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The relationship between religion (broadly so defined) and State has been an age-old obsession and has led in extreme cases to religious wars and endless debate. In the modern legal context, the issue is often seen as one of compromise/ accommodation between religion and the rights of others. This demands tolerance on both sides and some legal ingenuity. This receives purchase in the clash which surfaces from time to time between the religious and the gay community but is not confined to that special area. It may also be seen in cases of proselytism and leaving a faith. This talk is based on a paper authored by John Bowers QC - you can access the paper here.

John Bowers QC is Principal of Brasenose College, Oxford. After attending Clee Grammar School, Grimsby, John gained a scholarship to Lincoln College, Oxford to study Civil Law. John was called to the Bar in 1979 and took silk in 1998. He has practised primarily in employment law and human rights. He has also been described in a review as "an employment law rock star”. He is listed as the 4th most reported advocate in the Industrial Relations Law Reports (IRLR). John was Chambers & Partners Employment Silk of the Year 2010. He acted in most of the major industrial disputes over the past decades. His landmark cases include a European Court of Human Rights application on the employment of gay servicemen, House of Lords rulings on injury to feelings awards, the Supreme Court decision on whether legal representation is required in internal disciplinary proceedings and the largest ever Employment Tribunal application by 12,000 retained firefighters, which eventually went to the House of Lords. A frequent lecturer on employment law, John has written 15 books and is a CEDR trained mediator. John was a member of the Standards Board for England and the Home Office Task Force on Human Rights. He sits as a Deputy High Court Judge and a Recorder on the South Eastern Circuit. He is an approved counsel for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. He currently carries out work for the Bar Pro Bono Unit. He is a former chair of Bar Disciplinary Summary Tribunals and member of the Bar Council’s Race Relations Committee. Since 2005 he has been a Bencher of Middle Temple.

Dr Nazila Ghanea
Dr Nazila Ghanea will be the respondent. Nazila is Associate Professor in International Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford. She serves as Associate Director of the Oxford Human Rights Hub and is a Fellow of Kellogg College (BA Keele, MA Leeds, PhD Keele, MA Oxon). She serves as a member of the OSCE Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief and on the Board of Trustees of the independent think tank, the Universal Rights Group. She has been a visiting academic at a number of institutions including Columbia and NYU, and previously taught at the University of London and Keele University, UK and in China. Nazila’s research spans freedom of religion or belief, freedom of expression, women’s rights, minority rights and human rights in the Middle East. Her publications include nine books, five UN publications as well as a number of journal articles and reports. Her research has been funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Board, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, Open Society and the QNRF. She has been invited to address UN expert seminars on seven occasions. From 2012-2014 she is co-leading a research team to look at the Domestic Impact of UN Treaty Ratification in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council. From 2010-2013 she was part of a research term investigating ‘Religion and Belief, Discrimination and Equality in England and Wales: Theory, Policy and Practice’ (2010-2013). She has also received a number of university scholarships and academic awards. Nazila has acted as a human rights consultant/expert for a number of governments, the UN, UNESCO, OSCE, Commonwealth, Council of Europe and the EU. She has facilitated international human rights law training for a range of professional bodies around the world, lectured widely and carried out first hand human rights field research in a number of countries including Malaysia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. She is a regular contributor to the media on human rights matters. 

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This event forms a part of the repertoire of International Events Around the Moot for the participants, judges and coaches of the Price Media Law Moot Court Competition 2020/21. Please remember to register in order to access the event.