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Freedom of Speech and Equality in Higher Education

Thursday 1 June 2023, 10.30am-12pm, Radcliffe Space 25.


The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act has now been passed, and some aspects of the legislation will come into effect immediately. But, what does the Act actually do? How does it impact our equality duties? And what does all of this mean in practice?

At this event, barrister, lecturer, and author Sam Fowles will speak about:

  • The Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act and what this means for HE.
  • How the Act interacts with other legal duties, such as the Equality Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • Myth busting.
  • Practical advice, drawing on case studies.

Sam will also be joined in discussion by a panel including:

  • Naomi Waltham-Smith, Reader (Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies) and Chair of Warwick's Academic Freedom Review Committee.
  • Maureen Freely, Professor (Creative Arts) and President of English PEN.
  • Kulbir Shergill, Warwick’s Director of Social Inclusion.

There will also be time for audience questions.

This event is open to all Warwick staff. If you’d like to attend, please register using the form below.



Find more about our speaker and panel below:


Dr Sam Fowles

Sam Fowles is a barrister (practicing at Cornerstone Barristers), Director of the Institute for Constitutional and Democratic Research, and a lecturer at St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford. He has argued many of the leading constitutional and human rights cases of recent years, including Miller v The Prime Minister (overturning the 2019 prorogation of parliament), and Hamilton v Post Office (reversing the convictions of Post Office employees wrongly prosecuted in the Horizon Scandal). His bestselling book, “Overruled: Confronting Our Vanishing Democracy in 8 Cases” (The Times “Best Law Book” of 2022) is now available in paperback.


Dr Naomi Waltham-Smith

Naomi Waltham-Smith is Reader in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies and Chair of the Academic Freedom Review Committee at Warwick. Her work focuses on the politics of listening at the intersection of philosophy and sound studies, and she is currently writing a book on free speech from the twin perspectives of listening and democratic abolitionism for Nebraska University’s Press Provocations series.


Professor Maureen Freely

Maureen Freely is a writer with seven novels to her name and many other strings to her bow. Well known as a translator of the Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk, she has also brought into English several classics and works by Turkey’s rising stars. Before coming to Warwick to join the fledgling Writing Programme in 1996, she worked as a journalist in London, writing about literature, feminism, social justice, and human rights. As chair of the Translator’s Association and more recently as President and Chair of English PEN, she has campaigned for writers and freedom of expression internationally.


Kulbir Shergill

Kulbir has over 20 years’ experience of leading and implementing equalities, diversity, and inclusion activities and strategies having worked with a wide range of public-facing entities, including housing associations, charities, local and central government, professional bodies, and corporate businesses. As a consultant Kulbir’s clients included The Bank of England, AXA Investment, Accenture, Harvey Nash, The Law Society, and The Carbon Trust. Kulbir’s strategic approach to embedding diversity and inclusion has bought successful outcomes and recognition for a number of the organisations she has worked with.


Please register your attendance using the form below.

This event is now full and we are taking no more registrations. To be added to a waiting list please email