UCL Laws News
October - December 2011 News
UCL Bite-Sized Lecture: 'Little Dorrit or the Artful Dodger? Telling Tales while writing Bankruptcy Law'
On 16 December 2011, Joseph Spooner (PhD Candidate and Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Laws) delivered a presentation entitled 'Little Dorrit or the Artful Dodger? Telling Tales while writing Bankruptcy Laws' as part of the UCL Bite-Sized Lunchtime Lectures series. Joseph’s research involves comparative analysis of national personal bankruptcy laws within the European Union, and his talk explored differences in national laws by identifying the contrasting dominant constructions of the character of “the debtor” that underpin bankruptcy legislation in a selection of European countries.
Antonios Tzanakopoulos, Lecturer at UCL Laws, has been awarded the Georges Tenekides prize for the best doctoral thesis 2009-10 by the Hellenic Society of International Law and International Relations. The award is for the PhD thesis on which his OUP monograph Disobeying the Security Council: Countermeasures against Wrongful Sanctions (Oxford Monographs in International Law, OUP, 2011) is based. The prize comes with a € 1,000 grant. The Prize Committee was unanimous in its decision.
As stated (in a translation from Greek): "The Society has established a prize for the best doctoral thesis in international law and international relations in honour of Georges Tenékidès, a Greek international lawyer of great repute. The competition is open to all Greek men and women who have submitted a doctoral thesis during the competition period. The prize is awarded every two years at the Society's annual conference. Past recipients of the prize include Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos, currently Judge at the European Court of Human Rights."
The annual Macfarlanes student Client Interviewing Competition at UCL was won by Flo Jones and Katy Matthews in a very close final round against Sebastian Ion and Angus Nunn. The final was judged by representatives from the competition’s sponsor, Macfarlanes, John Hornby, the firm’s partner responsible for graduate recruitment and Helen Edwards, a UCL Laws alumna. The student winners will represent UCL in the national client interviewing competition and have the opportunity to attend an assessment day for a summer vacation scheme at Macfarlanes.
Lord Irvine of Lairg, Lord Chancellor from 1997-2003 and architect of the Human Rights Act (HRA), headlined a sold-out event at UCL's Cruciform LectureTheatre on 14 December. The event was chaired and co-hosted by Professor Dame Hazel Genn DBE QC, Dean of UCL Laws and Co-Director of the UCL Judicial Institute, and Professor Sir Jeffery Jowell KCMG QC, Director for the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law. Some 350 guests attended the lecture.
In his talk, entitled 'A British Interpretation of Convention Rights', Lord Irvine spoke publicly for the first time on his intent in creating Section 2 of the HRA, and its subsequent interpretation. As reported by the Guardian: "Irvine argued that Section 2, which governs the prominence given to Strasbourg jurisprudence, has been misinterpreted and therefore human rights case law has developed on a false premise. He added that 'the domestic courts have strayed considerably from giving effect to parliament's intention'. The system of binding precedent, where lower courts follow the decisions of those above them, has led to judges mistakenly thinking they are 'effectively subordinate' to the Strasbourg court."
Laws Lecturer Dr Ronan McCrea has written an article in The Irish Times, 15 December edition. He argues that a referendum on the budgetary agreement by EU leaders may not be necessary under the Irish constitution and criticises referendums as a means of political decision-making.
Important reforms of the healthcare sector in the United States and the UK, in particular the way each jurisdiction deals with anti-competitive behaviour, have been the focus of a seminar organised by the Centre for Law, Economics and Society (CLES) at UCL on 6 December, chaired by Dr Ioannis Lianos, director of the Centre.
The Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the US Department of Justice, Professor Fiona Scott Morton, discussed the enforcement of competition law in the (mostly private) US healthcare sector. Much healthcare provision in the US is accomplished through networks of providers such as physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, and dentists, which may raise competition concerns. Catherine Davies, director of the UK Co-operation and Competition Panel, discussed recent regulatory reforms of the (mixed economy) system of healthcare in the UK. Professor Pierre Regibeau, CRA and Imperial College, commented on the competition economics aspects of contracts that reference rivals. A major conference on this issue is planned to take place after the enactment of the Health and Social Care Bill in 2012.
Centre for Law, Economics and Society Holds Brands, Competition and IP Law Conference
The Centre for Law, Economics and Society (CLES) at UCL organised a conference on 'Brands: Competition and IP Law', in collaboration with IBIL at UCL and Loyola University of Chicago's Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies. The event was held on 2 December at UCL Laws. The aim of this conference, attended by more than 180 delegates from industry, the public sector, law firms and economic consultancies, was to reflect on the legal and economic understanding of brands by explaining what brands are and how they function, how trademark and competition law integrate brands in their framework, if this is satisfactory, as well as the role brands play in business competition.
The conference also delved into specific issues raised by branding in 21st-century business competition, such as the challenges raised by online business and the increasing role of private labels in distribution. The Centre will co-organise a follow-up conference on the emergent field of brand law (as a unifying theme for both trademark law, unfair competition and antitrust/merger law) at Chicago in October 2012. A volume presenting the main lessons/conclusions from both conferences and providing a comparative (EU and US law) perspective will appear in 2013.
- Dr. Ioannis Lianos (conference organiser)
When European Citizens Complain: The European Network of Ombudsmen and Accountability Networks
Organised jointly by UCL Laws (Professor Richard Rawlings) and the LSE Law Department (Professor Carol Harlow), and held on 25 November, this workshop was a truly pioneering one. Set against the backdrop of multiple developments in multi-level administrative action beyond the State, the workshop thus opened up both academic and practitioner perspectives on the growth of networks that hold decision-makers to account in the context of EU governance.
Focusing in particular on the role and contribution of the European Network of Ombudsmen, the workshop featured contributions from the European Ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros, and the UK Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman, Ann Abraham. Professor Rawlings, who introduced proceedings, highlighted the special value of the workshop in bringing together national and EU colleagues from a variety of disciplines.
Ioannis Lianos, Director of the Centre for Law, Economics & Society at UCL Laws, has been appointed a Fellow at the Centre for Law and Economics at the Australian National University (ANU). The Centre for Law and Economics at ANU is the only Centre for Law and Economics in Australia and is funded by the Australian federal government. The UCL Centre for Law, Economics & Society will engage in a close collaboration for funding applications with the CLE at ANU, in particular for activities in South East Asia and Oceania.
Conor v Angiotech was a real case in which the House of Lords reversed concurrent findings of obviousness by the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The House of Lords agreed with the Dutch court which had decided the parallel case in Holland. A sold out UCL Laws event on 23 November revisited this important patent law case and related arguments.
The event took the form of a moot between Lord Hoffmann (l) and the Rt. Hon. Professor Sir Robin Jacob of UCL Laws (r), who raised fundamental questions about the law of obviousness. A neutral introduction to the problem was followed by legal argument from the two 'counsel' (who themselves had given the lead judgments in the Court of Appeal and House of Lords respectively). The 'Judge', Justice Rothstein of the Canadian Supreme Court (pictured centre), flew in to London especially for the event, and acted as an 'international' arbitrator. Members of the audience were invited to join the debate, as well as the equally lively drinks reception afterwards.
This year's Mishcon Lecture 2011 'British Foreign Policy in a Changing World' was delivered by Lord Malloch Brown, Chairman, EMEA & Global Affairs, FTI Consulting Inc. Lord Malloch-Brown served as a Minister in Gordon Brown’s cabinet, where he had particular responsibility for strengthening relationships with Africa and Asia. The Prime Minister appointed him envoy in preparation for the London G-20 Summit. In addition, Lord Malloch-Brown served as Deputy Secretary General and Chief of Staff of the UN under Kofi Annan and, for six years prior, as Administrator of the UN Development Programme. Before that he was a Vice-President at the World Bank. The event, held on 22 November, was chaired by Joshua Rozenberg of Radio 4's Law in Action and introduced by Dean of UCL Laws, Professor Dame Hazel Genn.
The Mishcon Lectures were established at UCL in 1990, in honour of Lord Mishcon, to mark his 75th birthday. They recognise his achievements and service in the fields of law, education, religion, government and politics. The eclectic nature of the lectures reflect UCL's wish to encompass as wide a spectrum of social, economic, moral, legal and political issues as possible, reflecting Lord Mishcon's career and interests.
On 23 November, UCL's Centre for Law and the Environment and UCL Public Policy held an event exploring the governance of the technologies in moving to a low carbon economy. Chiara Armeni and Maria Lee from the Faculty of Laws spoke at the event, chaired by Yvonne Rydin (UCL Bartlett and Environment Institute), along with UCL colleagues Simon Lock (Science and Technology Studies) and Tadj Oreszczyn (Energy Institute).
Technological innovation is expected to play a significant role in moving to a low carbon economy. Alongside the technological and scientific challenges, this presents considerable challenges of governance. The speakers and audience explored the complex governance challenges associated with capturing the carbon savings potential of technological innovation, as well as the ways in which publics might engage with climate change technologies. Any technology is embedded in its social context, and the public in their diverse roles (as citizens, consumers, members of communities) play unavoidable and important roles in the adoption, proliferation and impact of climate change technologies.
The event was supported by UCL Grand Challenges.
IBIL/Marques Event: Questions for Trade Mark Judges
On 16 November, UCL IBIL, together with MARQUES, the Association of European Trade Mark Owners, hosted ‘Questions for the Trade Mark Judges’. The event provided an opportunity for stakeholders to quiz those who make the decisions which affect them and their clients. Topics included how to simplify the trade mark system, whether registries should be bound by their own decisions, whether Advocate Generals add anything of value to CJEU decisions and whether trade mark law needs a parody defence.
In the hot seat were representatives from the major trade mark decision makers in the UK and Europe, namely, the Hon. Mr Justice Arnold (High Court), Gordon Humphreys, (member of 2nd, 3rd and 5th Boards of Appeal, OHIM), Amanda Michaels (Appointed Person) and Allan James (Senior Hearing Officer and Head of Trade Mark Tribunal, UK IPO). The Rt. Hon. Professor Sir Robin Jacob (former Court of Appeal Judge and Hugh Laddie Professor of Intellectual Property) took the role of chair cum agent provocateur.
On 18 November, the UCL Judicial Institute (JI) held a morning seminar to mark the second anniversary of the establishment of the United Kingdom Supreme Court and to launch the UCL JI UK Supreme Court Project. The event was attended by 10 current and former Justices of the UK Supreme Court, the Master of the Rolls, the President of Tribunals, judges of the Court of Appeal, Scottish Court of Session, Irish Supreme Court and French Constitutional Court, along with a invitation-only audience of leading counsel, academics, policy-makers and officials of the UKSC.
The UCL JI Co-Director and Dean of UCL Laws, Professor Dame Hazel Genn, chaired the seminar’s two panel discussions, and UCL JI Co-Director, Professor Cheryl Thomas, presented the first analysis to emerge from the new UCL JI UKSC Project on the work of the Court. The first panel discussion addressed the Internal Workings of the Court and included Permissions to Appeal, Panel Size and Composition, and Judgments of the Court. Expert commentary was provided by Justices of the UK Supreme Court, Lord Dyson, Lady Hale and Lord Mance, along with Lord Neuberger, Master of the Rolls, and Olivier Dutheillet de Lamothe, former justice of the French Constitutional Court.
The second panel discussion addressed External Relations between the UK Supreme Court and other courts in both the UK and Europe, and relations between the Court and government. Expert commentary in this session was provided by Lord Phillips, President of the UK Supreme Court; Lord Justice Carnwath, President of Tribuanls; Lord Hodge, Scottish Court of Session; Mrs Justice Fidelma Macken, Irish Supreme Court; former Attorney General, Baroness Scotland; and Shadow Spokesperson for Justice, Lord Bach.
On 15 November, the UCL Centre for Ethics & Law held its third annual lecture “Tweeting to Topple Tyranny: Social Media and Corporate Social Responsibility.” The lecture was presented by Professor Erika George (S. J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah) together with Dr Nina Seppala of UCL and chaired by the Dean of UCL Laws, Professor Dame Hazel Genn.
Reflecting the Centre’s multi-disciplinary approach, the lecture attracted a large audience from academia, industry and practice, leading to a lively debate on the issues raised. Professor George discussed the question of whether the special relationship that we all have with social media gave rise to particular obligations regarding social responsibility (arguing that it did). Dr Seppala also considered the role of social media in democracy and considered both the political role of corporations operating social media sites and their responsibility for content posted on such sites.
Ioannis Lianos of UCL Laws has been awarded the Gutenberg Research Chair at the Ecole National d'Administration (ENA), the elite public policy and administration school of the French Republic. Gutenberg Chairs are programmes organised by the local authorities of the French “Alsace” region on the suggestion of the Cercle Gutenberg. The duration of the Chair is approximately one year and its recipients receive the following: a) The Gutenberg Prize, worth 10,000 euros, given personally; and b) specific financial help of 50,000 euros attributed to the host institution and reserved entirely for the execution of their research project. The ENA and the French government have also made a financial contribution to this project.
Dr Lianos’s research will focus on the analysis of national experiences of EU countries, looking at their various Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs). Its objective will be to understand the wider political context that might influence impact assessment methodology and its implementation. A second angle will explore the impact of RIAs in the decision-making process. A third angle will look at the implementation of impact assessments at the local level and, in particular, their role in the devolution or decentralisation process in select EU Member States.
The research will be completed in the next 18 months at the ENA and University College London.
Children's Rights: Progress and Perspectives
More has been written about children, childhood and children’s rights in the last 20 years than in the rest of history. There are more university courses focusing on children now than ever before. The International Journal of Children’s Rights has been a major player in all this. This volume has been compiled not only to commemorate the journal’s work, but also the 20th anniversary of the Convention coming into operation, and of the first World Summit on Children. This collection contains 20 essays on a range of children's rights issues, including theory, principles, problem areas and history. As well as editing the full volume, Professor Michael Freeman of UCL Laws has also contributed an article.
This new book by Ilanah Simon Fhima is the only comparison of EU and US protection against trade mark dilution. It provides a complete overview of the dilution action, enabling readers to better protect trade marks against dilution or to combat dilution claims. By examining the justifications offered for dilution, the book places the dilution action in the wider context of the trade mark system, allowing readers to understand the issues behind the law and to consider whether the law appropriately meets these justifications. It considers the fundamental questions raised about trade marks, including whether the main aim of trade marks is to protect the public from being confused, or the investment of trade mark owners in building up their reputations. The book also considers how well the EU and the US take these questions into account in balancing the interests of trade mark owners, their competitors and the public through the dilution action.
On 7 November, UCL's Carbon Capture Legal Programme (CCLP) released a series of case study reports analysing the implementation of the EU’s “Directive on the Geological Storage of CO2” in six selected European countries, which provides a legal framework for carrying out carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Europe.
The objective of the reports was to understand the rationale behind each country’s choices in implementing specific aspects of the Directive into their national laws. The CCLP commissioned environmental law experts in the various countries to write the reports. The UK report was authored by UCL Laws Research Associate, Chiara Armeni.
To launch the reports, the CCLP held a one-day conference where the authors of the case studies presented their findings for the first time. The event attracted key CCS stakeholders from industry, government and research organisations as well as a number of environmental law academics from across Europe.
Dr Arad Reisberg contributes to Westminster launch of the report Transforming Capitalism from Within
Dr Arad Reisberg of UCL Laws was invited to participate in and made contributions to the Palace of Westminster launch of the report Transforming Capitalism from Within (Rushworth & Schluter, 2011) held on 3 November 2011.
The event was sponsored by the Rt Hon. Stephen Timms MP and Jeremy Lefroy MP. This was in recognition of Dr Reisberg's help and support producing Transforming Capitalism from Within. University College London is also mentioned in the report foreword. Since 2007 Dr Reisberg has been acting as an Academic Advisor to a major Research Project entitled ‘The Relational Company: Exploring a New Business Vehicle as An Alternative Company Structure’, also commissioned by the Relationships Foundation.
On 1 November, the 17th volume of the UCL Jurisprudence Review was launched with a debate on 'The Normative Value of Free Speech and Privacy'. At the beginning of the session the annual UCL Jurisprudence Review 2011 Writing Prize for the best essay published in the Review was awarded to student Mark Rowlands. Dean of UCL Laws, Professor Dame Hazel Genn, noted the Review’s proud and enduring legacy of scholarship and its significant contribution to legal philosophy. A number of speakers were then invited to approach the topic of free speech and privacy.
The event’s chair, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury (Master of the Rolls) appreciated that “the carriers of a right to free speech hold duties as well.” Professor Eric Barendt (UCL Laws) opened the debate by pointing out that “the concept of privacy in Britain is so uncertain that we do not even know how to pronounce it.” Professor Leslie Green (University of Oxford) noted that “duties fall not only to speakers but also to listeners.” A more practical approach was presented by Charlotte Harris (Mishcon de Reya), who argued that “tabloids need us to have a private life since their existence and commercial value depends on it.” The Rt Hon Sir Stephen Sedley delivered the final presentation, in which he focused on the current level of protection of the right to privacy and concluded that “the Courts need to consider the effects on someone’s life when his private life is published through a tabloid.”
The law gives the courts very broad discretion to determine ‘fair’ property and financial awards when couples divorce. While that discretion is exercised in all cases, it has been shaped by principles developed in the so-called ‘big money’ cases decided in the Appeal Courts since 2000, which have led to increased awards to homemaker wives. Many are unhappy with this turn of events and have said that London has now become the 'divorce capital of the world'.
In a UCL Lunch Hour Lecture given to a public audience on 1 November, Professor Diduck discussed these ‘big money' divorce cases and the payouts involved, speaking to matters of fairness, gender and judicial discretion. She argued that if London’s status as 'divorce capital' was about implementing an ideal of fairness and gender equality in divorce settlement, then that is no bad thing.
November 2nd is the 21st anniversary of the Vermont Environmental Court, the only such specialist court in the United States. Thus, the timing was right for a UCL seminar the previous night organised by the UK Environmental Law Association and the Centre for Law and the Environment where Judge Merideth Wright, the first judge at the Vermont court, gave an account of its workings to an audience of British lawyers and Faculty LLM students.
The UCL event was chaired by Lord Justice Carnwath, Senior President of Tribunals in this country. Judge Wright's talk was especially timely because a specialist environmental tribunal is now in the process of being established in England and Wales. Its initial jurisdiction will be to hear appeals against new forms of civil penalties being introduced into environmental law, but its functions may well extend in future to cover other areas of environmental regulation such as appeals against refusal of a waste management licences.
Judge Wright's presentation was followed by a panel discussion involving Mr Justice Keith Lindblom; Nick Warren, President General Regulatory Chamber and Professor Richard Macrory QC of UCL, author of a recent report on strengthening the new environmental tribunal. It became clear during the seminar that, despite the very different legal systems, there were extremely valuable lessons to be learnt from the Vermont experience at a critical time in thinking about new UK institutional arrangements for handling environmental law.