On Tuesday October 11, CIS in conjunction with the Melbourne-based Robert Menzies Institute will host a lecture by Lord Jonathan Sumption, a former justice on Britain’s Supreme Court and medieval historian, discussing the rule of law in a time of crisis.
Throughout the 2020-21 Covid pandemic, Lord Sumption had been an outspoken critic of the “despotic and irrational” policies surrounding lockdowns and mask mandates that had “deprived everyone of what makes life worth living” and “thrown science out the window”. He said: “Sometimes the best thing you can do with despotic laws is to ignore them.” (Lord Sumption)
According to Lord Sumption “The British state exercised coercive powers over its citizens on a scale never previously attempted… The ease with which people could be terrorised into surrendering basic freedoms which are fundamental to our existence came as a shock to me in March 2020. I do not doubt the seriousness of the epidemic, but I believe that history will look back on the measures taken to contain it as a monument of collective hysteria.”
Following his lecture, Lord Sumption will be subjected to a lively Q&A session with CIS executive director Tom Switzer and the CIS audience.
Lord Sumption is a former Senior Judge for the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. He is a historian and author of Law in a Time of Crisis (Profile Books 2021) and Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics (Profile Books 2019).
Tom Switzer is executive director of the Centre for Independent Studies and a presenter at the ABC’s Radio National.