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Thursday, 6 May 2021, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Online Lecture

Should The State Be More Candid About Sudden Death?

Professor Leslie Thomas QC, Pete Weatherby QC

Should there be a legal duty on the state to be more transparent in sudden and unexpected death cases? 

The lecture discusses the duty of candour, namely the principle that public authorities must assist the court with full and accurate explanations of the facts relevant to the issues the court must decide, rather than the authority’s objective being to win at all costs. 

What would a new legal duty look like? Who would enforce it? What would the sanctions be?

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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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Pete is a member of Garden Court North Chambers. He is a human rights barrister who practices domestically in public inquiries, inquests, criminal, public, prison and police law. 

He has appeared in a number of high profile public inquiries, including those relating to the Grenfell Tower fire, and the fatal police shooting of Anthony Grainger. He is currently involved in the Manchester Arena and Undercover Policing inquiries.

He led the team representing 22 of the bereaved families at the new Hillsborough inquests which concluded in 2016.

Pete is a board member of the charity INQUEST, which assists bereaved families following controversial deaths, in particular where the state is implicated. He has regularly been involved in law reform, in particular regarding miscarriages of justice, misconduct in public office, and the duty of candour. He is currently acting for 3,000 family members bereaved by the covid virus, demanding a public inquiry into the Government’s preparedness and response to the pandemic.

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