Academic freedom under threat

Friday 19 March 2021 // Taylor Vinters in partnership with the University of Buckingham


Dangers, Protections, and the Law

You are invited to this forum to discuss the importance of academic freedom, the threats it faces (both at home and from abroad), the laws that protect it, and possible policy and legal changes to mitigate such threats.

The forum is designed to highlight the gravity of the threats currently posed to academic freedom, both in Britain and in the international context, and to facilitate understanding and analysis of the protections that exist in the UK today, and the further protections that may be needed in the future – particularly in response to the influence of autocratic regimes.


Participants at the event include leading academics, politicians, lawyers and other thinkers. The proceedings will be under Chatham House rules. By involving officials, leading thinkers and campaigners who are currently working in this, the forum’s ultimate aim is to help inform future policy and legislative change. For booking information, see below.


Single-speaker presentations are limited to 20 minutes in duration, allowing 10 minutes for questions after each session. Panel discussions will start with short ‘statements of position’ of approximately 4-5 minutes, before the discussion is opened up to the floor.

Please note that the times below are currently indicative and may be subject to change.


  • 11.20-11.30 Introductory remarks
    James Murray to introduce Professor James Tooley, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham
  • 11.30-12.00 Session 1 // Opening Keynote Lecture: What is academic freedom and why does it matter?
    Professor Kathleen Stock OBE
  • 12.05-12.35 Session 2 // Threats to Academic freedom: Hard Data and Policy Approaches in the UK & US
    Professor Eric Kaufmann

12.35-13.10 BREAK

  • 13.10-13.40 Session 3 // Threats to Academic freedom: the United States’ experience
    Douglas Murray
  • 13.50-14.30 Session 4 // Threats to Academic freedom: autocratic states // Panel Discussion and Questions
    Panel to include: Thomas Tugendhat MBE MP, Professor John Heathershaw and Dr Catherine Owen.


  • 14.35-15.15 Session 5 // Defending academic freedom: the law // Panel Discussion and Questions
    Panel to include: Chris Willis Pickup, Professor Aileen McColgan QC and James Murray; and the Rt. Hon. the Lord Mance (Chair).

15.15-15.30 BREAK

  • 15.30-16.10 Session 6 // Defending academic freedom: culture and governance // Panel Discussion and Questions
    Panel to include: Dr Arif Ahmed and Dr Paul Yowell; and Professor Dennis Hayes (Chair).
  • 16.15-17.00 Session 7 // Concluding Lecture and Discussion: ‘Facing down the threats’
    Ayaan Hirsi Ali

17.00 CLOSE


To book your place, please complete the brief registration below.



TAYLOR VINTERS // Taylor Vinters is an international law firm supporting the businesses which drive the innovation economy, and the entrepreneurs and private wealth that underpin them.

UNIVERSITY OF BUCKINGHAM // Founded by royal charter, the University of Buckingham is the oldest private University in the United Kingdom, and has been regularly ranked First in the National Student Survey.


For more information or to request an invite, please contact

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