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Thursday, 3 February 2022, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

The Brixton Riots: Policing the Black Community in the Last 40 Years

Professor Leslie Thomas QC

Since the 1981 Brixton riots, many things have changed in British policing. However, Black people are still nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, and three times more likely to be arrested; Black people are far more likely to be searched, arrested and prosecuted for using drugs, and yet are no more likely to use drugs than white people. 

This lecture explores the persistence of police racism and what we can do about it.


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Professor Leslie Thomas QC was appointed Gresham Professor of Law in 2020. 

He is one of the top rated silks in the country, ranked leading individual by both Chambers and the Legal 500 (2020). He has been a QC since 2014. He was educated at a South London comprehensive and studied law at Kingston University. 

Professor Thomas is a leading expert in claims against the police and other public authorities, and claims against corporate bodies, with expertise across the full spectrum of civil wrongs, civil litigation, human rights, data and privacy claims. He is an expert in all aspects of inquests and public inquiries, having represented many bereaved families, in particular where there has been abuse of state or corporate power. 

As well as winning cases, Thomas has won a string of awards for his work and has been called to the Bar in several other international legal jurisdictions. 

Until 31 January 2020, Professor Thomas served as a joint Heads of Chambers at Garden Court Chambers. He is a Bencher to the Inner Temple, where he is also Deputy Master for inclusivity and diversity. He is on the Bar Standards Board, the bar’s regulatory body. He has also served on the management committee of Liberty and the Central London Law Centre. He is also Visiting Professor of Law at Goldsmiths University of London

Professor Thomas's lecture series are as follows:

2021/22 Race, Colonialism and Power in the Legal System

2020/21 Death, The State and Human Rights


All lectures by the Gresham Professors of Law can be accessed here

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