Open Letter to the Prime Minister from the UK Legal Academic Community

by | 1 Feb 2017

As the new US administration moves to enact a series of ever-more discriminatory policies, and as the material consequences of those policies begin to be felt around the world, those of us based in the UK face an additional blow as they watch their government throw its lot in with Trump’s.

In response to this blow, we, a group of UK-based legal academics and academic support staff, decided that one relatively straightforward action we might take, as the first step in a wider strategy of resistance, would be to draft an open letter of protest to the Prime Minister. This initiative was born at Kent Law School and has been supported by colleagues at universities across the country.

Here is the letter. If you would like to join us in signing it, please click on this link and add your name to the list of signatories. From now until 6.00pm on Sunday, 5 February, the letter will be open for any member of a UK university to sign. After that date, it will be sent with all signatures to the Prime Minister and to other media outlets.

Please share the link to the letter as widely as possible amongst your colleagues.


Dear Prime Minister,

We would like to express our collective dismay at your decision to align the British Government with the administration of the new President of the United States, Donald Trump.

President Trump’s recent actions have serious domestic and global implications. Among the most alarming are his openly discriminatory decisions to block immigrants and visa holders from seven Muslim-majority states from entering the US and to suspend the US’s Syrian refugee admissions programme indefinitely; to insist on the construction of a wall along the US-Mexican border, threatening Mexican goods with a 20 per cent import duty (notwithstanding US commitments under NAFTA) if Mexico does not pay for it; to suspend federal funding to any US global health organisation willing to discuss issues surrounding abortion with its clients; to freeze federal support for the US Environmental Protection Agency, threaten a US exit from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and throw his weight behind the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipeline projects; to voice his support for outlawed torture techniques including waterboarding; and to threaten or dismiss (in the case of the acting Attorney-General, Sally Yates) any member of the US legal and judicial establishment who questions the legitimacy of his government’s measures.

While many of these actions were anticipated during his campaign, much more surprising is your decision as British Prime Minister to refrain from expressing clear opposition to the Trump government on behalf of the UK as a whole, even as Trump puts his promises into action, bringing tens of thousands out onto the streets in protest in the UK and across the world.

We would like to remind you that seeking to realign the UK with the US while breaking its ties with Europe will be a disaster not only for the British economy and the NHS, but also for:

  • Britain’s already-tarnished reputation as an open, multicultural society capable of supporting vulnerable individuals and communities and acknowledging its imperial past;
  • The safety of UK citizens, residents and civilians worldwide, now more vulnerable than ever to forms of extremism and nationalism, including white supremacism;
  • The resilience of an international order founded, however imperfectly, on a commitment to the equality of individuals and states; and
  • The possibilities available for thinking differently about the challenges of the twenty-first century and, in particular, about the extent to which those challenges are reproduced by the ‘solutions’ on offer in such a profoundly skewed international order.

The alacrity with which Trump has put in place, by Presidential decree, a swathe of openly racist, xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic measures, together with the President’s total disregard for existing US commitments under international law, indicate that the British Government’s decision to renew its ‘special relationship’ with the United States at this time can only lead, in the short-term, to further suffering and discrimination. We can only hope that this self-serving programme will, in the long-term, set in motion a demand for real change that governments and communities across the world will be forced to answer.

With this in mind, we call on you not only to cancel Trump’s invitation to visit the UK but also, and more fundamentally, to withdraw the support of the British Government for the United States more generally until these indefensible policies have been reversed and disavowed. If you do not, we fear that the UK will find itself, like Trump, on the wrong side of history, with serious consequences for us all.

Yours sincerely,

Legal academics and professional staff across the UK


Signatories (as of 01/02/17)

  1. Aaron Wu, London School of Economics and Political Science
  2. Abenaa Owusu-Bempah, City, University of London
  3. Ahmed Raza Memon, Kent Law School
  4. Alessandro Pratesi, University of Chester
  5. Alexander Gilder, City, University of London
  6. Allison Wolfgarten, City, University of London
  7. Amanda Perry-Kessaris, Kent Law School
  8. Amandine Garde, University of Liverpool
  9. Amel Alghrani, University of Liverpool
  10. Ana Laura Cannilla, University of Reading
  11. Andrea Antonino Silipigni, Kent Law School
  12. Andreas Marcou, Queen Mary, University of London
  13. Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos, University of Westminster
  14. Andrew Choo, City, University of London
  15. Andrew Sanger, University of Cambridge
  16. Angeliki Papantoniou, Queen Mary, University London
  17. Ania Zbyszewska, University of Warwick
  18. Anna Grear, Cardiff University
  19. Anna Marie Brennan, University of Liverpool
  20. Anneli Albi, Kent Law School
  21. Annette Morris, Cardiff University
  22. Aoife Daly, University of Liverpool
  23. Ashleigh Keall, University College London, Law
  24. Basak Ertur, School of Law, Birkbeck
  25. Ben Hunter, University of Greenwich
  26. Bernadette Rainey, Cardiff School of Law and Politics
  27. Bill Bowring, School of Law, Birkbeck
  28. Bríd Ní Ghráinne, University of Sheffield
  29. Candice Mtwazi, Kent Law School
  30. Carl Stychin, City, University of London
  31. Catherine Hill, City, University of London
  32. Catherine O’Rourke, Ulster University
  33. Chris Lloyd, Oxford Brookes University
  34. Christine Schwöbel-Patel, University of Liverpool
  35. Claire Green, Queen Mary, University of London
  36. Colin R Moore, Kent Law School
  37. Connal Parsley, Kent Law School
  38. Craig Purshouse, University of Liverpool
  39. Daniela Nadj, Queen Mary, University of London
  40. Darren Dinsmore, Kent Law School
  41. David Herling, City, University of London
  42. David J Hayes, The University of Sheffield
  43. David Meyrick, Carers Hub Lambeth
  44. Davina Cooper, Kent Law School
  45. Diamond Ashiagbor, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
  46. Didi Herman, Kent Law School
  47. Donal Casey, Kent Law School
  48. Donatella Alessandrini, Kent Law School
  49. Eddie Bruce-Jones, Birkbeck College
  50. Edward Fairhead, Kent Law School
  51. Eleanor Drywood, School of Law and Social Justice
  52. Elena Loizidou, Birkbeck College
  53. Emilie Cloatre, Kent Law School
  54. Emily Allbon, City, University of London
  55. Emily Grabham, Kent Law School
  56. Emily Grabham, Kent Law School
  57. Emily Haslam, Kent Law School
  58. Emily Rose Hay, Queen Mary, University of London
  59. Emma McClean, University of Westminster
  60. Enkelejda Koka, Kent Law School
  61. Enrico Bonadio, City, University of London
  62. Eric Heinze, Queen Mary, University of London
  63. Eric Loefflad, Kent Law School
  64. Eva Nanopoulos, Queen Mary, University of London
  65. Eyal Benvenisti, University of Cambridge
  66. Frederick Cowell, Birkbeck College
  67. Gabriel Gari, Queen Mary University
  68. Grietje Baars, City, University of London
  69. Guido Westkamp, Queen Mary, University of London
  70. Hayley Gibson, Kent Law School
  71. Helen Stalford, University of Liverpool
  72. Helene Tyrrell, Newcastle Law School
  73. Henry Jones, Durham University
  74. Hyo Yoon Kang, Kent Law School
  75. Iain Frame, Kent Law School
  76. Illan rua Wall, University of Warwick
  77. Ioannis Kalpouzos, City, University of London
  78. Isobel Roele, Queen Mary, University of London
  79. Jack Clayton Thompson, University of Westminster
  80. Jasper van Dooren, Kent Law School
  81. Jastine Barrett, University of Kent
  82. Jeanette Nicholas, University of Westminster
  83. Jess Duggan-Larkin, University of Exeter
  84. Jessie Hohmann, Queen Mary, University of London
  85. Jo Bingham, City, University of London
  86. Jo Shuttleworth, University of Chester
  87. Joanne Pearman, Kent Law School
  88. John Strawson, University of East London
  89. Jonathan Austin-Jones, Kent Law School
  90. Jonathan Griffiths, Queen Mary, University of London
  91. Jose Miola, University of Leicester
  92. Josephine Uwineza, Kent Law School
  93. Judy Fudge, Kent Law School
  94. Julie Bacon, Queen Mary, University of London
  95. Julie McCandless, London School of Economics and Political Science
  96. Kate Malleson, Queen Mary, University of London
  97. Kathryn Allinson, Queen Mary, University of London
  98. Keith Simpson, City, University of London
  99. Kevin Warne, Queen Mary, University of London
  100. Kirsty Horsey, Kent Law School
  101. Ksenia Bakina, Queen Mary, University of London
  102. Kumari Lane, Queen Mary, University of London
  103. Laura Pritchard-Jones, Keele University
  104. Laura Wares, Kent Law School
  105. Lawrence Hill-Cawthorne, University of Reading
  106. Lionel Bently, University of Cambridge
  107. LJB Hayes, Cardiff University
  108. Lucy Finchett-Maddock, University of Sussex
  109. Luis Eslava, Kent Law School
  110. Luke McDonagh, City, University of London
  111. Lynne Townley, City, University of London
  112. Mairead Enright, Birmingham Law School
  113. Marco Longobardo, Westminster University
  114. Maria Drakopoulou, Kent Law School
  115. Maria Federica Moscati, University of Sussex
  116. Maria Sheppard, Queen Mary, University of London
  117. Marie Aronsson-Storrier, School of Law, University of Reading
  118. Marie Fox, University of Liverpool
  119. Mark Van Hoecke, Queen Mary, University of London
  120. Markus Gehring, University of Cambridge
  121. Max Brookman-Byrne, University of Reading
  122. Mayur Suresh, School of Oriental and African Studies
  123. Mazen Masri, City, University of London
  124. Megan Donaldson, University of Cambridge
  125. Michalis Zivanaris, Kent Law School
  126. Mitchell Davies, Truman Bodden Law school
  127. Mohammad Shahabuddin, Birmingham Law School
  128. Monica Bonaccorso, Queen Mary, University of London
  129. Moriom Khan, Queen Mary, University of London
  130. Nadine El-Enany, Birkbeck College
  131. Nathan Moore, Birkbeck College School of Law
  132. Nicky Priaulx, Cardiff School of Law and Politics
  133. Nigel Duncan, City, University of London
  134. Nikki Godden-Rasul, Newcastle University
  135. Nora Honkala, City, University of London
  136. Paul Gragl, Queen Mary, University of London
  137. Penny Green, Queen Mary, University of London
  138. Per Laleng, Kent Law School
  139. Peter Fitzpatrick, Birkbeck Law School
  140. Prabha Kotiswaran, King’s College London
  141. Rae Bowdler, City, University London
  142. Rob Merkin, University of Exeter
  143. Robert Herian, The Open University
  144. Rosa Fernandez-Riveira, Queen Mary, University School of Law
  145. Ruth Fletcher, Queen Mary, University of London
  146. Ruth Neligan, BPP University Law School
  147. Sally Sheldon, Kent Law School
  148. Samantha Currie, University of Liverpool
  149. Sara Kendall, Kent Law School
  150. Sara Ramshaw, University of Exeter Law School
  151. Sarah Gale, City, University of London
  152. Sarah Heath, Queen Mary, University of London
  153. Sarah Keenan, Birkbeck Law School
  154. Sarah Lamble, School of Law, Birkbeck
  155. Serena Natile, Kent Law School
  156. Silvana Cristina Tapia, Kent Law School
  157. Simon Flacks, University of Westminster
  158. Simon Thorpe, University of Warwick
  159. Sinead Ring, Kent Law School
  160. Solange Mouthaan, University of Warwick
  161. Stephen Skinner, University of Exeter
  162. Stephen W Smith, School of Law and Politics, Cardiff University
  163. Surabhi Ranganathan, University of Cambridge
  164. Suzanne Francis, University of Chester
  165. Sydney Parfitt, Kent Law School
  166. Tanzil Chowdhury, University if Manchester
  167. Tara Mulqueen, University of Warwick
  168. Tarik Kochi, University of Sussex
  169. Toni Williams, Kent Law School
  170. Valerie Fogleman, Cardiff University School of Law and Politics
  171. Vanja Hamzić, SOAS, University of London
  172. Veronica Lachkovic, City, University of London
  173. William Wilson, Queen Mary, University of London
  174. Yutaka Arai, Kent Law School
  175. Yvette Russell, University of Bristol Law School
  176. Yvonne Galligan, Queen’s University Belfast


  1. Here, here!

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with the contents of this letter.

  3. n/a

  4. I am concerned about this government’s willingness to close the door on its European allies and realign itself with the damaging and destructive policies of the Trump administration in the US.

  5. Old friends are hard to replace…..they may not always agree but when push comes to shove they are there. Trump is doing his best to ruin alliances in Europe ;between him and Putin, their egotistical policies may well start world war three. They must be stopped!


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