The role of scientists and lawyers in delivering public policy – insights from Covid-19: CSLG

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Cambridge Law Faculty published this video item, entitled “The role of scientists and lawyers in delivering public policy – insights from Covid-19: CSLG” – below is their description.

Professional advice is an integral part to almost all public policy development and its implementation. We will discuss the role that legal and scientific advice plays in public policy, and will look at how this advice is often formulated and brought together for overall decision making. This will be examined particularly through the lens of work done during Covid-19.

Chair: Sir Richard Heaton

Sir Richard Heaton became Warden of Robinson College, Cambridge in 2021. Sir Richard was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Justice and Clerk of the Crown in Chancery from 2015 to 2020, and Permanent Secretary at the Cabinet Office from 2012 to 2015. He held a number of other legal and non-legal roles earlier in his career including at the Home Office, the Attorney General’s Office and the Department for Work and Pensions. For six years Sir Richard was senior race champion for the UK civil service, promoting progression into and within the service by talented individuals from all backgrounds.

Presenter: Sir John Aston

John Aston is Harding Professor of Statistics in Public Life at the University of Cambridge and between 2017 and 2020 served as Chief Scientific Adviser at the Home Office. John is Co-Director of the EPSRC Centre for Maths of Information in Healthcare and on the management board of the Cantab Capital Institute for the Mathematics of Information. He is a non-executive director of the UK Statistics Authority and was a founding director of the Alan Turing Institute from 2015-2017.

John’s interests include all areas of Applied Statistics but particularly Statistical Neuroimaging, Statistical Linguistics and Official and Public Policy Statistics. John has methodological interests amongst other things in Functional Data Analysis, Time Series Analysis, and Spatial-Temporal Statistics.

Prior to taking up his position at Cambridge, John held academic positions at the University of Warwick and at Academia Sinica in Taiwan.

John was knighted in the 2021 Birthday Honours for services to statistics and public policymaking.

Presenter: Peter Fish

Peter is a solicitor with over 25 years’ experience as a Government Lawyer, most recently as (interim) Treasury Solicitor and Permanent Secretary of the Government Legal Department (GLD). He began his career as a litigation solicitor in private practice before joining the Government Legal Service in 1994. He has held a number of senior legal roles across Government including as Legal Adviser to the Cabinet Office, Head of the Attorney General’s Office and Legal Adviser to the Home Office. Peter was an executive member of GLD’s Board from 2014 until his retirement from the Civil Service in April 2021. He has recently taken up an appointment as an Assistant Commissioner with the Boundary Commission for England.

Discussant: Dr Leah Trueblood

Dr Leah Trueblood is a Career Development Fellow in Public Law at Worcester College, Oxford. She is also a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights. Leah completed her DPhil at Oxford in 2018. Her thesis was entitled ‘The Uses and Abuses of Referendums’ and funded by a Fellowship from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. Her research is at the intersection of political theory and public law. She is particularly interested in referendums, democratic legitimacy, the concept of representation, and the role of science in democracy. Leah’s work has been featured by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Discover Magazine, and the Guardian.

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About This Source - Cambridge Law Faculty

The Faculty of Law, Cambridge is the law school of the University of Cambridge. In 2018, it was ranked the best law school in the United Kingdom and second best law school in the world.

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