UCL Laws News
On Tuesday 8 April, a UCL Laws team led by Dean of Laws Dame Hazel Genn, Ronan McRea, Kimberley Trapp and special guest of honour Lord Carnwath (Justice of the UK Supreme Court) headed up a second UCL/Hong Kong University Rule of Law workshop and moot court in Beijing in partnership with Peking University Law School. Generously supported by distinguished Hong Kong alumnus Winston Chu and the Vinson Chu Foundation, the workshop Individual, Public Interest and the Rule of Law featured a moot court presided by Lord Carnwath in which Ronan McRea and Kimberly Trapp presented opposing arguments in a judicial review hearing concerning environmental law issues. As well as substantive questions on protection of the environment of common concern in the UK and China, the case stimulated lively debate around issues of standing and freedom of information. The workshop was attended by academics and judiciary as well as students from a number of universities in Beijing and provided a valuable opportunity for exchange and debate.
The workshop was followed the next evening by the first UCL Laws Alumni Reception in Beijing, generously hosted by Laws Alumna Monica Sun (LLM 2003) and Herbert Smith Freehills Beijing. Around 40 alumni and incoming LLM and LLB students attended the reception which offered an opportunity to hear more about the Faculty and discuss our programmes with the UCL Laws team. This very successful and enjoyable inaugural reception has laid a firm foundation for future alumni development in China.
The third annual Quain Lectures in Jurisprudence will be delivered by Professor John Gardner of the University of Oxford on April 28, 29 and May 1. The lectures, entitled, ‘From Personal Life to Private Law’, set out the basic elements of the philosophy of private law that Professor Gardner has been developing in recent years. The key idea of the lectures is that the evaluative concerns governing private law are strongly continuous with those that are relevant to personal life. Oxford University Press has recorded three videos in which Professor Gardner speaks to John Tasioulas, Quain Professor of Jurisprudence at UCL, about his forthcoming lectures.
John Gardner FBA is Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford University and a Fellow of University College, Oxford. He was formerly Reader in Legal Philosophy at King's College London (1996-2000), Fellow and Tutor in Law at Brasenose College, Oxford (1991-6) and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford (1986-91). He serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals including the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Legal Theory, Law and Philosophy, and The Journal of Moral Philosophy. Called to the Bar in 1988, he has been a Bencher of the Inner Temple since 2002.
The first two Quain lectures were delivered by Philip Pettit (Princeton University) and Joseph Raz (Columbia University/KCL).
UCL Centre for Access to Justice secures philanthropic funding to run second Access to Justice Summer School
Taking place from 21 to 25 July, the UCL Centre for Access to Justice (CAJ) will be hosting a one week residential summer school for Year 12 Students from across the United Kingdom to explore law and access to justice issues from a regional perspective.
In addition to private donations, the Centre has secured a generous grant from the Alison Wetherfield Foundation. The Foundation, set up in the memory of employment lawyer and women’s rights advocate Alison Wetherfield, supports projects involved in the education of disadvantaged young people as well as helping them develop skills, capabilities, and careers. The summer school’s primary aim is to give young people the experience of what it would be like to study at UCL who, due to multiple barriers, might not have considered university education or a career in law.
Students on the summer school programme will have the opportunity to stay in UCL Halls of Residence while participating in lectures, discussion groups and interactive workshops run by UCL Laws academics and student mentors. In addition to the academic programme, the summer school will also include sessions to prepare students for applying to university as well as insight into the legal profession through visits and talks with legal professionals.
CAJ Acting Manager, Shiva Riahi, has said “This summer school represents an exceptional opportunity for the Faculty of Laws to invite students from across the UK to experience university life in London at one of the country’s top law schools. We are very excited to be able to run this summer school for the second year and to be able to build and expand on last year’s successes. I am especially grateful to the Alison Wetherfield Foundation and the generosity of philanthropic individuals for their support of the summer school.”
President Spielmann of the ECHR gives current legal problems lecture on the margin of appreciation doctrine
President Spielmann of the European Court of Human Rights gave a Current Legal Problems - Britain and Europe lecture at UCL Laws on Thursday 20 March 2014; Lord Neuberger, President of the UK Supreme Court, chaired the lecture.
President Spielmann addressed the margin of appreciation in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights; the doctrine according to which the Strasbourg Court sometimes recognises discretion to national authorities when dealing with political and social issues that raise particular controversy at national level. In a thoughtful and thought-provoking way, President Spielmann addressed the past and present of the doctrine, and discussed its possible future direction and implications. President Spielmann’s piece will be published in Current Legal Problems later this year.
The Dean of UCL Laws Faculty, Professor Dame Hazel Genn, who introduced the event, took the opportunity of President Spielmann’s lecture to mark his appointment as Honorary Professor at UCL Laws.
The only first-hand account of the most-famous escape from Britain’s fledgling Australian penal colony has been published in full for the first time, 223 years on. The Memorandoms of James Martin is part of the vast Bentham Papers collection in UCL Library’s Special Collections and is the only extant first-hand narrative of the escape, and the only known account by a First Fleet convict.
On the night of 28 March 1791, James Martin and eight fellow convicts including William and Mary Bryant and their two infant children, stole a six-oared open boat from Sydney Harbour and sailed out into the Pacific. In this vessel they navigated the eastern and northern coasts of Australia, encountered Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, and survived ferocious storms. They reached Kupang in Dutch West Timor on 5 June where they successfully—for a while, at least, passed themselves off as the survivors of a shipwreck. It was a journey of over 3,000 miles and an incredible feat of endurance and seamanship.
The open-access publication of the Memorandoms of James Martin is now available to read and download. It carries links to digital versions of the original manuscripts and has an introduction and detailed annotation by Dr Tim Causer, Research Associate at the Bentham Project. In May, the Memorandoms will be the subject of an exhibition in UCL’s South Cloisters, generously supported by the Laws Research Engagement and Innovation Fund. Dr Causer will give a talk about the document at 1pm on Thursday 29 May in the Haldane Room, as part of UCL’s Festival of the Arts.
UCL Laws Students Win “Best Written Presentation” at the Lawyers Without Borders Innovations Competition
Competing for the first time at the LWOB Innovations Competition held at Oxford University on 8th March, four first year Laws students won “Best Written Presentation” for their presentation on “Creating Effective Employment Laws in Myanmar”.
The four students Clement Yiaw, David Lukic, Marc Tan, and Ryan Cher put the project together in just a few short weeks with support and mentoring from solicitors at Shearman & Sterling. Clement Yiaw has said of the project, "We were partnered with the London office of the prestigious US law firm Shearman & Sterling, who provided us with guidance on how to structure and develop our project. We appreciated how Shearman took an active and committed interest in our project, even providing a partner to help us!”
The innovations project formed part of the wider Oxford Lawyers Without Borders Conference with a keynote speech on “Rule of Law and Innovation” delivered by leading development practitioner, Monjurul Kabir and a panel discussion on “Does an International Rule of Law Exist?”
The UCL LWOB Team of students was sponsored by the Centre for Access to Justice. A full UCL LWOB Chapter will be launched next year under the oversight of the CAJ.
The Centre for Ethics and Law has been awarded research funding by the Legal Education Foundation to explore whether and how values and professionalism change as students progress through law school. Richard Moorhead, Centre Director and Professor of Law and Professional Ethics leads the project in collaboration with researchers from Harvard University (Maryam Kouchaki), the University of Tulsa (Stephen Galoob) and Cardiff University (Rachel Cahill-O’Callaghan).
The Acting Manager of the UCL Centre for Access to Justice, Shiva Riahi, has recently been appointed to the JUSTICE working party on "Delivering Civil Justice in an Age of Austerity". The working party, which will begin later this month, will examine key features of the resolution of disputes in the courts and tribunals, asses the adequacy of existing provision in an age of austerity and make recommendations for improvement. Supported by Herbert Smith Freehills, the working party will be chaired by The Rt. Hon. Sir Stanley Burnton. The working party will also include Geoffrey Bindman, Carlos Debezies, Amanda Finlay, Sir Paul Jenkins, Andrew Lidbetter, Andrew Lockley, Kate Marcus, Nigel Plemming QC, and Richard Susskind.
We came, we mooted, we won. - Benjamin Durodie.
Representing UCL at the second annual national German Law Moot at the University of Warwick Law School, Benjamin Durodie and Leonie Glaess won the final against the hosting team after having achieved the highest score in two preliminary rounds. Mooters from Warwick, Exeter, KCL and UCL argued over a problem of German contract law, demonstrating their knowledge of the law and the German language. The competition, which is organised by the Warwick European Law Society and kindly supported by CMS Cameron McKenna, the Anglo-German Law Society and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), is the only one of its kind in the UK. The Warwick German Law Moot is a unique competition with great potential to expand in the future. Students studying German law are encouraged to take part in the competition as it provides a unique opportunity to experience how Germany's civil law system focuses on statutes and academic commentary.
Ioannis Lianos awarded the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt research fellowship for experienced researchers
Ioannis Lianos has been awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship, provided by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in order that highly-qualified scholars might spend extended periods of research in Germany. Dr. Lianos will spend a research period at the Rule of Law unit at the Social Science Research Centre Berlin (WZB) and Humboldt University. His research will focus on the use of economic evidence in rule-making and adjudication. Dr. Lianos has also secured a book contract with Oxford University Press to present the results of his research.
Funding has been awarded to explore corporate rescue practices in Nigeria, by the British Council, under the Researcher Links programme, to UCL Laws academic, Bolanle Adebola.
Bolanle, a Post-Doctoral Associate, submitted a research proposal entitled Corporate Rescue Practices in Nigeria: An empirical study of governmental and non-governmental rescue methods.
The research will conduct a multi-method empirical study of current practices in the rescue of non-financial corporations in Nigeria, involving interviews with various stakeholders, as well as case studies. The study will examine the government’s novel approach to rescue, as well as that developed by the practitioners over the past 3 decades of the existing insolvency laws.
“I am delighted to have received the support of the British Council to undertake this research,” said Bolanle Adebola. “The project seeks to support ongoing efforts to reform the Nigerian Insolvency Law by providing keen insight based on reliable data and will result in assisting Nigeria to establish a suitable insolvency framework to support Nigeria’s corporate world.”
Students and a professor at UCL Laws are volunteering with a local social enterprise, Living Space Project, to offer legal guidance to communities focusing on urban green spaces.
A group of LLM students is working with the Living Space Project and the Environmental Law Foundation on Legal Action and Research for Communities and Sustainability (LARCS). The students receive training is giving advice to local community groups on a range of environmental justice issues.
“Work like this is exactly the reason I study environmental law, but I thought it would take me years after graduation to get to this stage,” said Theo Lister, LLM student at UCL Laws. “Working with the Living Space Project provides a much needed practical element to studies and helps break down the barriers between students and communities.”
In addition, Jane Holder, Professor of Environmental Law has been awarded a UCL Public Engagement Beacon Bursary to support another Living Space Project initiative, which gives advice to community groups seeking to register urban space as a ‘town or village green’.
“This kind of advice could be costly and community groups often don’t have much in the way of funds,” explained Professor Holder.
“Recent changes made in the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 mean that the registration process for ‘greens’ is much changed,” explained Professor Holder. “Community groups and volunteers often don’t have access to up to date training on new legislation so I am working with our masters’ students to set up ‘Greens Cafes’ in London to guide people through the process.
“The funding provided by UCL and the experience the students will gain is a prime example of the importance of universities and local communities working together for mutual benefits.”
The Human Rights Moot took place earlier this month and was won by the UCL Laws team in a tough contest between four leading universities with excellent reputations in Law.
The Moot was organised by the UCL Student Law Society with support from UCL’s Centre for Access to Justice and was judged by Phillippa Kaufmann QC and Hugh Tomlinson QC of Matrix Chambers.
Contesting an employment appeal tribunal, the teams took on the appellant of Ms K Keita, a Mauritanian national of an ethnic minority group who was the cleaner in the Mauritanian Embassy in the UK, the respondent.
“We were pleased to win the competition and maintain the UCL Laws standards in the Human Rights Moot,” said Johannes Hadi, a member of the UCL team.
“It’s great practice,” added Elias Allahyari, the other UCL team member. “Mooting is an excellent opportunity to use all of the cases we have read in a practical situation.”
The contesting universities were Bristol, King’s College London and the London School of Economics (LSE).
This year’s Bentham Association Presidential Address, entitled ‘Are the judges too powerful?’, was given by The Rt Hon Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls.
In a powerful speech of exemplary clarity Lord Dyson ranged widely over the approach of the judiciary to the incremental development of the common law, their role in judicial review and in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights. The speech provided a perspective on the careful use of judicial power that contrasted with some more recent judicial opinions.
Tribute was paid to the retiring chair of the Bentham Association, Edwin Glasgow CBE QC, who has steered the Association for 15 years. Lord Dyson said:
“Edwin has chaired these annual events with consummate elegance and wit. He is a brilliant advocate. I owe a great debt to him for his irresistible advocacy which, as long ago as 1986, persuaded me to move and become head of his chambers.”
UCL alumnus Nigel Pleming QC and head of chambers at 39 Essex Street is to succeed Edwin Glasgow. Lord Dyson hailed Nigel Pleming as “one of the outstanding public law barristers of his generation”.
Over a hundred UCL Laws alumni and their guests attended the lecture, followed by a dinner. Attendees included longstanding and recent alumni, including five previous Student Law Society presidents from the 1960s, 1980s, 2000s and the last academic year, demonstrating the wide appeal and strong relationships that UCL Laws has built with its former students over several generations.
Any true fan can tell you there are only two real people to have been portrayed by actors on the TV show The West Wing. One was left-leaning blogger Atrios; the other, played by Back to the Future actor Christopher Lloyd, was a Harvard academic drafted in (in the episode) to help a fictional Belorussian delegation draft its new post-Soviet constitution. His name is Professor Lawrence Lessig.
When it comes to Lessig, fact makes the fiction seem milquetoast. From his time at the University of Chicago, he really does have expertise in constitutionalism in Eastern Europe, and he really did have a hand in an early draft of the constitution of the Republic of Georgia. But if there is a constitution that Lessig is now most eager to re-write, it is the Constitution of the United States of America.
He has been one of the voices suggesting a Second Constitutional Convention to be called by state legislatures under Article V, and is a leading figure in the movement to combat institutional corruption of American politics by political donors. His book ‘Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress – and a Plan to Stop It’ was published in late 2011, in the wake of the notorious US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v Federal Election Commission. A short introduction to his work on corruption can be found here.
Lessig is best-known in many circles for his work on cyberlaw, copyright reform, and the application of law to a digital economy. His magnum opus ‘Code’ – available to read online – is one of the key texts for understanding the role that software plays and will play in a networked and digital society.
It was in this context that I first had the privilege of seeing Lessig speak. He was giving the keynote address at the annual conference of the Open Rights Group. ORG campaigns on various issues relating to digital rights, but Lessig’s lecture was memorable for its exegesis of the systemic roadblocks to sensible legislation in that area of interest. That day, his cri de coeur was for all public interest campaigners, whatever our particular campaigns, to each adopt anti-corruption reform as our ‘second cause’. Only success in the latter could make us each effective in fighting for the former.
Prof. Lessig will be speaking in London on Friday 14 March 2014 at the Annual Lecture organised by UCL’s Centre for Ethics & Law.
Modern slavery hit the headlines late last year, with news of three women imprisoned in London and an increase in cases of human trafficking.
The government is working on a new bill to find ways to deal effectively with slavery and Dr Virginia Mantouvalou, reader in human rights and labour law and co-director of the UCL Institute for Human Right, gave evidence to the Parliamentary Joint Committee in January.
“The Bill provides some basic safeguards against the worst forms of labour exploitation,” said Dr Mantouvalou, “however, it does not address adequately the great vulnerability of domestic workers, which stems from their exclusion from much of the labour protective legislation.
“The Overseas Domestic Worker visa regime, that has been in force since 2012, may lead to situations of ‘modern slavery’ in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, and needs revision before this Bill moves forward.”
Professor Stephen Mayson has joined the Centre for Ethics and Law as an Honorary Professor in Law at UCL’s Faculty of Laws.
Stephen comes with a long-standing intellectual and professional interest in the governance of law firms and legal services. He has contributed to public debate on these issues and was involved with the Legal Services Act.
Prof Richard Moorhead, Director of the Centre for Ethics and Law said: “We are delighted to welcome Stephen to the centre, He brings a wealth of experience of practice; corporate and professional governance and, its regulation. He has been bringing clarity and wisdom to professional service debates for many years and his work on the Legal Services Act has been extremely influential and insightful.”
Prof Mayson will contribute to the Centre’s engagement with the professions, policymakers and academics around ethics and professional regulation through the centre’s regular seminars and think tanks as well as through papers and research.
Professor Stephen Mayson said: “It’s an honour to join the UCL Faculty of Laws as an Honorary Professor. As an alumnus, it is particularly gratifying to be returning in a new capacity. I look forward to working with other members of the distinguished faculty, and especially to working with Professor Moorhead in the Centre for Ethics and Law in pursuing my interest in legal services regulation and ethics.”
On 17 January, Professor Charles Mitchell gave a keynote lecture at the Chancery Bar Association’s Annual Conference for 2014.
His lecture, entitled ‘Stewardship of Property and Liability to Account’, concerned the personal liability for misapplied funds of trustees, directors, receivers and others charged with responsibility for handling property on behalf of other people.
The President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, delivered a lecture, The Evolution of Shipping Law, on Thursday 16 January.
While visiting London on business, the Cypriot President made time to visit the Faculty of Laws, where he was a student in the 1970s.
President Dean Spielmann of the European Court of Human Rights has been appointed Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Laws for five years. The appointment takes effect in May.
Judge Spielmann is one of the most distinguished legal minds in Europe with an excellent career in the judiciary and an exceptional list of academic publications in human rights and criminal law. He has been a judge in the Court since 2004, and President of the Court since 2012.
President Spielmann has maintained active links with the Faculty of Laws over the years. He will continue to offer lectures to students and to be more involved with UCL. He is also giving a Current Legal Problems/Britain and Europe lecture on the margin of appreciation this March.
In August 2011, the shooting of Mark Duggan sparked riots across London and the rest of the country. Last week’s decision by an inquest jury that Mark Duggan was lawfully killed initially led to concern about further riots in Tottenham. Dr Jonathan Rogers explores the difference between "lawful killing" and "unlawful killing" and why a "lawful killing" conclusion can be misleading.
One major reason is the difficulty in accepting the conclusion of “lawful killing” when the jury found that Mr Duggan did not have a gun at the time of the shooting, and also that “more could be done to gather and react to intelligence” about the activities of Mr Duggan that day.
There are good legal reasons why the conclusion of “lawful killing” is correct, assuming that one is not convinced that there was a conspiracy to “execute” a man who was known to be unarmed. But the label “lawful killing” is quite misleading and the case provides further reasons to rethink the scope of the terms “lawful killing” and “unlawful killing” in inquests.
First we should understand the law as it presently is. The terms “unlawful killing” and “lawful killing”, in a coroner’s court, refer only to the ordinary criminal law, and even then it has been limited by the courts to mean the offences of murder, manslaughter and infanticide.
Now, self-defence is a complete defence to murder, and in criminal proceedings, it does not matter whether a mistaken appraisal of immediate danger is foolish or in any way unreasonable – all that matters is whether the mistake was honestly made. This effectively means that it must be shown that the police aimed to shoot dead someone whom they really knew was unarmed and that there is no reasonable possibility of a mistake caused by the urgency of the situation or the nature of the briefing.
Notwithstanding the usual array of unanswered questions surrounding the killing, it is not surprising that the inquest jury declined to return a conclusion of unlawful killing, in the absence of any other suggested motive for officer V53 to have decided to kill Mr Duggan. The main precedent relates to the shooting of one Mr Stanley, who was carrying a table leg in a plastic bag which was mistaken by police marksmen to be a gun. It was decided on judicial review that, in the absence of any motive by the police to knowingly shoot the innocent man, the verdict of unlawful killing should not even have been left as an option to the jury. So as far as the inquest into Mr Duggan is concerned, the real surprise, if there is one, is that the inquest jury had been allowed to consider the verdict of unlawful killing in the first place.
If the law on corporate manslaughter were different, it might be possible to suggest in some such cases that the police authority itself committed the offence by aggregating all the individual contributory errors made by different police personnel in the planning of the operation. However, activities of the police are only covered by the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007, in respects of deaths in custody under s.2 (1). Under section 5 (1) of the Act, they are explicitly excluded in respect of operations where “officers … come under attack, or face the threat of attack or violent resistance, in the course of the operations”. So this avenue to an “unlawful killing” conclusion is not open to the inquest jury either.
But perhaps the greater cause of misunderstanding about the Duggan case is that the term “lawful killing” also only means that the jury thought it probable that the officer was covered by self-defence in criminal law – even if there might be every reason to suppose that either officer V53 or the Metropolitan Police might be liable in a civil suit. Statute forbids the expression of any such conclusion which suggests blame or other legal liability (Coroners and Justice Act 2009, s.5 (3)).
So, it may, for example, be that officer V53 committed the tort of battery when he shot Mr Duggan, because his belief that his life was in imminent danger might not have been reasonably held. This is because in the civil law, unlike the criminal law, mistakes about the need to use force in self-defence must be reasonably held. But we don’t know what the jury would have decided about the reasonableness of V53’s mistake because they were never asked to decide it – contrary to the impression given by some sources, including, apparently, the head of armed policing in London who is reported to have told the Guardian that “V53 has done nothing wrong in the eyes of 10 members of the public”.
And it is this, I think, which has exacerbated the tensions in the Duggan case. This is one situation where it is very important that the legal meaning of the term accords with popular meaning. Moreover, the limitations of the terms “unlawful” and “lawful” killing mean that the jury are not allowed to apportion blame to any failing which falls short of the threshold of murder or manslaughter. So the key questions on which families want clear answers in these sorts of cases – e.g., here why Duggan was suddenly under surveillance, whether there was good reason, either on the part of officer or the part of his superiors, to think that Duggan might use a gun - are usually not addressed in a judgemental way by inquest juries.
How should the law be improved?
In my view, we should revise the decisions of the courts that the terms “unlawful” and “lawful” killing refer only to the criminal offences of murder and manslaughter. They should instead refer to the commission of any criminal offence which has a causal link to the death, since by no means does every criminal act which causes death necessarily amount to manslaughter. Perhaps the most regular such offences that which are often charged in the criminal courts, but are not formally part of the law of manslaughter, are those of causing death by dangerous driving, and offences under the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974.
This latter legislation is directly in point here. It penalises various failures to take reasonable steps to ensure a safe working environment. Unlike corporate manslaughter, this offence can be committed by the police even when in the process of operations to catch criminals and further only a breach of duty to those affected by the operations at work (and not a gross breach of duty) needs to be proven. This was the offence which was successfully charged in a prosecution against the Metropolitan Police in the de Menezes case, after the inquest jury in that case had been disallowed to consider any verdict of “unlawful killing”.
If we were to amend the law in this way, so that inquest juries could consider whether this offence has been committed too, the conclusion of “unlawful killing” would then be much more likely in the cases of those who were wrongly killed. At the same time, unlike cases where an individual has committed murder or manslaughter, the public interest in such prosecutions may be debatable; after all any fines against the police which might result from a successful prosecution would ultimately come from the public purse. In such cases, an inquest conclusion of "unlawful killing" might not only command respect from the public but (notwithstanding possible private settlements) might also be regarded as the final “public” word on the incident from the perspective of all parties.
Ian Williams has been awarded the David Yale prize by the Selden Society. The prize is given every two years to ‘a young scholar for a distinguished contribution to the history of the laws and legal institutions of England and Wales’.
The Selden Society is a learned society and publisher solely devoted to English legal history and Ian’s success was for his paper Developing a Prerogative Theory for the Authority of the Chancery: the French Connection. Presented in 2013 at the British Legal History Conference, the paper will be published in the proceedings for that conference.
Commenting on the award, Dame Hazel Genn, Dean of UCL Laws said: “This award deservedly recognises the achievements of one of our faculty members. It underlines the expertise of our staff and the value they add to the student experience at UCL Laws.”