Legal, Systemic and Reputational Implications of the Assange Case

Talk Tuesday, 4th February, 12pm

For almost a decade, the various convolutions of the Julian Assange case have played out primarily in the UK. From the early extradition proceedings initiated by Sweden, followed by his 6-year asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy, to his arrest and conviction by the UK for bail violation in April 2019 and his current preventative detention at HMP Belmarsh under a US extradition request. Every phase of the saga has been marked by poisonous controversy, with the various camps often taking irreconcilable and increasingly emotional positions.

In association with Humanade, the Frontline Club host this special daytime event, which aims to leave the mudslinging and finger-pointing behind, and provide a forum for a fresh look at the facts and a sober discussion on the generic legal, policy and reputational implications of this case. It is less concerned with the controversies surrounding the personality and character of the man but, rather, with the challenge of maintaining national security, human rights and the rule of law in the cyber-age, with the systemic importance of transparency, oversight and accountability in democratic societies, and with the risks and benefits arising from the constantly evolving capabilities and roles of the media, civil society and whistle-blowers. We look at the bigger picture and ask:

  1. Apart from the individual cast and plot, what is this case really about?
  2. What are the legal, systemic and reputational issues at stake for the UK and beyond?
  3. How do we want our handling of this case to be judged 30 years from now?

Participation is by invitation only. Coffee, tea provided and light lunch provided.


  • 12:00pm-1:00pm Arrival (Light Lunch)
  • 1:00pm-1:45pm Opening Statements
  • 1:45pm-4:00pm Questions from the floor


Sir Richard Dearlove – Former Head of British Secret Intelligence Service MI6

James Goodale – Former General Counsel, The New York Times, during ‘The Pentagon Papers’ Case

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC – Founder member of Doughty Street Chambers

Prof Nils Melzer – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Peter Oborne – Political Columnist for The Daily Mail

Claire Smith – Former Foreign Office, Cabinet Office and German Foreign Ministry


Keme Nzerem – Broadcaster and Journalist

For enquiries, please email [email protected]