The Private Law of Protest – Workshop at Kent – November 4

This one-day workshop will examine the deployment of private law by university management against students in the context of recent protests against the marketisation of learning and teaching. The workshop will draw on the experiences of occupiers and their lawyers in mapping and critiquing the use of tort, contract and property law to end, prevent and punish student occupations of university buildings. Among the questions we might ask are:

– How have the rights of free assembly and free speech been restricted – in principle and in practice – in recent occupation judgments?
– Has private law been used within the university in this way before? Has it been used in this way elsewhere?
– What sort of university space are we protesting to defend/create and for whom? How do protestors’ visions of university space depart from that protected by law?
– How useful are the tropes of ‘marketisation’ and ‘privatisation’ of the university in understanding recent developments in the private law of protest?
– How should we understand the relationships between the legal control of university space by management and broader government projects?
– How might we re-imagine the relationship of protest to the injunction, the contract and the possession order? Is there an alternative law of protest which departs from that underwritten by the state?

There is no charge for attendance, but for space and catering purposes, please email: m.enright[at]kent.ac.uk.

This workshop is generously sponsored by Social & Legal Studies.

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