During the last 20 years, some of the world’s most distinguished scholars have been invited to the law school to deliver a public lecture in memory of the late former dean Cecil A. Wright, who founded U of T’s modern law school.

The 2017-18 Wright Lecture

Lucia Zedner

Lucia Zedner
Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, Professor of Criminal Justice in the Faculty of Law, and member of the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford

Counterterrorism on Campus: A Threat to Academic Freedoms?

Monday, October 16, 2017
4:10pm to 6:00pm
Jackman Law Building, Room P120
78 Queen's Park


The threat of terrorism and the risks of radicalization pervade modern life. Universities are no exception and the ‘poisoning of young minds’ is a matter of particular political concern. Nonetheless, the decision of the UK government to place universities, and other educational institutions, under the statutory ‘Prevent Duty’, requiring them ‘to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’, has proven highly controversial. Seen one way, it turns professors into police and students into suspects. Seen another, it enables universities to fulfil their safeguarding responsibility to protect vulnerable young people from the influence of extremists. This lecture asks if the policing of speaker events on security grounds is legitimate or if it threatens the legally protected rights of academic freedom and freedom of speech? Does the obligation to counter terrorism on campus fulfil a democratic duty to uphold security or is it incompatible with the larger role of the university?


Lucia Zedner is a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, Professor of Criminal Justice in the Faculty of Law, and member of the Centre for Criminology, University of Oxford. She is also a Conjoint Professor, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, Sydney, where she is a regular visitor. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Overseas Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. Recent books include Prevention and the Limits of the Criminal Law (2013, OUP), co-edited with Andrew Ashworth and Patrick Tomlin and Preventive Justice (2014, OUP) with Andrew Ashworth and Changing Contours of Criminal Justice (2016, OUP), co-edited with Mary Bosworth and Carolyn Hoyle. Her research interests include criminal justice, criminal law, security and counter-terrorism.

See the Wright Lecture archives to find out more information about past lectures, including in some cases a description, the text, or a video of the lecture.