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Current Legal Problems: Lectures 2012-13

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 (unless noted below). They are public lectures and are free of charge.


Forthcoming Lectures

Thursday 7 February 2013 - INAUGURAL LECTURE
Equitable Compensation for Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Prof. Charles Mitchell (UCL)


About this lecture
‘Equity, in the exercise of its exclusive jurisdiction over trustees and fiduciaries … does not award compensation for loss.’ So wrote Lord Millett in 2005. Yet in recent years his words have been roundly ignored in courts throughout the Commonwealth. Awards of equitable compensation, or even ‘damages’, for breach of fiduciary duty are frequently made, and claims for such a remedy are the everyday work of Chancery and commercial practitioners. The lecture will review this development and consider a series of questions: what idea of fiduciary duty actuated the rule that compensation was not available for breach of this duty; now that compensation is available, what are the consequences of this for our understanding of the duty and the other remedies available for its breach; how are compensatory awards for breach of fiduciary duty assessed; and what defences can be raised in answer to claims for such a remedy?

About this speaker
Charles Mitchell became a Professor of Law at University College London in 2010. He was formerly a Professor of Law at King’s College London, and then a Fellow and Tutor in Law at Jesus College, Oxford, and a Professor of Law at Oxford University. His main research interests are the law of unjust enrichment and the law of trusts and equitable remedies.

His publications include The Law of Contribution and Reimbursement (OUP, 2003);Subrogation: Law and Practice (OUP, 2007) (with Stephen Watterson); Hayton and Mitchell: Commentary and Cases on the Law of Trusts and Equitable Remedies13th edn (Sweet & Maxwell, 2010); Underhill and Hayton: Law Relating to Trusts and Trustees 18th edn (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2010) (with David Hayton and Paul Matthews); and Goff and Jones: The Law of Unjust Enrichment 8th edn (Sweet & Maxwell, 2011) (with Paul Mitchell and Stephen Watterson).

Thursday 21 February 2013 - INAUGURAL LECTURE
Understanding Equitable Estoppel

Prof. Ben McFarlane (UCL)


About this lecture
The lecture will consider two notoriously complex areas of English law: promissory estoppel and proprietary estoppel. It will be argued that these doctrines can only be understood if we identify and isolate the specific principles that lie behind their operation. It will be suggested that each doctrine is in fact based on a number of distinct concepts. It is, therefore, a mistake to look for a broad principle that underlies either doctrine; and it would be a bigger mistake to unite the two doctrines into a single category of equitable estoppel. Rather, we should carefully examine each of the specific principles behind the doctrines. In doing so, we can identify a crucial and often overlooked point: English law recognises that a claim can arise to prevent one party suffering a detriment as a result of his or her reasonable reliance on another's promise.

About this speaker
Ben McFarlane became a Professor of Law at UCL in July 2012. Formerly Reader in Property Law and Trusts at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford. Author of "The Structure of Property Law" and co-author of "Land Law: Text, Cases and Materials". Currently working on "The Law of Proprietary Estoppel", due to be published by OUP in 2013. Ben is particularly interested in the interaction between the law of obligations and the law of property and has published widely on property law; the law of trusts; unjust enrichment; and estoppel.

Thursday 28 February 2013
Minorities, Pluralism and the Law

Professor Maleiha Malik (Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London)


About this lecture
The lecture on Minorities, Pluralism and the Law explores the different ways in which a liberal democracy can accommodate the claims of those from minority groups who want to make legal decisions in tune with their culture and beliefs. As part of this discussion, it also examines the rights of those 'minorities within minorities' who are vulnerable to pressure to comply with the norms of their social group.Finally, the lectures out some of the advantages and disadvantages of the practical ways in which the state can respond to and work with minorities who want to follow their own distinct norms to regulate their individual and community life.

About this speaker
Maleiha Malik is Professor of Law at King's College, University of London. Her research and publications focus on the theory and practice of discrimination law, as well as minority protection and feminist theory. Her current research focuses on the adjustments that may need to be made to feminist theory to accommodate cultural and religious difference.
Thursday 7 March 2013- INAUGURAL LECTURE
Speaker: Professor Piet Eckhout (UCL)
More details about this talk will be available soon

Thursday 14 March 2013
Can Economic Sociology save Law and Development?

Professor Amanda Perry-Kassaris (SOAS, University of London)


About this lecture
'Law and development' is a field of inquiry and practice of ever-greater significance and ever-diminishing coherence, for which, I will argue, economic sociology offers a possible lifeboat. The substantive focus of the field is best defined, and that substance is best approached, using the analytical, empirical and normative components of economic sociology. However, plenty of law and development work has been, and will continue to be, done using other approaches. So an economic sociology of law and development will probably only become seaworthy once it is communicated in an open source visual form.'

About this speaker
Amanda Perry-Kessaris is Professor of International Economic Law at SOAS, University of London. She is author of Global Business, Local Law: The Indian legal system as a communal resource in foreign investment relations (2008) and Legal Systems as a Determinant of FDI: Lessons from Sri Lanka (2001); and co-editor with D. Ashiagbor and P. Kotiswaran of Towards an Economic Sociology of Law (forthcoming 2013).
Thursday 16 May 2013
Speaker: Professor David Luban (Georgetown Law School)
More details about this talk will be available soon
Thursday 11 July 2013
Speaker: Victor Goldberg (Columbia)
More details about this talk will be available soon



Past Lectures from 2012

Thursday 18 October 2012
Reverse Engineering Commercial Secrets

Professor Tanya Aplin (King's College London)


About this lecture
Reverse engineering of commercial secrets is an unexplored issue for English confidentiality law. Few cases, and even fewer commentators, have addressed this concern. Yet reverse engineering is of fundamental importance, not least because it is a crucial lever for avoiding overly extensive protection of commercial information and for promoting competition and innovation. This lecture will examine the nature of reverse engineering and the extent to which it is currently facilitated by the English law of confidence. It will also explore the justifications for permitting reverse engineering of commercial secrets and suggest the extent to which this should be allowed and the mechanisms for doing so. In dealing with these issues, useful lessons and parallels will be gleaned from U.S. trade secrecy laws, along with the extensive literature on reverse engineering in relation to other areas of intellectual property law, such as software copyright.

About this speaker
Professor Aplin specialises in the area of Intellectual Property Law, having joined the Dickson Poon School of Law in September 2002 as a Lecturer. Professor Aplin's research lies in the field of intellectual property law. She has written extensively on how digital technologies are regulated by copyright law at an international level. Her most recent work concerns the protection of trade secrets and confidential information in the UK, with a particular emphasis on the way in which privacy-based decisions are affecting the shape of the action as a whole.
Thursday 1 November 2012
Truth, Efficiency and Co-operation in Modern Criminal Justice

Professor Jenny McEwen (University of Exeter)


About this lecture
In England and Wales a developing system of judicial criminal case management, devised in the first instance to impose efficiency on an overloaded criminal justice system has shown little sympathy with defence lawyers’ traditional emphasis on the interests of the client and the nature of client’s instructions if the consequence at trial of such allegiance is the defence employing ‘ambush’ or taking ‘technical’ points. This new ethos is producing a distinctly less adversarial system, in which the court takes a pro-active role. The procedural framework was designed partly to encourage early resolution of proceedings, and to enable more accurate estimations of trial length and better management of court lists. What is striking, however, is that the drive for cost-effectiveness is coupled with a new approach to criminal litigation in which the parties are to co-operate in reaching a managed verdict reflecting the process vision of the truth. This lecture will consider the consequent effect on defence obligations in the light of claims that the new system is consistent with the presumption of innocence, the privilege against self-incrimination and the right to legal assistance as protected by Article 6; this necessitates discussion of the extent to which accuracy of outcome, efficiency and protection of fair trial rights are compatible objectives.

About this speaker
Jenny McEwan has been Professor of Criminal Law at Exeter University since 1999, having previously taught at Manchester and Keele Universities. She is the General Editor, International Journal of Evidence and Proof (Vathek). Her current area of interest is in the relationship between criminal process and managerialism.
Thursday 8 November 2012
Sanctions and Safeguards – The Brave New World of Regulatory Enforcement

Professor Richard Macrory (UCL)


About this lecture
Professor Macrory led the 2006 Cabinet Office Review which gave rise to Part III Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act , and his lecture ‘Sanctions and Safeguards – The Brave New World of Regulatory Enforcement’ will consider the principles behind the Review and the extent to which they have and have not been translated into practice.

About this speaker
Professor Richard Macrory joined the UCL Laws Faculty in 1999. He had previously been teaching at Imperial College London, and was Director of the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University. He is currently director of the UCL Carbon Capture Legal Programme and a director of the Faculty’s Centre for Law and the Environment. Richard Macrory was a Member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution between 1992 and 2003, and was a Board Member of the Environment Agency in England and Wales between 1999 and 2004. He was the founding editor in chief of the Journal of Environmental Law (Oxford University Press) and is currently legal correspondent to ENDS Report. He was Hon. President of the National Society for Clean Air 2005-6, and chairman of Merchant Ivory Film Productions between 1988 and 2004. In 2001-2003 he was elected chairman of the Steering Group of the European Environmental Advisory Councils, an informal network of official environmental advisory bodies throughout Europe. Professor Macrory is a Patron of the UK Environmental Law Association.
Thursday 22 November 2012
Targeted Killing: Recent US attempts to create a legal framework

Professor Christine Gray (University of Cambridge)


About this lecture
The significant increase in targeted killings by the USA under President Obama has led to growing demands for greater transparency about the legal justification for this controversial use of force. In response several members of the administration have recently made speeches about the legal rules governing targeted killing. This lecture will consider these speeches and identify some of the key questions that they have left unanswered.

About this speaker
Christine Gray is Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John's College, Cambridge. Before that she taught at the University of Oxford from 1980. Her main publications are Judicial Remedies in International Law and International Law and the Use of Force (three editions).
Thursday 29 November 2012
I Fought the Law and the Law Won? Legal Consciousness, Cultural Theory and the Critical Imagination

Professor Simon Halliday (University of York)


About this lecture
This paper explores the legal consciousness of society – the characterisations of law and legality which are socially constructed and become common currency in everyday life. We critically evaluate the influential account of legal consciousness by Ewick and Silbey in their seminal book The Common Place of Law and explore their claim that the interplay of their identified legal consciousness narratives accounts for the hegemonic power of law in society. We draw on the cultural theory of Mary Douglas to argue that more attention must be paid to counter-hegemonic orientations to state law. We develop our analysis through secondary analysis of a study of radical environmental activists and, in doing so, ask what images and imaginings of law and legality have underpinned their activism.

About this speaker
Simon Halliday is a Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at the University of York and a Conjoint Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales. He has published widely in the field of socio-legal studies, particularly in relation to public law and administrative justice. He has recently edited An Introduction to the Study of Law (W Green/Sweet & Maxwell, 2012) and co-edited Conducting Law & Society Research (Cambridge University Press, 2009). He is author of Judicial Review and Compliance with Administrative Law (Hart Publishing, 2004) and co-author of The Appeal of Internal Review (Hart Publishing, 2003).
Thursday 6 December 2012
Turning Institutional Investors into "Stewards" - Exploring the Meaning and Objectives in "Stewardship"

Dr Iris Chiu (UCL)
About this lecture
This lecture focuses on the role of the institutional investment industry. Post the global financial crisis of 2008/9, there is general public demand for greater responsibility and accountability on the part of the financial services industry. With respect to the institutional investment industry, they are asked to behave as "stewards" in accordance with the UK Stewardship Code 2010. The lecture argues that "stewardship" is a concept that moves beyond the private nature of investment management and corporate governance, into a role of "governance" generally, infused with concerns for public interest and taking on a social dimension. The lecture will examine the interface between the private legal frameworks of trust and corporate governance and the public interest notions in "stewardship" and argue that "Stewardship" will not meet the needs of the public interest concerns that have given rise to this reform.

About this speaker
Iris Chiu joined the Faculty of Law in September 2009. She previously taught at the School of Law, King's College London and the University of Leicester. She was a legislative draftsman and State Counsel at the Attorney-General's Chambers in Singapore prior to joining academia. She read law at the National University of Singapore and the University of Cambridge. She completed her doctorate at the University of Leicester.
Thursday 17 January 2013
The Nature of Rationality Review

Prof. Paul Craig (University of Oxford)


About this lecture
Debates concerning proportionality and rationality have brought into sharper focus the meaning of both concepts. It nonetheless remains the case that the very meaning of rationality within judicial review remains under-theorized and imperfectly understood, with the consequence that erroneous conclusions are drawn regarding issues central to the concept. This lecture seeks to sharpen our understanding of rationality review and to dispel some of the misunderstandings that surround the concept.

About this speaker
Paul Craig is currently a professor of English Law at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St John's College. Professor Craig was educated at Worcester College, Oxford where he undertook his BA, MA and BCL. He remained at the college and became a Fellow in 1976 before leaving for St John's College in 1998. Paul has authored numerous legal textbooks. His research areas include Tort, Administrative Law, Constitutional Law and European Community Law.