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Public lecture: Law, Complexity and the Welfare System

12 Mar 2014

By Neville Harris, Professor of Law, on 2 April 2014 (4.30pm, followed by a reception at approx 5.30pm) in University Place, room 1.218.

With a response by Upper Tribunal Judge and Emeritus Profssor, Nick Wikeley.

At any point in time the UK’s welfare system provides support to half of the UK population. But our welfare rights are governed by a highly complex legal framework, which few of us can be expected to understand – and which helps to make the system costly to administer and prone to error.

Why is the welfare system so complex? Why are basic welfare rights governed by such complex law? Would simpler rules work – and benefit us all? This lecture aims to address these and related issues, against the background of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 – which aims to simplify the structure of welfare but, some argue, will not reduce its underlying complexity.

Law in a Complex State by Neville Harris was published by Hart in October 2013.