Last week on 9 and 10 July 2015, a two day conference celebrated and contemplated 50 years since passing of the Race Relations Act 1965. Organised by Dr Iyiola Solanke (University of Leeds) and Mr Patrick Maddams (Honourable Society of the Inner Temple), the conference was fittingly supported and held at the august British Academy in London. Academics, practitioners, lawyers and policy-makers came together to critically consider the changes that the last 50 years had brought and looked ahead to what the agenda for the next 50 years might look like in terms of race relations. It was undeniable that much had been achieved and won (legally and socially) since the passing of the act and the people that attended and spoke, were indicative of that. Society, the media, academia and legislative frameworks had progressed and evolved, however, also clear was that more was necessary, and that although overt racism was fading, as a consequence of the passing of the Act and attitude change in society, indirect racism remains, everyday racism has now evolved and correspondingly, the fight against new racisms need to continue. It was resoundingly suggested that interpretation of the Race Relations Act needed to be better in its application.
As part of the conference, a public event on the evening of Thursday, 9 July, entitled Racial Discrimination and Criminal Justice in the EU, brought together a panel of scholars and practitioners dedicated to discussing how (and indeed if) the Race Relations Act had impacted specifically on policing and criminal justice. The intersections of race and criminal justice are all too often referred to in passing, rather than presented as the central question to be addressed, which is arguably myopic given the grossly disproportionate ways in which black and minority ethnic groups are policed and imprisoned in the UK. Hence it was apposite that experienced and esteemed panellists spoke directly to this issue and in as bold terms as the title of the event suggested.
Read more at: http://crim.law.ox.ac.uk/racial-discrimination-and-criminal-justice/