CEL News

CELs research leads to ethics rethink at the Bar

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Research by Professor Richard Moorhead, Catrina Denvir, Nigel Balmer and Mark Sefton for the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (ICCA) has, in part at least, prompted a review of ethics teaching for new advocates. The Bar Standards Board announced plans to review the way ethics is taught and assessed during the vocational stage (currently the Bar Professional Training Course) as part of a broader package of training reform. The Bar Council, in submitting its response to the BSB’s consultation on training for barristers suggested the research showed that the ethics education on the BPTC was not fit for purpose. ICCA is also improving its support for the New Practitioner Programme based on the research. You can read the research here. The research examined the knowledge and skills demonstrated by advocates in practice within three years of qualifying. It was funded by the Legal Education Foundation.

Professor Iris Chiu appointed Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore

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Iris Chiu was appointed Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore in January 2017. She delivered a keynote address at the Centre for Banking and Financial Law on 2 February 2017 on the regulatory implications of fintech developments in financial products, services and marketplaces. The lecture was attended by over 400 legal practitioners in Singapore. Please follow the link below to access the full paper:

Rolls Royce Service – risk, compliance, and ethics – where were the lawyers?’, Professor Richard Moorhead in Legal Business

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Professor Richard Moorhead, Vice Dean (Research), Professor of Law and Professional Ethics, Chair of Law and Professional Ethics at UCL Faculty of Laws, discusses the role of lawyers relating to the DPA involving Rolls Royce in Legal Business.

Study on the Ethical Identity of Law Students

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Study finds reduced ethical inclinations on part of law students. Richard Moorhead who has led a study on the ethical identities of law students finds that (a) an unhealthy minority of law students would falsify time sheets for a bonus; (b) female students have healthier ethical identities than male students and (c) business oriented law students have weaker ethical identities. Read all about it here.

CEL Makes Submission to Parliament Committee

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The Centre for Ethics & Law made a submission to the Parliament Committee Inquiry into Corporate Governance on 25 Oct 2016.

Research on the ethical knowledge and skills acquired by new advocates from the UCL Centre for Ethics and Law published this week by The Inns of Court College of Advocacy

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New research, prepared by the Centre for Ethics and Law (CEL) and carried out by members of both the CEL and UCL Laws, for the Inns of Court College of Advocacy (formerly The Advocacy Training Council), has been released with the aim of informing, through independent research and evidence, the development of ethics training by professional bodies and specialist practitioner groups.

Through a survey of 349 advocates, including barristers, solicitors and Chartered Legal Executive Advocates, and 77 interviews, the research, carried out by Professor Richard Moorhead, Catrina Denvir, Nigel Balmer of UCL Laws and Mark Sefton, an independent consultant,  garnered views on ethical training and interviews assessed how new advocates would respond to a set of ethical problems. In this way we were able to test the ethical capacities of new advocates with realistic problems assessed by experts from practice. The survey also considered advocates’ values and their influence on ethical decision making.

Professor Richard Moorhead said:

“Testing professional competence and ethicality and learning from those findings is an important part of professional development. In my view, this research emphasises the need for professional training and mentoring in ethics to be strengthened beyond the professional courses and training on entry.”

Read the full report.

Mapping the Moral Compass of In-House Lawyers

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Professor Richard Moorhead, Professor of Law and Professional Ethics, launched the Mapping the Moral Compass of In-House Lawyers report in the US, at a seminar organised by Ethical Systems at NYU, New York City.  It was attended by a range of legal and business ethics policy makers, practitioners from private practice, in-house and government legal services and academics from the US, UK and Australia.  Ethical Systems is a non-profit organization housed in NYU Stern's Business and Society Program with a mission to bridge research by leaders in academia and the corporate world. The event was sponsored by The NY State Bar Association Int’l and Corporate Counsel Sections and Hinshaw Culbertson.

Dr. Maddalena Neglia invited to participate at the Dutch Social and Economic Council on the European Regulatory Framework on Business and Human Rights

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In June 2016 Dr. Maddalena Neglia, the business and human rights expert based at CEL, was invited to present on behalf of CEL at the Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER) her research on European regulation on Business and Human Rights.

Directors' Statement on EU Referendum and Way Ahead

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Iris Chiu, co-Director
Anna Donovan, co-Director

Our Centre, founded in 2010, is an international platform for the discussion of the interface of law and ethics in many areas of legal, regulatory and business interests. We have links with academics and institutions both within and outside the European Union and remain committed to fostering these vital links and important conversations.

The EU Referendum result will undoubtedly entail a complex process of legal and regulatory re-examination of many current arrangements. This is a time which many may see as disruptive. As academic researchers, we are committed to constructively contributing to the process of establishing clear frameworks for managing the legal and regulatory consequences that will unfold.

At this point we wish to set out a few post-Brexit high level principles that we believe should guide our endeavours towards clarifying and stabilising the application of law and regulation in the corporate and financial services sector in particular.

First, we must not engage in indiscriminate deregulation. Regulation inevitably imposes a cost on doing business but it also supplies a public good of governance too. It is important to examine the fundamental objectives served by each regulatory provision in question before wholesale decisions are taken in favour of deregulation. Further, regulatory standards add value to the appeal of quality in British goods and services, and it is important to consider the role of regulation and its support for our economy. In this light, we should remain apprised of the regulatory regimes and development of leading jurisdictions such as the US and EU and consider constructively the lessons that can be learnt.

Second, we believe in the importance of meaningful legal and regulatory alignment that is facilitative for the maintenance of close trading relationships with existing and new trading partners. We see key areas of legal convergence to be highly important for the UK’s bid towards mutual recognition and other forms of favoured trading arrangements in the world. In particular, legal harmonisation in financial services is in line with international developments towards the high prudential standards recommended by the Financial Stability Board, and conduct of business standards maintained in the US and EU.

Third, the UK has and must continue to develop leadership in the governance of the corporate and financial services sectors. Our pioneering Codes of Corporate Governance and Institutional Investor Stewardship have received many accolades worldwide and have been widely adopted. We are able to continue to offer governance and regulatory designs that are stakeholder-inclusive, proportionate, balanced and well-regarded.

The Centre is preparing to draft a more detailed White Paper on selected aspects of corporate and financial services law and regulation. We see ourselves positioned to feed into the constructive process of clarifying and stabilising the application of law and regulation, for the long-term good of protecting the UK’s economic interests in a sustainable and responsible manner.

Mapping the Moral Compass Report

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Press Release in respect of the publication of a report as part of the UCL Centre for Ethics and Law Ethical Leadership for In-House Lawyers Initiative.
The report entitled “Mapping the Moral Compass”. View the Executive Summary of the report.

Statement of Support for the London Anti-Corruption Summit

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The UCL Centre for Ethics and Law (‘CEL’) is delighted to endorse and release the following statement in support of the London Anti-corruption Summit by leading professional services organisations, reflecting their commitment to tackling corruption in the global economy. 

The CEL shares this commitment and is releasing the statement as part of its work on the relationships between ethics and the professions, law and business. In addition to leading research in the international and interrelated fields of Business, Regulation and Ethics, CEL is committed to furthering global understanding and awareness of anti-corruption responsibilities, corporate governance and compliance. The CEL looks forward to working with these professional services organisations in their ongoing efforts.

Professor Richard Moorhead, Director of the UCL Centre for Ethics and Law, said: “Corruption is a global problem that Society rightly demands is tackled much more effectively. We are encouraged by the initiative signalled by the signatories to this statement and Government commitment to this area. That such an initiative envisages working across professional boundaries and jurisdictions is particularly important.”

For more information or interview requests please contact Ruth Howells in UCL Media Relations on mob: +44 (0)7990 675 947, email: ruth.howells@ucl.ac.uk

CEL Commemorates 40th Anniversary of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

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The Centre for Ethics and Law commemorated the 40th anniversary of the OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises with a highly engaging discussion by Prof. Dr. Roel Nieuwenkamp, Chair of the OECD working party on responsible business conduct.  The seminar was the second of two business and human rights events hosted by the CEL, the first being the workshop on Business and Human Rights Reporting held on 19 April.

Workshop on Business and Human Rights

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Workshop Business and Human Rights Panel

On 19 April, the Centre for Ethics and Law hosted a workshop on current topics in business and human rights, featuring a distinguished panel representing the investor, practitioner and business advisory perspectives. The workshop was a free event attended by around 100 participants from academia, practice, industry and the legal and other professions.

Anna Triponel, Business Advisor, Triponel Consulting Ltd and formerly of SHIFT, discussed the development of standardised reporting frameworks for companies in business and human rights, and how such reporting frameworks can be used for good in changing corporate behaviour. However, critical challenges to the effectiveness of these frameworks were also highlighted.

Hans-Christoph Hirt, Co-Head of HERMES EOS, a leading institutional investor, firmly endorsed the importance of business and human rights disclosures and practices in listed companies and investors’ increasing interest in this area.

Robin Brooks, Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright, highlighted the limitations in current legal frameworks in company and securities regulation in encouraging a changed mindset in corporations engaged with business and human rights issues.  He also explored the promises and challenges in developing robust due diligence frameworks for companies to evaluate their business and human rights impact.

A lively Q & A and drinks reception followed this event. The Centre is proud to bring together a meaningful conversation across many sectors in this very topical issue and will continue to develop research and visibility in key areas of corporate behaviour, regulation and governance.

Automation - the end of low-qualified lawyers?

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Professor Richard Moorhead writes guest post in Legal Business on the effect that automation may have on low qualified lawyers.

The case for legal advice privilege is not as strong as the profession wants it to be

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Professor Richard Moorhead writes guest blog for Legal Business on how the case for legal advice privilege is not as strong as the profession wants it to be.

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