The play ‘Who Cares’ was performed in the Faculty of Business and Law at UWE Bristol on 28 January 2020. It was a piece of social theatre which depicted a family in crisis and the delicate and difficult issues and decisions that might lead to a young child’s adoption.
Following the eight scenes, there was a question and answer session with the cast in role, and a facilitated discussion between the actors and the audience. This allowed the audience to interact with professionals and actors alike, helping them to gain a fuller understanding of the issues and the consequences of family proceedings for the family and professionals involved. Many of the audience were students, parents and grandparents. Many were family justice professionals. Others represented charities supporting people in the midst of a family crisis, facing homelessness or trying to address such issues as drug and alcohol misuse, and domestic abuse.
The engaging script was written by His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC, the Designated Family Judge for wider Bristol area comprising 5 local authorities. He also took on the role of the Judge in the play. The performance and discussion highlighted the vital work of the Family Court, aiming to ‘show not tell’ the audience the kinds of issues that were considered there every day and how they might be resolved. HHJ Stephen Wildblood QC explained the impact of austerity and the current lack of funding on families and suggested that a preventative approach could help to avert family crises and court intervention. He pointed out the benefits of networks and charities such as The Nelson Trust which supported this production.
The play was presented in collaboration with The Nelson Trust and Gloucestershire Children’s Services’ Social Work Academy. The production was sponsored by Albion Chambers, Family Law Week and Bristol Resolution and it was performed by professional actors at ‘What Next Theatre’.
The play was brought to UWE Bristol by Senior Lecturer in Law, Emma Whewell, who is also on the steering committee of a Family Law Theatre initiative. Emma is one of two academics to sit on the Local Family Justice Board in Bristol and is currently in the process of organising a conference for the Local Family Justice Board to take place at UWE Bristol on 14th May 2020.
Blog written by Samantha Bourton, Lecturer in Law at UWE Bristol.
Money laundering refers to the process used by
criminals to conceal or disguise the profits of their illegal activities and is
known to have devastating effects on society, national security, the economy
and the integrity of financial institutions. This is because money laundering
potentially enables criminals, such as drug traffickers, terrorists, and tax
evaders, to remain undetected and to channel their profits into further illegal
activities. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that 2-5% of
global GDP is laundered each year, while the National Crime Agency estimates
that hundreds of billions of pounds are laundered annually in the UK alone. Accordingly,
an international legal framework has been developed to combat this financial
crime, with almost all countries globally committed to implementing the Financial
Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations on Combatting Money Laundering and the
Financing of Terrorism.
The EU has implemented the Recommendations via a
series of directives and has introduced its own measures to combat money
laundering in the wake of the Panama Papers and recent terrorist attacks in
Europe. One of the main innovations of the EU directives is the requirement for
Member States to set up registers of the beneficial owners of legal entities
and trusts. The fifth EU anti-money laundering Directive requires the
information contained in the register of legal entities to be available to the
public, while the register of trusts should be available to law enforcement
authorities and those who can demonstrate a legitimate interest in the
information. The aim of such registers is to reveal the identities of those who
use companies to launder money and carry out illegal activities.
On Friday 29th November, I delivered a
paper titled ‘Insights from the United Kingdom’s Implementation of Key
Anti-Money Laundering Obligations’ at the CFE Tax Advisers 12th
European Conference on the Tax Advisers’ Professional Affairs in Paris. The
Conference aimed to examine the impact of the fifth European Union (EU)
Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which Member States were required to transpose
by the 10th January 2020. The speakers included representatives from
the CFE, OECD, and the BASEL Institute on Governance, as well as legal practitioners
and academics from several Member States.
My paper examined the UK’s implementation of some of
the key obligations contained in the 4th and 5th EU
Anti-Money Laundering Directives, including the inclusion of tax evasion as a
predicate, or underlying, offence to money laundering and the introduction of
beneficial ownership registers. The paper focused on the UK as a case study, as
these measures were part of its legal framework long before they became an
obligation within the EU; tax evasion has been a predicate offence to
laundering in the UK since 1993 and the UK established the first publicly
accessible beneficial ownership register in the G20, the People with
Significant Control (PSC) Register.
The paper highlighted the benefits generated by
these developments in the UK. Under the anti-money laundering legal framework,
professionals in the regulated sector are required to submit reports, known as
suspicious activity reports (SARs), to the National Crime Agency when they know
or suspect that a client is engaged in money laundering. With the inclusion of
tax evasion as a predicate offence to laundering, in the UK, professionals are
required to submit SARs when they know or suspect that their clients are
engaged in tax offences. This has led to a significant recovery of revenue,
with the intelligence generated by the reports supporting the collection of
over £40.2million in tax revenue from civil enquiries in 2018-19. The paper
also highlighted research undertaken by the NGO Global Witness on the benefits
of the UK’s PSC Register in detecting and preventing criminal activity. For
example, Global Witness found that there has been an 80% reduction in the rate
of incorporation of Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) since SLPs have been
subject to beneficial ownership requirements. SLPs are often associated with
financial crime and were used in the Russian and Azerbaijani Laundromats.
However, the paper also cautioned against the
implementation of these measures without appropriate resources devoted to their
enforcement, or guidance provided on their operation. The information contained
in the UK’s PSC register is not currently verified, leading to the inclusion of
inaccurate and misleading information. This has caused some law enforcement
authorities in the UK to refrain from using the register in investigations,
effectively defeating its objective. In addition, the paper identified the
difficulties professionals face in complying with the obligation to submit SARs
for tax offences in the UK and stressed how these problems are likely to be
exacerbated when these obligations are imposed at a European level.
I concluded the paper by recommending that the EU
should define tax evasion for the purposes of the EU anti-money laundering
directives and should provide further guidance on how Member States should
verify the information contained in beneficial ownership registers.
This blog was originally posted by the Law Society Gazette. UWE Bristol Law School alum and Faculty of Business and Law advisory board member, Karl Brown, speaks about his career to date.
At school my best and favourite subjects were English and history. I quickly realised that I would like a career which would involve analysing documents and using communication skills. In the sixth form I got a short work experience placement at a local law firm. This confirmed to me that I would like to study law at university and then go on to a legal career.
I found it very difficult to get a training contract. I did not secure one until four years after I had finished my degree, following more than 100 applications. I eventually obtained a contract with Porter Dodson in Somerset and my training was in its Taunton office. My seats were commercial property, litigation (a combination of civil and family litigation), residential conveyancing and private client.
Many of the titles I had to review as part of my commercial property seat were large bundles of unregistered title documents or complicated titles related to rural properties. Despite this steep learning curve, I really enjoyed it and my confidence increased rapidly. My seat in residential conveyancing helped me fully understand each step involved in the property buying/selling process and also confirmed to me that I would ultimately want to specialise in property law.
I am a passionate believer in diversity, inclusion and social mobility. Working every day with the Bristol property industry I saw the fantastic opportunities available for anyone who would like a challenging and rewarding career, but I was concerned that not all young people in Bristol were aware of these opportunities. To address this I set up and launched the Bristol Property Inclusion Charter. This involves firms, companies and organisations working in the Bristol property industry signing up to pledges which aim to make the industry more diverse and inclusive. It is the UK’s first city property inclusion charter. I have been heartened by the enthusiastic response and to date have secured more than 15 signatories, including social housing associations, corporate building and architectural firms, estate agents and the University of the West of England.
I saw the fantastic opportunities in the Bristol property industry available for anyone who would like a challenging and rewarding career, but I was concerned that not all young people in Bristol were aware of them
The Bristol Junior Chamber (BJC) is a business group for people under the age of 40. I joined the BJC in 2008 and from 2009 spent four years as its chair of education and skills (which included coordinating mock interviews at local schools), one year as vice-president and then in 2014 I became its first-ever black president. I had three main objectives: (a) organising speakers and events to help members become future leaders; (b) promoting products made or industries located in Bristol (for example, I organised a tour for BJC members of Bottle Yard Studios in Bristol, which has been the location for some major films and TV series); and (c) promoting the importance of social mobility to the business community in Bristol. Among other things, I arranged for the then deputy chair of the Social Mobility Commission, Baroness Gillian Shephard, to give a speech on social mobility at an inaugural BJC President’s Lecture.
In 2015 I was invited by the mayor of Bristol to sit on the new Bristol Learning City Partnership Board. Bristol was the first learning city in England. The aim of the board was to promote the idea that learning is for everyone regardless of age or background and should not stop when a person concludes their formal school/university education.
It is clear that the legal sector has recognised the importance of diversity and social mobility. This can be seen when you look at firm websites and when you read articles from law firm leaders. I do think, however, that it is also recognised that law firms have not only to confirm that they have a diversity/social mobility agenda, but also demonstrate results. I am sure that if law firms do adopt procedures such as name-blind CVs and contextual recruitment, more firms will, in time, be able to demonstrate results from their social mobility objectives.
In October 2019, the House of Commons Justice Committee published the report of its inquiry into Court and Tribunal reforms (see the full report here). The inquiry was prompted by “[s]erious concerns… about the effect on access to justice and its efficient despatch of the current court and tribunal modernisation programme, led by the Ministry of Justice and the senior judiciary of England and Wales” (p.3). As part of the inquiry, Tom Smith (UWE Law), Marcus Keppel-Palmer (UWE Law), Sally Reardon ( UWE Journalism) and Phil Chamberlain (Journalism, University of Bath), submitted evidence on their research into court reporting in criminal courts:
“In January 2018, we held a project at Bristol Magistrates Court, attending every case held in open court during one week. During this period of time, only one case was attended by a reporter from local media. We fear that important work shining a light on the work of the Courts will continue to diminish.
During the project, a number of cases were conducted using video link. The positioning of the video screens in court meant that it was often difficult and, in some instances, impossible to follow the evidence being presented. Actually being present in court, researchers were able to clarify details with the CPS, something that will not be possible if the hearing is online.”
They argued that:
“Open Justice is held up to be one of the great values of our legal system. At a time when economics dictate that many local media outlets are closing or cutting back on staff, it would be detrimental to that principle if the Courts Service enacted changes to hearings that impacted further on the ease of reporting the courts.”
The Committee’s report recognised this problem, and
quoted the UWE team’s evidence as follows:
“The University of the West of England expressed concerns that the reform proposals would create further barriers preventing the reporting of the courts by the local media. They noted that: “[t]he number of dedicated Court Reporters on local newspapers is shrinking, and given the distances reporters would have to go to listen in on an online hearing at a booth at Court [this] can impose a further deterrent.” (p.54)
The UWE Bristol team are currently undertaking a national survey of court reporting during one month in 2019 and preparing to bid for funding to expand the empirical study, underpinned by the concept of ‘Justice Reporting’ – the idea that reporting on courts should go beyond merely relaying facts and case details, but should examine the processes and issues that form part of criminal cases.
The team has also presented its findings at the SLSA 2018
Conference, the What’s The News Conference 2018 in Brussels, the MECCSA 2019
Conference in Stirling, and the Future of Journalism 2019 Conference in
Cardiff, as well as presenting the research to visiting Chinese Judges.
Congratulations to final year UWE Bristol Law student, Sam Louwers,
for recently becoming Law Student of the Year at the Bristol
Law Society awards 2019. Sam was nominated by Shilan Shah-Davis, Associate
Head of Department, UWE Bristol, on behalf of the Law Department.
The Law Department started working closely with Sam last year
through his involvement with the UWE Law Society. Sam was ‘made-up’ by Shilan’s
submission and says it has been the proudest moment of his time at UWE Bristol
“Sam is a highly motivated, hardworking, forward-thinking and compassionate individual with a strong commitment to the values of inclusivity, diversity and justice. Through his work in the UWE Law Society and involvement in other projects, Sam truly stands out as a champion for inclusion and diversity and an inspirational leader. Sam is very highly thought of within the Law Department and his values and commitment emulate all that UWE Bristol is seeking to achieve for its students.
Sam winning the Bristol Law Society Student of the Year Award is absolutely fantastic and very well-deserved. His passion, drive and commitment are truly inspirational and he is a great role model and ambassador for UWE Bristol.”
Interestingly, Sam’s career started in the Armed Forces, however, that abruptly ended in 2017 when he was medically discharged due to two injuries. Sam says, “I had always had an interest in Law but I never thought that University was where I would end up and never thought that I would be good enough to take that path.”
He joined UWE Bristol after getting medically discharged and has gone from strength to strength from becoming the President of the UWE Law Society to push for a more diverse representation of students, to being awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Representation at the Student Experience Awards in 2018.
In his spare time (amidst caring for his young daughter and
family life), Sam also works for the Royal British Legion, running the Poppy
Appeal in his local area and supporting the national media team. He says that
the Royal British Legion have been instrumental in helping him deal with his
injuries. Once Sam finishes his degree he hopes to do his Barrister Training
here at UWE Bristol to start his career as a Criminal Barrister alongside Pro
Bono work and giving back to others who need help within the Armed Forces Community.
Sam’s dedication and determination prove he was a worthy winner for Law Student of the Year and UWE Bristol are proud to have him as a student here. After the awards ceremony, Sam said “speaking to the selection committee and senior lawyers in Bristol, and hearing the kind comments that they had given me, the congratulations, and how much they admired the dedication that I had put into my degree – especially with the disturbance in my background, felt really worth-while, and I felt privileged to be recognised.”
Find out more about studying Law at UWE Bristol on our website.
Pre-trial detention (PTD) – that is, the removal of the liberty of those not yet convicted of any criminal offence – is a significant issue across all jurisdictions. It inherently interferes with the liberty of legally innocent individuals in the most significant way available to the state. This has implications for the presumption of innocence and access to justice for defendants, and its impact beyond the legal status and rights of those affected can be substantial – particularly regarding employment, family relations, housing, and mental health. Levels of PTD and decision-making regarding its use have been of particular concern across the EU for more than a decade, (including in England and Wales (E&W), a jurisdiction with a particularly high prison population). Alongside initiatives and proposals at the institutional level of the EU, both academic and third sector institutions have, for a number of years, been researching the use of PTD in various jurisdictions, and lobbying for a renewed policy focus on tackling its overuse and improving practise. A primary example is the report ‘A Measure of Last Resort?’; published by Fair Trials in 2016, the ten country study (including E&W) provided a detailed picture of PTD use and practise across the region, highlighting both good and bad practise. Amongst the many relevant issues highlighted was the importance of legal assistance for defendants in PTD hearings.
The presence of a lawyer is undoubtedly vital to fairer PTD proceedings; but it is the effectiveness of that representation, beyond mere presence, which is key. Effective representation – which challenges and scrutinises PTD decision-making in a meaningful way – gives operational value to the right to legal assistance; and underlying this is the quality of the lawyer providing the service. In 2017, Fair Trials – along with partners in Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary and Greece – commenced a project focusing on the effectiveness of legal assistance in PTD hearings, to further examine how such representation impacts on the use of PTD; the current issues existing in practice; and how effectiveness can be enhanced, thereby improving PTD decision-making. In October 2019, I attended a regional policy meeting in Brussels organised by Fair Trials (entitled ‘Effective Legal Assistance in Pre-trial Detention Decision-Making’) so that some of the findings of the project so far might be highlighted and discussed amongst practitioners, academics and policy makers from across Europe. This blog aims briefly highlight some of the major key issues raised during three panel sessions (consisting of a moderator and four practitioners from the project jurisdictions).
focused on the access of suspects and defendants to legal assistance in PTD
proceedings. The primary issues raised included the limited time and facilities
for preparation available to defence lawyers, coupled with pressure from courts
to ‘get on’ with cases. Absence and poor quality of translation services for
non-domestic defendants was highlighted as a problem, particularly since PTD
disproportionately focused on such persons (as well as marginalised domestic
citizens). The panel highlighted the problem of lawyers who lacked sufficient
independence from the police/prosecution (although also pointed out that legal
reforms in some jurisdictions had recently attempted to deal with this – but
described the current situation as ‘new law, old practice’). Additionally,
panelists emphasised the inadequate information provided to clients about their
rights. Overall, the panel suggested that the role of the lawyer needed to be
‘concrete’, and provide more than a superficial form of legitimacy to what were
ultimately unfair proceedings – particularly since courts would simply assume
that there were no issues if a lawyer was present.
Panel 2 (moderated by myself)
focused on improving the effectiveness of legal assistance. Panelists
highlighted that, to truly ensure equality of arms, lawyers needed to be
meaningfully acquainted with case files and materials in advance. However,
problems with access (particularly for certain types of material) and time for
study were again considered a major problem. It was pointed out that
inaccessible drafting and organisation of case files hindered effective legal
assistance, and that clear scheduling of materials would improve this.
Notwithstanding the above, one panelist highlighted good practise in their
jurisdiction, describing how full access to police/prosecution case files was
granted to lawyers from the outset, with no ‘cherry picking’ of materials. This
was bolstered by a minimum of 48 hours for lawyers to study materials and the
support of the judiciary, who were generally reluctant to restrict access to
files. The panelists highlighted the importance of knowledgeable, qualified and
experienced lawyers, who were motivated to properly engage with cases and
personally attend consultations with clients. This was, it was argued,
supported by true independence and proper payment for the work done. However,
good practise was also undermined by practical issues such as major delays in
payment of legal aid to lawyers and lack of private physical spaces for
consulting with clients. This would present serious difficulties for lawyers
attempting to build a relationship of trust with their client. It was concluded
that legal assistance needed to be ‘real’ and not simply ‘theatre’, and that
lawyers can be both an assistant (not an obstacle) for courts, and a mediator
between courts and defendants.
Panel 3 focused on the role of
lawyers in promoting alternatives to detention. A central problem in this
regard was the issue of credibility of alternatives; that is, a lack of trust
in the effectiveness of non-custodial pre-trial measures on the part of the
judiciary. Panelists felt that public/media pressure and risk aversion played a
role in the under-use of alternatives to detention, which was not helped by a
lack of time for all parties to fully consider alternative proposals. In some
cases, poor inter-agency working appeared to undermine use of conditional
release; for example, drug rehabilitation was described as being under-used in
one jurisdiction because the courts and the medical profession administering
rehabilitation spoke ‘two different languages, in two different worlds’. It was
felt that lawyers could play an important role in promoting the use of
alternatives, but that there needed to be more variety of alternatives
available and some creativity as regards to their use in different cases. One
panelist felt that alternatives were not simply under-used due to a lack of
credibility, but due to the mindset of courts which regarded PTD as a ‘first
resort’. In some cases, it was felt that prosecution/police used PTD as an
investigative tool that could frustrate the accused and increase the likelihood
of a confession. Overall, it was felt that lawyers needed to do more to
establish a relationship of trust with the courts which would enable them to
more credibly suggest alternatives to PTD.
Overall, the meeting identified a variety of key themes related to more effective legal assistance in PTD hearings, including: early and continued access to materials and information; trust; independence; privacy; quality and experience of lawyers; adequate translation; adequate time for preparation; and sufficient and timely remuneration. A key call by Fair Trials, and the project partners, was for the EU to make PTD a policy priority, in a similar form to the 2009 roadmap on minimum procedural rights of defendants in criminal proceedings. By establishing clear minimum standards across Europe in this key aspect of PTD practice, the quality and effectiveness of legal assistance could be significantly improved. Equally, individual jurisdictions (including E&W) also need to take ownership of this issue and act on some of these problems, so that PTD decision-making is robust and fair – and, as a consequence, detention is used appropriately and proportionately.
UWE Bristol Law students speak about the benefits of taking part in Pro Bono activities.
The Pro Bono Unit enables UWE Bristol Law School students to provide free legal advice services to members of the community. We have spoken to several students about their experiences of getting involved in Pro Bono.
Here’s what they had to say:
“For my career it has helped me get work experience. I think that being involved in Pro Bono will give you that confidence to put that on your CV and when law firms can look at you being involved, they definitely would want to take you on and give you some more experience because they trust in you.” – Manmeet Singh, Law Student
“When I was at UWE I got involved in an organisation called Street Law which is a programme that goes to help teach younger children the basic of laws. So, we would be teaching them things like civil and criminal law, the advocacy process and just a general introduction to studying law.” – Isaac Cole, Trainee Solicitor
“It helped me build my confidence as before I couldn’t really speak in front of a group of people and now I’m accustomed to holding events of upwards of 300 people.” – Freya Whiting, Law Student
“The Pro Bono experiences I’ve done has helped me for my career in a sense that it’s developed my confidence when being in an interview situation. It’s also helped in a sense that it’s helped me further understand why I want to pursue this career.” – Rory Jutton, LPC Student
“I would recommend students to do Pro Bono activities or get involved with Pro Bono. The main reason is employability, you can’t really put a price on that – it’s invaluable experience, it’s satisfying and it’s incredibly rewarding.” – Dominik Morton, Pupil Barrister
If you would like to know more about Pro Bono at UWE Bristol
We were delighted to be finalists at this year’s Guardian University Awards but are over the moon to have actually won! This award means so much to everyone who’s been involved in developing and delivering the Equity Programme ever since our first pilot event in October 2016. It’s been a long and sometimes challenging journey to introduce a progressive positive action scheme like this. Working with students, local employers and national diversity thought leaders, we’ve created something which the University can be really proud of and which offers BAME students a chance to leverage leadership and enterprise skills as they embark upon their graduate careers.
The Equity programme has 4 pillars: 1-2-1 mentoring, identity and leadership coaching, enterprise education workshops and large evening networking and guest speaker events. National statistics on the performance and progression of ethnic minorities in the labour market (as highlighted by the MacGregor Smith Race in the Workplace Review 2017) have to change and we are proud to be leading the way on the role universities can play in this regard. Finally, we want to thank every facilitator and the external guests who attend our events and enrich our student experience.
Equity evening events run throughout the academic year and are open to the public to attend. We warmly encourage alumni to consider attending the evening events to give our students networking opportunities as well as being part of the collective challenge to diversify the talent pipeline. To find out more please visit www.uwe.ac.uk/equityor email firstname.lastname@example.org
Post written by Dr Zainab Khan- Equity Programme Lead
Are you interested in upskilling your workforce and does the cost of training seem a barrier to accessing local talent?
This event provides an opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from existing businesses who have apprentices at UWE, and how to make it work. In addition to this, we will be highlighting upcoming degree apprenticeships and further opportunities for your business to train your employees at degree level with the funding available.
UWE Bristol is the only university in the region with funding from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to support non-levy employers and has secured funding to support apprentices from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
David Barrett, Director of Apprenticeships at UWE Bristol, will welcome you to the event and alongside the Degree Apprenticeship Hub team will be able to help identify your training needs and suitable solutions.
Spaces are limited for this event, so please register below.
If you have any questions about this event or degree apprenticeships please feel free to contact Ellen Parkes.
We are looking forward to meeting you and beginning the degree apprenticeship partnership journey.
The event takes place in the University Enterprise Zone on Frenchay Campus from 15:00 – 17:00.
Corruption is a globalising phenomenon. Not only is it rapidly expanding globally but, more significantly, its causes, its means and forms of perpetration and its effects are more and more rooted in the many developments of globalisation. The Panama Papers, the FIFA scandals and the Petrobras case in Brazil are just a few examples of the rapid and alarming globalisation of corrupt practices in recent years. The lack of empirical evidence on corrupt schemes and a still imperfect dialogue between different disciplinary areas and between academic and practitioners hinder our knowledge of corruption as a global phenomenon and slow down the adoption of appropriate policy responses.
“Corruption in the Global Era” seeks to establish an interdisciplinary dialogue between theory and practice and between different disciplines and to provide a better understanding of the multifaceted aspects of corruption as a global phenomenon. The book gathers top experts across various fields of both the academic and the professional world – including criminology, economics, finance, journalism, law, legal ethics and philosophy of law – to analyze the causes and the forms of manifestation of corruption in the global context and in various sectors (sports, health care, finance, the press etc.) from the most disparate perspectives.
The theoretical frameworks elaborated by academics are here complemented by precious insider accounts on corruption in different areas, such as banking and finance and the press. The expanding links between corrupt practices and other global crimes, such as money laundering, fraud and human trafficking, are also explored. The book is an important resource to researchers, academics and students in the fields of law, criminology, sociology, economics and ethics, as well as professionals, particularly solicitors, barristers, businessmen and public servants.