Amendment of the Criminal Procedure Rules

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Professor Ed Cape and Dr Tom Smith recently saw their research achieve significant impact, namely contributing to the amendment of the Criminal Procedure Rules (CrimPR).

In 2014/2015, Ed and Tom undertook research into the practice of pre-trial detention (PTD) in England and Wales. This important area – which deals with bail and detention in custody prior to trial or conviction – was part of a 10 country, EU-funded study led by NGO Fair Trials International. The objective of the project was to assess the practice of PTD across the EU, find examples of good and bad practice, and make policy recommendations to EU and domestic institutions. Ed and Tom conducted a desk-based review of PTD practice and procedure, surveyed criminal defence practitioners, observed PTD hearings, reviewed prosecution case files, and interviewed judges, magistrates and prosecutors. The findings of the research were published on the UWE research repository in early 2016 and incorporated into FTI’s regional report, which was presented to the European Parliament in May 2016.

One of the significant findings of the research was that courts, on average, took very little time to consider these vital decisions about the liberty of unconvicted individuals – particularly at an early stage where evidence and disclosure might be incomplete. Additionally, the research also suggested that adequate time may not be available for the defence to consider information supplied to it about the prosecution case prior to a PTD hearing. As such, the final research report recommended that the CrimPR be amended to compel courts to ensure adequate time is given to making decisions regarding PTD and that more be done to allow the defence to fully consider relevant materials prior to hearings.

In March 2016, the CrimPR Committee were sent the report and responded positively to its findings and expressed interest in incorporating its recommendations into the Rules. Over the course of the last year, Ed and Tom have been engaged with the Committee, including through submission of a position paper, attendance at a Committee meeting, and ongoing dialogue and consultation with the Secretariat. In February 2017, the Committee amended Parts 8 (Initial Details of the Prosecution Case) and 14 (Bail and Custody Time Limits) of the CrimPR to:

“impose on the court a duty to ensure that if information about the prosecution case is supplied later than usually is required then the defendant, and any defence representative, is allowed sufficient time to consider it; (ii) explicitly to require that information provided for the court in bail proceedings must be provided for the defendant, too; and (iii) to require the court itself in bail proceedings to take sufficient time to consider the parties’ representations and reach its decision.”

In their guidance for the amended rules, the Committee acknowledged the contribution of the Ed and Tom’s report (alongside the input of other interested people). This is successful outcome demonstrates the practical impact research can have, particularly through constructive dialogue with policymakers.

CALR Forum: Brexit, Article 50 TEU and the British Constitution

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Brexit: A word that one cannot escape reading newspapers, watching the TV or listening to the radio. It is literally everywhere. Yet, what it means in legal terms is often misunderstood and its repercussions on the legal, and notably constitutional, framework in the United Kingdom overseen. Therefore, on 22 February 2017 the Centre for Applied Legal Research organised its first Forum of the academic year 2016/2017 on the subject. Three staff members of the Bristol Law School, Christian Dadomo, Martina Gillen and Noëlle Quénivet, shared their views about Brexit, Article 50 TEU and the British Constitution, whilst offering an international, European and national legal perspective on the Brexit debate.

By way of introduction Noëlle Quénivet explained the legal bases of the European Union, ie treaties, stressing the concept of State sovereignty and the importance of understanding that both the ratification of and the withdrawal from a treaty are to be viewed as acts of sovereignty. She then explained that it was the Treaty of Lisbon that for the first time proscribed a withdrawal procedure in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. Noëlle Quénivet described the process from the notification of withdrawal to the ratification of the withdrawal agreement by the UK, highlighting the various stages at which the European institutions are and will be involved and underlining the difference between the legal requirements in national and European Union law. Reference was also made to the potential content of a withdrawal agreement (eg budgetary matters, institutional issues, the situation of non-UK EU citizens in the UK and of UK nationals in EU States, etc).

Following on the idea of sovereignty that has so much been reiterated in the campaign leading to the referendum, Christian Dadomo delved into the multitude of types of sovereignty: parliamentary sovereignty, popular sovereignty and external or otherwise known as State sovereignty. After stressing that parliamentary sovereignty should be better understood as the primacy of Parliament in respect of statutes he showed the interaction and tensions between parliamentary and popular sovereignty, especially in light of the Brexit referendum. Furthermore, the relationship between the devolved authorities and the central government will be affected, as some of them after voting to remain in the EU would like a space at the negotiations table but have been denied so legally (with the Miller judgment before the UK Supreme Court) and politically. Christian Dadomo concluded by stating that Brexit will undoubtedly shake the constitutional legal edifice of the UK.

Martina Gillen opined that Brexit will have serious repercussions on the UK Constitution and more specifically on the relationship between Westminster and the devolved regions. As she explained Northern Ireland is a case-example of how poorly thought the referendum was. Brexit will affect both the relationship between Northern Ireland and Westminster as well as between Northern Ireland and Eire and has already had the effect of reigniting nationalist Irish feelings, especially in regions that voted to remain in the EU. She then examined in details the McCord decision before the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland, highlighting that the ruling was not a surprise as the claimants had not asked the right question (they asked whether Northern Ireland as a devolved authority could take part in the Brexit negotiations) and should have focused on the fact that persons born in Northern Ireland can take either British or Irish nationality and that Brexit would in fact deny equality of treatment for those who choose Irish nationality.

The CALR Forum was attended by over 20 students and staff members from the UWE Bristol Law School. After each presentation questions were taken from the floor and a lively and insightful debate often beyond the narrower scope of the speakers’ presentation ensued. There were thus discussions on the withdrawal from the European Economic Area Agreement, the impact of the Dublin regulation on EU border States, the nature (and fate) of EU law in English law, the potential continued jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union, etc.

The next CALR Forum which will be held on Wednesday 1 March, 14:00-16:00 in Room 2B065. Noëlle Quénivet will be presenting a paper on the prosecution of child soldiers for war crimes that has recently been accepted for publication in the European Journal of International Law. Dr Alison Bisset, Associate Professor at the School of Law of the University of Reading, will respond to the paper.

Dr Mary Young helps uncover tax avoiders behind Easton housing development

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Dr Mary Young recently advised investigative journalists from the Bristol Cable of an aggressive tax avoidance technique used by a Bristol property firm. ‘REVCAP, the financiers behind the controversial development of the Greenbank Chocolate Factory in Bristol, are connected to entities in low tax jurisdictions such as Jersey, the Isle of Man and the Cayman Islands’, says Adam Cantwell-Corn from the Bristol Cable.

Since the article was published, on 30 November at a planning hearing, Bristol Council voted to defer the decision on the housing development – mainly due to the concerns the Dr Young and the Cable raised.

More on the story can be found here.

 

The Faculty of Business and Law launch new Research Centres and Groups

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A ‘soft launch’ of the new research centres and groups was held on 25th January 2017 at the Executive Conference Centre.  The groundbreaking research undertaken at UWE Bristol aims to make its mark on business, industry and the wider community.

There are three new research centres and five research groups:

  • CALR- Centre for Applied Legal Research
  • BCEF – Bristol Centre for Economics and Finance
  • BLCC – Bristol Leadership and Change Centre

The groups are:

  • IOMS – Innovation, Operations Management and Supply
  • HRM – Human Resource Management
  • AMG – Applied Marketing Group
  • EE – Enterprise and Entrepreneurship
  • BBEC – Bristol Business Engagement Centre

Donna Whitehead Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean in her introductory remarks stated:

I’m really excited about the future of our research. What we are launching today represents our ambitious and creative values. We have created new research centres and groups that really reflect our strengths; where we have significant resource, capacity, capability and ambition’

Presentations were given on each of the research centres and the research groups, outlining the aims of each centre or group.

All the presentations stressed the applied nature of their research and links with their stakeholders.

The soft launch was held prior to Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE, Chairman of Cobra Beer’s Bristol Distinguish Address.

In his concluding remarks Lord Bilimoria congratulated the centres and groups and focused on the benefits of collaborative research that impacts on both policy change and decision -making. Lord Bilimoria outlined the benefits of collaborative research and the resultant opportunities.

Over 120 staff and external stakeholders attended the soft launch.

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: http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/newsandevents/studentconference.aspx or by checking Infohub.

Email your abstract to learningforall@uwe.ac.uk 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.

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.

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.

Conclusion

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.