Interdisciplinary Research Thriving at UWE Bristol: Bridging the gap between History and Law

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In line with the key recommendations of the Stern Review (2016), Dr Mary Alice Young’s research is bridging the gap between previously distant disciplines at UWE. Mary works closely with Dr Mike Woodiwiss who teaches History at UWE Bristol.

Together, they have submitted Witten Evidence on the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy and are preparing a substantial bid for the AHRC – to incorporate colleagues from overseas universities.

Mary and Mike are also the Conveners and Chairs of the first interdisciplinary stream on ‘Transnational Organised Crime’ for the Socio-Legal Studies Association conference. Further pushing the boundaries of interdisciplinary research, in September 2016 Mary was appointed a Convener of the Think Tank on Organised Crime at the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime, which includes experts from a wide range of traditional and non-academic disciplines.

In addition to this, Dr Mary Young has been granted observer status as a delegate from UWE to attend the 8th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, in Vienna, Austria, October 2016.

Dr Mary Young will be joining the Member States and other interested parties of the United Nations at the 8th Session of the COP to UNTOC. Attending the conference over a four day period, Dr Young will be able to contribute to the dialogue surrounding the implementation and progression of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

In particular, Dr Young hopes to use her existing research into organized crime control policy and financial crime to inform the sessions on the conceptualisation of organized crime and the technical assistance required by Member States to implement the required frameworks.

Bristol Law School students take part in The Bristol Legal Walk and help raise over £10k for local advice centres

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UWE Bristol staff and students taking part in the Legal Walk

On Monday 26 September, 18 students and staff from the Bristol Law School took part in the Bristol Legal Walk, a sponsored 10km walk around Bristol to raise money for local advice services.

The walk was organised by the South West Legal Support Trust in order to promote access to justice. The Trust supports free legal advice centres to help the poorest, most vulnerable people in society, who could not otherwise afford legal advice. These advice centres, amongst other things, provide legal advice to prevent families being made homeless and to prevent destitution.

The organisations the Trust support help:

  • Prevent families being made homeless
  • Prevent destitution
  • Older people gain the support to which they are entitled
  • Women and children who have been trafficked for domestic servitude or prostitution.

The team which was organised by the UWE Bristol Law Society entered one of the two largest teams into the 10km walk along Bristol’s Harbourside. Other people taking part in the walk included the event sponsors bSquared Costs Law and Irwin Mitchell Solicitors as well as many attendees from several local firms.

The team helped play a part in raising over £10,500 for advice services which provide free legal advice and support for those most in need.

Dr Glenn Parry speaks at Gregg Latham’s Solicitor Event: “The Internet of Us; What does privacy mean in the digital age?”

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Ed Boal, Geoff White, Emily Turner and Glenn Parry at the Gregg Latchams’ Business Network Event

On September 1st Dr Glenn Parry, Associate Professor in Strategy & Operations Management spoke at the 2nd Gregg Latchams’ Business Network Event: “The Internet of Us; What does privacy mean in the digital age?”, held at the Watershed.

The event, hosted by Gregg Latchams’ Digital and Media team, explored the meaning of privacy in the digital age.

The event started with award winning television news journalist Geoff White showing attendees how the global technology industry harvests data leaking from personal devices through a live, interactive phone hacking stage performance. Geoff also took guests into the dark web, the hidden network of websites where a parallel black market in personal data is thriving.

Glenn spoke on a panel after the demonstration with Emily Taylor, Emily Taylor Internet Research and Editor of the Journal of Cyber Policy; Ed Boal, Associate Solicitor at Gregg Latchams’; and Geoff White.

Dr Parry spoke about his research focussed on the Digital Economy, where he is the co-investigator on the EPSRC Hub of All things project that aims to give control of personal data back to the individual.

As Dr Parry explained, online privacy is objective – are you being observed? Vulnerability is subjective and relates to your individual risk.

An individual may feel vulnerable even if online privacy is high. At the moment firms you use such as electricity companies, retailers, banks etc. each hold a ‘vertical’ supply piece of data but don’t know your use context. Context exists in the horizontal at a point in time, or location across multiple vertical data sets. Part of the reason Facebook and Google offer you the opportunity to use their passwords to gain access to websites is to get that horizontal data. However, this raises important questions as to privacy and vulnerability.

Dr Parry is working as part of the new EPSRC HAT Living Lab project to ask questions about user vulnerability. He hopes the research will lead to understanding of online privacy, vulnerability and help to create frameworks that can guide business in the future.

 The full Q + A with Glenn can be found here.

Law students help launch community café

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A deprived neighbourhood was in danger of losing its only community facility – until five trainee solicitors from Bristol Law School put their coursework theory into practice – and boosted their CVs.

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The Bristol Law School Pro Bono team in the Business Law Debate Room

A new chapter in the history of a building at the heart of its local community has been written by postgraduate law students putting their skills into practice for the public good.

Last year budget cuts sounded the death knell for Bristol’s Eastville Library, but after a neighbourhood group took ownership of the 1950s building it has evolved into a community space for hire by local groups and individuals.

Making the transition from books to bookings required legal expertise to help the group explore its options before setting up a community interest company and completing the first community asset transfer (CAT) of its type in the city.

Cue the award-winning Pro Bono Unit at Bristol Law School, where students on the diploma in Legal Practice Course (LPC) – a prerequisite for professional practice as a solicitor –  offer free advice to charities and community groups on company- and property-related matters.

With the support of lecturers who are also qualified solicitors, five students completed the legal work necessary for the South Lockleaze and Purdown Neighbourhood Group to take ownership of the library from Bristol City Council.

“Pro bono work is all about students committing to involvement in a project of their own volition,” explains Cathy Biggs, head of the LPC course at Bristol Law School.

“Commercial pro bono projects are pretty unusual and our students have gained enormous benefit from involvement in the Eastville CAT, which really has shown practice-led learning at its best.

“As well as enabling real client contact from an early stage, the brief proved a great way of getting students involved in an acquisition that local people were really passionate about from start to completion.”

Now known as The Old Library, the building that has provided social and educational facilities for one of the UK’s most deprived communities for 66 years is well on its way to becoming a vibrant, modern, multi-use space including café, garden, book swap and spaces for hire.

And it’s not just the neighbourhood group that’s looking to a promising future. The Law School students who worked on the project benefited from the real- world experience and have boosted their CVs as a result.

“Taking part in a pro bono project gave me a really valuable insight into commercial work and has helped my CV stand out from the crowd,” says Scarlett Guy, who found a job with a top Bristol law firm as a direct result of her involvement.

“Eastville and other extra-curricular opportunities were by far the biggest factor in helping me secure the job I wanted. As well as enabling me to put theory learned on the LPC course into practice, I gained the confidence to hit the ground running as I embark on my career.”

Bristol Law School is part of the University of the West of England and has been educating the legal profession for more than 40 years. It is one of only a select few UK law schools that offers all stages of the legal education process, enabling students to study law and continue to qualify as a solicitor or barrister by taking a full- or part-time Master of Laws (LLM) postgraduate degree in the same, fully supported learning environment.

Business and Law Clinic launches at UWE Bristol’s £16.5m Enterprise Zone ‘Future Space’

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As part of its new University Enterprise Zone (“UEZ”) activity, the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) is launching a pro bono legal service for small businesses in collaboration with Bristol law firm Gregg Latchams Ltd and international legal practice Osborne Clarke LLP. This support will be provided within the new Future Space Centre on Frenchay Campus.

The weekly Business and Law Clinic will provide pro bono legal advice to small businesses in Future Space and across the South West. The key objective of the innovative venture will be to provide SMEs, growing businesses and start-ups with business–legal advice at a critical stage in their development.

A selected group of law students, both undergraduates and postgraduate professional students, will provide the advice on areas such as corporate and commercial, employment, litigation and dispute resolution and tax. Supervised by practising solicitors from Gregg Latchams, Osborne Clarke and UWE Bristol, the students will gain real-world insight and experience, providing them with valuable skillsets and exposure to the world of business. In addition to the Clinic, students will also be providing ‘essentials’ workshops in the professional services of law and accounting.

UWE Bristol’s Future Space, which opened its doors on 15 August 2016, is part of a new University Enterprise Zone, one of four that have been set up nationally and supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Assisting businesses specialising inrobotics, digital and creative technologies, biosciences and other high tech areas, UEZ will bring an estimated economy boost of £85m as well as over 450 new jobs to the region.

Donna Whitehead, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean who has led this initiative at UWE Bristol said, “This initiative deepens and broadens the University’s engagement with local businesses and the community and will really enhance the experience of our students in the Faculty, ensuring they are business–ready whilst also providing valuable expertise to growing businesses and start-ups at a critical stage in their development. We are delighted to be working with Osborne Clarke and Gregg Latchams.”

Peter Clough, Head of Osborne Clarke’s Bristol office said, “Future Space plays to the strengths of Bristol as a vibrant technology and enterprise hub, offering crucial space and advice for startups and SMEs in the area. We’re looking forward to seeing the innovative companies and working alongside the best and brightest students that UWE Bristol has to offer.”

Ken McEwan, Director and Head of Dispute Resolution at Gregg Latchams Solicitors said, “Gregg Latchams are particularly proud to be associated with this project having a strong presence in the digital, media and technology sector. This exciting venture offers a great opportunity for us to build relationships with companies of the future, demonstrates our commitment to SMEs and fills an important gap to provide support to new enterprise.”

The new Business and Law Clinic is in addition to the renowned pro bono work that already takes place within the law school at UWE Bristol. As well as the services being provided for businesses, students will also from the autumn be offering a new weekly drop-in service under the supervision of practitioner tutors at Citizens Advice Bristol’s offices in Fairfax Street. Advice will cover areas such as benefits, debt, employment and family matters. In June, its work withAvon & Bristol Law Centre won ‘Pro Bono Initiative of the Year’ at the nationalLawyer Awards 2016.

The launch event and first 30 mins clinics are scheduled to take place on Wednesday 12 October from 14:00-17:00 at Future Space. For small businesses wishing to sign up for this event – please register using the link below: UWE Business and Law Clinic – Launch Event and First Clinic.

Faculty of Business and Law Fundraising Event at the House of Commons

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On Tuesday 6 September UWE Bristol launched its £2 million public fundraising campaign to help raise funds for the new Faculty building currently under construction.

This £2million fundraising campaign supports the university’s £56million commitment to build a new facility to house the Bristol Business and Law Schools, a much needed hub in the South West of England to drive forward regional growth and boost the local economy. The new building will promote collaboration and bring our students into direct contact with today’s business leaders, great legal minds and successful entrepreneurs.

The launch was held at the iconic Houses of Parliament and was attended by London based alumni. John Penrose MP welcomed the alumni and friends to the event before speeches were given by Donna Whitehead, Executive Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean, and Tracy John, Head of Research and Business Development.

Guests were treated to canapes and drinks which they could enjoy on the terrace which overlooked the sunny South Bank.

The event was designed to inspire alumni and friends to engage with the project and the university, as well as providing an opportunity for the alumni and staff to reconnect.

An incredible £1.2 million has already been raised towards the campaign target from previous fundraising activities. Thank you to everyone who has already donated.

All the money raised through this campaign will have a life changing impact on our current and future student population, as well as a huge impact on businesses in the Bristol area.

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If you would like more information on the campaign or to find out how you can make a donation you can take a look at our Business and Law Schools fundraising campaign pages or get in touch with the team on development@uwe.ac.uk.

£50 million UWE Business and Law building is a step closer

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The new £50 million Faculty of Business and Law at UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England) is a step closer to completion.

The new state-of-the-art building will house Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School and is part of the University’s campus development plan to build a University for the 21st Century.

A ceremony is being held on 4 May [2016] to mark construction reaching the top floor of the landmark building.

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors and an Honorary Graduand from UWE Bristol will mark the occasion by securing a golden bolt on the top floor of the building on Wednesday 4 May.

The new building is located on the northern side of the plaza at the heart of developments on the UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus and is due for completion by January 2017.

The new building will ensure that staff, students and businesses have access to world class facilities and it will enable achievement of the core of the Faculty strategy: engagement with the business sector in the region.

Research by the Association of Business Schools and the Chartered Management Institute, shows that UK business schools and businesses, who are key employers of graduates, could benefit from closer working relationships. Businesses say they want ‘business-ready’ graduates, and key to achieving this are student placements and work experience which are a core part of the vision for the Faculty.

The numbers of UWE Bristol business graduates entering professional jobs within 6 months of graduation has been consistently ahead of the marketplace for business graduates. The latest data based on the 2013/14 Destination of Leavers in Higher Education (DLHE) produced by the Higher Education Statistics Agency showed 74% of UWE Bristol graduates entering professional jobs immediately after graduation compared to a national figure of 67%, confirming the capability of these graduates and the underlining demand in the region.

Working closely with a modern practice-based university like UWE Bristol brings huge benefits for business and this new facility will foster formal and informal interaction between businesses and the University.

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors says,“UWE Bristol is a great university with impressive international reach. It should be commended for investing in the workforce of the future. Access to skills is a major concern for IoD members, as shortages in key areas can prevent businesses from growing. Management, professional, commercial and entrepreneurial skills are vital to this region. UWE’s effort will create strong career opportunities for students and employees alike.”

Key professional organisations will have a base in the new building enabling barristers, accountants, small business owners and start-ups to mix with staff and students in the learning and social areas. Throughout the building there will be flexible workspaces available for staff, students and visitors to use.

Donna Whitehead Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law says, “This will be a live environment where staff and students and business work together – with collaboration and collegiality at its core. We consult with our advisory board of key business figures who challenge us to make our provision meet the needs of employers and the latest developments in the business world.

“Our students are very enterprising – for example we have very successful Pro Bono work carried out by Law students offering free legal advice to victims of domestic violence and benefit claimants – resulting in successfully gaining £1m in welfare benefits for people wrongly declared fit for work. We plan to develop this model of Pro Bono work for a business audience – enabling our students, with supervision, to offer advice to small businesses on areas such as start-ups, intellectual property, HR issues, marketing and communications. These activities help us to be engaged with the region, and they benefit students by giving them live experience interacting with business owners and developers.

“This new building will enable us to deliver our strategy by providing a first-class teaching and learning environment comprising lecture facilities, teaching and seminar rooms, as well as specialist learning facilities such as a trading room, team entrepreneurship hubs and law courts. It will have spaces that encourage interaction and learning areas enhanced by the latest technology, as well as zones for all subject areas.”

Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School educate future professionals in all aspects of business and law – from entrepreneurship, management, leadership, strategy through to economists, accountants, marketing and human resources. As well as offering academic law courses they also train barristers and solicitors. They provide alongside this, relevant research into important business and law issues that confront both businesses and society.

Innovative new courses, such as the successful Business Team Entrepreneurship degree, enable students to respond to the challenges of creating their own businesses during their time at university.

The new building will include: two showcase law courts, a city trading room, a 300 seat lecture theatre, two Harvard lecture theatres, a number of smaller teaching spaces, IT suites, flexible social learning spaces, external business engagement space, central social space and café.

ISG is the main contractor for the project.

The University is currently seeking further funding from the business and alumni community to develop Technology Enhanced Learning classrooms to deliver the very best in student learning experience and teaching. At the same time this will give these businesses access to talented students and graduates, research and development.

Why do we British find the EU so hard to swallow and why does it matter to business?

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Britain, Business and Europe 2016 Series

To register

Sir Stephen Wall, the former foreign policy advisor to John Major and Tony Blair, sets out his thoughts on Britain’s often difficult relationship with Europe and why it matters to British business and the UK economy at UWE Bristol’s Exhibition and Conference Centre, on Wednesday 20 January 2016.

The event forms part of a series of special events during 2016 discussing Britain, Business and Europe, is hosted by UWE Bristol in collaboration with Business West.

In the half century since the British Government first applied to join the European Community, British membership has been a matter of ceaseless controversy. Why? And what implications does this have on our long term economic interest and the UK’s global influence?

Sir Stephen will discuss why the British find the EU so hard to swallow and why the idea of ‘leaving Europe’ dominates political discussion in a way that is unique among European nations. The United Kingdom is the only Member State ever to have had a referendum on whether to stay in only two years after joining. Why are we now the only Member State which seriously contemplates leaving? Why do other Member States think we treat them less as partners than as adversaries? What risks does this pose to our economy and global influence?

This year is likely to see a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. Companies across the South West will find themselves part of a passionate debate with potentially far reaching consequences for the environment in which they do business. Sir Stephen’s insider and long term view will shed light on the dilemma facing voters, businesses and politicians and help stimulate debate on what the referendum vote means for the UK.

Series organiser, UWE Bristol’s Professor Nicholas O’Regan says, “We’re delighted to welcome Sir Stephen Wall to get our 2016 Bristol Distinguished Address Series off to a flying start with one of the year’s hot political debates – the Brexit referendum. This series has become a popular event for the Bristol business community, with the opportunity to network and hear directly from inspirational figures in industry with a wealth of strategic experience and leadership skills at the highest level.”

Phil Smith, Managing Director, Business West, says, “This event launches a series of events to better inform the business community about the European Union and the referendum debate. We are lucky to have such an experienced, informed and respected speaker to help kick off what promises to be a full and passionate year of discussions.

“When we surveyed nearly a thousand local businesses last year, two thirds believed that leaving the European Union could pose a direct risk to their own business. This demonstrates that for many South West firms the referendum is not an abstract question, but one with real and personal consequences. Our members also strongly felt the need for a better informed debate with more detailed information about the costs and benefits of the European Union. Sir Stephen’s visit is the perfect way to start this business discussion on Europe.”

The Bristol Distinguished Address Series is delivered by the Bristol Business School in partnership withACCA,Bristol City Council, Bristol Junior Chamber, Bristol Post, Business West, CBI, CMI, FSB, IoD,ICAEW and the West of England LEP.

Discuss this event on Twitter using the hashtag #BristolLectures

Students behind £1 million benefits victory up for national award

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Law students’ work representing benefits claimants wrongly declared fit for employment has helped secure a nomination for a national award.

University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) students have been volunteering at the Avon & Bristol Law Centre advising claimants challenging changes made to their disability entitlement. They have helped win more than £1 million in benefits for clients incorrectly judged to be capable of working by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The highly successful collaboration with the law centre is now in the running for the title Most Effective Pro Bono Partnership at the LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards. The partnership – which also involves students from the University of Law – has been included in a four-strong shortlist for the prize.

Since the project began three years ago, the success rate of appeals made by the students and law centre stands well above the national average at 95 per cent.

Marcus Keppel-Palmer, UWE’s pro bono liaison, said, “Recognition by LawWorks in shortlisting the Legal Advocacy Support Project for the 2015 Awards is excellent news for the pro bono commitment that UWE has. As a full service Law School, we are committed to giving students as many opportunities through extra-curricular activities such as pro bono, whether at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

“Many of our students devote significant amounts of their time to assisting the local community, and we are very proud of the recognition for the link with the Avon & Bristol Law Centre.”

The project has helped more than 200 people over the last two years with an average of £5,000 won for each client.

UWE Bristol students have become a familiar sight at Bristol’s Social Security and Child Support Tribunal, where they represent clients at their benefit appeals in front of a judge and doctor. The project recruits the brightest law students to ensure the best results for clients. All the UWE students on the project who graduated this year have received First Class degrees.

The LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards recognise and celebrate achievement in legal pro bono work undertaken by organisations and individuals, and the dedication and commitment of the legal sector to positively impact individuals and communities.

The awards on Tuesday November 24 will be hosted by legal commentator and journalist Joshua Rozenberg, with an inaugural annual lecture given by Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti CBE.

Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of LawWorks, said, “The LawWorks Pro Bono Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate the legal profession’s dedication to improving lives and enabling access to justice and I would like to congratulate all the finalists. The quality and range of nominations demonstrate innovation and commitment to pro bono and we are grateful to all who took the time to nominate.”

New Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of FBL appointed

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Donna Whitehead, currently Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Business and Society at the University of South Wales has been appointed as Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law at UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England).

Donna brings a wealth of experience to UWE Bristol from her current and previous roles.

The Faculty of Business and Society at the University of South Wales, where Donna is currently Deputy Dean, has three schools: the South Wales Business School; the School of Law, Accounting and Finance; and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. In previous roles Donna was Head of School for the School of Law, Accounting and Finance (first at the University of Glamorgan and then at the University of South Wales) and Team Leader for the Law School at the University of Sunderland.

Much of Donna’s current role is externally facing, including representing the university and Welsh government in the financial and professional services sector in Wales and beyond as well as collaborating with Welsh government and employers to drive new business in Wales and for the University. Donna was responsible for developing the innovative MSc Financial Services Management degree in collaboration with four key employers in Wales.

Donna worked for the law professional bodies as a JASB representative for a number of years; she has held the role of trustee of the RCT Citizens Advice Bureau and has been a member of the Confederation of South Wales Law Societies. Recently she was a member of the QAA Law Benchmark Review Group. Donna acts as a mentor for senior leaders within and outside of the University.

Donna is passionate about creating an excellent student experience and has led initiatives in this area including the use of lecture capture software, the launch of a Legal and Financial Advice Clinic and has worked collaboratively with colleagues to improve NSS results. Donna has an interest in quality assurance and enhancement and has acted as chair of Faculty quality assurance committees at her current and former institution and has led her Faculty in their recent QAA review.

Speaking about her appointment Donna says, “I am really excited about working with my new colleagues to deliver the objectives set out in the 2020 plan. FBL has some excellent practice already taking place and I’m looking forward to helping to build that further. The new build for the Faculty will be wonderful and should really enhance the student learning experience.”

Professor Jane Harrington, Deputy Vice Chancellor, at UWE Bristol says, “We are delighted that Donna will be joining us and we are looking forward to working with her on our ambitious plans for the Faculty. UWE, Bristol prides itself on an excellent student experience delivered through practice led curriculum which enables students to experience work both within the university and through placements and internships during their study with us. We are really pleased to welcome Donna to the university, sharing our passion for excellence in learning and teaching and the student experience”

Donna has a first degree in law from the University of Sunderland and an MPhil from the University of Newcastle. She also holds the Legal Practice Course and the New York Bar examinations as qualifications. Donna is a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Donna’s teaching and research interest is family law and in particular, assisted reproduction and parenthood.