LSE Presents: The People vs Social Sciences

Social Sciences on Trial

Tuesday 10 March 2020
Time: 18:30-20:00
Venue: The Old Theatre, the Old Building, LSE
Verdict: 20:00

With public trust in democracy at the lowest it has been in decades; in a time of mounting social discontent and increasing inequality particularly between the rich and poor, the healthy and sick, old and the young; the homed and the homeless who is it that we can look to for help in such uncertain times?

It is said knowledge is power yet what is it that the economists, political scientists, policy makers, lawyers and social science researchers offer us in terms of a way forward? What information and tools, can, should or they have provided us, the people, in order to tackle some of the complex problems arising in society today?

On Tuesday 10 March STICERD and the Department of Economics, in partnership with the Department of Law and School of Public Policy will look to answer some of these questions by putting the social sciences on trial for the crime of failing society.

In the form of a mock trial, presided over by a ‘judge,’ the prosecution will argue the case on behalf of the people, while the professors will defend their science. The jury (the live audience) will also have the opportunity to question witnesses. The trial will decide whether the social sciences, as an area of research, commentary and investigation has failed society.

graphic showing people and a gavel

The verdict will be live at 8pm in the Old Theatre.

This is a free public event – Register via Eventbrite

The hashtag for this event will be #LSETrial

The event will be live streamed in this link.

Please contact Lubala Chibwe, if you have any queries.

The Cast


Professor Conor Gearty

Department of Law, LSE

Lawyers for the Prosecution

Rachel Middlemass (assisting Counsel)

Research Impact Manager LSE

Lawyers for the Defence

Professor Julia Black

Strategic Director of Innovation, LSE

Dr Michael Muthukrishna (assisting Counsel)

School of Public Policy, LSE

Witnesses for the Prosecution

Dr David Halpern

Chief Executive, The Behavioural Insights Team

Professor Tony Travers

Department of Government, LSE

Professor Oriana Bandiera

Director of STICERD, LSE

Witnesses for the Defence

Rachel Glennerster

Chief Economist, Department for International Development

Professor Richard Blundell

Department of Economics, UCL

Hetan Shah

The British Academy

Jury of the People

Live audience (in the room and online via live stream)


Paul Sullivan

Manager, School of Public Policy, LSE