-director of the Grantham Research Institute, director of the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and president of the Royal Geographical Society. 

Emma Soames (@emmasoames) has worked as a journalist and editor since a baby Baby Boomer in Paris in 1972 (French Vogue) Since then she has worked on magazines and national newspapers and edited a range of magazines from the Literary Review to Tatler, from the Telegraph Magazine to her last fulltime editing role at Saga Magazine, turning it into a title aimed squarely at Baby Boomers. She is now a columnist and commentator across radio TV and print.

Alice Stapleton (@Alice_LifeCoach) is the project manager at Matrix Chambers. She is also a Career/Life Coach, working specifically with Generation Y and those experiencing a Quarter-Life Crisis, having recently completed academic research in to the unique challenges facing this age group.

Bob Ward is policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Unit.

This event forms part of  the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2014, taking place from Monday 24 February - Saturday 1 March 2014, with the theme 'Reflections'.

Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSEbabyboomers

Briefing Notes

Download the briefing notes for this event, which give some background to the trial:

Baby Boomers on Trial briefing notes (pdf)

You can also download the charge sheet and defence statement.

Charge Sheet (pdf)

Defence Statement (pdf)

Podcast & Video

A podcast and video of this event is available to download from Baby Boomers on Trial

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email info@cpduk.co.uk).

LSE Literary Festival 2014