PSU Murder Mystery Fundraising Event – March 21

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On March 21, a group of MA Event Management students are hosting a networking event with a twist. Join them for their Murder Mystery Networking Evening for anyone in the legal profession.

You will team up with to solve crime, whilst widening your connections in the legal field.

While benefiting from meeting and connecting with new individuals, all profit generated from the event will be provided the legal charity

Personal Support Unit (PSU). The PSU help individuals in the Bristol area who are facing legal processes alone by assisting them to represent themselves effectively in civil and family cases and tribunals. You can read more about their work here.

For just £12, you will receive admission to the Murder Mystery Networking Evening, along with a welcome drink and nibbles.

Come along to get to know new people whilst competing against your colleagues and friends to solve the murder the fastest – there is a prize for the quickest team!

Register here or find out more information here .


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 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.

Professor Laurent Pech’s Distinguished Professorial Address – UWE, 30 November 2017

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On 30 November 2017 the Bristol Law School welcomed Laurent Pech, Professor of European Law and holder of the Jean Monnet Chair of EU Public Law at Middlesex University London. The title of his Distinguished Professorial Address was ‘Rule of Law Backsliding in the European Union: Lessons from Hungary and Poland’, a topic on which Professor Pech has extensively written.

Professor Pech began his Address by explaining that it was a rather depressing topic to address and that he had unfortunately no good news to share. In his opinion the situation in Hungary and Poland represents a clear and present threat to the very functioning of the EU legal order even more than the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. Using data from the NGO Freedom House Prof Pech pointed at the declining situation of the rule of law in Hungary and more recently Poland which had adopted a series of measures leading to an even faster process of rule of law backsliding in this country. Prof Pech took this opportunity to stress that rule of law problems were not only visible in Hungary and Poland but in a number of EU Member States. However given the systemic, repeated and deliberate nature of the attacks on the rule of law in these two countries the focus of his lecture was going to be on these two States.

As Prof Pech explained, the rule of law situation in a specific State is only scrutinised during the enlargement process but no general and permanent system was initially designed to look at backsliding whilst being a Member State of the European Union. That being said, he clarified that, unbeknownst to many, Romania and Bulgaria have been subject to a specific rule of law monitoring system following their accession. The fact that the rule of law situation is getting worse in Romania in spite of the monitoring system tends to show that the system is not as robust as it should be. Yet, as Prof Pech noted, the situation in Romania has not reached the levels seen in Hungary and Poland.

By ‘backsliding’ Prof Pech means that a State is on a downward spiral, from a healthy to an unhealthy system of the rule of law. Whilst this started in 2010 in Hungary, the ‘disease’, as Prof Pech called it, is spreading to other Eastern European States and it seems that it is not going to disappear in the nearest future. Continuing the medical analogy, Prof Pech expressed his concern that the European Union was struggling to find ‘a cure to the disease’ having previously struggled to correctly diagnose the disease beforehand.

The definition of rule of law backsliding proposed by Prof Pech is that it is ‘a process through which (1) elected public authorities deliberately implement governmental blueprints which (2) aim to systematically weaken, annihilate or capture internal checks on power with (3) the view of dismantling the liberal democratic state and entrenching the long-term rule of the dominant party’ (see Pech and Scheppele, ‘Illiberalism Within: Rule of Law Backsliding in the EU’ (2017) 19 Cambridge Yearbook of European Legal Studies 3). In other words, rule of law backsliding implies a deliberate governmental plan to systematically annihilate the rule of law and which tends to start with attacks on the independence of the judiciary. It is this specific intent to dismantle systematically all checks and balances with the view of establishing a de facto one-party state that distinguishes the situation in Poland and Hungary from that in other EU Member States such as Italy where structural rule of law deficiencies may be identified. Remarkably, the argument of the ‘will of the people’ is now more and more used by governments to justify new limits if not new attacks on the rule of law. In the long term, the goal is to reshape the rules so that even if elections are held they will lead to the current government to be reconducted in its mandate as usual checks and balances measures have disappeared and elections may be free but are no longer fair.

Prof Pech then explained that in the aforementioned journal article he and his colleague Prof Scheppele provide a matrix of ‘constitutional capture’ in seven steps to help understand what has happened in Hungary but also in a number of non EU countries. In short, it is a recipe to destroy the rule of law in a methodological manner. According to Prof Pech Poland has now reached stage 4 whilst Hungary is in stage 7.

Whilst it might be too late to rescue Hungary the question is whether the European Union will be able to prevent Poland from sliding further. Unfortunately ‘worst practices’ travel fast too and the domino effect might hit us earlier and quicker than anticipated. In 2010 Hungary showed the first signs of backsliding by requiring all judges above a certain age to retire. The European Commission replied by using its infringement powers but it was too late. Following a CJEU ruling requiring Hungary to offer adequate remedies, most ‘retired’ judges accepted financial compensation and were thus replaced by ideologically compatible judges. Hungary then played the EU to its own game and adopted a law strengthening the position of these judges, arguing that it was doing so to uphold the rule of law. So, as Prof Pech stated, although the Commission had won the ‘battle’ before the CJEU it had lost the rule of law ‘war’.

The Commission drew its own conclusions: it needed a new instrument to tackle the problem. In 2014 the Rule of Law Framework was adopted and in 2016 it was used in relation to the situation in Poland. The problem with the Rule of Law Framework according to Prof Pech is that it relies on a discursive approach. In his view, however, a dialogue with autocrats does not work; it tends in fact to be nothing more than a monologue. Moreover, to foster an environment conducive to a dialogue the Commission has until recently refrained from initiating multiple infringement procedures while also failing to react to the Polish government’s provocations and its complete disregard for its multiple rule of law recommendations.

Whilst the Commission can be seen to be at least trying to address the issue, the Council of Ministers has so far been reluctant to publicly denounce the situation in Hungary and Poland. To some extent its actions (or lack thereof) can be regarded has having undermined the work of the Commission. What is more, some EU Member States have for example sided with Poland, thus making it difficult to exert pressure on Poland. In contrast, the European Parliament has been quite active by adopting a series of resolutions denouncing the situation in Hungary and Poland but as such resolutions are not legally binding and have had little immediate effect.

Recently, the European Parliament has asked for the procedures mentioned in Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union to be triggered with regard to Hungary and Poland. Professor Pech emphasised that this procedure is wrongly labelled as ‘nuclear option’, for a nuclear option can only be used when it is too late, in which case this begs the question: ‘why use it at all?’. Article 7 TEU contains two mechanisms to ensure that the rule of law and fundamental rights are complied with: a preventive one (paragraph 1) and a sanctioning (paragraphs 2-3) mechanism. On the day of his presentation Professor Pech mentioned that the European Commission was currently considering the possibility to recommend the initiation of the preventive mechanism (which was in fact activated on 20 December 2017). Professor Pech explained that the problem with the sanctioning mechanism is that it can only be triggered by unanimity (minus the State that is being ‘investigated’) but given that there are several States that are failing to comply with the rule of law requirements other non-compliant States could be expected to veto any possibility to eventually adopt sanctions against the state subject to Article 7(2).

Professor Pech then argued rather contentiously that Article 7 TEU might not be the ‘real’ nuclear option. Worse repercussions than the suspension of eg voting rights would come from the CJEU declining to consider Polish courts as courts within the meaning of EU law on the basis that such courts are no longer independent. The possible ramifications of such a decision could be potentially considerable.

What can be done? According to Prof Pech it is time to use every single tool available! Everything the European Union can do to tackle the problem, it should do it and it should do it now! In his opinion, the situation in Hungary and Poland is more worrying than Brexit.

At this stage Prof Pech drew some parallels between the rule of law situations in the UK on the one hand and in Poland and Hungary on the other. Indeed he argued that the first signs of an unhealthy rhetoric in the UK could be seen too. Sadly it seems that judges and academics are increasingly subject to abuse and intimidation tactics. The attack on the judiciary in the wake of the Miller case and the ‘enemies of the people’ headline in the Daily Mail is a hallmark of autocratic regimes as a healthy judicial system enables individuals to use legal avenues to vindicate their rights. Similarly attacks on ‘pro-remain’ universities is another way to ensure that a counter, in the case of the UK anti-Brexit, discourse is muted. No voices are thus left to proffer arguments against governmental policies which some may be tempted to justify in the name of ‘the will of the people’ regardless of whether they violate the rule of law or not. A third parallel is the attack against George Soros and his foundation, both in Hungary as well as in the UK as Nigel Farage sought to investigate Soros funding. The anti-Semitic overtones of the anti-Soros rhetoric can be viewed as an attempt to garner the support of autocratic and nativist forces. Despite all these shared traits, Prof Pech emphasised that the UK legal and constitutional system should be strong enough to withstand criticism towards the judiciary and that British universities can do that too. There is no need yet to be excessively worried about the situation though some of the rhetoric used by pro-Brexit supporters is similar to the one used by autocratic regimes in the world. In particular, Prof Pech explained that the ‘will of the people’ appeal is often used as a way to justify violations of the rule of law.

Prof Pech finished his Address by stressing that it was important to ‘diagnose the disease’ so as to be able to provide an appropriate remedy and that the number 1 priority of the European Union should be to tackle rule of law backsliding in its own backyard and stop procrastinating about it.

Bristol Law School 2017 Round Up

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As 2017 comes to a close we want to share with you some of our highlights from the past year:

Back in January we launched our new Research Centres and groups.

In February, we helped alumnus Jeremiah Daliel’s launch his first book, inspired by his real life experiences.

Back in March, our Pro Bono team helped young entrepreneurs to open a new recording studio.

Our pro bono team helping young entrepreneurs

Also in March we hosted a Distinguished Professorial Address with Professor Michael Dougan titled “The UK outwith the EU and the EU without the UK’”

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Professor Michael Dougan gives a Distinguished Professorial Address

In April, we moved into our new £55 million building  which is now home to the Bristol Law School and the Bristol Business School.

The Bristol Business School, home to the Bristol Law School and Bristol Business School

We invited our alumni to be some of the first to visit the building at a networking event in May.

In May we also shared news of a successful year for the Bristol Law School and Bristol Business Pro Bono Business Advice Clinic.

One of our Bristol Law School alumni was elected Sheriff of the City and Corporation of London in July.

Tim Hailes
Tim Hailes, Sheriff of the City and Corporation of London

Over the summer we shared news that UWE Bristol had a third rise in student satisfaction and that we moved three places up the Times Good University Guide.

Also over the summer, Dr Zainab Kahn visited Amman, Jordan to work with partnership institutions to engage international students in postgraduate roles here at UWE.

Amman Jordan trip
Dr Zainab Kahn in Jordan

In October, a Bristol Law School student won Student of the Year at the Bristol Law Society Awards. The LiP Service team, made up of Bristol Law School, University of Law and University of Bristol students won team of the year.

BLS award winners
Winners at the Bristol Law Society Awards

In November, as part of national pro bono week, we shared a roundup of all the great work pro bono work we do at the Bristol Law School.

Also in November, Financial Crime expert, Professor Nic Ryder provided a commentary on the Paradise Papers.

To see more of our highlights from 2017 visit our blog. Roll on 2018!

Bristol Law School: Entering the Legal Profession Fair 2017 – Wednesday 29 November

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Are you interested in a career in the legal profession?

If so, this event is for you, as you will be able to:

  • Meet practising lawyers from a range of law firms, barristers chambers and in-house legal teams.
  • Find out more about conversion to law if you have, or a studying for, a non-law degree.
  • Find out about the professional post graduate courses you will need to complete to qualify as a lawyer.
  • Obtain careers advice from UWE Careers and practising lawyers.
  • Come to a Panel Presentation delivered by trainees on ‘Life after UWE as a lawyer in practise’.
  • Obtain one-to-one advice from a practising lawyer on your CV at our CV Clinic (for current UWE Bristol students only).
  • Meet current UWE Bristol law students and look around teaching rooms to find out what it would be like to do your professional law training at UWE Bristol.

We have a regional focus

Our law fair is unique in its regional focus on Bristol and surrounding areas (including Bath, Somerset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and the South West), and in the information and advice you can receive about the diverse range of legal careers available.

Register here.

Programme of events

16:30 – 17:15  “Life after UWE – meet the trainees” in 2X112

A chaired panel presentation about life as a trainee/ pupil barrister/ life in-house given by practising lawyers. Please register below to attend

17:30 – 19:30 Drop in CV Clinic – For UWE students only (LLB, LLM, LPC, GDL or BPTC)

Sign up on the night for a one-to one slot with a solicitor or a barrister to obtain some feedback on your CV. Make sure your CV is up to scratch.

Exhibitors confirmed to date

3PB Barristers

Albion Chambers

Ashfords LLP


Battens Solicitors Ltd

Bevan Brittan

Bristol Law Society

Burges Salmon

Chambers Student Guide

Cornwall Council

DAC Beachroft

DAS UK Group

Foot Anstey LLP

Goughs Solicitors

Guildhall Chambers

Invictus Chambers

Knights Professional Services Ltd



Lyons Davidson

Magdalen Chambers

Michelmores LLP

NewLaw Solicitors

Osborne Clarke LLP

Royds Withy King

Sewell Mullings Logie

Simpson Solicitors

St John’s Chambers

“The Representative bodies

for Barristers”

The National Trust



Tozers LLP

Unity Street Chambers

Veale Wasbrough Vizards LLP

Watkins Solicitors

Which? Legal

Womble Bond Dickinson

Professor Nic Ryder on Paradise Papers: UK’s complex tax code and complacency leads to more tax avoidance

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Post taken from the Research, Business and Innovation Blog.

Nicholas Ryder, who is a Professor in Financial Crime at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) says the UK authorities’ ‘lacklustre’ approach to enforcing its financial crime provisions, and a highly complex tax code, has played a significant role in enabling individuals to avoid or evade tax.  Tax evasion expert Sam Bourton (who is an Associate Lecturer in Law at UWE Bristol), agrees that such complexity means a lot of money is siphoned from the City of London.

Once again documents revealing the tax activities of some of the rich and powerful have come to light in the media, after a whistleblower leaked 6.8m documents relating to Appleby, a firm that helps companies set up shop in low-tax jurisdictions. These ‘Paradise Papers’ (so-called because many tax havens are located on paradise-like islands) have led to a media storm, decrying the likes of F1 driver Lewis Hamilton and Apple because of their links to tax avoidance schemes through the firm. Tax avoidance involves by-passing payment of tax legally using loopholes to your advantage, while tax evasion means illegally evading paying tax.

“These schemes might not be a criminal offence per se,” says Ryder, “but ethically speaking, is it right for a multibillion pound company to be avoiding tax, when that money could go to funding a new hospital or a school?”

Ryder explains that a lot of jurisdictions, including the UK, have a flexible taxation system, as this can lead to more investment. It also possesses a highly complex tax code, which is one of the longest in the world. “You could argue that tax avoidance has been indirectly encouraged by government because it has such a complex legal framework that allows people to use loopholes,” says Ryder. “This also means that it’s often difficult to identify whether a business transaction constitutes tax avoidance or tax evasion,” he adds.

Bourton agrees, saying that there is often a connection between many of UK’s overseas territories (like the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands) and London, and this benefits the City. “Often tax advisers set up structures offshore that interact with accounts in London,” says Bourton. She points out that, looking at the data from the Paradise Papers, the UK features towards the top of the list when you look at individuals and companies implicated in tax avoidance.

Both Bourton and Ryder agree that more transparency in tax transactions is needed. “I am concerned about the secrecy that still exists around these tax cases,” says Ryder, commenting on the Paradise Papers. “How do we know that organised criminal gangs are not using these offshore financial centres to hide their proceeds of crime? If they are doing this, they are in effect money laundering, and that’s where they could be prosecuted,” he adds. In this respect, he believes that the UK adopts what he calls a “lacklustre” approach to enforcing its financial crime provisions.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has drawn up and is still developing a set of guidelines to ensure transparency and exchange of information where tax is involved.  But although most jurisdictions have signed up to the OECD standards, implementing them is likely to take several years to complete.

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