This September, the University of South Carolina School of Law welcomes to Columbia The Honourable Sir Stephen Silber, recently retired Justice of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales and the sitting Treasurer of The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn. While here, Sir Stephen will visit the John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court, meet with law school faculty and students, and participate in the James Otis Lecture in celebration of Constitution Day.
As its Treasurer, Sir Stephen is the elected head of Gray’s Inn, one of London’s four Inns of Court that make up the heart of the English justice system. It is also the site of the School of Law’s London Maymester program, established in 2004 by Professor Martin McWilliams. Students in the Maymester program take classes and participate in student-barrister training on the premises of Gray’s Inn, where English common law has been crafted since the 14th Century. “Much of the law our students study today originated in the London Inns of Court, centuries ago,” observes Professor McWilliams. “It’s very powerful for our students to attend class and other functions in the very space in which some of that development took place.”
Sir Stephen and his wife, Lady Lucie Silber, will arrive in Columbia on Sept. 16, 2014. Sir Stephen will speak about the changing nature of the English legal system on Sept. 17 at this year’s first meeting of the John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court, an organization of judges, scholars and lawyers that emulates the London Inns of Court in promoting civility, professionalism, and collegiality in the justice system. The following day, he will have lunch with faculty of the School of Law, observe classes, and meet with students. On Sept. 19, in honor of Constitution Day, he will participate in the James Otis Lecture at the South Carolina Statehouse, hosted by the South Carolina chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Along with Sir Robert Worcester, he will speak about Magna Carta, a bedrock source of the Anglo-American justice system, in the chamber of the South Carolina House of Representatives. The lecture will be broadcast live beginning at 11 a.m. on ETV World, one of South Carolina ETV’s television channels.
“The USC School of Law shares with Gray’s Inn common goals of educating young people and promoting the rule of law,” McWilliams said. “We’re proud to have developed a well-established relationship with such a time-honored institution, and we are honored to welcome Sir Stephen to Columbia.”