UWE Bristol wider participation visits from Truro College and Peter Symonds College

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As part of our widening participation with Schools, we recently invited Truro College and Peter Symonds College to visit UWE Bristol and experience our new facilities.

The opportunity gave students studying for their A-Levels the chance to experience university life ahead of making their university choice.

The students were invited to take part in lectures given by Bristol Law School staff and even experienced a mock trial in our state of the art Law Courts that are housed within the new Bristol Business School.

The new £55million landmark building that houses the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School is the heart to the buzzing Frenchay Campus, which the visiting students got to experience first hand.

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The visiting students stayed on-site in the newest accommodation Frenchay has to offer giving them a real taste for UWE life.

In true UWE experience, the students had their breakfast in one of the onsite canteens and had lunch served by the student-run on site healthy lunch business, Pelico.

The students were extremely impressed with the facilities and all fed back what a great experience they had.

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.

Honorary Award for Rosalind Wright CB QC for commitment to law and fraud advocacy

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Rosalind Wright CB QC is to be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws (Hon LLD) by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) in recognition of her commitment to Law and Fraud advocacy.

Rosalind Wright is a barrister who has spent most of her working life in the public sector. She was called to the Bar by Middle Temple in 1964 and started practice in the common law chambers of Morris Finer QC. While there, she volunteered as a caseworker for Justice, reviewing historic allegations of wrongful conviction and spent Wednesday afternoons, happily giving legal advice on widely diverse areas at the Mary Ward Legal Advice Centre in Bloomsbury.

With two very small children and inadequate domestic help, she resolved to leave private practice after five years and joined the government service for a short while until the children were of school age. In fact she stayed at the Department of the Director of Public Prosecutions for 18 years, acquiring another baby and a fascinating litany of some of the most notorious and difficult serious prosecutions, including numerous murders, IRA terrorism and frauds on Lloyd’s of London and the Guinness cases.

In 1987, when the CPS was a year old and the DPP’s department was its headquarters, Ros was Head of the Fraud Investigation Group for London, the forerunner of the Serious Fraud Office and was asked to head up the fledgling disciplinary department of the Securities Association, later the Securities and Futures Authority.

Her fraud experience stood her in good stead, helping to keep the City a clean and reliable place to do business, by investigating and bringing disciplinary actions against errant stockbrokers and futures dealers. She was made Director of Policy and General Counsel of the SFA and was head-hunted once again, this time to head up the Serious Fraud Office, where she was Director, from 1997 to 2003, under the “superintendence” of four successive Attorneys General.

In 2001 in the New Year’s Honours, she was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath and, in 2006, she was made a Queen’s Counsel, honoris causa.

Having retired from the civil service, Ros took on a number of part-time appointments, all in the public or charitable sector, including non-executive directorships of the Office of Fair Trading and the Department of Trade (later BIS) legal department, the chairmanship of the independent Fraud Advisory Panel, which she held for 11 years, and was appointed to the Supervisory Committee of the European Anti-Fraud Office, at the European Commission in Brussels, which she chaired for two years and remained a member for a further four years.

Ros is currently a busy bencher of Middle Temple, where she chairs the Risk Committee and sits on its Scholarships and Prizes Committee. She is Complaints Commissioner for the London Metal Exchange and a member of the Exclusion Committee of the European Investment Bank.

She sits on the Regulatory Board of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and chairs its Appointments board; she is also a member of disciplinary panels of the Association of Accounting Technicians, CIMA and the National Register of Public Service Interpreters. In her spare time, she is a proud grandmother of seven.

I am hugely honoured to receive the Honorary Degree of LLD from the University of the West of England. It denotes the significance which the University attaches to the awareness of the enormous harm that fraud does to our economy and to the well-being of individuals and businesses directly and indirectly affected by it. Most of my professional life has been devoted to trying to combat fraud and increase public awareness of its dangers and this award is a wonderful recognition by the University of the importance of this work.

The Honorary Degree of Honorary Doctor of Laws (Hon LLD) will be conferred at the Awards Ceremony of the Faculty of Business and Law at Bristol Cathedral on Friday 14 July at 14:00.

Successful first year for the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School pro bono Business Advice Clinic

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The pro bono Business Advice Clinic has had a successful first year of operation. Since October 2016 until the last clinic on 10 May 2017, a group of undergraduate and post-graduate law students has conducted interviews, provided advice and drafted documentation for a variety of business clients.

Work undertaken as part of the clinic includes preparing a new set of Articles of Association for a Bristol charity, drafting consultancy agreements for a start-up based in UWE’s Enterprise Incubator, providing a tailored due diligence questionnaire for the acquisition by an ex-UWE student of a local business and drafting a supply agreement for a beauty product start up based in the Enterprise Incubator at Future Space.

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The pro bono clinic was set up by Marcus Keppel-Palmer, head of pro bono legal work in FBL. The clinic has been run in collaboration with lawyers from two Bristol firms: Osborne Clarke and Gregg Latchams. At each pro bono clinic clients were able to make appointments to see a student team with at least one external lawyer present. Work undertaken between clinics was supervised by UWE law lecturer and solicitor, Diana Johnson, in addition to the Osborne Clarke solicitors; Natasha Grant, James Taylor, Victoria Lewis and Clare Lim (trainee) and Gregg Latchams lawyers; Chris Hayward, Ed Boal and Shalini Jagmohan (trainee).

All students who participated in the clinic found it extremely rewarding – comments from some participants are set out below:

Shifrah Walker-Abidoye, LPC:

“I enjoyed being able to contribute the knowledge that I have learnt throughout my undergraduate study in a practical way to start-up companies”

Stefano Pianigiani, LPC:

“I really enjoyed working with solicitors from Osborne Clarke and Gregg Latchams. Seeing how they run interviews has been an invaluable experience.” 

Hannah Walkeden, undergraduate Law:

“The clinic has been a great way to interact with start-up businesses, legal professionals and fellow UWE students” 

Alumni networking event at the new Bristol Business School – 31st May 2017

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The new Bristol Business School, a £55 million pound state of the art building which home the Bristol Business School (BBS) and the Bristol Law School (BLS), opened its doors in April.

Features of the new building include two showcase law courts, a city trading room, a 300 seat lecture theatre, two Harvard lecture theatres, an incubator for Team Entrepreneur students, technology enhanced and flexible learning spaces, IT suites, meeting facilities and parking for businesses, an external business engagement space, a central social space and a café.

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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.

To celebrate the opening of the new building, the Bristol Business School and Bristol Law School are hosting networking drinks exclusively for their alumni on the 31st May from 6pm.

The event will give alumni a chance to experience the building first hand and networking with their fellow alumni.

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The networking drinks take place on Wednesday 31st May from 6pm in the new building. If you would like more information please email anna6.jones@uwe.ac.uk. You can register a place here.

UWE Bristol Law School Staff Take Part in Workshop on ‘Projecting Bristol and Britain to a Post-Brexit World’ at University of Bristol

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By Christian Dadomo and Noëlle Quénivet

The University of Bristol organised on 27 April 2017 a workshop on ‘Projecting Bristol and Britain to a Post-Brexit World’ that focused on the impact of Brexit on trade and businesses in Bristol and the South West more generally. Christian Dadomo and Dr Noëlle Quénivet were invited to take part in the workshop alongside other academics from UWE, the University of Bristol, and the University of Bath as well as members of the European Parliament, representatives of the Bristol City Council, businesses, associations of businesses, etc.

Amongst the key issues broached in this agenda-setting discussions were the need to keep Bristol an open and international city, the challenge of responding to the uncertainties created by Brexit and the related negotiations (eg the change of regulatory framework), the potential loss of funding for various industries (eg  universities) and activities (eg culture and arts), access to the European market for the finance sector, the importance of diversity amongst the workforce , the impact on tourism, etc. Members of the introductory joint session agreed that there were four overarching issues: (1) talent and skills that related to the labour market, migration and diversity of workforce; (2) access to funding and the future of networks and partnerships; (3) market access, growth and regulatory uncertainty; and (4) Branding Bristol as a city of global reputation and openness.

For the second session the discussion centred upon the main challenges, concerns and identified earlier. The purpose was to gain a deeper understanding of these issues and single out those that required priority attention. Christian Dadomo and Noëlle Quénivet participated in the group that examined the issue of ‘market access, growth and regulatory uncertainty’. To start with, the group wondered whether Bristol and the community of Bristol was able to influence decisions relating to market access and growth, ie whether it had the political power to do so. A long debate ensued, focusing on whether businesses should be involved in politics, whether they in fact can lobby and if yes, for what should they lobby. Different trading options were mentioned: access to the Single Market, a Customs Union, a tailored trade deal, trading under the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Organising the ‘voice’ of businesses was even more difficult because various industries are currently taking a very pragmatic approach, gathering data, carrying out risk assessment analyses and examining potential post-Brexit scenarios. Each analysis required looking at future investment possibilities, tax, legal regulation on import and exports, etc. Each industry, each sector, each type of company was coming to the conclusion that a specific industry, sector, company-type (large/SME, international/domestic orientated) answer was warranted. In other words, it was not possible to talk about a single solution that could be used for lobby purposes. It was also pointed out that businesses are always looking for opportunities and some see Brexit as an opportunity to exploit.

So, what are the industries and sectors that are important to Bristol? What are the companies and sectors that are locally connected? It is in this context that the idea of ‘stickiness’ was mentioned. Undoubtedly, there is a pool of competencies located in Bristol that thrives on free movement of persons and attracts further talents to the city and the region more generally. The sectors that were mentioned in this context were the creative industry, the aerospace sector, etc. Whilst some of these can indeed relocate their activities to Europe or further afar (eg Airbus), others cannot. Indeed, research shows that the effect of Brexit is more significant and real on domestic businesses than on internationally facing businesses. The more localised industries are likely to take the hit. Indeed, in the services industry, unskilled migrants are key to Bristol, especially in the tourism sector. Also, the costs associated with the reintroduction of customs, administrative regulations, etc are likely to be onerous for businesses. It was further stressed that networks and embeddedness were important factors in determining how businesses would be affected. After all there was a ‘local cluster effect’. Pointedly, the re/delocalisation of large companies would have an impact on local businesses working them as well as a social impact on the local population as such.

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Next, the group delved into the difficult issue of how businesses in Bristol could be supported in the current economic and political climate. Again, the question of which industries and sectors warranted particular attention and support was examined. A note of caution was rung inasmuch as pinpointing which sector should be prioritised could lead to discrimination and indirectly to the potential loss of sectors that might at a particular moment in time not be viewed as that important and deserving such support.

In the third session, the group aimed at formulating policy recommendations and action points with a view to addressing the challenges and opportunities identified in the previous session. In the group on ‘market access, growth and regulatory uncertainty’ it was suggested that local businesses be trained in how changes might and will affect their everyday practice. It was also agreed that the lack of awareness and knowledge about key institutions such as the World Trade Organisation or key agreements (European Economic Area Agreement) and/or types of free trade agreements needed to be remedied so as to give local businesses a better chance to tackle the effects of Brexit.  Clearly, education could assist in risk mitigation.

Amongst the key recommendations was the creation of a regional forum/information point for industries, groups and individuals to make the uncertain more certain. This could act as a central point for a variety of stakeholders to gain a better understanding of certain issues, to accede expertise across academia and business sectors, etc. The group also discussed how information could be imparted: seminars, briefings, lectures, webinars, and combinations thereof were mentioned as possible vectors of information but it was underlined that the information needed to be presented in a way that businesses could understand. Further, it was noted that owing to the knowledge gap it was at this stage more important to fill in that gap and illustrate the problem than provide ready-made solutions. After all, businesses were likely to find their own, tailor-made, solutions in due course and seek assistance along the way. Providing them with quality expertise was thus essential.

On 23 May a public event ‘#BristolBrexit – A City Responds to Brexit’ will showcase the outcomes of this and other workshops held by the University of Bristol. It will include stalls, presentations, interactive networking opportunities and an art exhibition and the possibility of co-produced work and collaborative network.

UWE Bristol new Business School building contractor wins gold at the National Considerate Constructors Awards

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ISG, the contractor for the new Bristol Business School, recently won Gold at the National Considerate Constructors Awards.

The Considerate Constructors Scheme’s National Site Awards recognise those sites registered with the Scheme that have raised the bar for considerate construction.

Since 1999, the Scheme has been rewarding the UK’s most considerate sites for the contribution they have made towards improving the image of construction. The Scheme looks at the measures a site has put in place to be more considerate towards local neighbourhoods and the public, the workforce, and the environment.

ISG and the team won Gold due to an outstanding site appearance which was achieved through measures including site checks carried out by a director to ensure that presentation was consistent with branding and the site portrayed a positive image.

Both the client and contractor took a joint interest in community engagement and many goodwill activities were undertaken. Local businesses were used and local labour was estimated to be 88% of the workforce.

A full range of energy-saving measures were in place including carbon footprint monitoring and the use of cycles and public transport, which was estimated to have saved over 200 car journeys. The site provided the latest safety and risk information for visitors and operatives through briefing and posted information, being mindful of those with language or hearing difficulties.

Together with first class training and care and support programmes for operatives, this site demonstrated a total commitment to improving the image of construction.

Congratulations to the team!

More updated on the new build can be found on the new build blog.

UWE Pro Bono work nominated for a Law Works Student Pro Bono Award

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UWE Pro Bono is celebrating again after the Law Works Student Pro Bono Awards has shortlisted our new LiP Service Project for its 2017 Awards as best new Pro Bono initiative. The Awards will be presented at the House of Commons on April 26th. Law Works is the Pro Bono arm of the Law Society.

The Bristol LiP Service is a service run at the Bristol Civil Justice Centre in order to give litigants in person greater understanding and awareness about the processes and procedures in presenting their cases before the Courts. The service runs weekly sessions.

This ground breaking project is a collaboration between the Bristol Civil Justice Centre, UWE, Bristol University and the University of Law. Ian Thompson (Law)is to be congratulated on the success of the project which he has led from UWE’s perspective and brought about thanks to his existing work with the Bristol Civil Justice Centre through the Law Court Clinic, which has offered assistance to litigants before the Family Court for several years.

UWE supplies 12 students to the rota and one of them, Manmeet Singh (Year 1) will be representing UWE at the Awards.

Student blog: Chris Recker Guest Lecture

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Guest blog by third year Law student Bronia Richards 

Chris Recker of Trowers & Hamlins provided a guest lecture on the extent of commercial fraud in the UK and the realities of commercial law in practice.

Highlighting the importance of tackling fraud across the board, from low-level fraud right through to corporate level fraud, Chris emphasised the extensive damage that fraud can cause to people’s lives. Chris gave an example of an experience he had met in practice, what is known as “Man in the Middle Fraud”, a crime that so many of us could face on a daily basis without anyone realising it.  The “Man in the Middle Fraud” begins life in an establishment such as a coffee shop, or a bar where there is free Wi-Fi. The fraudster will pose as the establishment’s Wi-Fi, from which the unsuspecting victim will log into. At this point, the fraudster is able to impose and watch the victims network, and see everything that he is doing. Logging into accounts with confidential passwords, inputting card details, addresses, emails, the fraudster gains access to an abundance of confidential information. The damage and loss to the victim that can then be caused is catastrophic.

Chris also provided an insight into the life of a commercial lawyer in practice. Drawing on his own experiences from his undergraduate studies at UWE to life as a trainee solicitor, Chris detailed the true realities and challenges he faced of in the “real world” in building his legal career.

Chris also detailed the types of work and the broad range of cases covered as a commercial lawyer. Whilst highly demanding, Chris explained that life as a commercial lawyer was never boring and incredibly rewarding. With work ranging from investigations of fraud allegations, to documentation reviews and injunctive relief, life as a commercial lawyer always provides new challenges.

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.