Congratulations to Dr Tarunabh Khaitan (2004, Law), Associate Professor and the Hackney Fellow in Law at Wadham College, for winning the inaugural Letten Prize.
Dedicated to the memory of Professor Letten F Saugstad (1925-2014), a Norwegian polymath whose work focused on biological psychology, the Letten Prize exists to ‘recognise younger researchers’ contributions in the fields of health, development, environment and equality in all aspects of human life.’
Dr Khaitan, who completed his postgraduate studies at Exeter as a Rhodes Scholar, was commended by the prize committee for his ‘ground breaking research on the root causes of inequality and injustice.’ With work spanning multiple disciplines, from legal theory to political philosophy and ethics, ‘his work serves as a sterling example of research that combines scientific excellence and rigor with a true social engagement.’
His book, A Theory of Discrimination Law (OUP, 2015) has been cited before the UK Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights. In his home country of India, Dr Khaitan is the founder of India’s leading academic law journal, and was instrumental in drafting a proposed Anti-Discrimination and Equality Bill that would give India a comprehensive antidiscrimination statute for the first time.
Currently on special leave from Wadham until 2021, Dr Khaitan is a Future Fellow at Melbourne Law School, where he has conducted research into the resilience of democratic constitutions, particularly in South Asia. Melbourne Law School will also be the venue of Dr Khaitan’s forthcoming ‘Indian Equality Law Programme’ for doctoral students and early-career scholars, funded by the award of two million Norwegian kroner – around £200,000 – which accompanies the Letten Prize.
Speaking following the news of his win, Dr Khaitan said, ‘I am very grateful to the Letten Foundation and the Young Academy of Norway for this Prize, which I hope to use towards contributing, in a small way, towards a vision of an India free from unfair discrimination.’ Dr Khaitan plans to use the prize money to launch an ‘Indian Equality Law Program’ to be hosted at the Melbourne Law School. He will formally receive the prize at a ceremony in Oslo on 13 September 2018.