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Does Affirmative Action Create
A panel discussion jointly organised by the
UCL Institute for Human Rights and The Equal Rights Trust
Thursday 19 June 2014
6pm-7.30pm followed by a drinks reception
Dr Gay McDougall - Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Fordham University School of Law, former UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues
Helen Mountfield QC - Barrister at Matrix Chambers
Judge Kate O’Regan - Judge of the South African Constitutional Court 1994-2009
Dr Dimitrina Petrova - Executive Director of The Equal Rights Trust
Professor Theodore Shaw - Professor of Professional Practice in Law at Columbia University School of Law
Chaired by Sir Bob Hepple QC, Chair of The Equal Rights Trust
About this event
Affirmative action to advance equality is a controversial issue in many countries. Black economic empowerment and employment equity measures have not made much headway in undoing apartheid's legacy in South Africa and racial criteria in university admissions in the USA have been contested in the courts. At the same time constitutional provisions favouring Bumiputera in Malaysia put members of the group in a privileged position that arguably amounts to discrimination. In Britain, a different but also debated approach is taken – that of “positive duties” – in the new generation of equality legislation.
Are affirmative action measures negatively divisive or are they necessary if we are to achieve equality? If they are necessary, when is the use of such measures justifiable? Are sex, race or disability quotas fair? If not, are there better strategies?
The distinguished panellists will clarify and explore the advantages and disadvantages of affirmative action policies favouring certain disadvantaged groups, as well as the British approach to positive duties. They will also engage in a discussion with the public on this contentious issue.
When & Where
UCL Faculty of Laws
For almost 200 years, UCL Laws has been one of the leading centres of legal education in the world. Recognised as offering an outstanding educational experience to our students, we combine a strong theoretical foundation in the law with practical teaching from world-leading academics and practitioners.
Ranked first in the UK for its research environment, the UCL Laws community of intellectually dynamic scholars responds to today’s global challenges. Through our research, we help to shape government policy, national and international law and its practice. As part of Legal London, we attract the leading figures in the field to contribute to our vibrant programme of events, informing public debate around social, legal, environmental and economic issues.