Every month, in a relaxed location in central London the London Legal Salon will meet to discuss the big questions facing the law today. Attendance is always free. This blog will publish articles by attendees and the organisers to supplement the debates at our monthly meetings.

Every meeting will be introduced by a short talk from a lawyer or commentator in the area under examination. The discussion will then be opened to those attending to make contributions or ask questions. The meetings will last around ninety minutes and operate under Chatham House rules.

The discussions and the articles on this website will look to scrutinise the black letter of the law and its implications in the Courts and wider society. They will also look to situate the law in its historical and political context. We hope that by developing an understanding of where the law has come from, and why the law has taken the form it has today, we may begin to form an idea of where we want it to go.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Are The Dead Entitled to the Presumption of Innocence? 14th November 2012 at the Old Bank Of England

On Wednesday the 14th of November 2012 the London Legal Salon will host a public debate on the Jimmy Savile allegations.  We will be meeting at the Old Bank of England Public House on Fleet Street at 1930 on the 14th of November 2012.
Recent allegations of sexual abuse levelled against the late TV presenter Jimmy Savile have caused uproar. Bigwigs at the BBC anticipate a full inquiry. With more and more retrospective accusers coming forward, and apparent evidence of cover ups within the BBC, many think the allegations against Saville are symptomatic of a sexual abuse ‘culture’ which has permeated the institution since the 1960s.

The papers seem convinced of his guilt. Articles around the case speak of ‘overwhelming evidence’ of ‘appalling abuse’. Charities who have named trusts after him are considering donating all the money held to victims of abuse and abandoning their association with the cigar touting oddball. There can be little doubt that Jimmy Savile’s reputation as a philanthropic British institution lies in tatters.

But what does this say about society’s attitude towards the presumption of innocence? Do all the rules cease to apply once an accused has passed away? Should we really be dragging up allegations against a person who cannot defend themselves? Does the manner in which Savile has been discussed betray something deeper about our attitudes to innocence?

Email londonlegalsalon@gmail.com to reserve a space in the debate.

Speaker: Tim Black, senior writer at Spiked Online