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Policy Impact

UCL Laws recognises that legal research often has a vital influence on social policy, ensuring decisions made by a range of organisations are based on sound investigation and evidence. Our outstanding and highly-regarded research informs the work of government departments, think tanks, NGOs, social organisations, fellow academics and independent consultancies.

Nov 2011

Going low carbon: governing climate change technologiespanel speakers

On 23 November, UCL's Centre for Law and the Environment and UCL Public Policy held an event exploring the governance of the technologies in moving to a low carbon economy. Chiara Armeni and Maria Lee from the Faculty of Laws spoke at the event, chaired by Yvonne Rydin (UCL Bartlett and Environment Institute), along with UCL colleagues Simon Lock (Science and Technology Studies) and Tadj Oreszczyn (Energy Institute).

Technological innovation is expected to play a significant role in moving to a low carbon economy. Alongside the technological and scientific challenges, this presents considerable challenges of governance. The speakers and audience explored the complex governance challenges associated with capturing the carbon savings potential of technological innovation, as well as the ways in which publics might engage with climate change technologies. Any technology is embedded in its social context, and the public in their diverse roles (as citizens, consumers, members of communities) play unavoidable and important roles in the adoption, proliferation and impact of climate change technologies.logo

The event was supported by UCL Grand Challenges.

For more information:
UCL Events blog by Alexandra Malone
Centre for Law and the Environment


Judicial Institute hosts UK Supreme Court seminar and launches new UKSC Projectevent photo

On 18 November, the UCL Judicial Institute (JI) held a seminar to mark the second anniversary of the establishment of the United Kingdom Supreme Court and to launch the UCL JI UK Supreme Court Project.  The event was attended by 10 current and former Justices of the UK Supreme Court, the Master of the Rolls, the President of Tribunals, judges of the Court of Appeal, Scottish Court of Session, Irish Supreme Court and French Constitutional Court, along with a invitation-only audience of leading counsel, academics, policy-makers and officials of the UKSC.

The UCL JI Co-Director and Dean of UCL Laws, Professor Dame Hazel Genn, chaired the seminar’s two panel discussions, and UCL JI Co-Director, Professor Cheryl Thomas, presented the first analysis to emerge from the new UCL JI UKSC Project on the work of the Court. The first panel discussion addressed the Internal Workings of the Court and included Permissions to Appeal, Panel Size and Composition, and Judgments of the Court.  Expert commentary was provided by Justices of the UK Supreme Court, Lord Dyson, Lady Hale and Lord Mance, along with Lord Neuberger, Master of the Rolls, and Olivier Dutheillet de Lamothe, former justice of the French Constitutional Court.

The second panel discussion addressed External Relations between the UK Supreme Court and other courts in both the UK and Europe, and relations between the Court and government.  Expert commentary in this session was provided by Lord Phillips, President of the UK Supreme Court; Lord Justice Carnwath, President of Tribuanls; Lord Hodge, Scottish Court of Session; Mrs Justice Fidelma Macken, Irish Supreme Court; former Attorney General, Baroness Scotland; and Shadow Spokesperson for Justice, Lord Bach.

For more information:
UCL Judicial Institute


Dr Ioannis Lianos Awarded Gutenberg Research Chair

Ioannis LianosIoannis Lianos of UCL Laws has been awarded the Gutenberg Research Chair at the Ecole National d'Administration (ENA), the elite public policy and administration school of the French Republic. Gutenberg Chairs are programmes organised by the local authorities of the French “Alsace” region on the suggestion of the Cercle Gutenberg. The duration of the Chair is approximately one year and its recipients receive the following: a) The Gutenberg Prize, worth 10,000 euros, given personally; and b) specific financial help of 50,000 euros attributed to the host institution and reserved entirely for the execution of their research project. The ENA and the French government have also made a financial contribution to this project.

Dr Lianos’s research will focus on the analysis of national experiences of EU countries, looking at their various Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs). Its objective will be to understand the wider political context that might influence impact assessment methodology and its implementation. A second angle will explore the impact of RIAs in the decision-making process. A third angle will look at the implementation of impact assessments at the local level and, in particular, their role in the devolution or decentralisation process in select EU Member States.

The research will be completed in the next 18 months at the ENA and University College London.

For more info:
Ioannis Lianos


UCL Carbon Capture Legal Programme launches EU Case Study Report event photo

On 7 November, UCL's Carbon Capture Legal Programme (CCLP) released a series of case study reports analysing the implementation of the EU’s “Directive on the Geological Storage of CO­2” in six selected European countries, which provides a legal framework for carrying out carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Europe. The objective of the reports was to understand the rationale behind each country’s choices in implementing specific aspects of the Directive into their national laws. The CCLP commissioned environmental law experts in the various countries to write the reports. The UK report was authored by UCL Laws Research Associate, Chiara Armeni.

To launch the reports, the CCLP held a one-day conference where the authors of the case studies presented their findings for the first time. The event attracted key CCS stakeholders from industry, government and research organisations as well as a number of environmental law academics from across Europe.

For more information:
CCLP EU Case Study Reports: Germany, Poland, Spain, Romania, Norway, and the United Kingdom
UCL Events blog by Alexandra Malone
UCL Carbon Capture Legal Programme


Dr Arad Reisberg contributes to Westminster launch of the report Transforming Capitalism from Withinevent photo

Dr Arad Reisberg of UCL Laws was invited to participate in and made contributions to the Palace of Westminster launch of the report Transforming Capitalism from Within (Rushworth & Schluter, 2011) held on 3 November 2011. 

The event was sponsored by the Rt Hon. Stephen Timms MP and Jeremy Lefroy MP. This was in recognition of Dr Reisberg's help and support producing Transforming Capitalism from Within. University College London is also mentioned in the report foreword. Since 2007 Dr Reisberg has been acting as an Academic Advisor to a major Research Project entitled ‘The Relational Company: Exploring a New Business Vehicle as An Alternative Company Structure’, also commissioned by the Relationships Foundation.

For more information:
Transforming Capitalism From Within
Palace of Westminster launch event write-up
Arad Reisberg

Oct 2011

Sir Robin Jacob Gives Testimony to Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property robin jacob

The Rt Hon Professor Sir Robin Jacob, Sir Hugh Laddie Chair of Intellectual Property Law at UCL and Director of the Institute of Brand and Innovation Law, gave testimony on 18 October to the HOC Business, Innovation and Skills Committee's second evidence session on the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property. The Business, Innovation and Skills Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the administration, expenditure and policy of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and its associated public bodies, including Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

To watch the meeting:
Parliament Live TV
For more info:
Robin Jacob


UCL LexisNexis Legal Education Debate 2011speakers

What is the purpose of a qualifying law degree? Are law students being adequately prepared for legal practice? What skills will those providing legal services need in 2020? The LexisNexis Legal Education Debate, a topical event held by UCL Laws on 11 Oct, created a forum for law teachers and professionals to openly debate the purpose of academic legal education, recognising areas of commonality and of difference.

The distinguished panel of speakers included Prof Philippe Sands, UCL, Rebecca Huxley-Binns, Nottingham Trent University, Prof Stephen Mayson, Legal Services Institute, David Bickerton,Clifford Chance and Prof Richard Moorhead, Cardiff Law School. It was chaired by Dean of UCL Laws, Prof Dame Hazel Genn.

Each panel member put their views to an audience of academics, lawyers and students and informative commentary was provided by Sir Mark Potter, Co-Chair of the Legal Education and Training Review. The event was both timely and important, raising a number of topical and thought-provoking issues in anticipation of the legal education review.

To see photos from the event:
Flickr gallery


Professor Joanne Scott gives Evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committeejoanne scott

On 11 Oct, UCL Professor of European Law Joanne Scott gave evidence in Parliament to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. The Select Committee is investigating whether the EU emissions trading system can deliver the EU’s climate change mitigation goals in the absence of a legally-binding international emissions reduction commitment. The session explored a range of issues, including:

  • The aviation sector in the EU Emissions Trading System
  • Dealing with emissions from international shipping
  • How the EU Emissions Trading System can help to meet the UK’s climate change targets
  • The economic impacts of the EU Emissions Trading System
  • Whether the EU can sustain a credible carbon price without a global deal
  • How to cooperate with other countries to achieve a fair deal on climate change

To watch the meeting:
Parliament Live TV
For more info:
Joanne Scott


Fiona Smith awarded Research Grant to study Food Security as a Human Rightfiona smith

UCL Laws Senior Lecturer Fiona Smith has been awarded a grant from the Swiss Government to work on a two year project with the World Trade Institute, Switzerland, on 'Food Security as a Human Right.' The grant is for SF10,000 over 2 years and will run from Oct 2011 to end Sept 2013. Fiona is the lead researcher. She will be working with Dr Christian Haberler and Professor Christine Kauffman at the World Trade Institute.

This project explores the normative impact of human rights, in particular the right to food on the concept of food security. Its objective is to prepare the ground and contribute to a regulatory framework that integrates social and economic rights into trade and investment rules together with an appropriate mix of policy space. It will provide insights necessary so that a new conceptual framework for appropriate tools to implement food security respecting the right to food can be developed. Congratulations to Fiona.

For more information:
Fiona Smith


Professor Cheryl Thomas awarded Research Grant from ESRC Follow on Fundcheryl thomas

Cheryl Thomas, UCL Professor of Judicial Studies, has been awarded a research grant from the new ESRC Follow on Fund for a one year project entitled Preventing Improper Juror Conduct and Ensuring Effective Jury Deliberations. This research, following on from the findings of her 2010 study Are Juries Fair? is designed to answer two crucial questions:

1. How can jurors be prevented from improperly using the internet during trials?
2. How can jurors be provided with guidance that will ensure effective jury deliberations?

Working exclusively with real juries at Crown Courts, this project will establish new tools to be used in jury trials to ensure proper conduct and effective deliberations. This will ensure that trial by jury can survive the digital age and continue to play a crucial role in a 21st century criminal justice system. This ESRC grant starts from Sept 2011 and is funded at just over £110,430. Many congratulations to Cheryl.

For more information:
Professor Cheryl Thomas

Jun 2011

Douglas Guilfoyle appointed special advisor to Foreign Affairs Committee piracy inquiry

guilfoyle imageOn 22 June, Dr Douglas Guilfoyle was appointed a special advisor to assist an inquiry into piracy off the coast of Somalia by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. He has previously assisted the international Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia working group on legal issues, chaired by the Danish Foreign Ministry on this topic. 

Further information about the inquiry can be found at:
Commons Select Committee: MPs investigate Piracy off the coast of Somalia
Parliament TV: Piracy off the coast of Somalia

May 2011

Faculty Members from UCL Laws speak at St Petersburg International Legal Forum

robin jacobTwo Faculty members from UCL Laws were amongst a select group of UK speakers at the first St. Petersburg International Legal Forum, held 19-20 May. Its purpose was to create "a unique platform for the discussion of today's most pressing legal issues, including the social and economic challenges currently facing countries worldwide." Russian President Medvedev addressed participants at the plenary session.

The Rt. Hon. Professor Sir Robin Jacob, holder of the Sir Hugh Laddie Chair at UCL Laws, spoke on throbin jacobe rule of law. Dr Arad Reisberg, Director of the Centre for Commercial Law and Vice Dean, Research at UCL Laws presented on the UK's Financial Services Compensation Scheme. The forum provided a unique opportunity for Russian and foreign officials to engage in dialogue with international lawyers, judges and business representatives, with a view to the modernisation and reform of the Russian legal system. Lord Justice Jacob and Dr Reisberg also participated in a bilateral meeting to discuss key areas of legal cooperation between the UK and Russia, hosted by Russian Justice Minister Konovalov on 21 May.

Images: Dr Arad Reisberg talking with the Indian Justice Minister; Sir Robin Jacob listens to proceedings.

For more information:
UK Embassy coverage
International Legal Forum photos


Who will be the ultimate guardian of human rights in Europe?

ihr panelOn 20 May, an event co-organised by UCL's Institute for Human Rights, its Centre for Law and Governance in Europe, UCL's European Institute and the German Embassy explored a compelling and current topic: who is the ultimate guarantor of human rights in Europe? The Union's own court (the European Court of Justice), the European Court of Human Rights or the highest national courts? With the entry into force of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the envisaged accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights there was ample reason for re-visiting this question: both might completely change the landscape of human rights protection in Europe.

The day-long conference brought together distinguished speakers from academia, legal practice and major European institutions. In the evening, a panel discussion was held at the German Ambassador's residence, with judges from the two European courts, and national justices, speaking to the issues. Dr Tobias Lock of UCL Laws stated: "This was the first major conference dedicated to this topic since accession negotiations have started. Our speakers' outstanding contributions have sparked some very insightful discussions."

For more information:
UCL Institute for Human Rights
Centre for Law and Governance in Europe 
UCL Events blog 

German Embassy event report


Dean of UCL Laws speaks at conference on the Russian Judicial Systemhazel genn

Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Dean of Laws and Co-Director of the UCL Judicial Institute, spoke at an international conference held by the Rule of Law Institute at the European University of St Petersburg on 13 and 14 May. The focus of the conference was 'How judges make decisions: the Russian judicial system and the sociology of law', with participants from the Russian court and its research community alongsideconference programmeinternational speakers. Dean Genn spoke to her experience of research in the UK court system. Her participation was supported by the British Consulate-General in St Petersburg.

For more information:
UK in Russia website
Conference photos
UCL Judicial Institute

Mar 2011

Competition Law and the State: UCL Goes Global in Hong Kongprize winner

How is competition law impacting on governments across the world? That was the key question addressed at a major conference organised by UCL's Centre for Law, Economics and Society in Hong Kong on 18 and 19 March 2011. No less than twelve heads and high officials from competition authorities and international organisations joined academics (lawyers and economists), practitioners and consultants to discuss diverse issues and approaches, exchanging views on this important topic.

Among the conference's keynote speakers were His Excellency, Gregory So, Undersecretary for the Commerce and Economic Development of the SAR Hong Kong and John Fingleton, chief executive of the UK Office for Fair Trading. The conference attracted considerable attention, with more than 150 attendees coming from major corporations, law firms based in Hong Kong and the region, and governments worldwide. This high-profile event was organised in conjunction with the University of Hong Kong.

Read more about:
Conference report and photos
Dr Ioannis Lianos 

Jan 2011

Consistency and Effectiveness: Strengthening the New Environment Tribunal

richard macroryMore than 50 government lawyers attended the 25 January launch of Professor Richard Macrory’s new report on environmental tribunals. The report was commissioned by Lord Justice Carnwath, Senior President of Tribunals, who chaired the event.

Consistency and Effectiveness examined over fifty examples of appeals provisions in contemporary British environmental legislation, and found a complete lack of coherence — appeals concerning licences or the service of enforcement notices went to a wide range of different bodies including magistrates courts, the planning inspectorate, and the Secretary of State. Often there was no right of appeal.

Professor Macrory argues that it would be far more effective if most of these appeals went to the new Environment Tribunal set up in 2010, to determine appeals against civil penalties now available to environmental regulators. The report identifies a set of priorities for transfer.

The proposals are entirely consistent with the current regulatory reform agenda. Professor Macrory noted, “Over the years we have developed a system of environmental appeals which is complex and confusing. There is now a unique opportunity to make the current structure more coherent, simple and effective.”

For more information:
View this report
Richard Macrory

For more publications by UCL Laws Faculty Members, see our books archive.