Should governments pay restitution for their predecessors’ acts?

Thursday February 25th 2021, 5:30pm – 7pm UK time, on Zoom webinar

Registration: click here to register for the event

Building up on the recent public debate around the legacy of colonialism, we would like to discuss if current governments should be held accountable for actions taken by their predecessors. Is a government the same entity through time or does it change enough to build a distinct organisation, with a distinct liability? What if a previous government’s actions would be deemed illegal or immoral by today’s standards, but not necessarily at that time? And if held accountable, what would acceptable compensation be?


Following PPE at Lincoln, Stephen spent most of his career in policy roles in the UK civil service. More recently he has moved into the non-profit sector and is currently Interim Chief Executive of Big Society Capital, the UK’s leading social impact investor, and Chair of the Friends Provident Foundation. Last year he published his book “Culture and Values at the Heart of Policy Making” with the Policy Press.


Stephen Wright is a Lecturer in Philosophy at Lincoln and has been teaching in Oxford since 2014. His research focuses on issues in Epistemology, Moral Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Religion. In 2018, he published his book Knowledge Transmission, which explores questions of how we come to know things by believing what people tell us and he has a forthcoming co-edited volume with Oxford University Press on the relationship between memory and testimony as sources of knowledge. He has also published papers on the problems of persistence, the nature of trust, and the relationship between lying and truth.


Waqas Mirza is a Lecturer in French at St Catherine’s College and a DPhil student in French and English Literature at Lincoln College, where he co-organised Lincoln Leads in 2019 and in 2020. He is also the Executive Secretary of Uncomfortable Oxford, a social enterprise actively working to raise awareness and encourage discussion on the ‘uncomfortable’ legacies of inequality and imperialism in the city as well as the politics of memory built in its environment.


Ben Wheadon graduated with a BA (Hons) in English from King’s College London in 2020, after studying abroad at the University of California, Berkeley in 2019. Receiving the Kenneth Sewards-Shaw scholarship this year, he joined Lincoln College to read for an MSt in English & American Studies, focusing on investigating the interactions between literature and song-writing in American political expression. 

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: