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Monday, 22 November 2021, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

Free Thinking and the Rule of Law

Professor Thomas Grant QC

The law has been used to impose religious and moral conformity and uniformity of thought at many times in history, perhaps most (in)famously in the trial of Socrates and the heresy trials of Giordano Bruno and Galileo. More recently the obscenity laws and equality legislation have challenged the limits of free speech. 

This lecture will explore how law has been used to respond to and try to delimit the expression of unpopular or challenging ideas.


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Thomas is Visiting Gresham Professor of Politics and Law. He is a Queen's Counsel and member of Maitland Chambers. 

He practises in the commercial chancery, fraud, professional negligence, company, property, and art and entertainment fields, as well as being instructed in a wide range of general chancery and commercial litigation. Thomas has a particular  interest in fraud claims and is well known for his expertise in obtaining and defending  freezing and related interim orders. He has acted in numerous high profile cases, including the claim brought by the estate of Francis Bacon against the Marlborough Gallery, the litigation arising out of construction of the Wembley stadium arch, JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov (the largest fraud claim in English legal history), and the proceedings following the death of Boris Berezovsky. 

Thomas is the author of Jeremy Hutchinson’s Case Histories (2015, John Murray), a Sunday Times bestseller, and Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials that Defined Modern Britain 2019, John Murray), which was a Times and Telegraph book of the year and is a Waterstones paperback of the year for 2020. He is a regular contributor to the Times and has written for a wide variety of publications. He has also edited or contributed to a number of legal textbooks, including Lender Claims (2010) and Civil Fraud (2018). He is a frequent speaker on legal and historical issues. 

Thomas was appointed Visiting Gresham Professor of Politics and Law in 2020/21. 

Thomas's lecture series is as follows:

2021/22 The Misrule of Law

2020/21 The Politics of the Courtroom

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