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James Ressel, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

Preparing my notes for this year’s new Child Law class made me reflect on what may be meant by ‘child law’ and how to explain it to my students. Is it a legally determined body of doctrinal law applied to categories of legal subjects delineated by science of chronology and those in parental relationship?  Or is each case decided on its own merits and family judges should have wide discretion in reaching an appropriate solution to each particular case?

Whatever we think it seems that ‘child law’ may not in fact be a body of law of universal application to all human subjects of its sovereignty challenging one of the central characteristics of something we dare call ‘law’. So we could ask what is it in society that ‘child law’ describes.

 

One approach could be to consider ‘child law’ as a nothing more than a shorthand way of referring to that area of law which is concerned with the study of the way law mediates and responds to societal understanding and construction as to what is meant by ‘family’ and ‘law’.

 

But as Herring argues what we think we mean by ‘family’ and ‘law’ is contested.  However, even if we agree with Herring that these terms have no fixed meaning[1] (2017:33) a degree of contingency is not to suggest pure indertminancy but rather points to the fluidity of our understanding and legal construction of the societal relationships and the nature of the subjects of law.

 

It seems that the central concern of ‘child law’, and ‘family law’ more broadly, are the structures of legal and power relationships: here we speak of the ‘child’, the ‘parent’ and the state. Law is a public performance (largely[2]) administered by the state, but perhaps falsely, we view the family largely as a private matter, of concern only to the particular members of that family. We could ask whether the law should retreat from regulating intra-family relations.

 

The understandable but unforgivable focus on the notion of the family as largely a private matter and of no concern to the state, fails to fully acknowledge the significance of the way we situate and conceptualise the ‘family’. The ‘privacy’ model of ‘family’ is repugnant because it can be used to justify acts of social injustice and the exclusion of certain members of the family from social action, political and economic activity.

 

The argument against societal exclusion, and ghettoisation of the ‘family’ is developed by George Monbiot who argues that the household is one of four major but unrecognised economic sectors. He writes that “[b]oth market and state receive a massive subsidy from the household: the unpaid labour of parents and other carers, still provided mostly by women. If children were not looked after, fed, taught basic skills at home and taken to school, there would be no economy. And if people who are ill, elderly or have disabilities were not helped and supported by others, the public care bill would break the state.”[3]

 

 

I hope we have seen in the course of this brief discussion that the meaning of ‘family’, (and child law generally), can be a fascinating area of enquiry raising many ideas and intriguingly problematic concepts which I hope to explore with my students this year. I doubt very much that we will arrive at any clear definition, but instead as Douglas Adams wrote in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, we will “…demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!”

 


[1] Jonathan Herring Family Law ( 8th Edition Pearson Education Ltd 2017) 33.

[2]‘Largely’ is used deliberately for it is the case that certain areas of law are being privatised, see for example the moves promoting mediation, and a variety of non-public tribunals used to settled disputes, which are becoming particularly active and increasingly accepted in the area of international trade disputes.

[3] George Monbiot 2 October 2017 ‘Common wealth’ (Monbiot Com 2 October 2017) http://www.monbiot.com/2017/10/02/common-wealth/

 

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Nick Cartwright, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

Commentators on both sides of the debate over the validity of the recent independence referendum in Catalonia claim to have Public International Law (PIL) on their side.  The argument of those supporting the Catalan claim for independence call upon the well-established principle of the self-determination of peoples while retractors cite Spain’s statehood and right of sovereignty and the long-standing doctrine of uti possidetis juris.  The purpose of this blog post is to survey these different principles in the context of Sunday’s referendum.

The right to self-determination is contained within Chapter 1 of the Charter of the United Nations (UN) which provides that the purpose of the UN is: “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”  The UN Charter was penned by the victors of WWII and the USA was instrumental in determining its contents.  Those with power and influence within the USA felt that throwing over their colonial masters and claiming self-determination was a universally positive experience and that this should be extended to other European colonies.  In aiming to protect the self-determination of the peoples of colonised states a principle was born that would also be relied upon by those peoples who exist within regions within the sovereign borders of states.

Sovereignty is defined by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Las Palmas case as: “Independence in regard to a portion of the globe is the right to exercise therein, to the exclusion of any other State, the functions of a State” and clarified in the Nicaragua case that this meant “the right of every sovereign State to conduct its affairs without outside interference”.

The Catalans therefore have a sound basis for their claim to self-determination, whilst Spain have a seemingly equally sound claim to their sovereignty over the whole of Spain to the exclusion of external interference.  Into this heady mix of competing legal claims it is also important to consider uti possidetis juris which translates from the Latin as “as you possess under the law.”  This principle defends the boundaries of states as they stand, as the ICJ stated in the Burkina Faso v Mali that even though: “Such territorial boundaries might be no more than delimitations between different administrative divisions or colonies all subject to the same sovereign” they earned the respect of international law because that would prevent peace and security “being endangered by fratricidal struggles provoked by the challenging of frontiers”.

These issues have of course been explored on numerous occasions throughout history, Kosovo being a clear example.  The countries of the European Union were quick to recognise Kosovo’s claim to self-determination, but concerned about establishing a dangerous precedent held the circumstances were sui generis.  While the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, was equally quick to claim that this set a: “terrible precedent, which will de facto blow apart the whole system of international relations, developed not over decades, but over centuries … they have not thought through the results of what they are doing.  At the end of the day it is a two-ended stick and the second end will come back and hit them in the face.”

The situation in Catalonia will be debated for many years to come, and like the situation in Kosovo, may still be unresolved decades later and one cannot help but wonder if the present uncertainty in Catalonia is the other end of the stick.

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Dr Simon Sneddon, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

As this week is Welcome Week for our new batch of LLB, Joint Honours and LLM students my thoughts turned, as they do every year at this time, to my own Fresher’s Week on the LLB Business Law at Bournemouth back in 1992.

I was a mature student, having left school to work as a fishmonger for a couple of years, and then as an electrical goods salesman. These jobs were quite good fun (though the smell of fish and early hours were less attractive after a while), but they were not fulfilling so, after completing a BTEC National Diploma in European Business and Finance, I took the plunge, packed my bags and caught the train to the South coast.

I did go to an open day before picking the University, but the campus was in a state of flux, and few of the buildings we saw would be used for the same purpose for the next intake.

No halls for me – as a mature student I was put into a B&B 4 miles away from campus with three other mature students, one of whom was from Law and the other two were from Business. I sold my car to pay my rent, so we tended to walk to classes most of the time, which was OK in the nice weather, but not so good in the snow.

The group of us made it to campus to enrol (and, in those days, pick up our student loan cheques!) and queued for what felt like hours in the sports hall before heading to the Student Union.

Back then, there did not seem to be any of the type of activities that our current students have over Welcome Week. We had a Fresher’s Fair, of sorts, but we were mostly left to our own devices. Compared to this year, with taster sessions for the core modules, at least two course-based social events, a Faculty-based event, and talks from different areas of the University, we were probably a little short-changed.

The legal resources today far outstrip those which I was able to use as well. Lexis Nexis existed in a primitive form, but it was accessed on a dial-up model (at £6/minute) and so the library staff were understandably very keen for us to exhaust the paper-based resources first.

Some things are unchanged though. The mix of excitement and trepidation on the students faces, the minor fowl-ups with module choices, timetables and so on.

Do I miss it? Partly, yes. That wonderful feeling of being at the start of a journey with, in my case, not the faintest idea where the journey was leading.

Mostly not. I was a student of my time, with the pressures and pre-millennial stresses of the 1990s. Now I can look back on the life with misty-eyed nostalgia, remembering my friends, revising on the beach (not recommended) grunge, and student nights, while forgetting about the work load, competing deadlines, irritating housemates, indecipherable concepts of law and the day-to-day annoyances.

If you are a student reading this, then I wish you every success on your own journey – don’t let the little things get you down, and please remember to enjoy yourself from time to time (responsibly!).

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Kate Exall, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

You may have read recently that there are proposals to allow people to make a will electronically.  This article looks at the Law Commission’s Consultation Paper[1] to see whether the Law Commission’s proposals are as revolutionary as they seem at first glance.

In July the Law Commission launched a Consultation[2] to see if there is an appetite for changing some of the rules to encourage more of us to make a will with which is timely as research from Will Aid[3] in 2016 shows that just over half of adults have no will.   Taken as a whole, most of the Law Commission’s proposals are a welcome dose of common sense to bring the law up to date in the 21st Century.  With the governing law being the Wills Act of 1837 it is not hard to see that with modern technology, an aging population, higher estate values and changes to family structures, changes need to be made to persuade people to make a will and not rely on the intestacy provisions that might not reflect their wishes.

This Consultation focuses on the mechanics of making a will; the formalities needed and the testator’s mental capacity.  It isn’t about who should inherit as that was dealt with a previous consultation.[4]

Underpinning all of the proposals are 2 main goals.  Firstly to encourage more people to make wills and secondly to ensure that elderly or vulnerable people are protected from exploitation or fraud when they make a will.

Some of the proposed changes are as follows:

(a)      Allowing for a “dispensing power” when the will doesn’t strictly comply with all the formalities but the evidence is that it is what the testator wanted.  All too often wills fail on technical grounds (eg lack of witnesses) and this would allow the courts to waive non compliance in appropriate cases and allow the will to stand.  It is hard to think of situations where a person signing a will did not intend it to take effect but the Law Commission is asking whether it should also cover attempted wills made orally, electronically or through recordings.

Whilst they may be hoping that this will encourage people to make wills, technical problems did not feature in the top 5 reasons for not making a will in research carried out by Will Aid Research[5]  in 2016.  This proposal therefore seems to be more about upholding wills where possible to avoid relying on the intestacy rules.

(b)   Making wills electronically which will they say be more convenient and cheaper for people.  This might encourage will making as over half of those surveyed by Will Aid[6] said that they hadn’t made a will because they hadn’t got round to it.  Now, before we all get carried away with “make your will by text” headlines, wills are already being prepared electronically and sent for approval by email and so this is talking about the possibility of signing a will electronically.

The Law Commission noted all sorts of problems with this including “our view is that the formality rules most likely preclude the electronic execution of wills” [7] and “it is not clear that electronic signatures would be treated as valid for the purposes of executing a will”[8].  They also raised the issue of what form the electronic signature should take and how to protect people from fraud and exploitation. This brings us neatly on to a third proposal:

(c)    Protecting elderly or vulnerable testators from fraud or abuse.   The particular concern is that some people may be at risk from exploitation from either family members or professionals[9] who may seek to persuade them to leave their assets in a particular way.  This could be particularly acute if full electronic wills is introduced but also operates in the standard will making scenario.  The proposed solution is to introduce statutory protection and the Law Commission is consulting on which of 2 proposed forms would work best[10].

The difficulty with undue influence has always been proving it.  It is a particularly nasty form of pressure on people who may give in to settle for a quiet life.  The proposals would allow for a presumption of undue influence in certain situations or for the court to ask for an explanation when the will “looks a bit fishy”.

The Law Commission is mindful of the fact that this area is fraught with difficulty.  They say for example that “there is nothing inherently suspicious for example for a son or daughter making arrangements for his or her elderly parent to see a solicitor and to accompany them to that appointment”[11].  But they note “care is needed… as many cases may be susceptible to an “innocent” or “suspicious” interpretation.”[12]  This is the heart of the problem.  Essentially a claim of undue influence is a claim against a person’s honesty and integrity and so there has to be some protection for an innocent person balanced out with the need to protect a testator from being unduly pressurised into leaving their assets in a particular way.

There are a range of other proposals which taken together with those outline above would offer a more effective and up to date procedure for making a will and for trying to protect elderly or frail or vulnerable testators from undue influence or exploitation.  A person’s estate can often be a substantial, life changing amount of money for a beneficiary but it is much more than that.  A will is a person’s last chance to have their say and it is only right that it should be their wishes and not someone else’s that dictate how they leave their money.  After all, once they have died, they can’t correct the position and the impacts can last for many years.


[1] The Law Commission: Making A Will Consultation Paper 231 July 2017

[2] The Law Commission: Making A Will Consultation Paper 231 July 2017.

[3] Will Aid: Research 2016 available at https://www.willaid.org.uk/press/research date accessed August 15th 2017.

[4] The Law Commission: Intestacy and Family Provision Claims on Death Consultation Paper 191 October 2009

[5] Will Aid: Research 2016 available at https://www.willaid.org.uk/press/research date accessed August 15th 2017

[6] Will Aid: Research 2016 available at https://www.willaid.org.uk/press/research date accessed August 15th 2017

[7] The Law Commission:  Making A Will Consultation Paper 231 July 2017 Para 6.15

[8]  The Law Commission: Making A Will Consultation Paper 231 July 2017 Para 6.28

[9]  The Law Commission: Making A Will Consultation Paper 231 July 2017 Para 7.95

[10] The Law Commission: Making A Will Consultation Paper 231 July 2017 Para 7.110.

[11] The Law Commission: Making A Will Consultation Paper 231 July 2017 Para 7.123

[12] The Law Commission: Making A Will Consultation Paper 231 July 2017 Para 7.125

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Dr Ebenezer Laryea, Lecturer in Law writes:

A Powder Keg of Uncertainty

The well acclaimed Indian politician and economist, Jairam Ramesh, once remarked; “there never is never a good time for tough decisions. There will always be an election or something else which requires steely thought. Governance is about taking tough, even unpopular, decisions.” This is exactly what seems to have transpired in Kenya where its Supreme Court has ruled, in a truly historic decision, to nullify and declare void the results of a presidential election which international observers had certified as being free and fair.

The potential repercussions and consequential effects of this decision will appear colossal to anyone who has been following the tense drama of Kenyan politics over the last decade. For many in Africa and around the world, the scenes of chaos and carnage in Kenyan towns and cities in the days and months following the 2007 presidential vote are still vivid. In a country whose politics is so deeply entrenched in tribe and ethnicity, the depth of the divisions which could very well ignite the spark of rampant violence ought not to be underestimated – and one can find therefore, a strong basis for reaching the logical conclusion that the best possible chance to avoid a descent into violence in such a politically and ethnically charged environment, would be to have the exercising of the democratic choice concluded at its quickest pace.

By ruling that the electoral board committed “irregularities and illegalities”, the Supreme Court of Kenya has entered the country into a period of grave uncertainty. The 60 days that remain before the holding of the fresh elections which have been ordered will probably be the tensest Kenyans have experienced in recent memory. Businesses are already experiencing negative consumer attitudes amid fears of fresh protests and investment is already beginning to stall. Kenyan shares took a huge tumble when the decision was announced, prompting the authorities to suspend trading at the financial market in Nairobi.

As these unintended consequences of the court ruling persist and strengthen over the coming days, many will be asking about the role the international observers played in the course of this election, and how it came to be that their assessment and judgement of the election process is so far removed from that of the Kenyan Supreme Court.

 

Credible Observers

Whiles the opposition party cried foul amid increased protests in the days following the August 8th vote, the international observers who had been doing the work of monitoring the electoral process were sounding a very different note. They offered an assessment of the electoral process which guaranteed that the integrity of the electoral process remained undamaged and was not undermined even in the least.

Former US Secretary of State under the Obama administration, John Kerry, who led the Carter Centre’s observer mission, confidently stated that ‘Kenya had made a remarkable statement to Africa and the world about its democracy, and the character of that democracy, by holding a free and fair vote which was devoid of irregularity.

Ghana’s own former President John Mahama, who led the Commonwealth observer mission, similarly endorsed the integrity of the electoral process saying that Kenya’s voting and counting system appeared credible, transparent and inclusive, and that Kenya had the potential to be the most inspiring democracy in Africa.

It is worth pointing out at this point that both Kerry and Mahama command quite significant amounts of respect within the international community and on the world stage. Kerry is an extremely experienced politician and statesman who has offered diligent and valiant service to his country as a service man in Vietnam, a United States Senator, a Lieutenant Governor of his home state of Massachusetts, a candidate for the office of President of the United States, and the 68th Secretary of State of the United States.

Similarly, John Mahama is well respected in Africa and throughout the world as an experienced politician and a consummate statement. He offered service to Ghana as a member of the Ghanaian parliament for many years, then went on to serve as a government minister in charge of communications – he ascended to the Vice Presidency following that, and ultimately served as President of the Republic of Ghana. Mahama is arguably the most qualified person yet to service in the Office of the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana – and he recently received world-wide acclaim when he conceded to a narrow defeat in Ghana’s most recent election; the first such act of any incumbent President in Ghana’s entire history.

Given the solidity regarding the calibre of these men and the observer missions they led – and given the respect they command in the eyes of all good men and women across the world, it is, I think, logical to completely rule out, as is now being suggested by many, the argument of their participation in a conspiracy to influence the outcome of the Kenyan election, absent the existence of verifiable and irrefutable evidence which supports that claim.

Before we begin cementing our conclusions on the role and effectiveness of international observers following the Supreme Court ruling, its important take into account the fact that international observers judge the fairness of an electoral process exactly as they see them; in its raw state as events unfold in front of them. Arguably therefore, there is every likelihood that they may very well not be aware of nefarious acts or omissions which may have gone on behind the scenes – which seems to be what has happened in this specific case regarding Kenya.

The Kenyan Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) employed the use of a range of electronic systems in the election to further strengthen the integrity of the voting, counting and declaration processes. Ironically, it is the same use of this system which ended up being a source of contention, and ultimately, the nullifying of the vote amid allegations of hacks and tampering.

On the 30th of July, the Kerry led Carter Centre observation mission, urged the IEBC to conduct thorough and additional tests to guarantee the solidity and impermeability of its electronic systems to hacking and fraud before the August 8th elections. The Kerry led mission further warned that the success of the polls would largely depend on the proper functioning of the electronic systems.

It is thus, in my view, demonstrable to argue therefore, that the observer missions in this case behaved as any ordinary observer mission would behave. They observed the election as it appeared to them, and pre-warned Kenyan officials about unresolved issues which could potentially impact the integrity of the vote. Given that the primary problem in this case was the issue of hacking, and given that the responsibility for securing the integrity of those systems against hacking was squarely within the hands of the Kenyan authorities themselves and not the international observers, it seems in my mind ill-founded to suggest that the Supreme Court’s ruling questions or undermines the role or integrity of the international observers.

Furthermore, let it not be forgotten that the Kenyan Supreme Court is the highest court in Kenya, and that it derives its authority from the Kenyan constitution, which is the superseding law in Kenya. Accordingly, the occasion of the Supreme Court nullifying a vote on the grounds of irregularity and legality is nothing more than an exercise and exhibition of the robustness of the Kenyan constitution and the strength of a Kenya committed to the rule of law. It would be therefore erroneous to characterise the court’s ruling as mainly being a rebuke of the international observer missions.

 

Needing Observers

The work of international observers is vital to ensuring free and fair elections – especially in Africa where the tree of democracy is yet to grow deepened roots – and Kenya is going to need the observers now more than ever before. At a time when it is extremely vital for the future of Kenya that it has a credible set of observer missions keeping an eye on the election, it does very little good for the cause of peace in Kenya to question the integrity of those same observer missions without demonstrable evidence.

The fact of the matter is that Kenya is going to need international observers in the coming election – Kenya is going to need for the word and assessment of those observer missions to be above question – the undermining, therefore, of the credibility of those observers, by numerous claims of bias and partiality does nothing to sustain peace and the continuity of government in that country.

Yes, it is indeed the case that the Supreme Court’s decision was completely at odds with the assessment offered by the observer missions. However, it must be nevertheless regarded that it is well within the rights of an authoritative court to offer an assessment different to that of un-authoritative observer missions – and it must similarly be regarded also, that the exercising of this right says nothing about the role, integrity or credibility of those missions. Rather, the exercising of this right speaks to Kenya’s coming of age as a nation which respects the rule of law, constitutional government, the separation of powers, and the principle of co-equal branches of government.

It remains to be seen whether Kenya’s commitment to democracy is strong enough to take it peacefully beyond the impending election cycle and whether it is able to withstand the powder keg of pressure and tension which have now come to be as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

It also remains to be seen whether Kenya’s democratic institutions are robust enough to absorb the shocks of the court’s ruling and deal with the tense forces that have now been unleashed following the court’s ruling.

Many people may fear for Kenya at the moment– but if the Kenyan people and their leaders are able to turn their focus towards the things that unite them rather than the things that divide them, then I see no reason why those of us who are hopeful for a peaceful and prosperous Kenya should be disappointed.

 

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Dr Simon Sneddon, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

So, it is August Bank Holiday weekend again. That weekend when, according to popular understanding, we all head off for our last-gasp summer sun, battle through three hour queues on the roads, only to find that it is relentless drizzle in the UK, and too hot to go outside if you venture to the continent.

Anybody know how many actual Bank Holidays there are?

Tricky answer, and it depends on which part of the UK you are sitting in while reading this.

The Bank Holiday Act 1871 set up four for England Wales and Ireland (which was at the time united and under English rule) and five for Scotland.

  • The first Monday in August was for the whole of the UK.
  • The first Monday in May and Christmas Day were for Scotland only.
  • Easter Monday and Whit Monday were for England, Wales and Ireland.
  • Boxing day was for England and Wales only
  • St Stephen’s Day was for Ireland only.

After 100 years of tweaking and changing – in the scale in the UK and in the days for Bank Holidays, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 was passed and that cleared things up. Sort of.

Schedule 1 sets out at length when the Bank Holidays are:

SCHEDULE 1

Bank Holidays

1        The following are to be bank holidays in England and Wales:—

Easter Monday.

The last Monday in May.

The last Monday in August.

26th December, if it be not a Sunday.

27th December in a year in which 25th or 26th December is a Sunday.

2        The following are to be bank holidays in Scotland:—

New Year’s Day, if it be not a Sunday or, if it be a Sunday, 3rd January.

2nd January, if it be not a Sunday or, if it be a Sunday, 3rd January.

Good Friday.

The first Monday in May.

The first Monday in August.

Christmas Day, if it be not a Sunday or, if it be a Sunday, 26th December.

3        The following are to be bank holidays in Northern Ireland:—

17th March, if it be not a Sunday or, if it be a Sunday, 18th March.

Easter Monday.

The last Monday in May.

The last Monday in August.

26th December, if it be not a Sunday.

27th December in a year in which 25th or 26th December is a Sunday

As  Lord Colnsay said in the debate in the House of Lords, “New Year’s Day and Christmas Day had been observed from time immemorial” and he “proposed to introduce Good Friday, which was already observed to a great extent as a bank holiday” (LINK). There was also a possibility raised in the progress of the Bill through the House of Commons in 1971 of an extra Bank Holiday on May 5th (to celebrate Europe Day) although it did not succeed. Sir Geoffrey de Freitas, the MP for Kettering said:

Why do I suggest an additional bank holiday and why in May? First, we have fewer bank holidays than our neighbours in Western Europe and, second, May is a delightful time of the year to have an extra bank holiday.

Sir Geoffrey also suggested that London become the seat of the European Parliament, which would have led to an interesting Brexit had it been successful! How times have changed for Kettering’s MPs

It is vital that bank Holidays are properly regulated because, as s1(4) of the Act says:

“No person shall be compellable to make any payment or to do any act on a bank holiday under this Act which he would not be compellable to make or do on Christmas Day or Good Friday”

This would be relatively easy for fixed date holidays, but almost none of them are. Easter is well-known for wandering around the calendar, and the last Monday in August, which is the 28th this year, was the 31st in 2015, and the 25th the year before.

Business issues notwithstanding, most of the public face of the Bank Holiday is about enjoying the extra day off.

There are also numerous festivals, carnivals, happenings and such over the long weekend, which is possibly why we are so obsessed with the weather. This year, certainly in England, it is looking like a glorious weekend – I am off to a festival, and as most of the Law team will be taking advantage of the short week for some well-earned rest, there will be no  blog post next week.

Whatever you are doing this weekend – holiday, relaxing, working or any combination of these – have a great one.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Featured Lecturer, News.

Dr Simon Sneddon, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

The Rhino Horn Auction. Shame on SA.

Later this week, South African rhino farmer (yes, that is a thing) John Hume, will be allowed to run an online auction for 264 rhino horns.

You read that correctly. Actual rhinoceros horns.

The 264 rhinoceros horns will be sold at auction. It should be made very clear here, that John Hume has approximately 1,000 rhino on his farm, and their horns are trimmed every couple of years, and allowed to grow back (LINK). According to some sources, Hume has a stash of rhino horn worth US$50m (LINK).

There is absolutely nothing illegal about what Mr Hume is doing. The rhino are not killed to dehorn them, and the South African Constitutional Court overrode the pleas of the SA Department of Environmental Affairs and conservation groups on 5th April 2017, and ended the eight year moratorium on domestic rhino horn sales in South Africa.

Any guess why?

A technicality in the consultation process.

There was a requirement in the enabling legislation (the 2004 National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act) that in order to satisfy the requirement for public participation, the consultation for the moratorium needed to be published in a national newspaper. The High Court ruled in 2015 that this was not done, and set aside the moratorium. The current case was the culmination of a series of attempted appeals to the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court.

John Hume was one of those who brought the case against the moratorium to the High Court (as he stood to lose a colossal fortune if it stayed in place). The others were Johan Krüger, and two bodies, Wildlife Ranching South Africa (WRSA) and the Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA). The two bodies are so closely linked that Pelham Jones, the current Chairman of the PROA (LINK) is also the contact for the Rhino committee of the WRSA (LINK). According to a 2016 National Geographic report (LINK) by Brian Christy, Krüger is a game farmer, but has close ties to a neighbouring rancher called Dawie Groenewald:

“He and Krüger have been in the buffalo business together; they hunt together; Krüger’s photograph has appeared in Groenewald’s hunting brochures; and Krüger’s lawyer is also Groenewald’s lawyer.”

Dawie Groenewald was indicted in 2014 by the United States DOJ on charges of “conspiracy to sell illegal rhinoceros hunts in South Africa in order to defraud American hunters, money laundering and secretly trafficking in rhino horns” (LINK). He was arrested by Interpol, and bailed in June 2017 (LINK). He had previously pleaded guilty in the USA of selling an illegal leopard hunt, and fined $30,000.

Groenewald is part of a group of 10 people who are currently facing over “1,800 charges, including racketeering, money laundering, illegal hunting of rhino, dealing in rhino horn and contravening the Biodiversity and Prevention of Organised Crime Act” (LINK). In light of the Constitutional Court’s decision, the trial has been postponed and the charge sheet amended.

Back to the sale. In addition to being available in English the site is available in Vietnamese and Mandarin, which is no great surprise as Vietnam and China are the two largest consumers of rhino horn. It is still illegal to export rhino horn from South Africa, although there is pressure being brought to change this.

I have to admit, irk me though it does, that there are several points on the auction site which seem to make initial sense, and it is all couched in very reasonable terms. However, none of them stand up to particular scrutiny – Wildlife ACT has done an excellent job of spiking the comments (LINK) and I would urge you to read their blog post.

If the statistics on poaching represent a rise in demand, then there has been an almost exponential growth. SA Department of Environmental Affairs data shows that 122 rhinoceros were poached in the whole of 2009. This had risen to 1,020 by 2014 and the trend does not look to be slowing. According to the environmental group IFAW, “[w]ithin the first six months of this year [2017], 529 rhinos were poached across South Africa” (LINK) However, as we saw with the disastrous CITES-backed sale of elephant ivory in 2009, the main impact of the same was to trigger a massive resurgence in demand for ivory, and there is no reason to suspect that will not be the case here.

What will happen to the rhino horns? Unless there is a sudden uplift for demand in the domestic South African market, the inevitable result will be that the rhino horn is smuggled to Vietnam and China. We know it, they know it. The Organised Crime groups which Mr Hume correctly states on his auction website “have control over the market and generally either team up with or threaten government officials to help them with their crimes” (LINK) will simply shift their attention from the dangerous and difficulty stage of the process (killing the rhino) to the aspect they know best (smuggling things). Organised Crime excels at smuggling – everything from people to ivory to luxury goods to guns, smuggling is the lifeblood of organised criminality.

For those involved in the auction to ignore the obvious is a deliberate tactic. It is the tactic used by everyone from the gun lobby (“guns don’t kill people, people kill people”) to those who sell essays online (“they aren’t for cheating with, just for background reading”). That is clearly a fatuous argument – people don’t buy a 9mm handgun for decoration or pre-written essays for research purposes, any more than the Vietnamese and Chinese buyers of this rhino horn will start hosting horn parties in Johannesburg or Pretoria.

What no-one is saying is that the auction is illegal.

What many people (bar the vendors and purchasers) are saying that it is utterly inexcusable that this action is not illegal.

 

Posted by & filed under Featured Lecturer, News.

Dr Simon Sneddon, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

A couple of weeks ago, the Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed that in 2016/17 there had been six fatal shootings by police, double the number in 2015/16. The 2016/17 figures also included the shooting of the Westminster Bridge attacker, Khalid Masood.

In addition to the police shootings, there were 32 deaths in police road traffic accidents, and fourteen deaths in police custody.

This means that, in total, the Police were responsible for the deaths of 52 people. This is quite a high figure, and every death brings with it shock, grief and suffering for family, friends and the wider community.

However, there will be those, inevitably, who say that the media is over reacting, and that the UK figure is comparatively low.

What I thought I would do is to look at the figures for other countries, and put the figures into some kind of context.  More or less at random, I’m going to contrast the figures with the United States, since I had the information on my desk while updating a session for next year.

The UK

The UK has a population of 65.6 million (ONS, 2017), and in an average year just over 520,000 people die for various reasons (it was 525,048 in 2016, and 529,900 in 2015). That makes the police responsible for 0.01% of deaths – so one in 10,000. Fatal shootings by the police account for just over 1 in 100,000 deaths.

The Home Office says that there were 559,302 firearms in the UK in 2016/17 (covered by 154,958 firearms certificates) (LINK). That gives a rate of 8 firearms per 100,000 people. These are predominantly in rural areas – Devon & Cornwall, Sussex and North Yorkshire police between them issued 24,812 certificates (16%), and only three were issues in the City of London. There are, of course, many unlicensed firearms in circulation – no-one is sure how many, but Professor Peter Squires was quoted in the Daily Mirror in March 2016 as saying there may be “around 500,000 illegal firearms on Britain’s streets.”[1]

The ONS (LINK) says that there were 571 homicides in the UK in 2015/16, of which 26 (4.5%) were caused by shooting – three by the police and 23 by others.

This then is our baseline – and we’ll use 2015/16 data, as the 2016/17 data has not all been released yet.

 

The USA

The United States has a population of 323.1 million, almost five times higher than the UK. The death rate is around 2.7 million a year, which is actually very slightly higher than that in the UK (see table). If we were to expect to see the same death rate per head of population from police shootings, we would be expecting around 30. In fact, in 2016, US Police fatally shot 963 people.[2] In 2015 it was 991.[3] If we factor in different data from the Guardian’s Counted programme (LINK), it shows the number of people killed by police in total in 2016 was 1,093.

As a proportion of all deaths, those caused by the police run at around 0.04 per cent, so just over four times higher than in the UK. If we narrow it down to fatal police shootings, then the rate is 35.6 per 100,000 deaths, so over 35 times higher than the rate in the UK.

Gun ownership in the United States is a contentious issue, and I do not intend to go into the details here. What is interesting to note, is that no-one seems entirely sure how many legally-held firearms there are in the USA. The Congressional Research Service estimated that there were 300 million weapons in 2012,[4] and research carried out for the Guardian newspaper and the Trace[5] in 2016 suggests the number is closer to 265m.[6] Either way, this represents substantially higher gun ownership rates than in the UK.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), 18,394 firearms were reported as being lost or stolen in 2016,[7] which raises further questions for another post.

According to the Centre for Disease Control,[8] there were 15,872 homicides in the United States in 2014, and firearm related homicides accounted for 11,008 of these.

 

Summary table (using 2015 data)

UK

USA

Number

Per 100,000

Number

Per 100,000

Overall Death Rate 520k 700 2.7m 800
Homicides 571 0.87 15,872 4.91
Homicides by shooting 26 0.03 11,008 3.4
Homicides by police shooting 3 0.0045 991 0.31
Gun Ownership – number 560k 265m
Gun Ownership – percentage of population 0.8% 82%
Life expectancy 81.2yrs 79.3yrs
GDP per Capita ($PPP)[9] 42,418 57,436
Living below poverty line (as defined nationally)[10] 15% 15.1%

 

Conclusion

There are massive inherent risks with drawing comparisons between two countries in the way I have just done. None of the cultural differences have been factored in (particularly the 2nd amendment right to bear arms in the US Constitution), but the headline figures do raise some striking differences.

The populations of both countries are shuffling off their mortal coils at almost exactly the same rate – 0.8% in the USA and 0.7% in the UK, and at more or less the same time (life expectancy figures are similarly distributed). Probably (but this is a blog post, not a full-blown academic article) there is a difference in these figures if ethnicity and other variables are factored in.

Both countries have almost exactly the same proportion living below the poverty line, 15% for the UK and 15.1% for the USA. This is not, it should be noted the $1.90 or $3.10 a day World Development Indicator version of poverty (where both countries are ranked at zero), but the national definition of poverty. Again, factor in ethnicity and other factors, and the results will granulate.

What remains is the fact that there are 70 times more fatal shootings by police per head of population in the USA than there are in the UK.

Does this mean that we should view the UK’s figures with complacency?

Absolutely not. The maelstrom after each police shooting only serves to ensure they do not become the norm.

We are a (generally) unarmed country with a (generally) unarmed police force. For all of their bombast and rhetoric about the 2nd amendment “guaranteeing safety” Americans are 100 times more likely to own a legally registered gun than we are, and (coincidentally, no doubt) are 100 times more likely to shoot each other dead than we are. They are also 70 times more likely to be shot dead by the police.

Routinely arming the police force might feel like a good political move for the beleaguered government, and might indeed help to limit the impact of future terrorist attacks (though not the likelihood).

What we really need is intelligence-led, proactive policing, with better funding, and better research into how and why illegal firearms are getting into the country.


[1] Aspinall, A., 2016, There are 4 MILLION guns on UK streets – and 4,000 youngsters have shotgun licences, the Mirror, 20 March 2016, at http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/4-million-guns-uk-streets-7598164. The figure includes antique weapons and wartime memorabilia. The 4 million figure seems to be based on inclusion of possible weapons left over after the troubles in northern Ireland, and of those in Scotland. The confusion arises because the 500,000 figure is related to “Britain” – which includes Scotland.

[5] https://www.thetrace.org/  “an independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to expanding coverage of guns in the United States”

[6] Becket, L., 2016, Gun inequality: US study charts rise of hardcore super owners, the Guardian, 19 September 2016,  at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/19/us-gun-ownership-survey

Posted by & filed under News.

Kate Exall, senior Lecturer in Law writes:

On July 26th the Supreme Court gave its long awaited decision on the legality of the introduction of fees to bring and pursue a claim in the Employment Tribunal.  Fees were introduced in 2013 with the aims of transferring some of the costs of running the service to those who use it, discouraging what the government called “weak and vexatious” claims and encouraging out of court conciliation through ACAS[1].

The costs of bringing a claim depend on whether it is a relatively easy claim (Type A) for things such as wages not being paid correctly, or for what the government felt were more complex claims (Type B) such as discrimination, equal pay or unfair dismissal.  Type A claims cost in total £390 and for Type B £1200.  Unison challenged the validity of the introduction of fees arguing that the level of fees prevented access to justice and breached UK and EU law as well as being indirectly discriminatory against women, who they said were more likely to bring Type B claims.

The Decision

Last month the Supreme Court agreed with them on every point overturning the previous decisions which had upheld the validity of charging fees.  In a unanimous decision the Supreme Court were scathing of the government’s attempts to justify the introduction of fees and the sacrifices that the government expected people to make to be able to enforce their rights.  In essence they said that employment rights are not just of benefit to the employee but that there is a public interest in those rights being enforceable.

They held that the charging of fees is unlawful under both EU and domestic law as it prevents access to justice.  They said that the charging of fees has the practical effect of making it unaffordable to exercise statutory rights or makes it futile or irrational to do so in some cases.

This article looks at some of the arguments raised by the government to defend its policy and how the Supreme Court dealt with them.  Reference was made in the judgement to the Government’s Review of Fees which was published in January 2017[2].

The Government’s Arguments and the Court’s Response

  1. Fees don’t deter access to justice on affordability grounds as people should sacrifice non essential expenditure to save the money to pay for the fees.

Response:  People should not be expected to fall below a reasonable standard of living to afford fees.  They accepted the Joseph Rowntree Foundation Figures for Minimum Incomes[3] holding that people should not be expected to sacrifice normal expenditure on eg clothes and entertainment to be able to access justice.

“Fees must therefore be affordable not in a theoretical sense, but in the sense that they can reasonably be afforded. Where households on low to middle incomes can only afford fees by sacrificing the ordinary and reasonable expenditure required to maintain what would generally be regarded as an acceptable standard of living, the fees cannot be regarded as affordable.”[4]

  1. The higher the fees are the more effective the system is.

Response:  where the costs of bringing a case exceed or are similar to the amount claimed, this acts as a deterrent to bringing a claim.  So a person bringing a claim for unpaid wages would have to pay £390 to recover them.  If the amount of unpaid wages is less than that, then it makes it uneconomical to take legal action.

Whilst costs orders can be made if a claimant is successful, the Supreme Court noted that only half of successful claimants got paid in full with one third not recovering any money.  This means that it would be futile or irrational for people in such cases to bring a claim,[5] which in turn denies access to justice.

The government should have followed “elementary economics” in setting the fees and thought about what the optimum cost would be to achieve the highest revenue.  With the Government’s own review in 2017[6] noting a “sharp and sustained fall” in claims, the Supreme Court felt that:

“It has not been shown that less onerous fees, or a more generous system of remission, would have been any less effective in meeting the objective of transferring the cost burden to users”[7].

  1. There was no conclusive proof that the “sharp and sustained fall” in claims to a Tribunal[8] was linked to the introduction of fees.

Response: In order for fees to be lawful they have to be set at a rate that people can afford.   There does not have to be conclusive evidence that there is a link; a real risk suffices.  The Court held that:

“The fall in the number of claims has in any event been so sharp, so substantial, and so sustained as to warrant the conclusion that a significant number of people who would otherwise have brought claims have found the fees to be unaffordable”[9]

  1. It is lawful to charge more for Type B cases as they are more complex and time consuming, so the cost should be greater.  Therefore it is not discriminatory to charge higher fees for these claims.

Response: The government needed justify the higher cost of Type B claims such as discrimination by linking it to the aims of introducing the fees eg deterring weak claims, transferring costs or encouraging conciliation.  The Court found that there was no link to any of the aims saying that ultimately the fees acted as a deterrent and that there was no incentive on an employer to settle the case.[10]  As more women than men brought Type B claims, the higher fees generally had a disparate effect which the government could not justify.  This was held to be discriminatory and breached the EU objective of achieving equality in the workplace and particularly gender equality.[11]

Rresponse to the Supreme Court decision

The government has confirmed that it will immediately stop charging fees and they have put in hand the necessary changes to the system to allow for this.   They have also promised to start reimbursing claimants fees paid since 2013.

Unsurprisingly the employers’ federations have been critical of the judgement with Mike Spicer, director of Research at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the ruling would leave “employers concerned about a return to the past, when despite winning the majority of cases, companies would often settle to avoid a costly and protracted process even when their case was strong”[12].

Commentary

The Supreme Court decision is a welcome restatement of fundamental principles surrounding access to justice and is a potent reminder of the limitations on the government’s power to act as it pleases. It is good to see a common sense and pragmatic approach being applied to cut through the government’s technical arguments and uphold the rights of ordinary employees.   Whilst employers may be concerned about the possibility of weak and vexatious claims, it is equally important that employees have an independent forum available to them to resolve employment disputes.   Whilst fees were in force the employers held the upper hand and could effectively act as they wished with impunity knowing that many employees could not afford to take litigate or that it was not cost effective to do so.

However amid the sounds of jubilation a note of caution; whilst the government’s response is to be welcomed, it may not be the end of the line for fees.  The Supreme Court left the door open for a revised Fee Order to be introduced and Lady Hale even gave guidance to the government to avoid any potential discrimination in a replacement Order[13].  They also hinted that lower fees might have achieved their objectives in transferring costs to the user.[14]  Adding fuel to the fire, Dominic Raab the Justice Minister said

“The tricky, the difficult, the fluid balancing act that we’ve got is we want to make sure there’s proper access to justice, we want to make sure frivolous or spurious claims don’t clog up the tribunal and at the same time we’ve got to make sure we’ve got the right way to fund it.”[15]

Watch this space…..

 


[1] Resolving Workplace Disputes: A consultation 2011BIS

[2] Review of the Introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals 2017 available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-introduction-of-fees-in-the-employment-tribunals date accessed August 2nd 2017.

[3] A minimum income standard for the UK in 2017.  https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/minimum-income-standard-uk-2017  Date accessed August 2nd 2017

[4] R (on the application of UNISON) (Appellant) v Lord Chancellor (Respondent) 2017 UKSC 51 Para 93 per Reed LJ

[5] R (on the application of UNISON) (Appellant) v Lord Chancellor (Respondent) 2017 UKSC 51 Para 96 per Reed LJ

[6] Review of the Introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals 2017 available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-introduction-of-fees-in-the-employment-tribunals date accessed August 2nd 2017.

[7] R (on the application of UNISON) (Appellant) v Lord Chancellor (Respondent) 2017 UKSC 51 Para 100 per Reed LJ

[8]  Review of the Introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals 2017 available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/review-of-the-introduction-of-fees-in-the-employment-tribunals date accessed August 2nd 2017.

[9]R (on the application of UNISON) (Appellant) v Lord Chancellor (Respondent) 2017 UKSC 51 Para 91 per Reed LJ

[10] R (on the application of UNISON) (Appellant) v Lord Chancellor (Respondent) 2017 UKSC 51 Para 129 per Hale LJ

[11] R (on the application of UNISON) (Appellant) v Lord Chancellor (Respondent) 2017 UKSC 51 Para 129 per Hale LJ

[12] The Guardian “Ministers vow to end Employment Tribunal Fees after court defeat” 27th July 2017.  Available at https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/jul/26/union-supreme-court-fees-unfair-dismissal-claims

[13] R (on the application of UNISON) (Appellant) v Lord Chancellor (Respondent) 2017 UKSC 51 Para 121 per Hale LJ

[14] R (on the application of UNISON) (Appellant) v Lord Chancellor (Respondent) 2017 UKSC 51 Para 100 per Reed LJ

[15]“BBC “Employment Tribunal Fees unlawful Supreme Court Rules” July 27th 2017.  Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40727400.  Date accessed August 2nd 2017.

Posted by & filed under Featured Lecturer.

Dr Melanie Crofts and Dr Kimberley Hill write:

In July we were lucky to have had the opportunity to attend a conference with a very different   atmosphere and ethos to most other academic conferences we had attended.  This was the second Building Bridges conference which had been organised and the outlook of the conference organisers was clear from the start.  There was to be no use of academic titles, all papers presented were regarded as keynote addresses and the money which was raised went to supporting Afghan child refugees in Greece and took them on theatre trips and excursions.  When we arrived to register you were asked to choose a name badge which most reflected you.

In addition, there was also a gift which was made as a memento of the conference by the refugee children which the conference was supporting.

We were struck by the informal, friendly and welcoming atmosphere of the conference right from the start.  The papers we saw also did not disappoint and there a number of practical papers which were focused on the need to build bridges to tackle current and pressing issues, such as racism, discrimination and challenging perceptions around migration!  There were papers and discussions on whether there should be open borders and what can be done to reframe the discourses around vulnerability, dependency as well as the racism and negative perceptions of forced migrants and there was a clear call for activism and protest (see Law blog post from 24/7).  We also heard papers which explored the use of mobile phones by refugees, particularly when their security was under threat and the paper demonstrated that the networks which refugees build are hugely complex and solidarity is absolutely key for survival.  There were also papers on dignity and religion in refugee camps and the need to allow refugees to access their religious practices, the representation of women on company boards in Turkey, sexual violence on campuses in South Africa, the role of school security guards in Israel and racism and resistance in Germany.

We were proud to have our paper accepted as a keynote at such an important conference and we felt our paper, Consent on Campus – Challenging Gender Based Violence, clearly fitted well within the aims and ethos of the conference and its Changemaker nature.  We were building bridges across subject areas as well as institutions (both within the UK and across the globe) as there had been a lot of discussion around gender based violence and discrimination as well as papers which took a cross disciplinary approach/perspective.  We got some amazing feedback on our paper and as a result we have been asked whether we could provide information about I *Heart* Consent Week to people who would like to run something similar in their own institutions.  This included institutions in the UK, USA and two in South Africa!!

Sexual harassment and assault on university campuses is not a new concern, but a widespread, world-wide issue (NUS, 2014; Universities UK, 2016; Association of American Universities, 2015). Universities are significant sites for action, but unfortunately there is a limited profile of work on gender-based violence within the UK (Public Health England, 2016; Phipps & Smith, 2012). The National Union of Students’ (NUS) ‘Hidden Marks’ survey (2014) was one of the first nationwide surveys which focused on women’s experiences and the gendered nature of sexual violence and assaults in Higher Education (HE). This research suggested 68%, or one in four women, have been subjected to sexual violence. As well as highlighting the prevalence of women subjected to unwanted sexual violence or harassment, this work identified the prevalence of ‘lad culture’ within higher education.  Not only can this have a detrimental impact on student wellbeing and academic attainment, but universities have a duty to provide safe and positive university experiences.

There is a clear need for action in this area and, as a campus of Changemakers, we wanted to start our own cross-campus, inter-disciplinary conversations about consent.  It is with this context in mind that I *Heart* Consent Week was developed at the University of Northampton as a week of actions aimed at awareness raising and challenging normative concepts of consent and sexual violence. The I Heart Consent campaign fits within the Changemaker agenda at the University of Northampton as it seeks to empower students to make real change and create a positive social impact as well as raising awareness of an important social issues and encourages the institution to take incidents of sexual violence and harassment seriously.

The approach which has been taken when organising this week of action has been very much influenced by research interests and activism in terms of the equality agenda.  The ethos of the week has drawn heavily on concepts which have been coined by Critical Race Theorists and the importance of giving a voice to oppressed groups and to listen to their experiences of oppression and discrimination.  This is also an important element of feminist theory and the week is organised from the perspective that there has to be a gendered approach to the issues of sexual violence and consent.  This does not mean that the experiences of male victims are to be dismissed, but that as the vast majority of victims are women and women’s issues are not high on the political agenda, the focus of this week is on primarily female victims of violence.

The first I Heart Consent week ran in 2015.  The idea came about because we started to teach consent in Criminal Law module and it became apparent that there were a lot of misunderstandings around issues of consent and that prevailing attitudes among students tended to be from a perspective of victim blaming, particularly when alcohol was involved.  However, there were a number of female students who disclosed after the session their experiences of sexual harassment and the ‘Lad Culture’ at the University of Northampton which were not out of line with the findings in the research the NUS had undertaken.  This was an opportunity to harness the student voice and to involve students in the discussions around sexual violence and consent.  It was really important that students, male and female, were given an opportunity to express their views and discuss issues in a safe and supportive environment. The involvement of other organisations who provide support services has meant that ensuring that appropriate and confidential support during I *Heart* Consent Week has grown in importance.

If you want to know more about the challenges of organising I *Heart* Consent Week as well as some of the activities which were run in that week and the results of the questionnaire we gave to students looking at their perceptions of consent, we are presenting our paper at the Approaches to Inequalities: Whose Business is it? Conference on the 20th September at the University of Northampton.  Come along and find out more… http://shop.northampton.ac.uk/product-catalogue/faculty-of-business-and-law/field-trips-conferences/approaches-to-inequalities-2017

Future Implications/Work:

The work at the University of Northampton looking at issues of sexual violence, harassment and consent, is ongoing.  Following the UUK Taskforce report into sexual violence on campuses, HEFCE released funding from the Catalyst Fund to try and address some of the issues highlighted in the UUK report.  The University of Northampton was one of 60 institutions to successfully bid for this money and the project has just started.  The aims of the project are:

-     To develop existing and new institutional policies and strategies to support students in reporting harassment, sexual abuse, sexual violence and hate crime.

-     To develop a student led collaborative initiative to identify what currently happens when disclosures are made, what good practice exists and how existing practice can be enhanced.

-     To use the insights to produce a robust policy and training for staff for when disclosures take place and to develop a package of support for staff to enable appropriate and effective responses to the disclosures of harassment, hate crime, sexual abuse and sexual violence.

-     To ensure that the frameworks and training packages developed are suitable for delivery at the university’s new urban campus, in particular taking into account a new campus environment and changes to the accessibility of staff.

It is hoped that the findings from this research will be disseminated in a number of ways and that we will be able to bring the research and I *Heart* Consent week together.  In addition, it is proposed that the University of Northampton run a joint sexual violence symposium with the University of Chester once the HEFCE projects are complete to share good practice and experiences.

Finally, the next I *Heart* Consent week planning is already well underway and we have increased interest from local voluntary sector organisations as well as the police.  We hope that the experiences from these projects will ensure that we can develop robust responses to issues around sexual violence, harassment and consent.

References:

Association of American Universities (2015) Report on the AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, AAU: http://www.aau.edu/uploadedFiles/AAU_Publications/AAU_Reports/Sexual_Assault_Campus_Survey/Report%20on%20the%20AAU%20Campus%20Climate%20Survey%20on%20Sexual%20Assault%20and%20S

Burkett, M., & Hamilton, K. (2012). Postfeminist sexual agency: Young women’s negotiations of sexual consent.Sexualities, 15(7), 815–833.

National Union of Students (2014) Hidden Marks: a study of women students’ experiences of harassment, stalking, violence and sexual assault, NUS: https://nusdigital.s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/document/documents/17483/e7e4a46967ac442f0ac4b2b1b9c912bc/NUS_hidden_marks_report_2nd_edition_web.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJKEA56ZWKFU6MHNQ&Expires=1479137196&Signature=q7yTcqQp1oAAqmpRfBNM%2BOadN84%3D

Phipps, A. and Smith, G. (2012) Violence against women students in the UK: time to take action. Gender and Education, 24 (4). pp. 357-373. ISSN 0954-0253

Phipps, A. and Young, I. (2013) That’s what she said: women students’ experiences of ‘lad culture’ in higher education.Project Report. National Union of Students, London.

Phipps, A. and Young, I. (2015) Neoliberalisation and ‘lad cultures’ in higher education. Sociology, 49 (2). pp. 305-322. ISSN 0038-0385

Phipps, Alison (2016) (Re)theorising laddish masculinities in higher education. Gender and Education. pp. 1-16. ISSN 1360-0516

Public Health England (2016). A review of evidence for bystander intervention to prevent sexual and domestic violence in universities.

Universities UK (2016) Changing the Culture: Report of the Universities UK Taskforce examining violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students, Universities UK:http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2016/changing-the-culture.pdf