Conor Gearty

Conor Gearty is a professor of human rights law at the LSE and a barrister at Matrix chambers. His books include On Fantasy Island: Britain, Europe and Human Rights.

In the Shallow End

Conor Gearty, 27 January 2022

RobertReed became president of the United Kingdom Supreme Court on 13 January 2020, succeeding Lady Hale. By the end of 2021, the Supreme Court had produced 111 judgments since his appointment, 53 in 2020 and 58 in 2021, with Lord Reed himself sitting in 56 of these cases. These decisions give us an opportunity to assess how his Supreme Court is performing in the current malign political...

Beware the Extremists

Conor Gearty, 19 February 2015

In October​ 1988 the Conservative student association at Liverpool University invited a diplomat from the South African embassy to speak at one of its events. In those Cold War days Nelson Mandela was still a terrorist and defenders of apartheid were heroes to some on the hard right. But protests seemed likely and the university authorities felt compelled to withdraw permission for the...

Short Cuts: Counterterrorism

Conor Gearty, 8 September 2011

The third instalment of the UK’s counterterrorism strategy, Contest (HMSO, £28.50), draws on earlier Labour initiatives – part pseudo-analysis of al-Qaida’s current capabilities, part salesmanship – but ‘reflects the changing terrorist threat’ and ‘incorporates new government policies’. Its appearance also reflects ‘the...

Terms of Art: Human Rights Law

Conor Gearty, 11 March 2010

If the first legitimate worry about a social democratic bill of rights would be an explosion of litigation, the second concerns the danger of legitimating a wrong or a great injustice. The Human Rights Act has not really been tested in this regard, since Labour has done so little of an even vaguely socialist nature. But the right to property probably did constrain it in relation to the nationalisation of Network Rail (otherwise why pay compensation?) and there can be little doubt that private schools are standing by with batteries of lawyers to argue that even removing their charitable status (much less the schools themselves) will be a breach of the human rights of parents.

The government’s reluctance to allow intercept evidence to be used in court to procure the conviction of terrorist suspects seems mysterious and self-defeating: why deny yourself such a key weapon in the ‘war against terror’, especially if there are ‘several hundred’ terrorists already in this country planning attacks, as the prime minister has recently claimed?


This book’s most startling revelation – if true – concerns the state of legal education in Britain today. We are told that from their ‘first days at law school’ our...

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