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Liberty, Ethics and the Law: Thomas More's Perspective

CLE Credit: Three Hours

Objectives of this program:


To be distributed: Readings for each session

About Sir Thomas More

Sir Thomas was one of the most highly regarded lawyers of his day, an historian, and a philosopher who gave the first known defense of free speech. In addition, he was the son of an eminent judge, and he eventually rose to be Lord Chancellor of England, the highest officer under King Henry VIII. He was also a poet who wrote a diplomatic reminder to his monarch that law and citizen support were of greater importance than hereditary power and privilege. More is the first English person known to present a consistent defense of those political elements eventually adopted by the United States: rule of law for all, division of power, separation of church and state, elected representation, and protected forms of free and public deliberation. Famous among Londoners for his care for the poor and his impartial justice to all, Sir Thomas was also well known for his dedication to peace and for the balanced life he lived in regard to family, church, and civic responsibilities.

Sample Schedule:

9:00 Thomas More on Law, Ethics, and Liberty – His Theory
10:00 Break
10:15 Thomas More on Law, Ethics, and Liberty – His Practice
11:15 Break
11:30 Panel Discussion: Liberty, Ethics, and the Practice of Contemporary Law
4 Panelists: Respected judge(s) and lawyers from different fields of law.
12:30 Lunch; end




This program will investigate the relationship between ethics, law, and liberty by

This presentation will also explain the significance of Thomas More’s election as “Lawyer of the Millennium” by the Law Society of Great Britain in December 1999 and his recognition as “Patron of Statesmen” by thousands of leaders from around the world in November 2000. Finally, the program will conclude with reflections on the importance of this lawyer who conducted his life with “integrity,” a word used for the first time in English by this lawyer who chose to go to his death rather than to go against justice and to give up essential liberties.