This talk considers the ambiguity that the law faced in the eighteenth century in its struggle with slavery. In this century, several English judges upheld the rights of slave owners to claim property in their “Negroes”, either on the grounds that they were not Christians, or by appealing to the legal concept of jus gentium (law of nations). However, some judges upheld the rights of slaves, arguing that once a slave set foot in England, the slave became free.
In particular, this talk considers the perennial controversy that has surrounded the case of James Somersett (1772) and the role of Lord Mansfield in the change to the common law regarding slavery within Britain.
Speaker: Prof Satvinder Juss, King’s College London
Satvinder Singh Juss Ph.D (Cantab) FRSA, is a Professor of Law at King’s College London and a barrister-at-law. He has practiced and published widely on the subjects of migration and human rights law. He has been a Human Rights Fellow at Harvard Law School and was a member of the Slavery Working Group at the Centre for Social Justice (2013), which led to the British Government passing of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
Satvinder was born and raised in colonial East Africa, Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in 1958, during the time of the ‘Mau Mau’ independence movement. His family settled in Wolverhampton in 1968 where Enoch Powell MP made his “Rivers of Blood” speech.
This event is the third in the series of eight talks titled The British Business of Slavery, curated by Deborah Lavin.
Tickets: individual tickets £5, students and participating society members £3. Series ticket £30, students and participating society members £21.