Reading Our Times

Reading Our Times

Is the law damaging our politics? In conversation with Jonathan Sumption

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We live in an age of ever expanding law and of rampant political cynicism. Perhaps the two are connected?

Nick Spencer talks to former BBC Reith lecturer and the Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption about his book 'Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics' which argues that our growing inclination to turn to the law to resolve our problems may, in fact, be making our public life worse.

Unfortunately we were hampered by the tech in this episode, and despite the sterling work of our expert producer Phil in post–production, Jonathan’s voice remains accompanied by tiny electronic crickets. If you are finding it difficult to listen, you can read the transcript of the conversation here:

Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode

Trials of the State: Law and the Decline of Politics (

BBC Radio 4 – The Reith Lectures, 2019: Jonathan Sumption, 1/5. Law’s Expanding Empire


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About this podcast

Reading Our Times is the podcast that explores the books and the ideas that are shaping us today. It is hosted by Nick Spencer, Senior Fellow at the think tank, Theos.

We’re going to be talking to some of the world’s leading authors about issues like meritocracy, justice, populism, human rights, the brain, liberalism, and religion.

Above all, we'll be exploring what these books have to say about the times we live in and about the people we are.

So listen with us, and we’ll introduce you to authors, books and ideas that illuminate ourselves and our world today.

For more information about the people and ideas behind the podcast, visit or follow us on Twitter @theosthinktank and @theosnick.

by Theos Think Tank


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