Hamlyn Lecture Series 2016 – The Right Honourable Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias

08/11/2016, 18:00 - 19:00


Hamlyn Lecture Series 2016: Golden Threads and Pragmatic Patches: Fairness in Criminal Justice, First lecture: Fair and Just

Cardiff Law School is delighted to host, in conjunction with The Learned Society of Wales, the first of the 2016 Hamlyn Lecture Series delivered by The Rt. Hon. Dame Sian Elias, GNZM, Chief Justice of New Zealand. The lecture will be chaired by The Rt Hon The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

The Hamlyn Trust was created in 1948 by Miss Emma Hamlyn in memory of her father, a solicitor and Justice of the Peace in Torquay, Devon. The object of the Trust is to further knowledge and understanding of the law through an annual series of public lectures by distinguished judges, legal practitioners, academic lawyers and other eminent speakers.

There are three lectures scheduled in November 2016, first in Cardiff, the second at Exeter, the third at Lincoln’s Inn.  Title of the Hamlyn Lecture Series 2016: Golden Threads and Pragmatic Patches: Fairness in Criminal Justice


First Lecture: fair and Just  The tone for any national legal system is set by its system of criminal justice because it is in criminal justice that the rule of law is fully tested.  The system of criminal justice inherited by most common law jurisdictions which were formerly British may have ancient roots, but is of recent development.  The lecture identifies the methods and standards of proof, procedure, and evidence which have come to seem essential in common law legal systems.  It questions whether the criminal justice system can be viewed in isolation from a wider theory of law and its realisation in the particular legal and constitutional setting.  It deals with divergence and convergence in matters such as the availability of trial by jury, jury unanimity, the respective roles of judge and jury, the presumption of innocence, the privilege against self-incrimination, and the right to legal representation.  It discusses the ends of criminal justice and the challenges to their achievement, including through recent emphasis upon the interests of victims of crime, the extent of recent legislative intervention, and the institutional and administrative restructuring which has occurred in England and Wales and in other common law jurisdictions.

Chief Justice July 2013 (002)

The Right Honourable Dame Elias is the 12th Chief Justice of New Zealand and the first woman to be appointed to that office.  She graduated from Auckland University with an LLB Honours Degree in 1970 and was admitted to the New Zealand Bar the same year. She graduated from Stanford University with a Master’s Degree in Law in 1972.  Following her return to New Zealand, Dame Sian worked first as a solicitor and then as a barrister in Auckland.  In 1984-1989 she was a member of the Law Commission working particularly on the reform of company law.  In 1988, Dame Sian was appointed a Queen’s Counsel.  She appeared in a number of significant cases, including cases concerning the Treaty of Waitangi. She was awarded a Commemorative Medal in 1990 in recognition of services to the legal profession.  In 1995, Dame Sian was appointed Judge of the High Court in Auckland.  On 17 May 1999, she was appointed Chief Justice of New Zealand and was made a Dame Grand Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. The Chief Justice was appointed a Privy Councillor in 1999 and first sat on the Privy Council in 2001.  When in 2003 the Supreme Court Act established a final Court of Appeal in New Zealand, the Chief Justice became the head of the new Supreme Court. That court began sitting in July 2004.

The Right Honourable The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales was educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he read law, after which he became a Commonwealth Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. He was called to the Bar by Gray’s Inn in 1969 and became a Bencher at the Inn in 1992.  He was appointed a Judge of the High Court of England and Wales in 1996 and was assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division and to the Commercial Court.  From 1998-2001 he was one of the Presiding Judges of the Wales and Chester Circuit. He was Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court in London from April 2002 to July 2003, when he was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal.  He has been a member of the Judges’ Council since 2002.  He was the Senior Presiding Judge for England and Wales from 2003 to 2006.  From 2008 to October 2011 he was Vice-President of the Queen’s Bench Division and President of the Queen’s Bench Division from October 2011 to October 2013.   He was President of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary from May 2008 to December 2010.  He has been Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales since October 2013.

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