UCL Laws News
A pro bono project led by the Graduate Law Society at UCL Laws has contributed to the findings of the Home Affairs Committee report: Female genital mutilation: the case for a national action plan, published last week. The report calls for immediate action to be taken on behalf of the thousands of women and girls affected by female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK each year, and recommends specific steps to respond to a growing crisis.
Following the initiation of the inquiry into FGM by the Home Affairs Committee last December, the Graduate Law Society submitted written evidence to the Committee as part of an ongoing project to give LLM students the opportunity to propose, research and prepare submissions to parliamentary committees. By taking advantage of the diversity of the student body at UCL Laws, the project is able to contribute a unique perspective to UK law reform debates by offering a comparative point of view of legal practice and policy across different countries.
The FGM inquiry sought to address the perceived deficiencies in the current protection mechanisms for women and girls at risk of FGM in the UK, and highlighted that since the practice was made illegal in 1985, there have been no successful prosecutions for FGM. In its response, the Graduate Law Society submission identified France as a country that has had more success in prosecuting FGM-related crimes, and, in reliance on research based on French-language resources, recognised that this has been achieved largely through mandatory medical checks on babies and children up to the age of six. It cautioned against employing such an approach in the UK however, specifying concerns over the intrusiveness of the mandatory checks, and the potential distrust it could generate of medical practitioners in affected communities.
The Home Affairs Committee report similarly made the comparison to French law and practice, citing the Graduate Law Society submission on a number of occasions. While the report ultimately considered the French approach to be a good example, particularly following the historic passivity of the police and Crown Prosecution Service in responding to the issue of FGM, it identified that the introduction of a universal system of regular examinations of children would constitute a ‘disproportionate response’ in the UK.
Commenting on the publication of the report, Graduate Law Society Pro Bono Officer, Andrew White, said: “It is pleasing to see that the ultimate recommendations of the Committee broadly reflect our (and others’) submission that the adoption of the French practice of mandatory medical examinations would not be proportionate, and that education should be promoted.
“It is very exciting to have been cited multiple times in the Committee’s report, and goes to show the value we can offer with a project like this given the diversity of the LLM cohort.”
The Graduate Law Society Pro Bono Project was established in 2014 to give UCL Laws postgraduate students the opportunity to propose, research and prepare submissions to parliamentary committees in respect of human rights and public interest law. It welcomes proposals from charitable organisations and NGOs for commissioned research into any area of public interest law.
The project is currently led by Graduate Law Society Pro Bono Officer, Andrew White, and its Faculty Advisor is Colm O’Cinneide.
UCL Laws PhD Students, Alex Green and Inga Thiemann, have been awarded prestigious Modern Law Review Scholarships. The Scholarships, which will provide financial support during their studies, are awarded annually to students engaged in doctoral research on subjects that fall within the published interests of the Modern Law Review.
Each year, the Modern Law Review makes up to £90,000 of support available to current or prospective students at UK universities whose research is expected to make a substantial contribution to their field. Previous UCL Laws recipients of the Scholarship, which was established in 2003, include Dr Arman Savarian (2008-09), now Lecturer in Law at the University of Surrey, and Dr Lucinda Miller (2003), who is a Senior Lecturer in Laws at UCL Laws.
This year’s successful scholars, Alex and Inga, will each receive their award at the start of the new term in September 2014. Alex, now in his second year, is working within the field of International Law, and is supervised by Professors Riz Mokal and Stephen Guest, and Dr Douglas Guilfoyle. Inga, a third year PhD student is exploring: ‘A victim-based approach to Human Trafficking - hindered by patriarchal stereotypes’. Inga is supervised by Dr Virginia Mantouvalou, Professor Alison Diduck and Dr Nigel Balmer.
Dr Georgina Tsagas joins the Good Governance Forum to discuss the role of the board in corporate takeovers
Dr Georgina Tsagas, a Postdoctoral Associate at UCL Laws, will join a panel of renowned speakers at the Tomorrow’s Company Good Governance Forum on 26 June to discuss corporate takeover and the role and duties of the board. At the event, which will be hosted by the Institute of Directors in London, Georgina will join former Labour Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt, Guy Walker, former Global Head of Stewardship and ESG Investment at Schroders, and Dr Roger Barker, Director of Governance at the Institute of Directors, to explore the issues that surround the role of the board in responding to takeovers and other merger and acquisition (M&A) activity, and help to clarify some of the conflicting opinions about the appropriate course of action.
The debate on the challenges faced by the board when confronted by a takeover has resurfaced with Pfizer’s attempted takeover of AstraZeneca in early 2014. Pfizer’s attempt for the British pharmaceutical company, Astra Zeneca, was abandoned in May after Pfizer’s final offer was rejected in the face of fierce opposition from UK politicians, scientists and the AstraZeneca boardroom. In light of this, the Forum will consider the crucial role of investors and, in particular, whether their duties and interests are aligned with those of the investee company - something that is particularly timely due to the publication of the Law Commission report on fiduciary duty in June.
Georgina’s current research involves a review and critical analysis of the 2011 changes to the City Code on Takeovers & Mergers following the Kraft/Cadbury takeover. She has devoted particular attention to one of the concerns brought forward by the political enquiry launched in 2010 into the framework regulating takeover bids, namely why contrary to their role, target directors tend to act more like ‘auctioneers’ selling to the highest bidder rather than ‘stewards’ looking after the company’s long-term interests. With reference to the Code, the Companies Act 2006 and the common law, Georgina will elaborate on the grey areas of law in relation to target directors’ duties and propose possible ways forward.
UCL Laws hosts special event for judiciary to discuss how to meet the challenge of growing numbers of self-representing parties (litigants in person) in courts.
A panel of distinguished speakers provided a range of perspectives on how courts can adapt procedure to provide effective hearings for self-representing litigants. Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice described the initiatives being taken by the judiciary to modify procedure and consider the use of McKenzie friends.
Lord Justice Ryder outlined the ‘inquisitorial’ approach being adopted in the Family Court and Judge Antoine Garapon explained the approach taken in France where litigants with substantial claims are required to be represented in court. Bonnie Hough, Managing Attorney for the Center for Families, Children & the Courts of the
California Administrative Office of the Courts, described how Californian family courts have successfully set up self-representation units staffed by lawyers. The various Californian court innovations created a great deal of interest among the judiciary.
The panel was chaired by the Dean of UCL Laws, Professor Dame Hazel Genn and the distinguished audience included the Lord Chief Justice, The Right Honourable The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, along wiht all the Heads of Divisions, Senior President of Tribunals members of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Circuit and District benches.
Working in partnership with the Global Legislators Organisation, GLOBE International, UCL has published a major review of national laws and policies in 21 countries concerning natural capital accounting. The study featured contributions from 56 individuals, including parliamentarians, government officials, external consultants, and subject matter experts from UCL.
The study was officially launched on 7 June 2014 at the 2nd World Summit of Legislators, hosted by the Mexican Congress of the Union in Mexico City. More than 500 presidents, speakers and senior legislators from around the world attended the Summit. One of the study’s lead authors Dr Ben Milligan of the UCL Centre for Law and Environment, which is based at UCL Laws, highlighted the study's objectives and key conclusions in an address to the Summit's plenary session.
Commenting on the launch of the new study, Dr Milligan said: "The concept of natural capital is attracting political interest globally because it helps economic decision-makers to account for the fact that the natural environment is the foundation on which economic prosperity is built. Characterising the environment as an economic asset provides a potential means to reconcile the urgent need to protect the environment, with the legitimate interest of billions of people globally to pursue poverty alleviation and economic development."
The term ‘natural capital' refers to components of the natural environment, for instance healthy ecosystems, that provide economically valuable goods and services like food, fuel, and water quality regulation. Natural capital accounting is a process that supplements conventional measures of economic activity such as GDP, to provide data and information concerning the economic importance of environmental assets.
The Study identifies a flexible set of options for enabling natural capital accounting, highlighting key experiences, challenges and lessons learned in the 21 featured countries, including the UK, India, Nigeria and China. It also outlines a roadmap for future action to improve the global knowledge-base concerning legal and policy options for managing natural capital.
Professor Paul Ekins, Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London said: “Getting serious about the sustainable use of natural capital requires that governments measure and monitor it as carefully as they do the other physical infrastructure and income flows in their countries. There are now robust and widely accepted methodologies for doing this, that urgently need to be implemented. We commend GLOBE International for setting up its Natural Capital Initiative to help bring this about, and are pleased to have contributed this report which charts countries’ progress in natural capital accounting. We very much hope this report, and its successors, will add to the momentum in this area that GLOBE International has engendered.”
UCL Laws student, John Otugade, has been named as one of the recipients of the prestigious Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship programme. Launched by international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, in partnership with the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, the scholarship programme aims to improve access of black and ethnic minority men from low-income households to the legal profession.
John, who is currently finishing his first year at UCL Laws, will join seven other scholars in a programme carefully designed to support their future success in commercial law. The scheme offers each of the scholars dedicated support in interview techniques and development, mentoring and commercial familiarisation during the university holidays, as well as £3,500 contribution to the costs of studying law.
Speaking following the announcement of the award, John said: “It is an honour to have been awarded the Freshfields Stephen Lawrence Scholarship, due to the competitive nature of the application process and the legal field in general. Hopefully through this scholarship I will fulfil my ambition of working at a Magic Circle firm.”
Annette Byron, Freshfields’ social mobility partner, commented: “We believe that our scholarship is unique. We have drawn on innovative assessment techniques to gauge potential across many areas (rather than just academic qualifications), and will help develop our scholars into top class lawyers, while adapting our own organisational culture. We hope to make a real difference – which we define as people from different backgrounds joining, staying and succeeding with us.”
At this year’s Hay Festival, UCL Laws Professor of Law, Philippe Sands, joined opera singer Laurent Naouri and pianist Guillaume de Chassy to present a drama about the origins of modern justice in images, words and music.
Speaking to Claire Armistead on the Guardian Books Podcast, Philippe discusses The Great Crimes, a piece of ‘musical archaeology’, which tells the story of prosecutors at the Nuremburg Trials, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, and defendent, governor general of occupied Poland, Hans Frank, through their shared passion for classical music.
Describing the project, Philippe said: “what’s very striking about the music is that it underpins an extraordinarily powerful story … in which the music amplifies the words, and the words provide an explanation of the music.”
The Great Crimes premiered on 25 May at the Hay Festival 2014, and will be performed at the Southbank Centre in London on 29 and 30 November, and in Stockholm/Interplay on the 14 July 2015.
Competition and the State, co-edited by UCL Laws Reader in Competition Law and Economics, Dr Ioannis Lianos, alongside Thomas K. Cheng of the University of Hong Kong and D. Daniel Sokol of the Levin College of Law, University of Florida, has been published by Stanford University Press.
This new collection, published as part of the Global Competition and Law series, analyses the role of the state across a number of dimensions as it relates to competition law and policy across a number of dimensions. The book re-conceptualises the interaction between competition law and government activities in light of the profound transformation of the conception of state action in recent years by looking to the challenges of privatisation, new public management, and public-private partnerships, and questions whether there is a substantive legal framework that might be put in place to address competition issues as they relate to the role of the state.
Various chapters also provide case studies of national experiences and the volume examines one of the most highly controversial policy issues within the competition and regulatory sphere: the role of competition law and policy in the financial sector. Competition and the State provides a number of viewpoints of what competition law and policy mean both in theory and practice in a development context.
Dr Tom Hickman, Reader in Law at UCL Laws and barrister at Blackstone Chambers, will join Stephen Gardbaum, Professor of International Justice and Human Rights at the UCLA School of Law, and Joanna Davidson, barrister and former Special Counsel to the Victorian Government Solicitor's Office in Australia, at a special public event exploring the potential reform of the New Zealand Bill of Rights.
The event, New Zealand Bill of Rights: Continuing the Conversation, follows a report delivered by the New Zealand Constitutional Advisory Panel in November 2013 which emphasised the importance that New Zealanders place upon the Bill of Rights Act 1990, and suggested that further discussion may be needed as to whether the Act might be amended to improve its effectiveness.
Tom, who has written extensively on public law and human rights issues in a number of law journals and in his award-winning book, Public Law After the Human Rights Act, will consider the proposals contained in the Panel's report and provide insights from other common law jurisdictions.
Hosted by The Law Foundation New Zealand in conjunction with the faculties of law at the University of Otago, University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington, the event will take place in the Old Legislative Council Chamber in Parliament House in Wellington on 3 June. During his trip to New Zealand, Tom will also be visiting the University of Otago and the University of Auckland, where he will be speaking at a seminar for Auckland judges and practitioners focusing on recent developments in UK public law.
Academics and staff from UCL Laws have been announced as winners of this year’s Provost’s Teaching Awards and the UCLU Student Choice Teaching Awards.
Professor Sir Robin Jacob, Dr Ilanah Simon Fhima and Dr Matt Fisher from the UCL Laws Institute of Brand and Innovation Law, Mark Anderson of Anderson Law, and the UCL Laws Events and CPD team, Lisa Penfold and Liz Carter, have been named as the winners of the 2014 Provost’s Teaching Award for CPD and Short Courses. The winning course, IP Transactions: Law and Practice, focuses on the legal and practice issues that are directly relevant to transactions IP Practitioners, and was previously shortlisted in the Learning and Development category of the Law Society Excellence Awards in 2013.
In the UCLU Student Choice Teaching Awards, Professor of Environmental Law at UCL Laws, Jane Holder, was named as the winner in the Outstanding Teaching category, alongside Dr Russell Hearn of the UCL Medical School. Jane, whose research focuses on the regulatory mechanisms for environmental protection, teaches on LLB module Environmental Law, along with a number of modules on the specialist LLM programme, Environmental Law and Policy. The UCLU Student Choice Teaching Awards, now in their second year, have been developed entirely by UCL students, and will be celebrated alongside the Provost’s Teaching Awards at ceremony at the Institute of Child Health on 9 June.
Commenting on the announcement of this year's award winners, UCL President & Provost Professor Michael Arthur said: “Innovation and further development of teaching at UCL is vital to our future success, so I was delighted to see such a high standard of entries.
“There is fantastic work going on right across the institution and this is an important opportunity to share some of the highlights. I look forward to congratulating the winners on 9 June.”
Drawing on original manuscripts and volumes in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham, this new collection represents the latest research from leading scholars, whose work has helped to frame understanding of Bentham since the publication of H.L.A. Hart's Essays on Bentham.
Edited by UCL Laws researchers Dr Xiaobo Zhai and Dr Michael Quinn, the chapters combine philosophical and historical approaches, and offer new and more faithful interpretations of Bentham's legal philosophy and its development. The authors, who include UCL Laws Professor of History of Legal and Political Thought, Philip Schofield, and former director of the Bentham Project, Professor Fred Rosen, explore fundamental areas of Bentham's thought, including the relationship between the rule of law and public opinion; law and popular prejudices or manipulated tastes; Bentham's methodology versus Hart's; sovereignty and codification; and the language of natural rights.
As a coherent whole, Bentham's Theory of Law and Public Opinion challenges the dominant understandings of Bentham among legal philosophers and rescues him from some famous mischaracterisations.
The Bentham Project is one of the sixteen research centres and institutes at UCL Laws aims to produce a new scholarly edition of the works and correspondence of Jeremy Bentham, the influential jurist, philosopher and social scientist. The work, which began in 1959 with the formation of the Bentham Committee at UCL, is expected to be completed by 2030.
Winners of the National Student Negotiation Competition, UCL Laws students Ryan Al-Hakim and Andreea Toma, have been chosen to represent England and Wales at the 2014 International Negotiation Competition (INC) in South Korea.
The students, who impressed judges at the CEDR sponsored National Student Negotiation Competition in March with their impressive teamwork, strategy and understanding of negotiation thinking, will be competing against student teams from universities around the world in the negotiation of either an international transaction or resolution of an international dispute.
Twelve teams from universities from across England and Wales took part in the national final, as well as a second team from UCL Laws, which included students Luke Blackett and Kristian Diskerud, who replaced original team member, Ruby Reed-Berendt, who was unable to compete in the final.
Second place in the national final went to the University of Law Bloomsbury team, Sahil Sinha and Philippa Smyth, and third place was awarded to the University of Law Manchester team, Diane Hill and Jennifer Morris.
This year’s INC will be held at the Handong International Law School in Pohang in June. During the week-long competition, students will develop negotiation skills in the context of international transactions and disputes, and the event will provide a unique opportunity to meet and network with other students, lawyers, business people and academics from around the world.
Since its beginning in 1998, the INC has grown substantially, and now sees teams regularly competing from Australia and New Zealand, Scotland, Denmark, Russia, Japan, Singapore, India, the USA and Canada.
On 24 April 2014, Dr Arad Reisberg, reader in Coporate and Financial Law and Director of the Centre for Commercial Law at UCL Laws, chaired the Eversheds InnerCircle networking event, Politics in the City.
In the run-up to local London and European Parliamentary elections in less than a month, as well as the General Election in 2015, the event focused on the political agenda and explored a number of questions, including whether there is a new ethos for the City following the financial crisis that combines social awareness with making money, and if the shift in attitude and practice of the City has been values driven.
The event also examined the biggest challenges that the three major political parties foresee to ensure that the City of London continues to thrive, and representatives from each of the three main parties outlined their party’s policies for the City, followed by a Q&A session chaired by Dr Reisberg. Presenters included Conservative MP Nick Gibb, Labour Party MEP candidate, Ivana Bartoletti, and Liberal Democrat MEP candidate, Richard Davis.
- More information about Arad Reisberg
- More information about Nick Gibb MP
- More information about Ivana Bartoletti (Labour MEP candidate)
- More information about Richard Davis (Liberal Democrat MEP candidate)
- Read about the Eversheds InnerCircle
- See some fascinating questions raised live through Twitter on the evening
Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Dean of UCL Laws, gave the 2014 Supreme Court Oration at the Banco Court of Queensland on Wednesday 23 April.
The event titled 'Do it yourself justice: the challenge of self-representation in the English Courts' was chaired by The Hon Paul de Jersey AC, Chief Justice of Queensland, and addressed the issues faced by the English adversarial system in light of the increasing number of litigants in person (LIPs) and the cuts to legal aid.
On Tuesday 8 April, a UCL Laws team led by Dean Professor Dame Hazel Genn, Ronan McCrea, Kimberley Trapp and special guest of honour Lord Carnwath, Justice of the UK Supreme Court, headed up the 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 McCrea 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 UCL 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
On Thursday 20 March, President Spielmann of the European Court of Human Rights gave a Current Legal Problems - Britain and Europe lecture at UCL Laws, which was chaired by President of UK Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger.
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.”