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In this lecture, Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, European legal scholar, explores why achieving justice in the European Union is problematic. She argues for justice as a value to be promoted by the EU and calls for the recasting and re-imagining of human rights and the rule of law as ‘Critical Legal Justice’ – a vibrant concept of justice able to span the Byzantine complexities of the European legal space, as well as maintaining that the diagnosis of injustice is itself crucial, as justice is more likely to move people in its absence, rather than as an academic or rhetorical exercise that fails to convince. It is injustice that motivates and propels action, and the highlighting of injustice does its own work.
Sionaidh Douglas-Scott is currently Professor of European and Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford, specializing in particular in European public law, human rights and legal and social theory. For the past 18 years she has co-taught and developed a course on comparative European and US fundamental rights law with Justice Anthony Kennedy of the US Supreme Court. Professor Douglas-Scott was born and educated in Edinburgh and studied philosophy and art history and aesthetics prior to law. She is a barrister and member of Gray’s Inn. She is also completing a monograph ‘Law After Modernity’, which explores at a more abstract level many of the issues of pluralism, justice and human rights also to be found in her work on the EU, and unusually, for a work of legal theory, is illustrated with various images and artistic works.