Professor Ed Cape and Dr Tom Smith get chapter published in Access to Justice and Legal Aid book

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Professor Ed Cape and Dr Tom Smith have had a chapter published in the book: Flynn & Hodgson, ‘Access to Justice and Legal Aid: Comparative Perspectives on Unmet Need’ (Hart, 2017).

The book considers how access to justice is affected by restrictions to legal aid budgets and increasingly prescriptive service guidelines. As common law jurisdictions, England and Wales, and Australia, share similar ideals, policies and practices, but they differ in aspects of their legal and political culture, in the nature of the communities they serve and in their approaches to providing access to justice.

These jurisdictions thus provide us with different perspectives on what constitutes justice and how we might seek to overcome the burgeoning crisis in unmet legal need.

The book fills an important gap in existing scholarship as the first to bring together new empirical and theoretical knowledge examining different responses to legal aid crises both in the domestic and comparative contexts, across criminal, civil and family law.

A summary of the book chapter can be found below:

“In 2013, then Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling proposed major changes to the funding of criminal legal aid, including large cuts in fees and forced contraction of the market of legal aid service providers. Arguing these reforms would endanger the viability of the criminal legal aid system, the legal profession and others engaged in a very public two year battle to stop – or at least dilute – the reform programme. In the wake of strike action by lawyers in July 2015 and multiple legal challenges to the contracting process, new Lord Chancellor Michael Gove abandoned a good deal of the reform package.

Whilst this represented a particularly bitter dispute, conflict between the Government and the criminal legal aid profession is not new. For more than two decades, criminal legal aid has arguably been devalued by consistent attempts to reduce its financial burden on the state and consequently the scope of its provision.

In this chapter we argue, with regret, that the prospects for criminal legal aid in England and Wales are bleak. We begin by tracing the development of the modern system of criminal legal aid, from its inception as an essential element of the welfare state following the Second World War, to its peak in the 1990s. We then describe and analyse its decline, arguing that whilst the need for economy and efficiency, especially following the global financial crisis of 2007-08, has been used to rationalise government policy in the first decade and a half of the twenty-first century, the roots of that decline are deeper, and reflect an antipathy not only to state welfare provision but also to procedural justice and fair trial.

This is followed by an examination of the likely impact of both budget cuts and changes to the arrangements for managing and delivering criminal legal aid. Whilst there are grounds for optimism at the international level, with both the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) recognising the fundamental importance of legal aid in underpinning justice and fair trial, successive British governments have lacked a commitment to developing and sustaining a high quality criminal legal aid system”

For more information on the book and to order a copy please see here.

Centre for Applied Legal Research Annual Lecture: Tunde Okewale – Thurs 9 February

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Join us on Thursday 09 February for the Centre for Applied Legal Research’s Annual Lecture with Tunde Okewale.

To register please see here.

Tunde Okewale MBE (Doughty Street Chambers) is the recipient of numerous awards for his contribution to social justice and inclusion. In 2016 Tunde was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. He was named Diversity Champion at the UK Diversity Legal Awards in 2014.

Tunde is the founder of Urban Lawyers, a charitable initiative designed to educate, engage and stimulate discussion amongst young people in relation to law. The organisation provides information to disaffected young people and communities, as well as providing information and opportunities about how to secure work and/or experience in the legal profession.

Tunde grew up in a council estate in Hackney, East London. Tunde is the eldest of four children and was the first person in his family to attend university and obtain a degree. He is passionately committed to promoting diversity and widening participation within the professions.

Alongside the accolades for his charitable work, Tunde has attracted considerable interest from the media for his unique style. He has been the feature of GQ articles and is considered to be the most followed barrister on Instagram.

Having been called to the Bar in 2009 he has established a practice in General Crime, Serious Crime and Extradition. He also specialises in Sports Law and is a Registered Lawyer under The FA Football Agents Regulations.

Tunde was involved in the Griffiths Trust ‘Hush The Guns’ Project in Kingston Jamaica in 2009, and was also commissioned by the Jamaican and Canadian Government to facilitate workshops for disaffected youths.

The event is free to attend but you must register a place. To register please see here. The event will be held in the ECC on Frenchay Campus.

UWE Student Conference: Final call for abstracts

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Organised jointly by staff and students, the inaugural UWE Student Conference will celebrate research/enquiry/evidence-based practice from undergraduate and postgraduate taught students across all years of study and all disciplines.

There will be prizes for the best paper and poster presentations, and posters will be printed at no cost. Your name, paper/poster title, abstract and short biography will be included in a colour programme.

 What can you present?

  • Dissertation work
  • Group based/individual projects
  • Placement/Internship activities
  • Essays
  • Evidence-based enquiries
  • Reflective evidence-based practice/ service improvement.

You can use existing coursework material or present new ideas to gain feedback

What is the time-line?

  • Revised and final abstract deadline: Friday 20 January 2017
  • Notification of abstract acceptance: Monday 30 January 2017
  • Conference registration opens: Monday 30 January 2017
  • Submit papers and posters online: Friday 24 March 2017
  • UWE Student Conference: Monday 10 April 2017 (first week of Easter break)

How do I submit an abstract?

You can find the abstract submission form and further details via: or by checking Infohub.

Email your abstract to using the conference abstract submission form by the revised deadline of 20 January 2017. In the subject of your email state: your faculty, your name, student conference e.g.:  ACE, John Smith, student conference.

“Life after a law degree – different legal jobs and options” – Panel event – 25 January

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The Bristol Law School are hosting a panel event on Wednesday 25 January to highlight the different career paths you can take after studying a Law degree. The panel includes three Law alumni from UWE Bristol.

The speakers are:

  • Jonathan Grant, Head of Legal for Markets, Banking and Notes at the Bank of England;
  • Steve Rowan, Director of the Tribunals, Trade Marks and Designs Division of the UK Intellectual Property Office;
  • James Poole, Team Manager of Company Secretarial Services at Capita Asset Services; and
  • Bryannie  Gibson, Senior Associate at PwC.

Each of the speakers will talk for around 10minutes on their career path from Law degree to their current job. They will explain their current role as well as sharing tips for soon to be graduates.

The presentations will be followed by questions and informal networking over refreshments.

The event is open to any student who is interested in a career in the legal profession, regardless if they are studying Law or not.

The event starts at 1pm in 4B031, Frenchay Campus.

If you would like to attend this event please register via InfoHub.

UWE Women Researchers Mentoring Scheme: Applications open for mentors and mentees until 13 January 2017

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The Women Researchers Mentoring Scheme (WRMS) aims to promote and facilitate professional development for women researchers working at UWE Bristol, helping them reach senior research roles.

Applications to the scheme are now open and will close on Friday 13 January 2017.

This mentoring scheme provides support to female staff to develop and strengthen their research portfolio, thereby making them more able to compete for senior research roles alongside their male counterparts. It also aims to address the imbalance of male and female staff in senior roles. In the longer term, it is anticipated that such a scheme will help to achieve the strategic aim of increasing the number of women in senior research roles across the University.

The scheme offers a specified number of mentoring opportunities which aim to provide mentees with encouragement, support and advice from a more experienced colleague, and to help them realise potential and fulfil their research career aspirations. The scheme will entail a nominated woman researcher being matched to a mentor, who can be a woman or man.

The scheme is available for all women in academic and research roles, employed by UWE Bristol who wish to develop their research careers. Professors, Associate Professors and other experienced researchers are invited to take on mentoring roles.

PhD students, staff seconded from other institutions, staff in receipt of the current Vice-Chancellor’s Early Career Researcher Award and new members of staff who are being mentored as part of their probation period are not eligible to apply as mentees.

Applications are now open for both mentors and mentees. It is important that we gain as much information as possible on each applicant and their reasons for applying to the scheme in order to enable us to make the most suitable mentor/mentee pairing. The WRMS team will strive to match everybody that applies, so we welcome as much details as possible on the application form.

More information and the application form for mentors and mentees can be found here.

Professional Career Events from the Bristol Law School

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In November, the Bristol Law School hosted three professional career events for students, consisting of two Masterclass events and the Law School’s own Law Fair.

The two Masterclass events were arranged by students from the Law Society and were designed to help students prepare for the Law Fair. The first Masterclass was on Applications. Anup Vithlani, the Head of Graduate Recruitment at International Law Firm Trowers & Hamlins, came from London with trainee solicitor, Miranda Hamilton-Wood to speak to the students.

Anup explained to the 90+ students in attendance what he looks for in the 1000+ applications that he receives each year for trainee solicitor positions at Trowers. MIranda explained to the audience how she applied for her training contract with trowers and what her experience has been like so far.

The second Masterclass event was on networking. Over 60 students came to hear Rachael Wheatley, Blue Green Learning and Helene Russell, The Knowledge Business give an interactive talk on networking.

Rachel addressed many common fears and misconceptions of networking and gave students the opportunity to practice networking in a relaxed environment.Helene then talked about how successful networking could be supported and enhanced using social media such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

The Masterclass in Networking was followed by the opportunity to practice networking further over some wine with some of the Law tutors as well as two trainees from local law firm VWV, who sponsored the event for the UWE Law Society.

Following on from the two Masterclass sessions, students had the opportunity to attend the Law Fair. 43  43 legal organisations from in and around Bristol took part in the fair, held in UWE’s professional courses teaching rooms. Exhibitors included representatives from Barristers Chambers, Law firms, the RAC, the Government Legal Service and other legal businesses and representative bodies. Over 300 students came to the event, attending various talks, a CV Clinic staffed by practising lawyers and meeting the exhibitors.

Feedback from the employers was extremely positive and included comments such as:  ‘…all of your students were very polite, bright and well prepared and we would very much like to participate in your next law fair’ and ‘Both the pupils and I enjoyed the event very much. I have posted a news item on our website about the fair, publically thanking you for organising the day.

A new addition to the Fair this year was a Life in Practice Panel where over 75 students listened to  11 Trainee panellists from varying backgrounds, including a UWE graduate, talking about their experiences and giving advice on working in the legal sector. An important message for students to hear was that of staying resilient in a competitive market.


An overview of the United Kingdom’s suspicious activity report regime

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In this blog, Komkrich Silathong provides a summary of his research on money laundering for his PhD.

The United Kingdom’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) is situated within National Crime Agency (NCA), a centralised national authority for receiving, analysing and evaluating suspicious activity reports (SARs).  This includes information relating to money laundering, associated predicate offences and financing of terrorism that were submitted by reporting entities, which are then disseminated to anti-money laundering (AML) competent authorities.

SARs are used to detect and disrupt money laundering and other predicate offences. The fourth European Union Anti-Money Laundering Directive (EU Directive) and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the 2012 Recommendations as well as the new FATF evaluation methodology require a re-examination of the model and the effectiveness of the UK SAR Regime though the operation of the NCA under its Economic Crime Command for increasing the enhancement for the Home Office efficiently.

SARs can assist to detect and prevent money laundering, however, it can cause problems to all involved. For example, all reporting entities face unnecessary financial burden of SARs reporting and compliance costs. They may submit the poor reporting quality because of a vast number of SARs, which cause the delayed feedback from the concerned authorities (more than 8 working days). What are the long term solutions of these issues?  The NCA’s analysis and evaluation of the SARs identifies the money laundering of typologies, techniques and trends, which can assist the entities to prevent them being fine and improve their reputation from money laundering regime. The NCA revised the SAR glossary codes, guidance booklet details for enhancement the quality of SAR. In September and October 2015, the Home Office and the NCA set the principal for consultation with relevant stakeholders in order to enhance SARs Regime that could promote the protection of money laundering.


The SARs regime plays a significant role in preventing and detecting money laundering. However, the delayed feedback and the unnecessary financial burden have continued to pose problems for the regulated sector.  Therefore, government and the NCA need to carefully respond by managing and reducing unnecessary bureaucracy under the Part 7 of the POCA 2002 and Part 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000.  In October 2016, the government published its Anti-Money Laundering Action Plan, which is vital to enhance the SARs.

BME networking event for Business and Law students

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The Bristol Business School and the Bristol Law School celebrated Black History Month 2016 with a fantastic professional networking evening for BME students on 17th November 2016.  Over 50 Law and Business BME professionals and entrepreneurs from across Bristol joined us in order to share their career insights and advise our students.

Organisations in attendance included Elite Solicitors Ltd, Gregg Latchams, Albion Chambers, Bristol Pound CIC, GE Oil & Gas as well as the Black Police Association. Many professionals in attendance were UWE Alumni who were delighted to return to Frenchay and meet the next generation.

Guests and students were treated to a delicious and authentic Caribbean feast provided by the award-winning team at Biblos, managed and owned by UWE Alumni and entrepreneur Will Clarke, also in attendance.

The evening included networking activities and talks from finance experts and motivational coaches as well as inspirational UWE Bristol Alumni. Rodney Wilson (UWE Law) Managing Director of Elite Solicitors shared his career journey with a captive audience. Elite Solicitors opened in the heart of Bristol in 1991, it has since become the leading BME-predominant criminal defence and immigration firm in the South West.

Photos from the BME networking event

Solicitor-Advocate Melissa Toney (UWE LPC) spoke of breaking several glass ceilings as a successful young black woman, and of her appearances before the Royal Courts of Justice. She championed our female students to set their sights high and go for it!

Rahat Ahmed (UWE Economics) founder of KnowYourPower delivered an inspiring and uplifting account of how he overcame personal struggles to graduate with First Class honours and establish a successful career in finance. Rahat spoke of success, determination and the pursuit of happiness.

The event, the first of its kind at UWE Bristol, was a huge success and energised over 100 students in attendance.

Photos from the evening can be found here.

Our thanks to all alumni who attended the event, which was organised by Dr Zainab Khan (FBL).

A date for your 2017 diaries: 9th February 2017 6pm

Tunde Okewale MBE, the founder of the charity Urban Lawyers and recipient of numerous diversity awards, will be delivering Bristol Law School’s Annual Lecture, ‘No one Rises to Low Expectations.’  Registration for this event will be available online soon.

Terrorist financing, the Financial War on Terrorism and Islamic State of Iraq and Levant

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In a new article in the Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Professor Nicholas Ryder critically considers the effectiveness of the ‘Financial War on Terrorism’ on the funding streams of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

In this article, Professor Ryder concludes that terrorists are able to gain access to finance from a plethora of sources and secondly, there has been a steady increase in ‘cheap’ or ‘inexpensive’ acts of terrorism.  In relation to the this finding, terrorists have previously relied on financial sponsorship from a small number of nation states, which often involve national governments providing financial support.

The article concludes that there has been a steady decline in the availability of this particular terrorist funding stream.  There are two factors that have contributed towards the decline in state sponsored terrorism.  Firstly, there are fewer nation states engaged in sponsoring terrorist groups. Secondly, terrorist groups have adapted to the reduction in state sponsored terrorism and have developed a global and sophisticated network of financial supporters and increased engagement with illegal activity to obtain finances.

The next section of the article highlights how the international community concentrated on tackling money laundering prior to the terrorist attacks in September 2001 and how this policy dramatically altered. In particular, this section concentrates on the development of and definition of the ‘Financial War on Terrorism’. The final part of the article seeks to determine if the ‘Financial War on Terrorism’ is able to tackle the funding streams of ISIL.

The Criminal Finances Bill 2016: time for change?

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Author: Dr. Nicholas Ryder, Professor in Financial Crime, University of the West of England, Bristol.

The Criminal Finances Bill represents the most comprehensive legislative to tackle financial crime since the introduction of the Proceeds of Crime Act in 2002.  The Bill represents the conclusion of several financial crime measures that have been introduced since the last general election.  For example, this includes the publication of the National Risk Assessment for Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in October 2015, the publication of the ‘Action Plan for anti-money laundering and terrorist finance, the creation of the Panama Papers Task Force and the Anti-Corruption Summit in London.

The Bill introduced a number of measures aimed at improving the ability to investigate the proceeds of crime, provisions to improve the use of suspicious activity reports, obligations to enhance the confiscation of the proceeds of crime, instruments to tackle the facilitation of tax evasion and amendments to the counter-terrorist financing legislative framework.

The Criminal Finances Bill has introduced a number of important measures that could improve how the UK seeks to tackle financial crime.  However, the effectiveness of these measures could be determined by not the desire and ambitions of politicians by of response by law enforcement agencies, who have adopted an apathetic stance towards instigating criminal proceedings against financial criminals.