Bristol Law School students come 2nd in the regional heat of the Client Interviewing Competition

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On Saturday 10th February, UWE Bristol hosted the regional heat of the Client Interviewing Competition. The Client Interviewing Competition is a competition for Law students, who in pairs interview and advise a client on an unknown legal problem. This year 39 teams throughout the country entered the competition. UWE Bristol welcomed 12 different Universities to the regional heat.

The Bristol Law School (BLS) team, consisting of Josie Hebestreit (LPC) and Adam Hobson (GDL) came 2nd in the competition. They will now take part in the National final which is being held in London in March. If the BLS team is successful at the nationals, they will go through to the international competition which is in Maastricht this year.

Senior Law Lecturers Suzaan Rowley and Victoria Latimer with the help of the UWE Law Society, offered training sessions to any BLS students who wanted to compete in the competition. Adam and Josie as UWE finalists went on to be coached by Suzaan and Victoria and were chosen to represent UWE at the regional competition. This was the first time UWE Bristol had entered a team into the competition.

Josie and Adam faced stiff competition from other universities including University of Bristol, University of Law and Cardiff University. The pair were placed 2nd after Oxford Brooks and will now join 9 other teams at the national competition.

Suzaan commented:

“We are delighted Adam and Josie got through to the nationals as the competition was very tough! Client interviewing is a key legal skill that all lawyers need to perfect so this competition will help them develop their interview technique further.”

Congratulations to Adam and Josie!

 

UWE Law students win big at two national mediation competitions

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Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) students, David Forster and Sara Harrison-Fisher, represented UWE Bristol at the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators Mediation Competition in London on 19-21 January, competing against teams from other Universities, trainee solicitors and pupils.

They walked away with prizes for the Best University Team and the Past Master Karl Davies Memorial Award which was awarded to the team with the Most Creative Solution.

Lucilla Macgregor who, along with her fellow BPTC tutor Sara Whiteley, mentored the pair in preparation for the competition said:

“David and Sara did extremely well in the face of stiff competition.  This is the second time in two years that UWE BPTC students have won a prize at this event, which gives them a fantastic opportunity to practice their advocacy and negotiation skills in front of accredited mediators”.

BPTC students and tutors

The following weekend saw Law undergraduates, Jade Trill, Callum Tucker, James Hathaway and Jack Kaczanowski, competing in the UK National Student Mediation Competition, held at ULaw in London.

The team won the awards for Best Mediation Team, Best Mediator (Jade) and Second Best Mediator (Callum), beating undergraduate and post-graduate teams from 16 universities around the UK.

Their coach, Rachel Wood, said:

“This is a fantastic achievement for the team, particularly as this is the first time we have entered the National Competition.  The students have studied mediation and practised their skills in our internal UWE Mediation Competition. It is wonderful to see their skills being recognised by professional mediators judging them in a national competition”.

UWE Bristol now expects to host the UK National Student Mediation Competition in January 2019.

Guest Talk – Professor Emily Reid: Securing the Future of the World Trade Organisation

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In November, Professor Emily Reid from Southampton Law School gave a guest talk entitled “Securing the Future of the World Trade Organisation“. Read the recap of the talk below:

For more than the last decade the WTO and ‘globalisation’ has been the subject of sporadic public protest, exemplified by events in Seattle in 1999. More recently, the last decade has seen in Europe a growing number of popular demonstrations against a range of trade and investment treaties such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and the EU. Frequently disquiet has focussed upon a perceived conflict between economic liberalisation or indeed globalisation itself and social or environmental values. Reference to these protests and public sentiment formed the backdrop to Professor Emily Reid’s guest talk at UWE on 1 November 2017. Prof Reid, an expert in international economic law and sustainable development, examined how the World Trade Organisation is defending and can defend such non-economic interests whilst still holding a liberal view of trade relations. Her passion for the subject is drawn from her previous work on how the European Union has managed to accommodate the protection of human rights and environment with economic liberalisation, and extrapolating from this the lessons which the global community might learn from that. (see E Reid, Balancing Human Rights, Environmental Protection and International Trade: Lessons from the EU Experience (Hart 2015))

Prof Reid began by noting the growing diversity of legal orders, pursuing a range of objectives, both economic and non-economic, highlighting that the interrelationship between social, environmental and trade elements is complex and evolving. Whilst these three elements can clash in particular instances, they are not inherently in conflict and in the longer term they are, indeed, mutually dependent, as is evident in the concept of sustainable development.

The broader question relates to the legitimacy of this economic organisation inasmuch as its policies and decisions have been the subject of criticism by some for failing to take sufficient account of human rights and environmental concerns. The fragmentation of international law with its variety of actors and self-contained regimes further complicates the task: who are the regulatory decision-makers? Wherefrom does their legitimacy stem? How are they accountable and to whom? These pressing concerns are no doubt difficult challenges for States operating in a new legal order, in which the role of the state is radically different to that under the ‘Westphalian’ order in which the WTO was created. How can the State in a Westphalian sense of the term deal with this multiplicity of actors? How can (local) democratic accountability be secured?

In addition, the international legal context has considerably evolved in the past decades as the WTO has had to engage with the emergence of new popular concerns, such as environmental protection, and their associated legal regimes. Indeed when the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was negotiated, the definition of ‘conservation of natural resources’ as an exception to the trade rules was understood in terms of mineral resources. The WTO has since, however, acknowledged that a modern understanding of the term was needed. Such recognition is crucial to the ongoing relevance and legitimacy of WTO law.

As global regulation is evolving and increasing, political and democratic demands are growing too. Contemporary political events (eg the vote for withdrawal of the UK from the European Union, the election of President Trump, the support for Le Pen in the French presidential elections) reflect a growing popular nationalism, and rejection of elements of globalisation: does this mark a transformative shift?

Prof Reid pointed out that the legal order that regulates economic relations is not only legally binding but also highly sophisticated in that it provides for binding dispute resolution. The pursuit of trade liberalisation requires a reduction of barriers to trade, yet national environmental regulation has the capacity to impede the application of WTO law, constituting as it can, a barrier to trade.

Thus Professor Reid identified the challenge for the WTO as being two fold – first, there is a challenge of legitimacy, and second, there is a need to re-establish and strengthen the balance between global economic integration and domestic regulatory autonomy. These carry implications for both the fact that the WTO addresses the balance between economic and non-economic interests and the manner in which it does so.

On the first, Prof Reid notes that it is significant that it is the WTO which is, by virtue of its dispute settlement mechanism, the sole adjudicator of the balance to be drawn between application of the WTO rules, and their relationship with national regulation. That the WTO, an economic organisation, is the organisation which determines the balance between trade liberalisation and national environmental regulation raises a number of legitimacy, and of accountability related questions. Prof Reid noted that there has been significant criticism regarding decisions made by economic bodies generally and the WTO more specifically, however she went on to note that on further investigation, some of this criticism is unfounded. The WTO Dispute Settlement Body has an obligation to apply the WTO rules, it has no jurisdiction to go beyond this, and would face questions of legitimacy were it to do so.

Prof Reid then turned her attention to examining how the WTO solves this conflict between on the one hand the rules of the WTO and its covered agreements, and on the other hand national environmental regulation. Has the WTO the competence to do so? If so, how has it taken on the challenge? After all, it is important that the WTO approaches the subject in such a manner that it meets the test of legitimacy as it otherwise opens itself up to further challenges.

In this light, Prof Reid argued that the WTO can indeed meet the challenge of legitimacy provided it (1) reinforces the non-discrimination paradigm (ie national treatment principle and most-favoured nation clause) and (2) re-examines the way in which it addresses the balance between economic and non-economic interests.

Prof Reid explained that initially the underlying objective of the WTO was to secure welfare gain for everyone. Later, imbued by a neo-liberal account, free trade became a goal in itself rather than a tool to reach other objectives. Illustrative of this development is Article 2.2 of the TBT agreement that provides that national regulatory measures must not only be non-discriminatory but also necessary. This is no doubt a manifestation of the neo-liberal thinking as both discriminatory and non-discriminatory regulatory measures must be justified. As a result the State is less free because it must prove that the measures (eg emission standards) are necessary as part of the test and this, of course, opens the door to greater and more in-depth reviews of national measures. Prof Reid thus argued that the non-discrimination paradigm must be reinforced.

Prof Reid then scrutinised the way the WTO dispute settlement mechanism can potentially encroach on how non-economic issues are viewed and addressed in international economic law. Whilst it might be contended that States had agreed to such legally binding mechanism on a voluntary basis they nonetheless did not expect such a curtailment of their freedom to act. This no doubt affects the legitimacy of the mechanism all the more as an increasing number of individuals deem the protection of the environment to be of utmost importance and feel that the WTO is impinging on such an important matter. That being said, Prof Reid stressed that the WTO dispute settlement mechanism has so far, notably due to its restricted mandate, adopted a conciliatory approach. The mechanism, when examining general exceptions to the non-discrimination principle, has adopted a broad interpretation of the terms so as to facilitate the use of these clauses to cover environmental issues. After carefully examining the test enshrined in Article XX GATT that relates to general exceptions, Prof Reid concluded that the mechanism does not question the level of protection offered by such measures, but whether the measure is the least restrictive in terms of trade. This enables the mechanism to keep an objective evaluation of the measure even though it does claim that it is engaging in a ‘weighing and balancing’ exercise. As a result of the mechanism refusing to examine the state’s level of protection (which is in fact consistent with the trade liberalisation paradigm) it avoids the legitimacy question.

In conclusion Prof Reid reiterated that the evolution of the international legal order poses a significant challenge to the WTO. She however maintained that the WTO has the capacity to address such challenges: it must reinforce the non-discrimination paradigm and continue to resist the movement towards a subjective evaluation of State measures

In the discussion that followed, participants asked questions about eg the consistency of the case-law of the dispute settlement mechanism, the interrelationship between WTO rules and regional agreements, how non-government organisations can influence WTO decisions, and the definition and application of the concept of ‘human health’ as found in Article XX GATT.

Rt Hon David Lammy MP launches 2018 Equity Speaker Series at UWE Bristol

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Rt Hon David Lammy MP, author of the Lammy Review launched the 2018 Equity Speaker Series on Wednesday 24 January at the UWE Bristol Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Lammy, who is an popular campaigner and outspoken social and political commentator, spoke on the topic of  ‘The Confidence to Be: What next for the BAME graduate?’

Following the talk, 200 delegates enjoyed networking and a Caribbean inspired canape reception courtesy of Calypso Kitchen restaurant , the brain child of UWE Bristol Alumnus Will Clarke.

A number of pro-diversity organisations were also in attendance as exhibitors to promote opportunities to BAME students.

About UWE Bristol’s Equity Programme

Equity is an innovative positive-action talent and professional development programme for home-BAME students at UWE Bristol.

It was launched in the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School at the University’s annual Link event in October 2017 which attracted approximately 300 students and professionals.

Its principal objectives are the improvement of graduate outcomes specifically in terms of increasing professional employment and self-employment rates as well as supporting them to aim for careers which offer promising earning potential.

Equity days take place once a month and include race and identity coaching and workshops entirely facilitated by external BAME professionals and entrepreneurs. Each Equity day concludes with a keynote speaker that reflects the best of British BAME talent.

(Equity Curator Dr Zainab Khan and Race Equality Programmes Officer Alex Mormoris are both based within the Bristol Business School, any queries should be addressed to raceequality@uwe.ac.uk you can also follow the programme on Twitter @Bristol_Equity )

IPO Develops New Tools For Universities

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Marcus Keppel-Palmer, the Associate Head for the Faculty of Business and Law for Pro Bono, was one of the panel members working with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) developing a new range of Intellectual Property (IP) resources for use in Schools, Universities, and businesses.

The new suite of resources aim to develop a greater understanding on on IP with students and how IP impacts on their future careers.

The resources known as IP Tutor Plus were launched on January 9th 2018.

IP Tutor and IP Tutor Plus

The IP Tutor tools, developed by the IPO, CIPA, CiTMA, lecturers and industry professionals, provides information on IP.

IP Tutor Plus is a resource for university lecturers to deliver IP lectures. There are four modules; creative, humanities, STEM and law, business and accounting subject areas.

IP for Research

Created for PhD students and researchers to develop a greater understanding of how IP can maximise the impact of their research.

IP management tools

The Intellectual Asset Management Guide for Universities and Lambert Toolkit support the setting of IP strategies within universities, and the management of effective collaborations between universities and businesses.

Resources for further education

Before students reach university, the Future Innovators Toolkit provides level 3 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teachers with the resources they need to introduce IP at any point in the curriculum.

More details can be found here.

Ikenna’s story since leaving UWE

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Ikenna officially completed his LLB degree with a first class honors at UWE in June 2015 and had his graduation ceremony later that year in July. Ikenna stayed in Bristol until the middle of August in anticipation of undertaking training contract interviews before relocating to London. He prepared as hard as he could with the assistance of the pro-diversity recruitment organization, ‘Rare Recruitment’. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful in getting a job. As an international student in the UK on a student visa, the only available option for him was to relocate back home to Nigeria.

With two months left on his visa, he made the journey back home by the first week of September. The ultimate plan was to qualify as a Barrister in Nigeria whilst also using that time to seek for graduate study opportunities. Ikenna couldn’t immediately enroll for the Bar Qualification Course at the Nigerian Law School because having obtained an LLB abroad, he needed to do a preliminary/foundational course first, in which the period of enrollment had passed. This meant that he would have to wait for the next enrollment in June 2016.

With that much time to spare, he thought about internship opportunities and proudly got one in Accra, Ghana with an Organization known as Forum Solutions International (FSI). They were putting together an African Energy and Investment Summit. Ikenna was drafted into their communications and Content Development Unit. As the name of the role implied, the unit primarily designed the entire concept/content of the said summit. In no time at all, his people skills were recognized and he was drafted in helping to assemble resource persons and speakers for the summit. This provided him with the opportunity to reconnect with some of the lecturers at UWE who he then shared the idea of being keynote speakers at the summit (Dr. Ben Pointin, Profs. Jona Razzaque & Umut Turksen).

It was a wonderful opportunity for Ikenna to apply his planning and organizational skills he had acquired by running organizations such as the African Law Students Forum (ALSF) and Aspiring Solicitors at UWE. The presentation skills from Criminal, DRS, Prof. Dev., Prof. Ethics as well as Globalization Trade and Natural Resources Law modules at UWE were very useful in designing and pitching the summit concept to prospective sponsors.

On completion of Ikenna’s 6 months term with them in March 2016; he was offered the role of Program Manager in a newly constituted civil society/non-governmental organization in his home state of Enugu, Nigeria. It was both convenient for the impending Course at the Nigerian Law School and a fresh challenge, so he took the offer until he started his 14 month intensive course. He went onto developing, and implementing programs/events that fulfill the fundamental objectives of the organization. These are to enhance the consciousness of women and the most vulnerable members of its surrounding communities to their human, economic, social and political rights and how best to assert/apply them.

Whilst Ikenna is still gaining all these extra-curricular work experiences, he continued to seek opportunities for his postgraduate studies as that had always been the plan. He got a number of offers from Universities around the world including Westminster and London Southbank in the UK; the university of Georgia, American university – Washington College of Law, university of Maryland – Francis King Carey School of Law all in the US and the universities of Dalhousie (The Schulich School of Law), Ottawa and the Osgoode Hall Law School of the of York university all in Canada.

Remarkably, the Osgoode offer came with full a tuition scholarship plus some stipend (unlike the others that offered only part tuition scholarships or waivers). Having been granted a visa, it is safe to say that Ikenna will be starting his postgraduate study (Master of Laws – Thesis) this fall at Osgoode; two weeks after completing his exams and concluding the program at the Nigerian Law School.

Ikenna acknowledges and appreciates the remarkable role of the UWE staff members in the progress so far. Since leaving UWE, he has lost count of how many applications (both academic and non-academic) he has required references which the former lecturers at UWE stepped up and assisted him. Most prominent among them are Shilan Shah Davis, Umut Turksen, Jona Razzaque, Nicholas Ryder, Tim Angel and a host of others. There is also Clare Barber at the certificates/transcript dispatching unit who he cannot afford not to mention because of her exceptional professionalism and willingness to assist.

UWE has shown Ikenna that a university doesn’t just offer you teaching and certificate; it goes above and beyond to offer the necessary assistance and support that ensures that the purpose for which you desired the learning and certificate in the first place does not evade you. This experience should be one that all students take on board and recognise as a story that they can follow.

Honorary Degree awarded to Gillian Camm for commitment to UWE Bristol

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Gillian Camm is to be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (Hon DUniv) by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) in recognition of her commitment and contribution to the University in the role of UWE Bristol Chair of the Board of Governors.

Gillian is Chair of the Board of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and Senior Independent Director of Wessex Water.

Gillian has held non-executive positions in a variety of organisations including in the Home Office, the General Medical Council and the law firm Capsticks. Her last executive position was a Board director of Clerical Medical Investment Group. Prior to that she was a partner in Hay Management Consultants where she developed a substantial South West office.

Gillian is a member of the Society of Merchant Venturers and the Honourable Gloucestershire Company and holds the position of the Deputy Lieutenant for Gloucestershire. She is also a Vice President of Quartet Community Foundation.

The Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University (Hon DUniv) will be conferred on Gillian Camm at the Degree Ceremony of the Faculty of Business and Law at Bristol Cathedral on Wednesday 12 July at 17:00.