This year's BBC Reith lectures are being given by one of the greatest legal minds of our time - Jonathan Sumption.
His first lecture typifies the clarity of thought and communication skills of our top judges. It is a fascinating thesis on how the scope of the law has grown in modern times; the creeping tendency for political decisions to be deferred to the courts, rather than dealt with in the correct democratic forum; and the failure of our system properly to recognise the trade-off between minimising risk and maintaining personal liberty.
Particularly enjoyable is the lively debate afterwards with the extinguished audience, including Baroness Helena Kennedy.
This year’s BBC Reith Lecturer is Jonathan Sumption, until recently one of England and Wales’s most senior judges, sitting in the UK’s Supreme Court. In his series called "Law and the Decline of Politics" he sets out his argument that the law has moved into the space once occupied by politics. In his first lecture, "Law’s Expanding Empire," recorded at Middle Temple in London in front of an audience, Sumption argues that until the 19th century, law only dealt with a very narrow range of human problems. But that has changed radically. And he says that the growth of the law, driven by demand for greater security and less risk, means we have less liberty.