Human Rights Speaker Series: Protests and Human Rights Law

  • Wed 23 Mar 22

    17:30 - 18:30

  • Online


  • Event speaker


  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    Human Rights Centre Speaker Series

  • Event organiser

    Human Rights Centre

  • Contact details

    Law and HRC Events and Communications Team

Please join us for the latest Human Rights Speaker Series, hosted by the University of Essex Human Rights Centre and the Essex Armed Conflict and Crisis Hub.


Human Rights Speaker Series: Protests and Human Rights Law

Keir Monteith QC will provide a personal account of his time as a law student at the University of Essex from 1987-1991. He will then outline how it was that he came to give evidence in the 'Colchester 16' trial after an anti-poll tax demonstration in Colchester in 1990. Citizens across the country, including Colchester residents marched against the poll tax after it was introduced by the Thatcher government in 1990. The tax was a single, flat-rate per-capita tax on every adult, and provoked widespread opposition. Monteith will the Government's attempts to curb the right to protest, and the importance of Article 11.


Sir Keir Monteith QC, of Garden Court Chambers, is a highly sought-after leading silk who represents clients facing heavyweight criminal allegations. He has defended in numerous murders, industrial-scale Class A drug importations and heavily armed Organised Crime Group conspiracies involving the use of submachine guns, high profile National Crime Agency cases, 100M frauds, multi-million-pound confiscations, and escape from custody cases. He also sits as a Recorder [part-time Crown Court judge]. He is a graduate of the University of Essex.

Keir also specialises in civil liberties law and defending protesters, including allegations of large-scale conspiracies to commit criminal damage or violent disorder, allegations of harassment and other violence. He has also been instructed in many successful anti-EDO cases, including the infamous 'super-glue four' case, the 'die-in' at Churchill Square in Brighton and allegations of criminal damage and actual bodily harm at one of the many EDO protests. In each case, all the defendants were acquitted.

In July 2021, Keir became a Simon Fellow at the University of Manchester. The Fellowship will bring Keir, a training tutor for the Judicial College, together with other Criminology, Legal and Humanities researchers to inject expertise and ambition into the judiciary’s recently-announced plans to tackle racial bias. This work will be founded on a deep understanding of racism as both structural and interpersonal and will seed research projects premised on installing fairer treatment in the justice system.


Dr. Alexandra Cox is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology. Prior to getting her Ph.D., she worked in the fields of criminal justice and drug policy reform for a number of years, at the American Civil LIberties Union's Drug Law Reform project, the Drug Policy Alliance's Office of Legal Affairs (in California) and then at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, a community-based public defender office in New York City. She has continued to practice as a sentencing mitigation specialist, representing primarily young people charged as adults. She was awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to support her doctoral work and served as a Soros Justice Advocacy fellow, focusing on the role that frontline workers play in resisting decarceration. In 2017, she was a research fellow at Yale Law School, working on a study about the role of frontline workers in New York's criminal justice system.

Alexandra's book, ‘Trapped in a Vice: the Consequences of Confinement for Young People,’ explores the consequences of a juvenile justice system that is aimed at promoting change in the lives of young people, yet ultimately relies upon tools and strategies that enmesh them in a system that they struggle to move beyond. The book won the American Society of Criminology's Critical Criminology book award. Alexandra's newest book is a handbook on youth imprisonment, co-edited with Professor Laura Abrams of UCLA, and published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Human Rights Speaker Series: Protests and Human Rights Law

How to register

Wednesday 23 February 5:30-6:30pm GMT

Please register for this webinar via Zoom.

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