- Members’ News
- TLA Dinner
- TLA Legal Ladies
- Human Mobility and the post-2015 Development Agenda
- Enforcement of Employment Rights by EU-8 Migrant Workers in UK Employment Tribunals
- Tales from Tripos
- Fellows’ News
- From Our Foreign Correspondents…
- New Student Members
Dates for your Diaries
Autumn Drinks Thursday 19 November 2015 – Networking drinks and canapés in the Grand Hall of the Old Bailey, speaker for the evening will be Professor John Spencer, Professor Emeritus of Law (Murray Edwards).
Book online: https://alumni.trin.cam.ac.uk/TLA-events.
Women in Law, Sunday 17 April 2016 – Cambridge event. Save the date, more details coming soon.
Are you interested in helping plan activities for the TLA?
The committee meets three times a year in London usually for under an hour, with the occasional email exchange required. A term of office runs for three years. To volunteer to join the committee, please email email@example.com.
Dr John Avery Jones CBE (1959) is one of the first winners of the IBFD Frans Vanistendael Award for International Tax Law, which has been established to promote worldwide excellence in research into this area of law. See further: http://bit.ly/1OBKfKt
Dr Barend van Leeuwen (2005m) has been appointed as Assistant Professor of European Law, at the Faculty of Law, University of Groningen.
Dr Amy Ludlow (2005m) was Principal Investigator on a qualitative study into the causes and prevention of suicide in prison. The report was commissioned by the Harris Review, an independent study into self-inflicted deaths among 18-24 year old prisoners. See further: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/staff-prisoner-relationships-are-key-to-managing-suicide-risk-in-prison-say-researchers.
Sir Nicholas Stadlen QC (1968) recently featured on Radio 4’s Great Lives programme, in which he selected the life of Bram Fischer, leading counsel in Nelson Mandela’s Rivonia trial, for discussion with Matthew Parris. The programme is available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06bnq1b
TLA Dinner – February 2015 – Ryan Tan
The final of Trinity’s internal moot competition took place in the afternoon, very kindly judged by Peter Rook and Angela Rafferty. We were privileged to witness an exceedingly closely contested affair, with the judges unanimously agreeing that the quality of all four finalists this year ranked as one of the best they had encountered at the undergraduate level. After what seemed like a session of gruelling deliberation, they concluded that first year Alexia Michaelides (2014m) emerged triumphant thanks to an extremely persuasive and captivating performance.
After the moot, Dr Louise Merrett (2003e) gave an engaging and well-received pre-dinner lecture. Dr Merrett’s talk addressed the issue of territoriality in employment law, in particular, when international workers can rely on English employment rights. Traditionally the focus has been on whether the worker was physically working in Great Britain but recent cases have applied a more nuanced idea of territoriality looking at all the factors which connect the worker’s contract of employment with different countries and systems of law.
The day culminated in the bi-annual TLA Dinner held in Trinity’s Great Hall during which both alumni and current Trinity students were able to interact (and reconnect) over drinks, canapés, and a very hearty meal. This year, we were extremely privileged to have Lady Hale as our guest of honour for the evening. Lady Hale was a Girtonian but frequently visited Trinity for supervisions. She recalled her supervisions with Tony Weir with great fondness and delivered a witty speech that will be remembered as fondly as Lady Hale’s affection for the College.
TLA Legal Ladies – Pimlico, April 2015 and Greenwich, Sept 2015
The Trinity legal ladies met informally a couple of times this year for good food, wine and talk about life in the law (among other things!), developing a dossier on excellent eateries just slightly off the beaten track. We had two very pleasant evenings at the Orange in Pimlico in April and at Craft on the Greenwich peninsula in September, both fabulous venues serving up delicious fodder! All women who read Law at Trinity or who are currently working in the Law in some capacity are warmly welcomed to these events, which provide a useful (and, given recent news and social media events in the area, perhaps timely…) opportunity to discuss career plans and experiences in the legal profession, and to get useful tips and hints from their Trinity alumnae peers and seniors. Plans are currently afoot for a larger event in college during the first half of 2016 on Women in the Law…
Human Mobility and the Post-2015 Development Agenda
Samarth Patel (2010)
The ongoing refugee crisis in Europe and the ongoing political debate about increasing migration from non-EU countries continue to highlight that human mobility is occupying a prioritised (and publicised) space in law and policy-making. One aspect of human mobility in which have recently been working is internal displacement, which has a much younger legacy than international refugee law and a less regulated presence than national immigration laws. Unlike refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) are individuals who have been displaced from their homes but who have not crossed an international border. It is generally accepted that IDPs occupy a lacuna in international law. There are few international frameworks which establish a protective regime of rights for IDPs, but neither do IDPs fall within the scope of the Refugee Convention 1951 and other legal instruments for the protection of refugees. It is notable that the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa is the only supranational agreement which imposes binding obligations, upon member states of the African Union, to protect the rights of IDPs.
Against this background, in June 2015 I was invited to attend the 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. I attended as part of my role as a legal researcher with the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (the CISDL), which was hosting a side-event titled Human Rights and Human Mobility in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The CISDL is an international legal research organisation based in Montreal, Canada which conducts research in areas relating to sustainable development, in close collaboration with the Law Faculty at the University of McGill and a number of university faculties internationally. Its work encompasses a broad research agenda which includes international human rights, sustainability in international trade and investment, and sustainable development and climate change.
The speakers at the side-event represented a range of organisations involved in human mobility, with representatives from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (the UNHCR), the International Organisation for Migration (the IOM), the Joint IDP Profiling Service (JIPS), the Nansen Initiative, and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). It was particularly welcome for me that the IDMC agreed to participate in the event because I have also been working with the organisation separately on a pro bono basis.
In the discussion which took place at the event the speakers appreciated the legal distinctions between IDPs, refugees and migrants but they recognised that these groups often face similar pressures in their home states. For instance, IDPs, refugees and migrants may be vulnerable and exposed to environmental or man-made hazards, ranging from longer-term, progressive issues like poor economic development and inflexible labour markets, which then often exacerbate more immediate hazards like violent conflicts or natural disasters which lead to displacement.
There has recently been a lot of news about the international efforts to address such pressures, by finalising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda (i.e. a replacement framework for the Millennium Development Goals which are set to expire at the end of 2015). The SDGs are a series of 17 commitments on UN Member States which are qualified by more detailed targets, with the aim to improve global development and reduce global poverty over an ambitious 15-year timescale. The SDGs span a range of commitments, such as achieving gender equality and the sustainable use of marine and terrestrial resources. However, it was – and in many ways it still is – unclear how human mobility would be reflected in the SDGs. The side-event hosted by CISDL invited speakers and audience participants to consider how international law could be used to frame human mobility in the SDGs and support the implementation of the SDGs to address issues related to human mobility.
The side-event was warmly received by participants and for me was an interesting experience which helped to further interests which I have begun to develop (incongruously enough) during my work at a corporate law firm, and separately through my involvement with the CISDL. It was also a valuable opportunity to discuss our work with many individuals who are engaged in inspiring fieldwork and research into human mobility.
Enforcement of Employment Rights by EU-8 Migrant Workers in UK Employment Tribunals – Professor Catherine Barnard (1996e) and Dr Amy Ludlow (2005m)
The arrival of over a million migrant workers from EU-8 states (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) has changed the face of the UK’s labour market. As migrant workers, EU-8 nationals enjoy a right to equal treatment with nationals in respect of their terms and conditions of employment. While some employers have tried to meet their legal obligations towards EU-8 nationals, others have taken advantage of these workers and have denied them their employment rights under UK law. This raises questions about social justice towards (often vulnerable) migrant workers. It also means that responsible employers find it difficult to compete with rogue employers in their sectors. More generally, it has led to a perception that migrant workers are undercutting national workers and, effectively, ‘taking’ national workers’ jobs.
The overarching aim of our study was to understand what happens when migrant workers are denied their employment rights. Do they enforce those rights by bringing claims to Employment Tribunals, and if so, what are these cases about? Are claims brought alone or with support, and if so, from whom? How are EU-8 workers treated once they are before a Tribunal and how successful are their claims? If there is evidence that EU-8 migrants are successfully bringing claims to enforce their employment rights, then fears about undercutting and exploitation of vulnerable workers may be less serious than they would first appear. If they are not then concerns about (mis)treatment are justified and prompt further questions about why migrant workers do not use Employment Tribunals and how their rights could be better protected in practice, particularly given the recent introduction of fees for accessing Employment Tribunals.
Our questions were not easy to answer as there is no existing official data upon which we could draw. In the face of this data vacuum, we examined all Employment Tribunal decisions in England and Wales between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2012. We developed a coding system to extract details from all cases in this period where there was reason to think that the claimant might be an EU-8 migrant worker. This produced a database of 1548 cases, which we examined alongside qualitative data from approximately 20 interviews with relevant employment law practitioners and staff from advice and enforcement organisations.
On the basis of this material, we have found significantly fewer claims being brought by EU-8 migrants than we would expect if this group was enforcing employment rights at a rate that is proportionate to population size. Of those cases that were presented to Employment Tribunals, the most common claim brought by EU-8 claimants was for pay (unpaid wages or holiday pay). There was an overrepresentation of sex and race discrimination claims. The level of lawyer-led litigation was very low; the level of claimant in person litigation was very high, though we found good evidence of Tribunals taking considerable care to do all they could to assist migrants who had not been able to help themselves, in the face of claims that were frequently chaotically presented, and claimants who could speak little English. We presented these initial findings at three conferences: the Socio-Legal Studies Association Annual Conference in Warwick in March, the Industrial Law Society Spring Conference in London in April and the Labour Law Research Network Annual Conference in Amsterdam in June. We have also written article about our findings, which will be published in the Industrial Law Journal later this year.
In a second phase of work we have collected Employment Tribunal data for all of 2014, after the introduction of fees for issuing a claim and having it heard. In so doing, we have created a further database of 480 cases. Our analysis of these cases is ongoing. Together with our colleague, Sarah Fraser-Butlin, we are also conducting further interviews with community advice organisations and non-Tribunal employment enforcement bodies (such as HMRC and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority). The aims of this work are to explore impediments to the use of Employment Tribunals and how rights might be better protected in practice. We hope that this second phase of the project will lead to a further article in the Industrial Law Journal and a report for distribution to stakeholders that will synthesise all findings and any proposals for reform. We have drawn on all of this work in our submission of evidence to the Justice Select Committee’s inquiry into courts and tribunals fees and charges (http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/justice-committee/news-parliament-20151/courts-tribunals-fees-charges-inquiry/).
Tales from Tripos…
2015 will rightly go down as a truly stellar year for Trinity’s lawyers. Maria-Nectaria Antoniou deserves first mention as one of six candidates in Part II Law this year to be awarded the extraordinary distinction of a starred First. But the good news just kept on coming, with Firsts on the LLM for David Birch (who also won the Chancellor’s Medal for English Law), on the MCL for Elena Popic, in Part II for Rebecca Coyle, in Part IB for a triumvirate – Lindi Wang, Peter Lloyd-Williams and Euchine Ng, and last but patently not least Chris Coulter with the top first in Part IA, with Alexia Michaelides not far behind him. Congratulations to all of our First class students!
And now another new year starts…
Journal of Private International Law: 2015 Conference – Dr Louise Merrett (2003e)
Between 3rd and 5th September the Faculty hosted the Journal of Private International Law’s 2015 Conference.
The Journal’s biennial conference, which this year marked the Journal’s 10th anniversary, is the principal international meeting for scholars and practitioners in the field. Organized by Richard Fentiman, Pippa Rogerson and Louise Merrett, the Cambridge conference attracted 130 speakers and delegates from around the world.
A large number of issues, across the range of areas within the field of private international law, were addressed in a series of panel and plenary sessions. Following tradition, presentations were made by both established scholars and those early in their career.
Research leave: Tort and crime across the world – Dr Matt Dyson (2011e)
Dr Matt Dyson was on sabbatical leave in Lent Term 2015 and had a fascinating time working on tort and crime around the world (amongst other things). Leave was a chance to complete several ongoing projects, develop international contacts for projects being proposed and to do primary research towards a monograph.
The largest single project while on leave was finishing work on Comparing Tort and Crime, an edited work examining the relationship between tort and crime in eight legal systems; it has since been published by CUP and launched the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London in July. It is a second volume in a series, with the first, Unravelling Tort and Crime having come out in 2014. The third, Explaining Tort and Crime, a monograph on comparative legal development, will look at more than 15 jurisdictions over 150 years and is due for publication in 2017. It was this monograph that necessitated trips to collect primary materials not available in the UK.
At the start of January, Matt was a visiting researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, which provided access to their excellent library and the opportunity to work with colleagues with specialisations in jurisdictions around the world. Two further projects were begun. The first was an Aktuelle Stunde presentation of work in progress to Reinhard Zimmermann’s Lehrstuhl, on the topic of Organ Transplants which transmit disease, a new medical project. The second project was in criminal law in response to the written evidence of the Justice Select Committee investigation on Joint Enterprise. That report had been published in December and the research for Matt’s evidence was expanded for publication. That work has since been published as ‘The future of joint-up thinking: living in a post-accessory liability world’ (2015) 79 Journal of Criminal law 181-197
On 29 January, the preparatory work on organ transplants was presented, on a panel including Nicky Padfield and Kourosh Saeb-Parsey, to the Transplant Unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. That work was developed further at a Cambridge Private Law Centre Work in Progress Workshop in Easter Term and has since been published in the Lancet in the form of a short comment piece entitled ‘Transplanting suboptimal organs: medicolegal implications’ Lancet 2015, 386: 719-721. A fuller paper will be presented at the Society of Legal Scholars Conference shortly. This is the first collaboration between the Transplant Unit at Addenbrooke’s and the new Law, Medicine and Life Sciences Centre at the Faculty of Law.
Also on 29 January, Matt flew to Sao Paulo, to undertake research as a Visiting Professor. Matt conducted research in Brazilian law, particularly the rules connecting tort and crime. Brazil has a fascinating history in this area, with recent legislative changes on how criminal courts play a role in compensating victims of crime being unique in the world. A presentation to the Faculty, graduate and undergraduate students as well as visiting prosecutors and judges was a chance to introduce a comparative analysis to tort and crime. The presentation was reported in an online Brazilian legal journal and is available online.
Matt then went to Santiago to collect materials and consult with colleagues on Chilean Tort and Crime. He presented at the University of Chile, and the Pontifical University of Chile. A report of the first, is available on the University of Chile website. The trip was an excellent chance to form new links with the excellent researchers there, with the particular help of Cristián Banfi del Río at the Doctoral Program in the University of Chile.
After a brief return to the UK, Matt embarked on a tour of US Universities, again for research, discussion and new partnerships. After a week at Boston University, with Ken Simons (now at UC Irvine) and presenting a staff seminar there, Matt moved to Tulane, at the invitation of Vernon Parlmer and Louisiana State University at the invitation of Olivier Moréteau, to gather more materials and give further papers. Matt then went to Washington University at St Louis as a Visiting Scholar, attending a seminar and presenting his work. From there, for the last stop, Matt was the inaugural Bonfield Fellow at the University of Iowa. There, Matt presented on his work as well as conducted extensive research into the law in the United States; the University of Iowa has the third largest law library in the United States (and is the largest public collection) and also has an excellent academic librarian, in the form of Cambridge alumnus, Tom Gallanis.
On his return to the UK, Matt has been working to complete a number of other projects, including the proofs for several articles, such as:
- “La Respuesta del Derecho Civil a Sentencias Penales en Inglaterra y España” InDret 3/2015;
- “Tort and Crime” in Mauro Bussani and Antony Sebok (eds), Comparative Tort Law: Global Perspectives (Edward Elgar); and
- “Precariousness as rhetoric: the role of the state in private and public expressions of justice” in C. Lageot and N. Papineau (eds), Approches franco-britanniques de la précarité: principe(s), droit(s), pratique(s) (LGDJ). This is the publication from a conference co-organised by Matt and colleagues from Poitiers in December 2014.
The work in the period from December 2014 to April 2015 was also forward-looking in other ways, with preparations for work on Commercial Remedies (CUP, 2016), and Landmark Cases in Criminal law (Hart, 2016).
Overall, the leave was an exciting time, finishing projects, starting new ones and developing international research experience and connections. Matt is particularly excited about the chance to work with fascinating colleagues, from his established link with the University of Utrecht through to new opportunities linked to visits made in this period of leave. The key theme in the work has been understanding how legal systems develop: this has been historical and comparative work, with a particular focus on tort law, criminal law and the relationship between the two. This kind of work is particularly important for effective teaching of legal reasoning across the scope of the material that undergraduates engage with at the Faculty of Law. The chance to spend some consolidated time on these projects, particularly in hard to reach but fascinating foreign jurisdictions, is also a chance to revel in the intellectual joy that studying legal phenomena can provide.
Jo Miles (1999e)
Jo published two books this summer, a new edition of her leading textbook, Family Law: Text, Cases, and Materials, now in its 3rd edition, co-authored with Sonia Harris-Short and Rob George: ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199664184.do
and a new edited collection published under the aegis of the Cambridge Socio-Legal Group, which Jo chairs, Marriage Rites and Rights, co-edited with Perveez Mody (from Social Anthropology) and Rebecca Probert (Warwick), with Foreword by Dr Rowan Williams: www.hartpub.co.uk/BookDetails.aspx?ISBN=9781849469135 The latter volume is an interdisciplinary collection that brings together scholars from numerous fields, including law, sociology, anthropology, psychology, demography, theology and art and design to consider the state of contemporary marriage in England and Wales. Recent years have seen extensive discussion about the continuing retreat from marriage, the increasing demand for the right to marry from previously excluded groups, and the need to protect those who do not wish to marry from being forced to do so. At the same time, weddings are big business, couples are spending more than ever before on getting married, and marriage ceremonies are increasingly elaborate. The book offers a timely reflection on the rites of marriage, as well as the right to marry (or not to marry), and the relationship between them, exploring in depth the specific issues arising from this jurisdiction’s Anglican heritage, demographic development, current laws and social practices.
From our foreign correspondents: Hollond Fund and Erasmus Reports
From Charlotte Kelly, our correspondent in Singapore:
Readers with an alarmingly good memory may recall that this time last year in these pages, fresh from a summer in Beijing, I was curious about why pedestrians on Beijing’s crumbling pavements don’t sue when they sustain injury.
A hole in the pavement in upmarket suburb of Jakarta, which I took this morning to illustrate my point about the dangers to the unwary pedestrian.
A year spent completing an LLM (Asian Legal Studies) at National University of Singapore (NUS) has given me both the opportunity to further my study of roads hazardous to the pedestrian, and reassured me that I am not alone in my esoteric interests. Not only have I fallen down several potholes in the streets of Jakarta in the name of research, I have also served as a research assistant to someone whose major work is on why people do and don’t sue after road accidents in Thailand.
I was attracted to NUS largely due to the work there of the Centre for Asian Legal Studies (CALS), a young centre for researchers looking at the relationship between law and society (both broadly conceived) in Asia. I was not disappointed. During my time at NUS I met, and was taught by, a number of inspiring academics who were grappling with what it means to apply a socio-legal lens to Asia, and how best to promote the benefits of a socio-legal approach in a continent where the legal academy remains overwhelmingly black-letter.
I was fortunate to be able to tailor my courses towards those focusing on wider Asian issues; indeed such was the comparative element, in every class the law of at least three countries was considered. Under Professor Andrew Harding I studied two synoptic courses, which raised challenging questions about whether it is different to study Asian law from within Asia, as opposed to from outside, and how best to translate academic theory into policy suggestions for countries in urgent need of law and development assistance. Under Asst Professor Lynette Chua I was introduced to the sociology of legal movements in a class which gave much room to reflect upon the differing attitudes to the right of public assembly taken in America and Singapore.
Meanwhile, the requirement to take four or five courses each semester gave me room to pursue a broad range of interests. One course on international oil and gas law proved both an interesting viewpoint from which to analyse the Scottish referendum taking place back in the UK, and also an opportunity to contrast cultural norms concerning corruption and patronage around the world.
I combined my study with working part-time as a research assistant to a number of academics at CALS. I gained an unhealthy familiarity with the vagaries of OSCOLA, checking and gathering bibliographic references and formatting articles for publication, and also gathered primary data on the state of current Asian socio-legal scholarship. Most rewardingly, I worked as an editorial assistant for an upcoming edition of the Asian Journal of Law and Society, working together with an author whose first language was not English to refine and shape her ideas into an article for publication.
I went to Singapore seeking new perspectives on the law, and I was fortunate to find them not only among the academics, but also among my classmates. All my classes included a mix of LLM students, who were predominantly Indian, Chinese and Southeast Asian, and Singaporean undergraduate law students. I encountered very different views on the purposes of law and legal education from classmates who also challenged the assumption, all too easy for those from the West, that law is always a positive agent of change. As someone fascinated by the gap between ‘law on the books’ and ‘law in practice’, I learnt much from a few good friends from India.
Before I left England, people were keen to impress upon me that Singapore was very hot, fearing perhaps that I hadn’t appreciated this fact. It was indeed, very hot, and whilst I cannot say I came to enjoy the weather, I learnt at least to tolerate it. Life in Singapore had many consolations though, and it was never less than interesting. The law school at NUS is situated in the middle of the Botanic Gardens of Singapore, and when walking home at night after a day in class, I often came across all manner of jungle wildlife. I lived in a variety of eccentric accommodations in Singapore including a windowless concrete cell, a children’s playroom and a boarding school for Chinese schoolgirls, where I shared a kitchen with an accident-prone house gecko. (Any harsh words I ever said about Trinity accommodation I take back.) The efficiency of Singapore’s infrastructure however, made a very easy and pleasant place in which to live.
One of the great advantages of Singapore is the ease with which one can travel from Singapore to the rest of Asia, and I took full advantage of this, racking up multiple trips to Indonesia, China, Malaysia and Japan. Indonesia was a country of which I had read a great deal in my time as a research assistant at Leiden University two summers ago- a position which I was able to take up due to another kind grant from the Hollond Fund- and it was a pleasure to finally visit the country. I quickly fell in love with Indonesia, a place of contradictions, where many things which look like they shouldn’t work at all somehow succeed against the odds, and I have spent the last summer learning Indonesian. I travelled also for leisure, pursuing my twin interests in traditional textiles, and dangerous and downright weird theme parks.
I went abroad with the intention, after finishing my LLM, to pursue a socio-legal PhD looking at legal transplants in China’s investment in Africa. I retain a keen interest in Chinese law, and indeed took advantage of the possibility of inter-faculty modules at NUS to study the sociology of modern China, but my geographic focus has shifted (at least for the next few years) toward Southeast Asia. I remain committed to a socio-legal approach, and the opportunity to attend a Southeast Asian socio-legal conference organised by CALS which brought together many of the prominent academics in the field, has shown me quite what an exciting time it is to be joining the field.
What has really captured my imagination is looking at legal transplants in the context of the development of ideas of children’s rights in Singapore and Indonesia. To what extent were the Dutch and English colonial powers interested in regulating the law concerning native children in their Southeast Asian colonies? Is the language of child ‘rights’ adopted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child simply exporting a Western image of childhood into cultures which don’t recognise ‘rights talk’ as a legitimate mechanism for social change? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I am fortunate enough to be starting my MSt, leading to DPhil, at the Centre for Socio-legal Studies at Oxford University in October 2015. Four years on the subject, kindly funded by ESRC and Balliol College, should allow me at least to find more questions in this fascinating field, and maybe even some answers.
People to whom I explained about my good fortune in receiving a Hollond Fund Studentship were amazed to hear that such a generous award would be made without conditions, and convinced that there was some catch. As I am yet to be told of my obligations of indentured servitude to Trinity, it remains for me to thank Trinity and the Hollond Fund for their exceptional generosity in making possible a year which has been educational in so many ways.
From Chris Johnson, our correspondent in Florence
I spent the 2014/15 academic year studying for an LL.M. at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. This has allowed me to develop academically, as well as to explore an exciting country and a vibrant culture.
The LL.M. course at the EUI is predominantly research based, candidates are required to produce an extended thesis on a topic of their choice, on the basis of which the degree is awarded. I elected to pursue the question: “Has the European Commission had a policy of taking stability into consideration when making horizontal merger decisions in the commercial banking sector?”. Which, reducing 30,000 words to one, I answered “no”.
My research led me to explore a disparate array of fields, ranging from US antitrust law in the 60s and 70s, to the conceptual arguments surrounding how “stability” should be defined. I was also able to read broadly and in-depth on many topics, utilising diverse sources including American politicians and Bahraini central bankers.
I was required to attend a number of seminars whilst at the EUI. Courses I chose included discussion of markets; regulation and competition; constitutional change and the Euro crisis; and comparative contract law. Each of these was informative.
During my studies I lived in an apartment on Via Lambertesca, a historic street adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria in the heart of Florence. I particularly liked exploring the area around my apartment, and trying as many restaurants and sandwich shops as I could find. Two in particular became regular haunts, the delicatessen opposite my flat, owned by Alessandro, a former Italian national rower; and a small, family-run restaurant by the Palazzo Vecchio which served the most fantastic steak I have ever eaten.
As an antidote for my excessive consumption of rich food, I became increasingly enthralled (read obsessed) with cycling in the hills and mountains of Tuscany. The countryside was breathtaking; the weather magnificent; the roads steep and meandering. My crowning cycling glory came in my final weeks in Italy, when I beat my brother in a tight uphill race to the Convento di Montesenario.
I returned to England in late July and have this week commenced pupillage at Keating Chambers. I am enjoying the work, and am excited for the year to come. Unfortunately, neither London’s food, nor its cycling have yet matched that which I experienced during an incredible year in Italy.
I would like to thank the Hollond Fund for its generous assistance, without which, such an illuminating and enjoyable year would not have been possible.
From Laura Wright, our correspondent in Dublin
I recently completed an LL.M. in International and European Intellectual Property Law at Trinity College Dublin. Over the year my courses explored many different aspects of IP including copyright, trademarks, designs and patents. Two courses were especially engaging. Law and Bioethics investigated how the law should respond to biomedical advances and questioned whether there can be enforceable IP rights in human genetic material. IP and Sport considered how trade mark owners can best protect their brands against ambush marketing and counterfeit merchandise.
At the end of the year I submitted a dissertation which examined the patent protection of genetically modified plants in Europe. I analysed the problems these rights are creating for European farmers, paying particular attention to restrictions on seed saving, the passive infringement of biotechnology patents due to patented material growing on the land of unsuspecting farmers and the risks of loss of organic certification after contamination by genetically modified material. I argued that in order to minimise the detrimental effects of agricultural biotechnology patents there needs to be greater consideration and protection of the rights of European farmers. During a conversation with a friend about the prospects of my thesis becoming an unlikely bestseller, I hit upon “50 Shades of Grain” as an appropriate title. I am yet to be inundated with offers to purchase the film rights.
I was sad to leave Dublin this summer, having had a wonderful year. My first impressions of the city as being extremely welcoming and relaxed were confirmed during my time there. I made friends from Ireland and further afield. We spent our free time hiking in the Wicklow Mountains and exploring Ireland. A highlight of the year was a trip to Galway which included a visit to the spectacular Cliffs of Moher.
The LL.M. has been excellent preparation for beginning pupillage at 8 New Square this year. I would like to thank the Hollond Fund for giving me the opportunity to specialise in IP and spend such an interesting and enjoyable year in Dublin.
From Irene Ding, our new correspondent in Cambridge, Mass.
Early Impressions of Harvard
Sunny, warm and humid, Boston in summer felt like a different universe to the newspaper depictions of it last winter. I have already been in this Cambridge for a month, and there is still something new and wonderful to learn and embrace every day.
What strikes me most in Harvard is the ‘paradox’ of class arrangements. There is no lecture-supervision divide here, and the class size is much larger (eg. about 80 people in my Property course) as compared to supervisions in Cambridge. But it will be a costly mistake if one were to assume that he could just skip the readings and hide in the crowd during class. Professors here operate a Socratic method where they call on names of students to answer questions in class without informing them in advance that they are to be called (ie. the famous and intimidating ‘cold call’ in Harvard). It will be awfully embarrassing to appear ignorant and foolish in front of the entire class. That pressure has driven generations of Harvard lawyers to stay focused and work hard. Therefore, the classes here are both less and more stressful at the same time.
The diversity of offerings and flexibility of course combination here also enable me to fully explore and develop my intellectual passions. I am taking Federalism and Separation of Power in the Fall semester with Dean Minow (even though my personal interests substantially lie in private law), and am constantly confronted with a realist perspective of American adjudication. I am better able to integrate a public law dimension into my LL.M dissertation focusing on the studies of private law infrastructures, by understanding the limits imposed on legislation by the written Constitution. The opportunity to explore American foundations of private law has also assuaged my regrets of not having been able to study Aspects of Obligations while in Cambridge. The unique jurisprudential approach to unjust enrichment claims and different remedial responses have enabled me to understand the nature of private relationships from a distinct moral standpoint.
Besides the exciting curriculum, I have also been impressed by the diversity of student population in the LL.M class. My classmates have engaged in various professions spanning across judges, professors, civil servants, business entrepreneurs etc., and each always brings different perspectives and expertise to our class discussions. In addition, Harvard also attracts prominent speakers to the campus: Supreme Court Justices, political leaders, project initiators, renowned academics – not single day goes by without inspirations and stimulations. If law reveals the full spectrum of human endeavors, Harvard surely reveals the full spectrum of law, as well as the immensity of culture, practice and humanity associated with the formation and change of law.
The experiences here often make me reflect upon my own development as a lawyer. When I do, I always feel the tremendously transformative power of Trinity: I never imagined that three years of education in an institution could build in me a system of analytic methodology from a blank slate and shape my legal reasoning in such an incisive way. I remain grateful for the support and preparation that Trinity has given me to put me in a position, where I am able to look beyond and think back, and, as a result, appreciate and embrace the reason for conflict, the possibility of resolution, the breadth of knowledge and the depth of humanity.
From Amy George, our new correspondent in Utrecht, NL
I was full of anticipation before beginning my Erasmus exchange year at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. The Erasmus website advertises the exchange programme as a chance to ‘live abroad and experience a foreign culture, meet new people and learn a foreign language’, making the bold claim that ‘life won’t be the same after Erasmus’. So safe to say my expectations were high.
I had never lived abroad before, or indeed anywhere apart from at home and in college, so there was a lot to get used to. I’m living with two other students in a small flat in the centre of Utrecht, on a street called Lange Smeestraat (a name I still struggle to pronounce). I have discovered this is an unusual choice for an Erasmus student; almost everyone else is in university halls on the edge of the city. But I am glad I am living in the centre, and not just because being close to the law faculty building means an extra ten minutes in bed on the morning of lectures. We also have Oudegracht, the main canal, practically on our doorstop and the famous Domtoren (‘cathedral tower’) only a few minutes’ walk away.
We have been immersed in the culture of the Netherlands since we arrived. We were greeted with cheese and waffles at the orientation day, both of which seem to be staple foods in the Dutch diet. This was followed by a lecture on ‘Dutch culture’, with lots of pictures of people wearing orange. But having lived here for almost four weeks now, I have a more subtle appreciation of Dutch life. For instance, the way Dutch students are taught differs from English methods. The academic year here has longer terms – sixteen weeks – divided up into shorter ‘periods’ of eight weeks at the end of which students are examined on the subjects taken in that period and choose new subjects for the next period. There is also much less supervision than in Cambridge; most of the teaching seems to be done through lectures.
The prediction that we would meet lots of new people was certainly accurate. Perhaps because Utrecht University is unusual in offering more than 200 courses in English, there are hundreds of international students. We have made friends from all over the world, most of them putting us British students to shame by speaking as many as seven different languages.
Speaking of which, I am attempting to learn some Dutch. Dutch people on the whole speak impeccable English, which is very helpful when I’m lost, or trying to tell the difference between washing machine tablets and dishwasher tablets in the supermarket. But at the same time it is not exactly conducive to my linguistic improvement. It is difficult to find someone willing to listen to me stumble through sentences full of mistakes. But I’m getting there slowly. I’ve learnt that biertje (beer) is always an acceptable drink, whatever the time of day or night, and that you NEVER go anywhere without your fiets (bike).
The more time I spend here the more confident I am that my Erasmus year will live up to expectations.
And lastly, a report on Anna Khalfaoui’s summer experience in Texas…
I have just come back from a six-week internship in Houston at the Texas Defender Service (TDS), which was made possible thanks to the financial support of Trinity’s Hollond Fund. TDS is a non-profit law firm, which gives legal representation to people on death row. It was a fascinating and at times emotionally challenging experience to be able to work with death penalty attorneys and to learn more about the deep plagues of Texas’ criminal justice system. A volunteer programme has been in place for several years now, which allows students from Cambridge to intern at TDS offices in Houston or Austin. I assisted lawyers with their day to day work, most of the time this involved administrative tasks such as indexing, summarising judgments, typing letters from inmates from prison, filing out requests of information forms, but I was also given more substantive tasks such as media searches on the cases or researches on educational programmes open to people who are incarcerated. The work may have sometimes been repetitive but the purpose of it made it worthwhile and very rewarding. Texas had executed 528 people since the re-institution of capital punishment in the United States with the 1976 decision of Gregg v Georgia. It has executed more inmates than any other State. My experience, I believe, truly came together on my last day. I visited the Polunksy Unit, where death row is located. I met and spent many hours talking with two inmates, which was a particularly striking experience. The life of somebody on death row is truly horrifying. 23 hours of the day is spent in an individual cell, one hour a day is reserved for showering and recreation. This precious hour is also spent alone, in what one of the people I met referred to as a “slightly bigger cage”. Human contact is so scarce; many develop severe mental illnesses while in prison due to the isolation. Death row inmates in the U.S. generally spend over a decade waiting for the execution. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to witness the devastating effects of capital punishment and to assist these lawyers with the very important work they are doing.
New PhD student: Tim Parker
We are delighted to welcome new PhD student Tim Parker into Trinity’s college law community. Tim grew up in Canberra. After finishing school, he studied for an arts degree (majoring in Chinese Studies) at Melbourne before going on to read law at the University of Hong Kong. After a brief stint at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia, Tim joined the Hong Kong Bar in 2009. His practice has predominantly been in the field of public law, with an emphasis on cases involving constitutional law, human rights, refugee law and public international law. Tim obtained an LLM from Cambridge in 2014. His PhD research, to be conducted under the supervision of Dr. Lorand Bartels, will focus on the power of international courts and tribunals to develop substantive rules of public international law.
The newest TLA members:
Maria-Nectaria Antoniou started a master’s degree in Archaeology at Oxford University in October and is preparing applications for postgraduate degrees in law for the year after that.
George Apps has secured a training contract at MacFarlanes.
David Birch has returned to Australia and is working as a litigation solicitor at Clayton Utz. He has been called to the Sydney bar, commencing at Eleven Wentworth Chambers in May 2016.
Rebecca Coyle has secured a training contract at Herbert Smith.
Irene Ding is currently studying at Harvard, with the support of the Hollond Fund – see report in this newsletter!
Ryan Tan: Currently serving his time in the Singapore Army, Ryan says, “My time in Trinity has left me feeling extremely blessed to have shared 3 years’ worth of unforgettable experiences with fellow Trinity lawyers, all of whom I’ve learnt so much from, and to have had the privilege of being taught by some of the finest legal minds (also the most patient and dedicated Fellows) on the planet – thank you all for the wonderful memories.”
James Tennison is currently at BPP on the LPC and due to start his training contract with Skadden in September next year.
Henrietta Wirta is at the University of Pennsylvania to study for the LLM and a Business and Law Certificate at the Wharton school. She says, “I have met lawyers from all around the world, started studying very interesting subjects such as Art Law, got involved with various pro bono activities and enjoyed the seemingly unlimited amount of free doughnuts and pizza that are on offer at the law school on a regular basis!”