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Open and Shut Cases - Professor Simon Lee's Inaugural Lecture
Thu 4 May 2017, 17:00 – 18:00 BST
Open and Shut Cases – Professor Simon Lee’s Inaugural lecture
Join us in the Berrill Theatre and online on Thursday 4 May, from 5.00 – 6.00pm for Professor Simon Lee’s inaugural lecture on Open and Shut Cases, which comes at a time when many can be seen as having closed minds in the Brexit era and following the election of President Trump.
Simon is Professor of Law at The Open University. His interest in human rights and contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland provides material for his inaugural lecture. He will begin by tracing diverse sagas where much of the media and the public mistakenly assume that a case is open and shut, looking back at his own immediate comments on the conviction of Winston Silcott in 1987 for the murder, while on bail for another murder charge, of PC Keith Blakelock, and applying some wise words of Sir Robert Megarry in a different matter:
“As everybody who has anything to do with the law well knows, the path of the law is strewn with examples of open and shut cases which, somehow, were not; of unanswerable charges which, in the event, were completely answered; of inexplicable conduct which was fully explained; of fixed and unalterable determinations that, by discussion, suffered a change."
Megarry J, John v Rees  Ch 345, 402.
Simon will broaden out the discussion to address more recent examples from law, sport, literature and university life, from accusations of plagiarism and cheating to political U-turns, right up to the recent attack on Westminster, asking what possessed Channel 4 News, perceived to be an archetypal proponent of political correctness and opponent of ‘fake news’, to name the wrong person as the attacker.
He will look at the latest research from the USA on whether judges, lawyers, law students and the general public think differently and he will question how we can encourage students and the wider public to be open-minded.
Finally, he will reflect on Allan Bloom’s challenging book, The Closing of the American Mind from 1987 and the battle-cries of ‘post-truth’ and ‘fake news’ in 2017. He will conclude by encouraging open-mindedness in the decades to come.
Simon Lee became Professor of Law at The Open University in December 2015 and is now also Director of Citizenship & Governance Research. He is a Fellow of St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, and Emeritus Professor of Jurisprudence, Queen’s University, Belfast. He was a Brackenbury Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford (1976-1979) and a Harkness Fellow at Yale Law School (1979-1980). After being a lecturer in law at Trinity College, Oxford, and King’s College London, he became professor of jurisprudence at Queen’s (1989-1995) and served as the dean of the faculty of law. He has returned to research in law and related disciplines after leading organisations including Liverpool Hope University College, Leeds Metropolitan University and the Cambridge Theological Federation.
There will, of course, be time for questions as well as networking, discussion opportunities and refreshments after the event.
I very much hope you will be able to attend what promises to be an inspiring event – the fourth in the Open University’s 2017 ‘OpenMinds’ series of public engagement events
16:30 Refreshments available (arrive early and enjoy our pre-event display and trailer video)
17.05 Talk commences
17:45 Q&A session
18:00 Drinks reception and networking opportunity
Can't join in person? Watch the event live online (link will be live before start of event).
If you are viewing the event by livestream, please do take the opportunity to have your questions answered by our speakers LIVE during the event by posting in the COMMENTS BOX.
Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event? No
Do I have to be a student at the OU to attend? No. This event is open to the public.
I cannot attend on the day. Will the event be recorded? The event will be livestreamed so you can join on the night from any location. Register via Facebook and post your questions during the Talk. A recording will be made available post event.
What are my transport/parking options getting to the event? Ample parking is available outside the venue. Please use East Parking. If you have any special requirements please contact the events organiser. Map of the OU campus.
Where can I contact the organiser with any questions? Contact the team: OpenMinds-Talks@open.ac.uk
Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event? No. Please go to the registration desk on arrival your name will be on the list.
The name on the registration/ticket doesn't match the attendee. Is that okay? Please let the organisers know in advance of any name change.