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Gamle festsal, UiO
Tuesday September 7th 2021 at 09:00 to 14:00
Tuesday September 7th 2021 at 08:55
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In 2018, professor Tarunabh Khaitan was awarded the Letten Prize for his work on human rights and discrimination law. Tarunabh Khaitan is the Professor of Public Law and Legal Theory at Wadham College (Oxford) and a Vice Dean at the Faculty of Law (Oxford). He is also a Professor & Future Fellow at Melbourne Law School, working on a project on the resilience of democratic constitutions, with a focus on South Asia. He specialises in legal theory, constitutional law and discrimination law.

To celebrate Professor Tarunabh Khaitan’s work, the Letten Committee is organizing a seminar September 7, 2021, on The Role of the Legal Scholar in the World. Tarunabh Khaitan has used much of his academic career to work with societally important themes on human rights and discrimination law. He is inspired by an interest for how social and legal science should deal with social and political problems and at the same time be true to scholarly methods. Professor Khaitan will give a lecture, followed by brief reflections from, and a panel debate with, scholars affiliated with Norwegian research institutions and universities.

The seminar will be held at the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo. The Faculty is interdisciplinary in combining traditional legal methods with disciplines such as international human rights, sociology of law, criminology, legal history and legal philosophy, and has a long-standing tradition of combining academic work with various forms of societal and political engagements. The role of the legal scholar and of the lawyer in society are themes that since the 1950’s have been discussed actively and in a variety of fora by Faculty scholars. Since the 1970s, the Faculty has also hosted two student run legal aid clinics, JussBuss and Jurk, which both have encouraged an activist orientation in their work. Moreover, several of its most prominent scholars have participated in political activism based on their academic knowledge, such as Professor Thomas Mathiesen, who recently passed away.

The Letten seminar will invite a broad discussion on the current challenges relating to the role of the legal scholar in the world by scholars from different parts of the world and from different legal disciplines and traditions. There will be contributions on the role of international human rights, law and development, discrimination law and on the structural power of law and authorities concerning inequality in the world. Seminar speakers are encouraged to reflect on the challenges of combining activism in society with honoring scholarly traditions. On the one hand, there is a loyalty to the academic requirements of being a scholar; on the other, academic knowledge may be used for the good of society in more effective ways by participating in activism and political processes. In short: What are the promises and pitfalls of legal activism?

  • 09:00-10:00

    Tarunabh Khaitan, Letten Prize Laureate 2018

  • 10:00-10:20

    Anniken Sørlie, HiOF/UiO

  • 10:20-10:40

    M. Sanjeeb Hossain, UiO

  • 10:40-11:10


  • 11:10-11:30

    Malcolm Langford, UiO

  • 11:30–11:50

    Ingunn Ikdahl, UiO

  • 11:50-12:10

    Short break

  • 12:10-13:00

    Panel discussion

    Moderator: Asta Busingye Lydersen
    Participants: Tarunabh Khaitan, Oxford; Hans Petter Graver, UiO; Malgorzata Cyndecka, UiB

  • 13:00-14:00


  • 14:00-15:00

    The Letten Prize Award Ceremony

  • 15:00-16:00

    Reception at The Faculty of Law Library