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Lord Nicholas Wilson, OB defender of human rights

At Friday’s Beyond Bryanston business networking breakfast, Lord Wilson talked to the Bryanston family about human rights post Brexit.

OBs from Amnesty International, Defend Digital Me, the Sigrid Rausing Trust and The Chandos Foundation to name a few, had a unique opportunity to field questions to one of only 12 Supreme Court Justices in the UK. 

Lord Wilson (H ’63) spoke with great clarity and passion on the subject of human rights, explaining that as one of the first signatories to The European Convention of Human Rights in Strasbourg in 1950, nothing would change on exiting the European Union. We would still remain an active member to the institution, which includes non-EU signatories such as Russia and Turkey. 

The EU Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg should not be confused with the Court of Justice of the European Union based in Luxembourg. The latter relates only to EU member states and in the event of a no-deal Brexit at the end of the month, will no longer apply to the UK.

One of the greatest problems facing the UK is a lack of funding for legal aid, with many relying on charity in order to be represented. The Supreme Court was regularly seeing barristers working on a pro-bono basis with many left out of pocket, deterring them from taking cases. The other problem was a lack of good judges coming through to take up positions in the High Court and beyond due to the rise of vicious personal attacks from the right-wing press coupled with a lack of attractive remuneration to counter balance, and a chronic workload.

Lord Wilson ended his talk by assuring the Bryanston family, that he, for one, could be relied upon to defend human rights for as long as he could. He was also delighted to be reunited with Tom Barber (C ’18), who had travelled up from Cardiff University, and whom he had been encouraging to consider a career in the law.

Thank you to Lord Wilson for giving so generously of his time for Bryanstonians and to current parent, Henry Hood, for kindly hosting the business breakfast at his offices.