Laws Events
UCL Laws Events Series
Past Laws Events
Other UCL Events

UCL Laws Events & CPD

Current Legal Problems Lecture: 2011-12

The Current Legal Problems (CLP) lecture series and annual volume was established over fifty-five years ago at the Faculty of Laws, University College London and is recognised as a major reference point for legal scholarship.

The continuing strength of Current Legal Problems is its representation of a broad range of legal scholarship opinion, theory, methodology, and subject matter, but with an emphasis upon contemporary developments of law. A particularly important feature of the lecture series that forms the basis of the annual volume is the participation of members of the judiciary who chair the lectures in a convivial and academic environment.

The lectures are held at the Faculty of Law, Bentham House, Endsleigh Gardens, London WC1 from 6-7pm (except the Inaugural Lectures) and are accredited by the Bar Standards Board and Solicitors Regulation Authority for 1 CPD hour. They are public lectures and are free of charge.

Winter Term 2012  
Thursday 19 January 2012 - INAUGURAL
Towards a Philosophy of Human Rights
Professor John Tasioulas, UCL Faculty of Laws
Chair: The Rt Hon Baroness Onora O'Neill
Time: 6 - 7.15pm
Venue: UCL Central Campus
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB (pending)

RSVP
About this lecture
In recent decades, the discourse of human rights has come to play an increasingly prominent role in our public life, both within the law and beyond. Yet the nature of human rights, and the grounds on which we are entitled to assert their existence, remain matters of deep controversy. Is the idea of a human right fundamentally continuous with the older notion of a natural right, or does it represent a distinctively post-1948 innovation? Are human rights best understood in terms of some political function, such as benchmarks of governmental legitimacy or triggers for intervention? Are they grounded in the interests of their possessors, or do they have a basis that is independent of any conception of the human good? The lecture will try to show how philosophical reflection can shed light on these questions, responding in part to recent philosophical work on human rights.

About the speaker:
John Tasioulas has been Quain Professor of Jurisprudence in the Faculty of Laws, University College London, since January 1st, 2010. He received degrees in philosophy and law from the University of Melbourne and a D.Phil in Philosophy from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. Prior to his appointment at UCL he was a Reader in Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford and for twelve years a Fellow in Philosophy at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He has also taught at the universities of Melbourne and Glasgow and has held visiting appointments at Melbourne and the Australian National University. He has published on a wide range of topics in moral, legal and political philosophy. His work has appeared in journals such as Ethics, European Journal of International Law, European Journal of Philosophy, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, and the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. His more recent research, which has been supported by grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, has focussed on philosophical issues in human rights, punishment and international law. He is the co-editor of The Philosophy of International Law (OUP, 2010).

Thursday 26 January 2012
Professor Penney Lewis, King's College London
 

Thursday 2 February 2012
Obligations in Commercial Contracts: A Matter of Law or Interpretation?
Professor Catherine Mitchell, University of Hull
Chair: The Rt Hon Lord Justice Laws
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB (pending)


RSVP

About this lecture
English commercial contract law is undergoing its own ‘interpretative turn’. According to Lord Hoffmann, disputes concerning implied terms in contracts and the extent of the defendant’s liability for loss on breach are resolved by searching for the meaning of the parties’ agreement. The process is one of contextual interpretation of the contract (understood in a broad sense), rather than the external application of autonomous legal rules derived from authoritative precedents. On the one hand this agreement-centred approach can be regarded as the natural consequence of a definitive principle of contractual liability – obligations are assumed by the parties, rather than imposed on them on a priori grounds. On this basis, Lord Hoffmann is simply reasserting the facilitative character of commercial contract law. On the other hand this approach raises questions about the scope and limits of the legal regulation of commercial activity by courts. At its most extreme, the interpretative approach espoused by Lord Hoffmann admits of only an attenuated commitment to commercial contract law as a repository of non-instrumental normative values. Instead, commercial contract law is perceived only as a loose grouping of pragmatic considerations, given a superficial veneer of coherence by reference to a substantively empty concept such as the ‘reasonable expectations of the parties’. This lecture will trace the development of this interpretative turn and assess some of its possible implications, both for the operation of other rules of contract law and for our general understanding of the role of the law in regulating commercial activity.

About the Speaker:
Catherine Mitchell has been teaching at Hull Law School since 1992. Her main teaching responsibilities are in Contract Law, Jurisprudence and Foundations of Commercial and Corporate Law. Her research interests lie primarily in the field of contract law. Previously published work includes a book, Interpretation of Contracts (Routledge Cavendish, 2007), as well as articles and short papers on exclusion clauses, third party rights, restitutionary damages and entire agreement clauses in contract. Recent work has included a paper examining the role of narratives in contract law, published in Legal Studies, and an article exploring the distinction between the ‘real’ and the ‘paper’ deal, published in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies. She is currently working on a monograph, due to be published by Hart, exploring the connection between contract law and commercial practice.

Thursday 9 February 2012 - INAUGURAL
Patterns of Legal Change
Professor Paul Mitchell, UCL Faculty of Laws
Chair: Professor Dame Hazel Genn DBE QC, Dean, UCL Faculty of Laws
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB (pending)

RSVP
About this lecture
This lecture argues that understanding how and why legal change occurs is a fundamental inquiry for the academic study of law. However, the patterns of legal change remain inadequately understood, and - as a consequence - little studied in their own right, and under-theorised. We too often make crude assumptions based on limited evidence, which, when a wider range of primary sources are considered, are shown to be mistaken. These primary sources – such as law reform committee papers, judges’ notebooks, and correspondence – show that the way in which legal change comes about is far more complex, subtle and unpredictable than the official sources would have us believe. A more accurate understanding of what actually happens allows for the creation, and refinement, of radically different theoretical models of legal change.

About the speaker:
Paul Mitchell joined UCL as Professor of Laws in 2010, having previously taught at King's College London, Queen Mary University of London, and Oxford University. His main research interests are the law of obligations, legal history and Roman law. He has recently edited the eighth edition of Goff and Jones on the Law of Unjust Enrichment (with Charles Mitchell and Stephen Watterson), and is presently working on a monograph on the history of tort law 1900-1950.
Thursday 16 February 2012
Mental disorder and the law: A decade of learning?
Professor Genevra Richardson, King's College London
Chair: (TBC)
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB (pending)

RSVP
About this lecture
Well over ten years ago the New Labour government embarked on a programme of mental health law reform. It was an often heated and unedifying process but out of it have emerged twenty first century amendments to an old statute and some more twenty first century amendments to a new statute. These two statutes deal respectively with mental disorder and mental incapacity, two closely related concepts that both law and medicine struggle to define in the abstract and to apply in practice. This paper will return to some of the themes raised in a CLP lecture delivered in 2001 and will consider how far we have come since then, what lessons we have learned, what questions we should have been asking and what the prospects might be for the future.

About the speaker:
Genevra Richardson has been Professor of Law at King’s College London since 2005. Before coming to King’s she was Professor of Public Law at Queen Mary, University of London. She has a long-standing interest in law and psychiatry. In 1998-9 she chaired the Expert Committee established by the Department of Health to advise ministers on the reform of mental health legislation. In recent years she has conducted research into the assessment of mental capacity with a team from the Institute of Psychiatry. She has been a member of Council of the Medical Research Council and the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council and is currently a trustee of the Nuffield Foundation. She is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
(Thursday 23 February 2012) - Date TBC
The concept of "jurisdiction" in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights

Judge Angelika Nussberger, European Court of Human Rights
About this lecture
According to the European Convention on Human Rights Member States to the Convention have to protect the human rights of "everyone within their jurisdiction". Therefore it is crucial to delimit the jurisdiction of the State. This can raise difficult problems both within and outside the territory of a State. Is a State responsible for the actions of an international organisation acting within its territory if it enjoys immunity? Are there inroads into the concept of "immunity" in order to make human rights protection effective? – On the other hand, under what circumstances can a State be held responsible for extraterritorial actions? The lecture will examine in how far the European Court of Human Rights has been called upon to further elaborate the concept of "jurisdiction" in its case-law and will discuss the consequences for general international law.

About the speaker:
Angelika Nussberger is judge at the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Germany. Between 2002 and 2010 she was full professor at the University of Cologne for international and comparative constitutional law. In her last year at the University she was vice-president. She has been member of many international expert committees, among other in the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and in the Expert Committee of the International Labour Organisation.

Thursday 1 March 2012
Pluralism and Justice in the contemporary European legal space

Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
Chair: (TBC)
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB (pending)

RSVP
About this lecture
Contemporary European legal scholarship, in its focus on sovereignty, hierarchy and pluralism has paid too little attention to the concept of justice. Undoubtedly, achieving justice in the EU is problematic. The many differences between Member State legal systems, and their varied attitudes towards, for example, redistribution of wealth, render an overarching concept of justice for the EU seemingly unattainable. Indeed, the complex, pluralist landscape of EU law and governance, with its fragmented lines of authority and near invisible accountabilities, seems to render injustice all the more likely. How is justice achievable, given this complexity? Yet EU law must seek to promote justice – what would we say of a legal system that did not seek to do so? In this lecture, I argue for justice as a value to be promoted by the EU. In order to aid its realisation, I argue for the recasting and re-imagining of human rights and the rule of law as 'Critical Legal Justice' - a vibrant concept of justice able to span the Byzantine complexities of the European legal space.

About the speaker:
Sionaidh Douglas-Scott was born and grew up in Edinburgh. She studied philosophy and art history and aesthetics at UCL, and subsequently law at the LSE, before being called to the Bar. Before coming to Oxford, she was Professor of Law at King's College London. She is currently Professor of European and Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford, specialising in particular in the public law of the EU (the 2nd edition of her monograph, 'The Constitutional Law of the European Union' forthcoming 2012). She is also completing a monograph 'Law After Modernity', which explores at a more abstract level many of the issues of pluralism, justice and human rights also to be found in her work on the EU, and unusually, for a work of legal theory, is illustrated with various images and artistic works.

Thursday 8 March 2012
Another new approach to financial regulation

Professor Eilis Ferran, St Catherine's College, Cambridge
Chair: (TBC)
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB (pending)

RSVP
About this lecture
The UK is conducting its third major review of financial regulation since the 1980s. Will we get it "right" this time? This lecture will examine key aspects of the latest "new" approach, assessing them by reference to the underlying policy objectives, and considering challenges that are likely to lie ahead.

About the speaker:
Professor Eilis Ferran is Professor of Company and Securities Law at the University of Cambridge Law Faculty and a former Director of the Faculty's Centre for Corporate and Commercial Law (3CL). Her books include Building an EU Securities Market (Cambridge University Press, 2004), Principles of Corporate Finance Law 2008) and she co-edited with Professor CE Goodhart Regulating Financial Services and Markets in the 21st Century Hart Publishing, 2001). Her recent articles include "The Break-up of the Financial Services Authority (Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 2011). She is an editor of the Journal of Corporate Law Studies (Hart Publishing)and is the Editor of the Law Working Papers Series of the European Corporate Governance Institute. In 2000 she was a Special Adviser to the UK Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Financial Services and Market Bill. In 2009 she was a Member of a Group of High Level Legal Experts convened by the Committee of European Securities Regulators to advise on legal issues arising out of the de Larosiere Report.
Thursday 15 March 2012
Professor Jeremy Waldron, NYU
 
Thursday 22 March 2012 - INAUGURAL
Professor Cheryl Thomas, UCL Faculty of Laws
 
Previous Lectures - Autumn Term 2011  
Thursday 1 December 2011
Charities and the Modern Equality Framework: Heading for a Collision?
Debra Morris, Charity Law Unit, University of Liverpool
Chair: Alison McKenna, Principal Judge, First-tier Tribunal
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB

RSVP
About this lecture
This lecture will examine the intersection of modern equality law and charity law. The renewed focus on equality law as a result of the enactment of the Equality Act 2010 means that charities will be examined more closely than ever before. It will be seen that, in some areas, their modus operandi may lead to conflict, either with anti-discrimination law itself, or at least, with its underlying principles of equality. This is all the more worrying, considered alongside charities’ (now enhanced) requirement to provide public benefit. This is an important, yet little understood area of law for charities and their trustees. As the state retracts in the Big Society and charities fill the gap in the provision of services, it is vital that they understand the impact of equality law. The primary focus of the lecture will be on the potential for conflict between equality law’s foundational anti-discrimination objectives and the objects of some charities. This occurs where the charities’ beneficiaries are limited to one or more classes of persons, based on personal characteristics, such as gender, age or religion, so that others, that have protection under the Equality Act 2010, are denied access to their benefits. The recent Catholic Care case should provide a warning to many other charities that may well be on a collision course, in which their public benefit credentials are found wanting when tested against the modern equality framework within which they must operate

About this speaker
Debra Morris is Reader in Charity Law & Policy at the University of Liverpool, UK, where she is also the Director of the Charity Law & Policy Unit. As Director of the Charity Law & Policy Unit, she leads research on various projects concerned with aspects of charity law. Current projects include the intersection of charities and discrimination law and the charitable status of schools. She has authored Schools: An Education in Charity Law, published by Dartmouth Press in 1996, and has been assistant editor of a leading text on charity law, Tudor on Charities, published by Sweet & Maxwell. She also assisted with the writing of the 4th edition of Picarda’s The Law and Practice Relating to Charities, published in 2010 by Bloomsbury Professional. She is Editor of Charity Law & Practice Review, the only UK journal specialising in charity law. She is a member of the International Advisory Board for the Non Profit Model Law project, based at the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies. She has written many articles in the area of charity law and has presented at conferences and seminars around the world

Thursday 24 November 2011
Rationalising Proprietary Remedies: Are We All Formalists Now?
Prof. Craig Rotherham, University of Nottingham
Chair: The Rt Hon Lord Dyson, The Supreme Court
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB (pending)

RSVP
About this lecture
The task of determining the proper scope of the law of proprietary remedies has been described as the most difficult undertaking facing those seeking to rationalise the law of restitution. A matter of particular contention concerns the methodology that might legitimately be employed in analysing this area. In particular, there is a view that it is wrong to try, as many scholars have, to explain, justify or develop these remedies by reference to policy arguments that focus on the effects that awarding such relief have in insolvency. Not only is this perspective implicit in much judicial discussion, it has been articulated quite explicitly by some academic writers in recent years. This lecture explores the objections raised against justifying proprietary relief on the basis of whether its consequences in insolvency are deserved and asks whether, like it or not, we can really avoid a significant level of engagement with policy if debate in this area is to be rational.

About the speaker:
Craig Rotherham is Professor of Law at the University of Nottingham. He pursued his study of the law at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand), Yale University and Cambridge University and previously held posts at the University of Canterbury, the University of Sussex and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. His primary research interests are restitution, proprietary remedies and ideas of property. His present research focus is on gain-based relief. In addition to a number of articles and contributions to edited collections, he is author of Proprietary Remedies in Context: A Study in the Redistribution of Property Rights (Hart, 2002).
Thursday 17 November 2011 - INAUGURAL
Doing the Sustainable Development Dance: Stepping from Education for Sustainable Development to Environmental Justice in Legal Education
Prof. Jane Holder, UCL Faculty of Laws
Chair: Stephen Hockman QC
Time: 6 - 7.15pm
Venue: UCL Central Campus
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB (pending)

RSVP
About this lecture
We are nearing the end of the UN’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) (2005-14). This has triggered important initiatives in schools and, increasingly, in higher and further education. In this lecture I critically examine the form of sustainability advanced by the ESD movement and question the role of legal education in furthering this. I am particularly concerned with how to relate sustainability and justice, including environmental justice – the fair and equal distribution of environmental ‘goods’ and ‘bads’, since combining these concepts seems to offer an important means by which law teachers can contribute to the ESD agenda and, possibly, reframe it in a more far-reaching and politically challenging manner. I illustrate these points with examples of radical ESD thinking and action, including the process of ‘greening’ UCL.

About the speaker:
Jane Holder has carried out research on environmental law since graduating from Warwick University in 1990. Her PhD was on environmental assessment, published as a book, Environmental Assessment: the Regulation of Decision Making in 2004. She has also worked on the law relating to hedgerows, town and village greens and, latterly, environmental justice issues and the education for sustainable development movement. Jane is co-chair of the Executive Board of UCL’s Sustainable Cities Grand Challenge and a Public Engagement Beacon Mentor.
Thursday 3 November 2011
The Role of Legitimacy in Trade Mark Law
Dr Ilanah Simon Fhima
Chair: The Hon Mr Justice Floyd
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB

RSVP
About this lecture:
Far from being a 'monopoly right', the rights granted under a trade mark equate to the exclusive right to undertake a number of activities, and to prevent others from doing the same. However, even within the scope of those exclusive rights, the Court of Justice of the European Union has attempted to demarcate between permitted and non-permitted uses of those legislatively granted exclusive rights using the tool of 'legitimacy'.

This lecture attempts to map out the instances in which the concept of legitimacy has been used in trade mark law, and to determine when the CJEU does and does not consider a trade mark owner's reliance on its rights to be 'legitimate'. The lecture will also take a wider look at how legitimacy is understood in other areas of law and theory, comparing this to the CJEU's approach in its trade mark jurisprudence.

About the speaker:
Ilanah Simon Fhima is a lecturer and co-director of the Institute of Brand and Innovation Law at UCL Faculty of Laws. Her particular research interest is in European and comparative trade mark law, with a focus on the scope of protection. She has published extensively on both European and US trade mark law on both sides of the Atlantic. Her book on European and US trade mark dilution will be published in November 2011 by Oxford University Press.

Thursday 27 October 2011
Identifying 'Exploitative Compromises': The Role of Labour Law in Resolving Disputes between Workers
Dr Anne Davies, Brasenose College, Oxford
Chair: The Rt Hon Lord Justice Elias
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB


RSVP

About this lecture
In recent years, labour law has been going through a period of deep introspection. Some commentators have gone so far as to pronounce the subject dead. One reason for the crisis is the realisation that labour law can exacerbate divisions between different groups in the workforce: between the employed and the unemployed, between those with stable jobs and those with 'atypical' jobs, between local workers and migrant workers, and so on. The 'interests of labour' are not, in reality, a unified set of interests to be pitted against those of capital. Whilst other writers are beginning to explore this set of issues at the policy level, my aim in this lecture is to consider how the law addresses conflicts between workers on particular occasions and in particular workplaces, and to begin the task of mapping out this neglected dimension of the subject on a more practical level.

About the speaker:
Anne Davies is Fellow and Tutor in Law, Brasenose College, and Reader in Public Law, Oxford University. Her research interests are in public law and labour law. She is the author of three books (Accountability: A Public Law Analysis of Government by Contract (OUP, 2001); Perspectives on Labour Law (CUP Law in Context series, 2004; 2nd edn., 2009); The Public Law of Government Contracts (OUP, 2008)) and numerous articles in both fields, and is currently working on a book on EU labour law. She is also General Editor of the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies.

Thursday 20 October 2011
Criminal Conversations
Prof. Ian Ward, Newcastle Law School, Newcastle University
Chair: The Rt Hon Lord Hope of Craighead
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB (pending)

RSVP

About this lecture
The interdisciplinary study of law and literature is not new. But it remains, in the opinion of some, controversial. The ‘strategies’ of law and literature are contestable and contested. These strategies, and these contestations, will provide the focus for the first part of this lecture. It will be argued that one of the virtues of ‘law and literature’ scholarship is an inherent facility for nurturing further inter-disciplinary work. In this spirit of evolving inter-disciplinarity, the second part of this lecture will concentrate on the closer relation of law, literature and history. It will proceed by means of a particular study of one relatively familiar genre of English literature, the woman’s novel of the mid-nineteenth century.

About the speaker:
Ian Ward is currently Professor of Law at Newcastle University. He is the author of a number of books and articles in the areas of law, literature and history, including Law and Literature: Possibilities and Perspectives, Shakespeare and the Legal Imagination and more recently Law, Text, Terror, all published by Cambridge University Press. His Law and the Brontes will be published later this year by Palgrave. He is presently writing a book entitled Sex, Crime and the Mid-Victorian Novel, to be published by Hart in 2013.
Thursday 13 October 2011
What should we do about financial collateral?
Louise Gullifer, Harris Manchester College, Oxford
Chair: The Rt Hon Lady Justice Arden
Time: 6 - 7pm
Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws
Accredited with 1 CPD hour by the SRA and BSB

RSVP
About this lecture
The use of securities and cash as collateral is widespread in all areas of finance. There have always been some differences in treatment of this sort of collateral, for example, fixed charges over shares and debt securities have never been registrable. More recently, however, the Financial Collateral Directive 2002, as enacted in the UK by the Financial Collateral Arrangements (No 2) Regulations 2003, has resulted in a nearly separate regime for the taking and enforcing of financial collateral; an incomplete regime, however, which is bolted onto the existing rules by disapplying some and modifying others. This lecture will examine why we treat financial collateral differently from other assets used as security or quasi-security, whether the reasons justify the differences and whether they throw any light on where the boundaries between the financial collateral regime and the residual rules should be drawn.

About the speaker:
Louise Gullifer is Reader in Commercial Law at the University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor of Harris Manchester College, Oxford. She writes widely in the areas of commercial law and corporate finance, and has recently published a book with Jennifer Payne Corporate Finance Law: Principles and Policy. She edited the 4th edition of Goode on Legal Problems of Credit and Security and she and her co-authors (Hugh Beale, Michael Bridge and Eva Lomnicka) are currently preparing a new edition of The Law of Personal Property Security.