The annual Kay Everett Memorial Lecture took place at SOAS for its second year, and has now firmly established itself as one of the highlights of the SOAS Law calendar.
Having secured Liberty’s director and human rights barrister Martha Spurrier for last year’s keynote, organisers of the event netted yet another prominent figure from the legal world – The Right Honourable Lord Justice Singh – a judge on the Court of Appeal and a passionate advocate for human rights. His publications include The Future of Human Rights in the UK (1997) and (as co-author with Sir Jack Beatson and others) Human Rights: Judicial Enforcement in the UK (2008).
Following Lord Justice Singh’s powerful address on national security, civil liberties and the role of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the winner of this year’s prize for best dissertation was announced.
Speaking to SOAS Blogs, prize winner Chara de Lacey said:
“I am thrilled to have been awarded the Kay Everett Memorial Prize. Ms Everett’s work in defending the rights of some of the most vulnerable in our society – those seeking asylum – is inspirational. All the more so given that she committed herself to protecting the human rights of others while battling her own health issues. To be linked to Ms Everett’s legacy through this prize is a real honour and I am committed to continuing the spirit of her work in using legal mechanisms to champion human rights.”
Chara’s dissertation, Corporate Due Diligence and Accountability in Global Supply Chains: Legal Challenges and Possible Solutions, was selected from amongst her peers for the award.
“The impetus for my research and dissertation focus was the injustice surrounding the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh which killed workers producing textiles for global buyers. The workers toiled in extremely precarious conditions, despite various CSR commitments by the buying companies. I was interested to explore whether the notion of parent company liability could be applied to a buyer-seller relationship and how the burgeoning norm of corporate human rights due diligence could be given teeth to give rise to legal liability, where a company fails to prevent human rights abuses in its global supply chain. Ultimately, there remain technical challenges to justice-seeking in this context, but the endemic exploitation of workers in global supply chains is an outrage and my studies at SOAS offered an opportunity to critique the current paradigm of transnational business and explore solutions. As the work of lawyers such as Ms Everett attests, human rights must and can be leveraged to challenge systemic injustice in the world.”