Studying Law at Northampton: Aspects to Consider…

Chloe Moller, Final Year Law student writes:

It has come to the end of my degree, and after three years of studying at, and living In, Northampton there is an abundance to reflect upon. However, this would make for an endless blog post, so I have chosen four elements of my academic life that I wish I had known more about.


To those of you who are going into your final year in September, you will have recently been asked to start thinking about your dissertation. There is a great deal of stigma surrounding dissertations; many of us establish a presumption that our dissertation will be stressful and time consuming. Rest assured this is not the case, while at times you may feel stressed, it passes! Whether you choose the five-thousand-word dissertation or the ten-thousand-word dissertation, it is likely to be the greatest number of words you have written as an assessment piece while at university. But it is important to remember that you usually have from September until March to complete it; this allows you to break down the time you spend on your dissertation to fit it in with your other modules. It really is not as daunting and stressful as it might seem.

As you will know by now, subject to availability you can pick which supervisor is best suited to what you want to explore; in fact, you are quite spoiled for choice in that respect. It can seem daunting when it comes to making the decision as to what legal element, you wish to write about it. When making my decision, I knew from the get-go that I wanted to focus on European Union Law (much to everybody’s disgust) but I was not fully set on this decision, as I thought I may like to write about Contempt of Court (Human Rights). My advice, if you’re in a similar situation, is to choose a supervisor who covers both of the areas you’re interested in-see if you can discuss your ideas with them but you must remember your chosen supervisor cannot make the decision for you.  Like any assessment, it is a good starting point to have a plan; at this stage you do not need an in-depth plan of what you want your dissertation to cover, but you could make a mind map etc to establish what you might wish to write about if you’re lost. It is also a good idea to see what sources are available, this will enable you to explore specific elements of your desired area but will also add to you research.

I think a lot of people forget that your dissertation allows you to evaluate and explore any element of the law that you are interested in. Your dissertation is something for you to enjoy and be fascinated with. Embrace it! This is the best way to write it.

Postgraduate Pathway

Some of you may be aware of what comes next after your law degree, but it is okay not to know. There are three main routes you can follow if you want to go specifically down a legal pathway, obviously you can do anything after your degree and you shouldn’t feel pressured to go into a legal career just because you’ve studied the degree.

There are two key aspects to remember with any legal postgraduate course: funding and time. You do not have to go straight from your undergraduate degree into a postgraduate, you can take however much time out you feel necessary before moving onto the next stage. If you use student finance, you can apply for a postgraduate fund. Unlike your undergraduate finance, it is not spilt into maintenance and course fees; you will receive one loan only, and it goes directly to your bank account. The loan available currently is £11,222. Although funding should not be the determining factor as to which postgraduate degree you want to study, it is something you really need to consider when establishing how you are to cover the fees of living and studying.

The courses available:

LLM: An LLM is short for a Legal Masters. Upon your research, you will find there is a wide range of choice in university providers offering the LLM. One of which is Northampton, where you can pick between one of two LLM courses and this would be offered to you at a discounted fee (20% discount) as you have studied your undergraduate at Northampton. LLM’s are notably cheaper than any of the other postgraduate courses, but do not let this influence your decision.  

LPC: The LPC is short for the Legal Practice Course. If you aspire to qualify as a solicitor, you will need to eventually enrol onto this course. You can do this course in three different time periods: you can complete the course in six months, nine months, or two years. If you apply for a training contract prior to applying to a university for you LPC, and you are successful your firm may dictate what university you go to and the length of your course. Albeit, this usually occurs when the firm have agreed to pay for your LPC. Unlike the LLM, the LPC is considerably more expensive, the price differs depending where you choose to study, but it generally ranges from £10,000-£16,765. Like choosing your undergraduate university, it is a good idea to visit and research some of the providers. Although Coronavirus is currently preventing physical visits, many of the universities offer virtual tours and information sessions online. The other element to consider is combing two components of postgraduate study. I will be starting a combined course of the LLM and LPC at BPP University Holborn campus, come September. By combining the two you can qualify for student finance and obviously gain an additional qualification to your name.

BPTC/BPC: This previously stood for the Bar Professional Training Course but has recently changed to the Bar Practice Course. You will need to enrol on this course if you wish to proceed down the Barrister pathway. Out of the three postgraduate legal pathways, the BPC is the most expensive-once again the price differs from where in the country you choose to study. To study the BPC in London on average will cost between £16,000-£19,500, outside of London the fees are less. Like the LPC you can choose to study the course with LLM which will allow you to apply for postgraduate funding through student finance. There are many scholarships available for the BPC and I would advise visiting any of the Inns for further information and to find out how they might be able to support your journey as a barrister.

Legal and non-legal Opportunities

Which ever route you decide to go down, you will often be asked about what legal experiences you have encountered or participated in. Throughout the year the university holds many opportunities for you to enhance you legal experiences, you should try to go to as many of these as you possibly can as they will be great talking points in applications and interviews to come. Obviously, the events might not stay the same year on year but examples of what the university has previously offered include law fairs, guest speakers and formal dinners at one of the Inns. From personal experience, I would advise that you try and go to each one at least once; also, keep an eye out for vacation schemes and insight days as these too are great in enhancing your legal experience.

It is important to not purely focus your time at university on just law related aspects; the university offers many free sports and societies to join. It is a great way of boosting your confidence, meeting new people or just for taking a break away from the academic side of university. During my time at Northampton I joined the Women’s first team for Lacrosse. Playing games for your university is an amazing experience and you will unleash a whole new passion and love for the university you did not realise you had. But if sports is not your thing, then I would definitely recommend trying out any of the other societies.

Good luck in your studies and goodbye to Northampton, I will miss you dearly.

2019: A year of Boris, Brexit, Belfast Begum, and bad behaviour

Dr Simon Sneddon, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

Yes, it is that time of year again. Term is finished, the majority of students and staff have left the campus and gone home, and the television listings are filling up with programmes looking back at the year which is almost over.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

We started off the year with a post by Kelly on vagrancy and the legal basis for protection of the homeless. Almost a year later, and we have reports of 135,000 children being homeless over Christmas, suggesting that little has changed.

In February, Nick took a group of students to Belfast and spent a few days touring the region and speaking to ex-combatants and the PSNI. At the time “it had been more than two-years since the Assembly had sat and we reflected on whether the lack of a sitting assembly in Northern Ireland posed more of a threat to ongoing peace than Brexit.” Nick is going again in January, and it will be interesting to see how things have changed.

There was a shift of focus for the next two posts, both of which concerned animal welfare. Initially, Simon looked at the issue of sentience in animals, and the extent to which it should be recognised in law. he outlined a disagreement between the EFRA Committee, which felt a proposed bill was too vague, and DEFRA which felt the ideas behind the bill “deserve better than to be treated in a cavalier fashion”.

Simon next reflected on another student trip, this time to the Jim Cronin Memorial Fund for Primate Welfare and Conservation, and the neighbouring Monkey world. One of the issues discussed on the trip was the keeping of primates as pets, and the post echoed the push by Monkey Worlds to ban this practice. What was heartening is that the Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem manifestos all included a ban on keeping primates as pets.

In March, we had a post from one of our students, Peter, with a frank and open reflection on his life prior to and during the his LLB studies.

Zhara looked at the case of Shamima Begum in March as well, and reminded the Home Secretary of the importance of the rule of law, and the impact that flouting it would have on “the pillars of democracy and justice in the UK.”

Kate found herself drawn in to the Apprentice in March and advised the students of the perils of not being honest with your cv. She gave several examples of lawyers ,paralegals and executives who were all fired for lying on their cvs – and in many cases barred from practising for a period of time as well.

We had another student post in April, when Emann spoke of her experiences as an international student applying for the Legal Practice Course (the professional stage of training as a solicitor). She gave some good practical advise to fellow students about the best ways to make an informed choice.

Kate was back in the summer with a post about why making a will is a good idea, but why ensuring that you still have full capacity when you sign it. “Paying for professional advice now” she said “can save a lot of cost and upset later on”

Nick and ‘Teleola wrote about their project which was looking at getting the best out of a diverse group of students, and shared their CLIMATES model, which would go on to get further exposure at conferences.

Kelly looked at the role of religion and law in July, partly as a result of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition Family and Property’s attempts to get Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens removed from Netflix, when in fact it was on Amazon. The post had a serious side too, and calls for all religions to be treated equally.

Simon was concerned in June about the increased use of AI and automation in everyday life, and whether Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk were right to be worried about the risk to humanity. He pointed out that Vernon Vinge had warned of a technological singularity before 2030. Since the post, a fifth fatal accident involving a Tesla driving on autopilot was reported in Florida.

In August, Simon had two posts on environmental issues. The first was a call to do more to protect the environment by buying, driving and eating less (meat) and growing and joining in more. The second was a look at the phenomenon that is Extinction Rebellion.

In September, Dominic linked back to Zhara’s piece, and looked at the effect of behaviour on the decisions to remove citizenship form dual nationals. He ends by saying “if a minority can have citizenship revoked because of unacceptable behaviour, actions, words, or even thoughts, then these behavioural limits should be identifiable in legislation and tested in court.”

At the start of the 19/20 academic year, the Law team jointly came up with a list of books which we felt that law students should read. They ranged from historical to environmental to whimsical.

Nick and Simon missed most of Welcome week as they travelled to Zagreb to deliver an expert workshop for the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Education for Justice programme. In their post, they reflect on the panel and the impact that the E4J project is having.

In October, Kelly looked back at her summer trip to Egypt and to the El Mina mosque. She suggests that “if you are interested in religion whenever you get the opportunity sit and talk to people” which is advice that is easily transferrable to other spheres of life.

In the era of Fake News and social media bubbles Jade looked at the difference between dis-information and mis-information in October, and the overlap between this and cyberwarfare.

At the end of October, Simon looked back at the century since Prohibition in the United Sates and the lessons which had singularly not been learned from it. These lessons were applied to the illegal market in narcotics, which has not been solved by a ban.

Nick looked at the notion of Englishness in November, and his thoughts on the “thinking English” panel of which he was a part. The notion of who is English was put against the England Rugby team, with its share of overseas born players.

Simon rounded off the year by calling out the political parties for on the one hand espousing environmental principles, and on the other wasting 7,000 tons of paper during the election campaign.

A mixed year, overall. Whatever you are doing between now and 6th January, be it preparing for the Equity and Trusts essay (due in January) working on your dissertation, or relaxing, the Law Team wishes you a very Happy Christmas.

Green Election? Don’t make me laugh.

Dr Simon Sneddon, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

Tomorrow (Thursday 12th December) is polling day for the General Election, in case you somehow managed to miss it.

In an era where the unprecedented actions by Extinction Rebellion, the Schools Climate strike and so on have highlighted the concerns felt globally about environmental issues, all of the main parties standing for election have made a point of showing off their green credentials.

The Conservative and Unionist Party manifesto claims that the country is already “leading a new green industrial revolution” (p3) and that the party will, if elected:

  • Protect and enhance the green belt (p31) primarily by prioritising brownfield development;
  • Net zero carbon by 2050;
  • Create new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and make the Coast to Coast path a “national trail” alongside existing ones like the south West Coast Path (p43). Maintenance of the current national trails is “carried out by the local highway authorities together with landowners often with the help of volunteers” (LINK);
  • Page 55 of the manifesto includes some more generic, longer term goals, most of which are undated (“the coming years”), and uncosted. The Blue Belt marine programme is a continuation of an existing approach started in 2017. The target of 40Gw of offshore energy production by 2030 is a five-fold rise on the current 8.4Gw (RenewablesUK). Where there is promised funding, it is £800m for Carbon Capture and Storage, £500m for lowering carbon emissions for high energy industries, £500m for a Blue Planet fund to reduce plastic in the ocean, £4bn in flood defences, £9.2bn in energy efficiency – so a nice round £15bn (over a generally unspecified period of time).

The Labour Party manifesto disagrees about the state of the Green Industrial Revolution, saying that it needs to be kick-started. Specific manifesto promises include:

  • A £250bn Green Transformation Fund dedicated to renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, biodiversity and environmental restoration (this will be part of a £400bn National Transformation Fund)
  • Net zero Carbon by the 2030s, including 7,000 offshore and 2,000 onshore wind turbines. The average offshore wind turbine currently generates 4Mw and the average onshore generates 1.6Mw, so the addition numbers come out to roughly 32Gw of additional wind energy, not far short of the Conservative Party promise.
  • If wind energy use is less ambitious, flood defences are in line for a £5.6bn windfall under Labour, 40% higher than the £4bn promised by the Conservatives.
  • Other, less specific promises include reducing food waste, creating new National Parks, planting trees, and ending the badger cull, all of which are laudable aims.

The manifesto of the Liberal Democrats also has a section on “Green society and Green Economy” split into ten sections. As there is considerable overlap between these sections, I have reduced the number:

  • Sustainable energy – reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045, 80 per cent renewable electricity in the UK by 2030, more investment in cutting edge tech and a ban on fracking and taxing high-use air passengers. Funded by £12bn (2020-2025)
  • Better transport: build more railways (including HS2) to reduce reliance on cars, £4.5bn for more buses, 10% of transport budget for cycle lanes.
  • Wildlife and Nature: improve air, water, soil quality with £18bn over 5 years, an extra £5bn fund for flood protection, reduce food waste, create a “blue belt” of Marine Protected areas by 2030, “properly fund” the National Wildlife Crime Unit and end the keeping of primates as pets.

The Green Party manifesto naturally has a strong green focus throughout, including net zero carbon by 2030 (p6), £100bn a year investment into the Green New Deal (p6), 70% of energy provided by wind power by 2030 (p10), £2.5bn a year on cycleways and footpaths (p15), cancelling HS2 (p16), and so on .

The Brexit Party has what it calls a “Contract” rather than a manifesto, and does £2.5bn for fisheries and coastal communities (though this seems to be a hybrid environmental / economic promise), planting “millions of trees” and better recycling.

I have, of course, over simplified some of these policies, have deliberately omitted Plaid Cymru and the SNP, and have undoubtedly missed out something that you consider is crucial. This is not meant to be a balanced look a the pros and cons of all the parties green policies – the BBC has done this, as have Forbes, the Financial Times, the Guardian and so on.

My point is less complex. While focusing on highfalutin, multi-billion, headline-grabbing future policy goals, all of the parties and indeed the mechanism of the election itself, are forgetting the more mundane, everyday issues associated with this periodic exercise in democracy (note: after a democratic view has been exercised, it is not undemocratic to seek a further democratic view after a period of time has passed.)

In my constituency (which has been a conservative seat since its inception 90 years ago) there is a strong likelihood that the current Conservative majority (of over 21,000) will not be overturned. It is a safe seat. As such, campaigning has not been as frenetic as it has in marginal seats (eg Northampton North – 807 conservative Majority or Northampton South – 1,159 conservative majority).

Nonetheless, I have over the past weeks received campaign literature through the door from each of the four parties which are standing (CON, LAB, LIB, GRN).

The paperwork (unless any more arrives today) weighs in at 298g. The Conservative candidate sent a one-page letter in a DL sized window envelope. The Lib Dems sent two, two-page letters (also in DL sized window envelopes) a glossy A5 flyer, and a glossy A4 gatefold flyer. Labour and the Green Party both sent a glossy A5 flyer.

There are 74,000 voters in my constituency. Even assuming only half of them received the same quantity of literature as I did, that is 11,026 kg of paper – just over 11 tons. There are 650 constituencies in the UK, and they all have roughly the same number of voters. If my constituency is typical, then we are looking at 7,150 tons of campaign literature posted through doors.

“Aha” I hear you say, “it is all recyclable, and it is an important mechanism for allowing voters to make an informed choice.”

It is all recyclable, that is true, but the “Waste Hierarchy” (the conceptual framework for avoiding excess and unnecessary waste) has “recycle” as the 3rd best choice, after reduce and reuse. Not creating the same weight in paper as a Hobart class Royal Australian Navy destroyer would seem like a decent place to start.

HMAS Hobart

As for informed choice, I carried out a poll on Twitter. Not very scientific, but I have discussed it with other people since, and in response to the question “Did you change your #GE2019 voting intentions because of the leaflets which the political parties posted through your door?” the response rate was unequivocal.

Results of a Twitter Poll

Joshua Townsley (2018) suggests that for, a campaign leaflet makes non-postal voters 4.3 per cent more likely to vote, and the equivalent for postal voters is a followed by a canvassing visit, but add that “we cannot be confident that the different treatments had any effect whatsoever on turnout.” What these figures don’t show is how those people voted.

Get rid of this pointless waste of paper. Use the money that you save to get more canvassers involved in door-knocking, hold hustings that people who are undecided can turn up to and learn more.

I have a postal vote. Because I have a postal vote, I get a yellow card posted to me, to tell me that I will get a postal vote form posted to me shortly. I then get the postal vote form, in an envelope in a second envelope. If I votes in person, I would still get the paper voting form.

In the last election, 32m people cast valid votes, so 32m voting slips were produced. This has effectively bene the same process for centuries.

Various countries are currently using electronic voting systems in national elections – Brazil, Estonia, India, the Philippines, the UAE, the USA and Venezuela. Some of those may not necessarily be countries whose democratic standards we wish to emulate, but the fact remains that this is technically feasible.

Whoever wins tomorrow, whether by a clear margin or not, one lasting impact they could have is on reforming the voting system, and bringing the UK into the 21st century.

What is Englishness?

Nick Cartwright, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

Last week saw the end of October and therefore the last day of Black History Month and whilst there are plenty of activities planned to make sure that every month is Black History Month Tre Ventour, the BAME Officer at our Students’ Union, worked incredibly hard to provide a full calendar of varied and interesting events. 

On Halloween an evening of conversation on Brit(ish)ness: Identity and Belonging and I was honoured to be invited to chair the panel on ‘Thinking English’.  I therefore took the opportunity to reflect on what the topic of the panel, Englishness, meant for me.

I reflected that on Saturday morning I will be in the pub for Breakfast Beers showing my patriotism by cheering on my countrymen in the Rugby World Cup Final.  Willi Heinz, the New Zealander, Samoan born Etuale Manusamoa Tuilagi (who we call Manu because he’s English), the New Zealand born Tongan Mako Vunipola and his Australian born brother Billie Vunipola, Oghenemaro Miles Itoje who we call Maro Itoje (because his parents gave him a funny sounding Nigerian name), and US born Sam Underhill all led by England’s newest hero Australian head-coach Eddie Jones.  We will cheer Court-Ney every time Northampton local lad Courtney Lawes touches the ball, wondering aloud how funny it is that he is both English and Black and there is no Black in Red, White and Blue. 

We chose the pub carefully, because that’s just sensible if your wife is Nigerian and your kids mixed-race.  Why would we want to create awkwardness with people who have never seen the St George’s cross painted on a brown face?  After all they just wanted to enjoy a pint, watch the match and stare at the barmaid without having to worry about being ‘politically correct’.  We chose a family pub, ran by our friends.  Obviously, our friends are appalled that we feel we might experience micro-aggressions in other pubs, after all my wife is a ‘good migrant’, exactly the type of Black person we should tolerate.  Their anti-immigrant posts on social media are not aimed at her, but an entirely different type of migrant and they can’t be racist, after all they are ‘our’ friends and they simply adore the boy’s afros!  But they aren’t really ‘our’ friends, they’re my friends who are slightly bemused but softly applauding of my ‘brave’ decision to marry a migrant, and they would never use that word to describe her because she’s ‘really nice… an asset to our country’.  And my friends don’t comment on what values they’re bringing their kids up to uphold, despite some of them spawning some particularly odious brats, but I get told that we’re bringing our kids up to be British or English. 

I further reflected that, win or lose the rugby little Johnny ‘I’m not racist but…’ Bullshit will ride this tide of patriotism straight into a seat in Westminster in the December elections while our countryman piss in their fountains to express our national pride, repeating the lies that caught their eyes at school in history books. 

So, I concluded, being good at rugby seems to mean you can call yourself English regardless, but asked my panellists what else entitles someone to declare their Englishness? 

I was joined by an excellent panel and they sparked some really exciting discussions.

My first panellist was Dominic Carrington, a Senior Lecturer in law here at Northampton and also a barrister specialising in immigration law so has made a successful career out of arguing about national identity.  He spoke of his experiences of being Black and English, both living in Britain and when visiting Jamaica, where his Dad was born.  The complexity of mixed identities was also explored in a later session on Black History chaired by ‘Teleola Cartwright.

Bex Williams, my second panellist, is a proud Welsh woman and confirmed that she was definitely not English!  She is currently studying for her LLM having previously served as a Sergeant in the British army so can properly claim to have served her country and fight for its values, whatever that may mean.  She reflected on the fury she felt that the far right were abusing the histories of our armed services to justify a rise of racist attitudes.

My final panellist was Chika Enwelum, an undergraduate law student. Chika has experienced what it means to have dual citizenship, growing up on a diet of Shepherd’s Pie served with Jollof rice!  She chose in her early years to identify as Nigerian despite having never lived there but now proudly identifies as both Nigerian and British and explained very clearly how she can do so without one being stressed more than the other.

The Students’ Union have an ongoing calendar of events on issues that impact Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and I would strongly encourage everyone to go along and join in.

Prohibition: 100 years and nothing learned

Dr Simon Sneddon, Senior Lecturer in Law writes:

A couple of weeks ago I was at the 2nd interdisciplinary symposium on OC as the University of the West of England in Bristol.

One of the talks was by Danny Kushlick, the founder and Head of External Affairs at the Bristol-based charity, Transform Drug Policy Foundation (TDPF). His talk, and the main campaigning aim of the TDPF is to “reduce drug-related harms to individuals and communities by promoting a debate on the failings of prohibition and the benefits of legal drug regulation.” Their Alternative World Drug Report, now in its 2nd edition, makes clear links between the illegality of narcotics and the involvement of transnational organised crime groups.

The premise of the argumentis that legalisation of substances which are criminalised will bring them within the purview of government regulation, and this in turn will lead to more consistent and predictable purity, strength and price, as well as the potential for tax and licencing income.

I have written previously on the arguments for legalising cannabis for recreational use, and this debate seems to be moving closer towards legalisation becoming the norm, but I had not previously considered legalising all narcotics.

Prohibition of substances (alcohol, narcotics) and things (guns, explosives) is a tactic which has been used by government across the world, for more than a century. Perhaps the most well-known experiment with prohibition was the National Prohibition Act, or Volstead Act, which was passed 100 years ago today (28th October 1919).

The Volstead Act, 1919

The Volstead Act, the full title of which was “An act to prohibit intoxicating beverages, and to regulate the manufacture, production, use, and sale of high-proof spirits for other than beverage purposes, and to insure an ample supply of alcohol and promote its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye, and other lawful industries” was triggered by fears from the American Temperance Union, the Women’s Christian temperance Union and the anti-Saloon League, among many others, that alcohol consumption in the United States was leading to a decline in societal values, and increase in family break up, and decrease in factory productivity (production lines and hangovers do not mix well).

The Act did not ban the consumption of alcohol,

One near-contemporary source (Feldman, 1927) reported that the demand for home-made wine boomed during this period, as it was not covered by the restrictions of the legislation. Herbert Ashbury (of Gangs of New York fame) wrote in 1977 that during prohibition, the amount of land set aside in California to grape production rose sevenfold to meet this demand.

It was not just the legal home consumption of alcohol which increased during prohibition. The US Government Archive reports that “by 1925 in New York City alone there were anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 speakeasy clubs” and, as Zinberg & Fraser point out “People did not take the trouble to go to a speakeasy, present the password, and pay high prices for very poor quality alcohol simply to have a beer. When people went to speakeasies, they went for intoxication.”

The Act failed. It failed to reduce alcohol consumption – instead it drove it underground. It failed to solve societal decline – organised criminal activity rose during prohibition, as did the homicide rate nationally from 5.9 homicides per 100,000 in 1915 to 8.3 per 100,000 in 1925 (US National Center for Health Statistics). By comparison, the homicide rate in England and Wales remained largely unchanged in the same time period (0.84/100,000).

It failed because those enacting it did not understand two fundamental principles of human nature. Firstly, demand. Nothing was done to drive down demand for alcohol, it was simply assumed that lack of supply would be an effective deterrent. As such, demand did not only fail to fall, it rose.

Secondly, greed. What it became clear that demand was not going to be satisfied through legal channels, organised crime groups (including Sicilian and Italian groups working as distributors for the Purple Gang (or Sugar House Gang) from Detroit, and the gangs run by Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Dutch Schultz and Meyer “Little Man” Lansky) set about meeting that demand illegally.

Two things were made stronger by Prohibition. Organised Crime and the Californian Wine Industry. When prohibition ended, they remained strong.

Turning back to the current prohibition on narcotics, the global prohibition is at least coupled with efforts to reduce demand. That these are largely unsuccessful (as demonstrated by the approximate 33 per cent rise in the number of people using drugs between 32006 and 2016), is of course an issue, but not the issue here. Efforts are being made through education to divert people from substance abuse, which is at least a step up from 1920s prohibition. The UNODC World Drug Report 2018 says that “In most countries, cannabis is the drug most widely used, both among the general population and among youth” (p12) and yet it is still criminalised in most countries. This, perhaps, demonstrates again that criminalisation of a substance (be it alcohol or cannabis) does not lead to a decline in consumption.


The nub of the problem is that the money from drug production goes predominantly to criminals. It is true that these criminals then introduce that money into the legitimate economy, either through out and out money laundering or just by purchasing normal household essentials. At the point of earning, however, there is no income tax, national insurance, VAT paid, meaning a net loss to central government, and to everything funded by central government. Add to that the cost of arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning people using these substances, and the new cost to society is astronomical.

Legalisation of recreational cannabis would allow government to regulate, tax and quality control the market, and would lessen the cost to the Criminal Justice System. This cost saving could easily be ring-fenced into NHS and other programmes to reduce demand, as has happened with some of the tax revenue from tobacco. Productivity would not be affected (the data from Colorado support this) and there is no evidence of legalisation leading to a general moral decline.

Furthermore, it would take money out of the hands of organised criminal syndicates.

I do not go as far as TDPF, as I think there are different arguments for different narcotics, but we have tried prohibition of cannabis for 91 years in the UK, and it is manifestly not working. Einstein never actually said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” but the sentiment holds true. Legalisation may not work perfectly, but isn’t it worth a try?

Intentionally factually incorrect information – The rise of dis-information, a spectator’s perspective.

Jade Brailsford, Lecturer in Law writes:

With a research interest in national security, state secrecy, freedom of expression and a past life as a communications information specialist in the military, to say that I am fascinated with the way in which we, the public share our ‘opinion’ is an understatement. Lots has been going on recently, from Brexit (I say that in a whisper as to not start any debates around your dinner tables) to Turkeys recent military action in Syria, boy do we the public like to share our opinion. Lest anyone be offended, I am included in the ‘we’.

To start, I use the word ‘dis-information’ in the title, you may or may not be aware of this term, perhaps you have instead heard of ‘mis-information’ or ‘fake news’. To complicate matters those phrases are used interchangeably and the notion of each can be difficult to pin down. Consequently, before writing further, I must state that what follows is my own assessment and there is no ‘one’ definition of any of those terms. In fact, one of the first issues I raised with my PhD supervisor was this difficulty; why do academics, politicians and information scientists use these terms interchangeably (I probably added a ‘help me…please’ in there somewhere!).

My (extremely simplistic) view on these terms would be that dis-information is the communication of intentionally deceptive information. Thus, the source has actively engaged in a process to mislead and deceive others. Comparatively, mis-information would be the communication of inaccurate information, perhaps by mistake, negligence, unconscious bias or prejudice. It’s the latter that really gets me riled up on social media! In either case, the information can indirectly and directly harm others.[1] The idea of ‘fake news’ can probably encompass both dis and mis-information.

Anyone with an online presence, or even anyone who just keeps an eye on the news will know that ‘fake news’ has become a significant problem in recent years. This ‘problem’ is not confined to popular culture concerns, such as in 2015 when Twitter “went off” with the (spoof) story about Taylor Swift being banned from Africa because she ‘dreamed of a white Africa’, or even more politically sensitive stories such as the viral Facebook story that Shamima Begum had been smuggled back into the UK thanks to her secret lawyer Cherie Blair securing the return of her British citizenship status (as far as I can tell this story has no factual basis).

The vast development in information and communication technologies in recent years has been positive for the free flow of information and the exercising of freedom of expression (the human rights lawyer in me punches the air). Nevertheless, free flow of information when taken alongside instantaneous methods of communication potentially causes a significant threat to national security. States are increasingly better equipped to utilise, not only conventional electronic warfare (the jamming and interception of communication signals to disrupt military communication and weapons systems), but also information and disinformation operations as a method of strategic interference.

‘Modern’ strategic interference is not limited to use during armed conflict and includes the use of both stolen and leaked information capable of being manipulated for strategic interests in peacetime. Such tactics can cause significant threats to cyber and national security as well as spreading distress and distrust amongst citizens. For example, the dissemination of misinformation, disinformation and carefully selected authentic information can confuse, distract, polarise and interfere with the democratic processes of States. This has most recently been seen with Russia’s alleged interference with the 2016 United States presidential elections.[2] Indeed, Twitter have now created a dedicated space online to ‘election integrity’.

From a legal perspective, information warfare utilises modern information technologies and networks, also known as ‘cyber space’ internationally, yet international law does not expressly provide for ‘cyber’ warfare.[3] During their most recent meeting the UN Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (GGE) failed to reach a consensus on the application of international law to the use of information and communications technologies, and the responsible behaviour to be taken by States.[4] Given the GGE’s mandate, the lack of consensus demonstrates significant differences amongst States as to the applicability of basic principles and rules of international law in cyberspace, in particular in relation to information warfare involving the use of modern information and communication technologies. Consequently, the threat remains very real.

To close, we must accept that dis-information is not a new phenomenon. Warfare has always involved dis-information and subsequently mis-information. During WWII the allies used dis-information to conceal the location for troop landings. And of course, we know how Hitler used government propaganda to publicise and push his atrocious agenda. However, in the 1940’s information and opinion could not be shared instantaneously and globally. It is clear that ‘information defence’ is needed, and quickly.[5]

But what can we do as members of the public and peddlers of this information?

First, stop and think before we share a communication (picture, post, article etc.) online – even if the article looks legitimate it could be deceptive and second, even if you feel passionate about a topic or issue circulating online – fact check before sharing.

When it comes to mis-information, dis-information and fake news, sharing is most definitely NOT caring.

[1] Don Fallis, What Is Disinformation? (2015) 63(3) Library Trends 401.

[2] Select Committee on Intelligence, ‘Disinformation: A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns. Panel 1’ (Senate 116th Cong. 2017).

[3] Naina Sah, ‘Cyber attack = armed attack? The implications and the challenges’ (2013) 19(8) CTLR 226, 227.

[4] United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, ‘Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security’ <> Accessed 10 October 2019.

[5] Jessikka Aro, ‘The Cyberspace War: Propaganda and Trolling as Warfare Tools’ (2016) 15(1) European View 121–132.

Experiencing Religion: Reflections on Visiting El Mina Mosque, Hurghada Egypt

Kelly-Ann Cannon, Lecturer in Law writes:

Academic year 2019/2020 is about to begin and as one new academic year begins it gives way to reflect on the year that has ended. It has also been my first year as an academic at the University of Northampton and what an interesting year I have had, from visiting Pakistan on a partnership visit to successfully obtaining Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. One of my highlights is designing modules for two new Masters programmes which commence this year.  Having such academic freedom has been a real privilege and to know that I am teaching something I have created from scratch gives me a real sense of pride; I was given the academic freedom to create a module which relates to my research interests called Law and Religion.

Over the summer on annual leave I had the ability to think deeply about the rationale for designing Law and Religion as a module and what will be included in the content and delivery but most importantly my ethos for wanting to have such a module in the first place. I went away for a trip to Egypt and along the way met some very interesting people from different faiths, it appears that wherever you are in the world you can always find people with common interests. Egypt gave me the opportunity to experience faith in a different cultural setting than trying to understand it on familiar territory so to speak. One of things that I really wanted to do was visit different Mosques and speaking to a close friend of mine they encouraged me to visit the local Mosques during one of the five call to prayers, in particular Maghrib.

So, on one of my last days of my trip I organised a visit to El Mina Mosque in Hurghada. I was kindly escorted and guided locally to the Mosque in which I had a million and one questions for my guide which he kindly answered and reminded me of what it was like to be a student again. As I got out of the car and stood in front on this beautiful place of worship I stood there and told myself to experience this religion with a blank canvas. The architecture of El Mina Mosque was stunning and after spending some time inside it was time to leave before Maghrib it was this moment as the day was ending and dusk arrived then stepping out and hearing the call to prayer that I saw a glimpse into why prayer is so important within the Islamic faith. The public presence but intimate effect it can kindle within is a distinction to Islam.

Reflecting on my experience there are several things which dawned on me. Faith and religion are two distinct concepts. With faith in something we must learn to trust and respect in what we cannot see, an intangible presence which guides behaviour of ourselves or others. Whilst faith in a religion in distinct and personal. a journey which is for that person and that person alone. Faith in religion per se is one which we should all try to understand. With that being said we must trust and respect those who are religious, and this is a journey which can be shared and one that should not be alone. After talking with many people during my trip in Egypt I believe even more so in the importance of knowing and understanding the religious diversity of the world we live in. Whilst the social and political debates for the role of religion in society will continue to be, it cannot be ignored or pushed aside the significance of appreciating fundamental principles of the way in which our fellow human beings choose to live their lives by; and for a significant proportion of the population of this world today religion is still that guiding word or their inner moral compass. I would say that we should all take some time in our lives to simply try to understand the religious beliefs and experiences of others. Therefore, if you are interested in religion whenever you get the opportunity sit and talk to people, visit places of worship but most importantly try to experience and listen with open eyes and open ears. Through this you might learn something new and maybe that something new will be about yourself too.

Zagreb Expert Workshop on Firearms

Dr Simon Sneddon and Nick Cartwright, Senior Lecturers in Law write:

Education for Justice

The E4J programme, which is supported by the State of Qatar, stems from the Doha Declaration which was adopted at the end of the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held in Qatar in 2015. The UNODC launched a four-part Global Programme to put the Doha Declaration into reality. The four interrelated parts are:

Judicial Integrity: Effective, transparent and corruption-resistant public institutions boost confidence and form the core of good governance. Building on UNODC’s extensive experience in providing assistance to Member States in this area, the Judicial Integrity initiative aims to assist judiciaries in strengthening judicial integrity and preventing corruption in the justice sector, in line with Article 11 of the UN Convention against Corruption;

Prisoner Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation programmes in prisons are key to protecting society from crime and reducing recidivism. Crucial to this is for prisoners to be prepared for their release and successful reintegration into society through prison-based programmes and post-release support. Under the Global Programme, various constructive activities in prisons are being carried out, including education, vocational training and work programmes;

Crime prevention through sports: Youth face many challenges that make them vulnerable to crime, violence and victimization, and it is key that their development is supported so that they can positively contribute to society. Using sports to provide positive experiences and support healthy development in young people, UNODC works to reduce anti-social behaviour by building important life skills that increase adaptive and positive behaviour among at-risk youth; and

Education for Justice (E4J): This initiative seeks to prevent crime and promote a culture of lawfulness through education activities designed for primary, secondary and tertiary levels. These activities will help educators teach the next generation to better understand and address problems that can undermine the rule of law and encourage students to actively engage in their communities and future professions in this regard.

The E4J strand is split into primary, secondary and tertiary education and with 9 themes covered in each; the firearms stream is one of 9 themes.

The 14 modules which the team created went through a robust peer-review process including two large plenary sessions, one in Panama City, Panama and the other in Vienna, Austria. Since then there have been a series of Expert Workshops across the world, intended to widen the reach and impact of the programme.

Earlier this week we were invited by the UNODC to the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Political Science to deliver one of these Expert Workshops. Their audience was 20 academics from across the Region, representing six universities, military and police academies and other security bodies:

The workshop started with an introduction of the wider E4J programme, and then the E4J modules and the background to their development.

We then went through the underlying principles, both from a subject-specific and learning and teaching specific perspective. One of the key elements of the ethos is that students should not look at their modules as being separate elements of a programme, but should embed them into their own approach, particularly once they graduate and move into the world of work.

The discussion which followed showed the innate difference between UK universities, where there is a strong tradition of academic freedom, and many of those in the region, where changes to the curriculum need Ministry of Education approval. The afternoon session gave the participants the opportunity to experience the E4J Firearms modules as students, and to see the underpinning pedagogy put into practice.

The first day closed with colleague saying how they planned to use the E4J modules, whether in the firearms stream or other streams, in their own institutions. Despite the institutional limitations that many face, the enthusiasm was strong, and every participant could see an opportunity for some level of adoption in their own teaching, or that of a colleague from their institution.

After some late changes to the agenda, day two started with wide-ranging discussions over various teaching apps that could be used (for example Kahoot, Mentimeter, Poll EV and so on). We also demonstrated a live version of how the participants could embed the materials into their own programmes. LAWM050, one of the modules on the University of Northampton’s new LLM Transnational Rights and Security, is based on the E4J Firearms material, and the approach that we took with the module helped the group to see the huge potential.

The Workshop ended with a presentation by the Dean of the Faculty of Political Science.

Presentation of Certificate

Plans are being drawn up by some of the attendees to host more focused sessions in their own institutions, and to spread the E4J impact even further.

Despite starting a full day of proceedings early and spending evenings preparing for the next day’s events and responding to emails (the Wi-Fi worked best in the hotel bar) we did manage to get out into the historic city of Zagreb and enjoy the food and some of the culture. One memorable point was the 350m long Grič Tunnel, used as a bomb shelter and promenade during WW2 but partly restored and open to the public.

Simon and Nick in the Grič Tunnel

Blue is clearly the city’s colour with everything from the trams to post-boxes sporting the bright blue paint.  The fire hydrants around the city stand as a permanent monument to arms decommissioning – after the break-up of the former Yugoslavia the Croatian government collected and decommissioned many of the weapons used in the conflict.  These weapons were melted down and turned into the fire hydrants for the city serving as a constant reminder of the positive repurposing of the arms Croatian citizens had surrendered as a commitment to peace.

L-R Simon, a blue fire hydrant, Nick

Before you start…

Here in the law team, we are very keen to promote the desire to read as a fundamental part of doing a law degree and learning as part of every day life. As new (or returning) students, you should get into the habit of reading a quality newspaper (online or in paper form) every day. What we cover in the degree has its roots in history and tradition, but it has enormous implications on the world around us. Similarly, current events have a huge impact on the law.

As a starter, we canvassed colleagues in the law team and asked them to recommend one or two books which they thought all students should read, and why. This is what a number of us thought…

Alex: The Needs of Strangers, Michael Ignatief

Ignatieff explores what it is to be human through a history of our needs and how we articulate them. He points out that the modern welfare state is good at meeting physical needs, but poor at meeting emotional ones: we pay our taxes so that poor people do not starve, but to invite a hungry person for a meal might be better – it would meet more than just their need for food.

Ebenezer: The Bramble Bush, Karl Llewellyn

It provides a simple and great introduction to what Law is – and most importantly – how students must prepare themselves to face the rigors of legal study.

Nick: V for Vendetta, Alan Moore

Explores the relationship between citizen and state and the question of why we obey (or don’t) the law.  It’s crucial to any understanding of civil liberties / human rights.

Nick: Eve was Framed, Helena Kennedy

Explains patriarchy and institutional discrimination in the legal system fostering a critical approach.

Kirstie: Schindler’s List / Schindler’s Ark, Thomas Keneally

Shows why the development of human rights law, post-World War Two, was so important, and how individuals can successfully challenge State abuses of rights.

Kirstie: The Moomins and the Great Flood, Tove Jansson

The first Moomins book, which covers the search by Moomin and his mama for Moominpapa. Commonly seen as an allegory for displacement and losses of World War Two, which in part lead to the creation of the 1951 Refugee Convention. It sounds sad, but it’s a lovely book!

Kelly-Ann: Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy, Simon Blackburn

Think, think, think. That is what it can feel like when you start university and yes in truth that is what we are asking of you but to think in a new way that you have maybe not done before. We ask you to think for yourself, to absorb the concepts and facts we need you to learn but to then make that knowledge your own. In essence it is about elevating your thinking to a new level and we like to badge this at university as ‘critical thinking’ but to think critically can be so hard because it can be perceived as simply finding the wrong or bad in an argument and that is not the case. If you are about to study law, then I recommend taking the journey to learning about the world around you and this can be past and present; and a great way to start? Well, that is to think about thinking and Simon Blackburn’s pocket-sized book will help you understand in bitesize chunks the different ways thinkers for thinking have thought.

Mick: The Last Revolution, Patrick Dillon

An account of the events which gave birth to our Parliamentary democracy and current constitutional arrangements. 

Simon: Silent Spring, Rachel Carson

The first popular book outlining the environmental threat posed by humans. Published 57 years ago in 1962, it explores the over-use of pesticides in the United States, the subsequent decline in insect numbers, and the impact on bird life. Voted as one of the 100 most influential books of the 20th Century by Boston Public Library.

Simon: The Sixth Extinction, Richard Leakey & Roger Lewin

We have had five mass extinction events in history, the most recent being the dinosaurs. We are well overdue for the sixth, and are losing biodiversity at an ever-increasing rate. Changing the law is the only way to prevent irreversible species loss and everything that entails. Not a joyous book, but an important one.

Sophie: The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How it is Broken,

An excellent introduction to current issues affecting the Criminal Justice System

Jade: Oh, the places you’ll go, Dr Seuss

So, after my colleagues have provided an inspirational reading list that promotes deeper thinking, perhaps I could suggest something a little lighter with a meaningful message about the importance of seizing new opportunities, keeping an open-mind, and trying new things.

‘…You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose…And remember that life’s a great balancing act.

And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed)…’

Good luck on your adventure.

‘Unacceptable Behaviour’; How do we measure it, and what are the consequences?

Dominic Watts, Associate Lecturer in Law writes:

Earlier this year, my colleague Zhara Malik wrote an excellent article on this blog that looked at the case of Shamima Begum. As the article explains, Begum’s British citizenship status was revoked by the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid, apparently on the grounds of involvement with the terrorist group Islamic State (IS). This piece will examine who may be subject to a Deprivation of Citizenship Order (DOCO), in particular dual-nationals. Furthermore one of the grounds for issuing a DOCO will be considered; that of ‘unacceptable behaviour’.

The authority to deprive a person of their British citizenship status is a power delegated to the Home Secretary, by the British Nationality Act 1981 (BNA).[1] Section 40(2) allows deprivation if it would be ‘conducive to the public good’. Legislation introduced in 2002 allowed for citizenship to be revoked from any British citizen,[2] rather than just the ‘registered’ or ‘naturalised’ citizens mentioned in the original text of the BNA. Whilst deprivation may framed as a counter-terrorism measure, it can be used in much wider circumstances. Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation David Anderson commented, that even individuals with single UK nationality could theoretically be subject to a DOCO; although in practice the legislative safeguard against statelessness would prevent this.[3]

Javid confirmed to Parliament that dual-nationals could be subject to such an order where conducive to the public good.[4] To give some numerical context, census data from 2011 put the number of dual passport holders in England and Wales at over 600,000.[5] However, the Good Friday Agreement confirmed the right of the people of Northern Ireland to hold both British and Irish citizenship if they so wish.[6] The number of deprivations issued as ‘conducive to the public good’ is recorded as 36 in the five-year period 2011-2015.[7] However, recent use of this power indicates 104 DOCOs issued in 2017.[8] Hence whilst only a minority of the UK population is theoretically at risk of citizenship-deprivation, the willingness to use it has significantly increased. As Macklin observes, this power has had the effect of making dual citizenship ‘a liability’.[9]

This liability is illustrated in case of the DOCO reportedly served against Jack Letts for involvement with IS. Letts, from Oxfordshire, held dual UK-Canadian nationality. Hence his British citizenship could be revoked (without trial), but without leaving him stateless. Had Letts been a single-national, then no deprivation could have taken place as he would have become stateless. Although not considered ‘conducive to the public good’ for Letts to be allowed to return home to Britain, no such consideration is afforded to the Canadian public. Macklin wrote presciently about such a scenario as the one involving Letts. Like some 14 European states,[10] Canada now has citizenship-deprivation powers similar to those of the UK.[11] Macklin observed that if two states have similar deprivation powers, there would be a race to see who can act first; and ‘to the loser goes the citizen’.[12] Hence if an individual does present a risk, then citizenship deprivation doesn’t remove it, but merely transfers it to another area of the world.

Interestingly, data is not published indicating the number of orders issued in the respective parts of the UK, hence it cannot be known whether any DOCOs have been issued for say, terrorism-related activity in Northern Ireland. However, Anderson noted that other counter-terrorism orders were not issued in Northern Ireland, partly for fear of causing resentment amongst nationalists.[13] Conversely one can imagine the furore if, for instance, a member of the Loyalist community with dual UK/Irish nationality was issued with a DOCO. Given political sensitivities in Northern Ireland, it is almost inconceivable that such a person could be prohibited from returning home if abroad, or even deported to Ireland.

Similarly, reading his case sentencing remarks one might why former Royal Marine Ciaran Maxwell, convicted of Northern Ireland-related terrorism offences, was not subsequently deprived of his citizenship?[14] After all, Home Office guidance advises that ‘those involved in terrorism or espionage or those who take up arms against British or allied forces’ could be considered to be acting ‘seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of (the UK), and subject to [deprivation].[15] However, this guidance applies only to naturalised citizens, and not those, for example, in Maxwell’s situation. Moreover, removing citizenship from any former British serviceman, regardless of the justification, may be politically awkward for any government.

Nonetheless, Home Office guidance on interpretation of the phrase ‘conducive to the public good’ allows great latitude. It advises that citizenship-deprivation may be ordered for; involvement in terrorism, espionage, serious organised crime, war crimes or unacceptable behaviours.[16] A couple of things are notable here. The first is that ‘involvement’ does not entail conviction. Indeed, Anderson noted that governments may prefers deprivation over prosecution in certain circumstances.[17] Possible reasons, he explained, might be that ‘juries are not always predictable’, and that police and prosecutors may prefer to keep incriminating evidence away from the public domain.[18] Moreover, it is conceivable that a DOCO could be issued even if a defendant had been acquitted of, for example, offences under counter-terrorism legislation.

Secondly, of the five grounds listed only the first four have applicable legislation. ‘Unacceptable behaviours’ almost appears to have been added as an afterthought, and is a commonplace, but Kafkaesque phrase that could capture just about anything. A previous government minister’s speech seemed to support this notion; ‘We think that deprivation is a way of demonstrating extreme displeasure at the way that someone has behaved, and it has certain implications for certain people in certain categories’.[19] Yet regardless of what s/he does, the mono-national is safe from the ‘extreme displeasure’ threatened above and cannot face banishment. 

Home Office guidance lists examples of unacceptable behaviour, some clearly reflecting offences under counter-terrorism legislation.[20] However the list is noted to be indicative rather than exhaustive, and as such may be amended without parliamentary approval. Conversely, in Aziz the Court of Appeal placed a limit of sorts on using unacceptable behaviour as grounds for a DOCO. The Home Secretary must first make an ‘evaluative judgement’ of an individual’s behaviour.[21] It remains to be seen how an objective assessment can be made of what constitutes unacceptable behaviour, given that it may not be synonymous with illegality. Other courts have both criticised this phrase, and used it to describe certain defined activities. For example, in Ahmed unacceptable behaviour was described as an ‘inexhaustive elastic term’, where it was ‘difficult to conceive of a looser, more open – ended linguistic formula’.[22] In Pizarda the court noted that citizenship deprivation could be ‘conducive to the public good’ if an unqualified person undertook medical procedures; this presumably being an unacceptable behaviour.[23] Its use in other cases has included: a police officer ‘creating crime for an improper purpose’;[24] behaviour that ‘displays features which merit punishment by way of malice, fraud, cruelty, insolence and the like’;[25] or a person threatening to discharge a firearm.[26] It will of course be argued that some of these examples would not justify citizenship-deprivation, and that the Supreme Court held that a proportionality test should be applied to any deprivation decision.[27] However, this argument misses a key point; how can the relevant sections of the public identify the types of behaviour that may ultimately result in citizenship deprivation; especially if that behaviour does not necessarily entail a criminal act?

Both Begum and Letts were involved with Islamic State, yet not tried or convicted in the UK. On the other hand, those appealing against DOCOs in Aziz had been convicted, for numerous sexual offences involving children. Both activities would understandably attract anger and repulsion, and those concerned may expect little public sympathy. Using DOCOs to effectively exile individuals without a trial may well satisfy that anger. However, two particular public and political reactions will be interesting to observe. The first will be the response if/when deprivation is applied, for whatever reason, to a more sympathetic or ‘popular’ individual.  The second will be whether certain sections of society demand the increased use of deprivation powers, and question why they are not used against certain individuals, or in certain parts of the UK.

Whilst exile and banishment resulting from a deprivation order may appear to be draconian Old Testament justice, such measures may nevertheless be politically popular. Deprivation without trial certainly has the appearance of instant justice. I contend that the problem is not so much that such powers exist; it is that the majority of the UK population cannot be affected by them. However, if a minority can have citizenship revoked because of unacceptable behaviour, actions, words, or even thoughts, then these behavioural limits should be identifiable in legislation and tested in court.


[1] British Nationality Act 1981 s.40

[2] Nationality Asylum and Immigration Act 2002 s.40 (1)

[3]David Anderson ‘Citizenship Removal Resulting in Statelessness’ (Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation 2016) paras.2.12 & 3.14

[4] HC Deb 20th February 2019, vol 654, col 1485 (Sajid Javid)

[5] Office for National Statistics ‘CT0766_2011 Census – Dual passport by COB – England and Wales’ accessed 14th August 2019

[6] Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of Ireland (10th April 1998) art.1 para vi

[7] Terry McGuiness & Melanie Gower, ‘Deprivation of British citizenship and withdrawal of passport facilities’ (House of Commons Library, no.06820, 9th June 2017) 10

[8] Home Office, Transparency Report 2018: Disruptive and Investigatory Powers (Cm 9609 2018) para.5.9

[9] Audrey Macklin, ‘The Return of Banishment: Do the New Denationalisation Policies Weaken Citizenship?’ in Rainer Bauböck. (ed) Debating Transformations of National Citizenship (Springer, Cham 2018) 169

[10] Gerard René de Groot, Maarten Vink, & Iseult Honohan, ‘Eudo Citizenship Policy Brief No. 3: Loss of Citizenship’ (European University Institute 2014) 3

[11] Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act 2014 s.10

[12] n9 171

[13] David Anderson, ‘Terrorism Prevention and Investigation measures in 2012’ (Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation 2013) para.4.8

[14] Courts and Tribunals Judiciary ‘Sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Sweeney: R -v- Ciaran Maxwell’ (31st July 2017) accessed 4th August 2019

[15] Home Office ‘Immigration Bill, Fact Sheet: Deprivation of Citizenship (clause 60)’ (Home Office 2014)

[16]Gov.UK ‘Deprivation and Nullity of British Citizenship: nationality-policy-guidance’ (27th July 2017) accessed 1st August 2019

[17] David Anderson ‘Citizenship Removal Resulting in Statelessness’ (Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation 2016) para.3.16

[18] David Anderson ‘Terrorism and the Law; Graham Turnbull Lecture, Law Society’ (Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation 2016) para.36

[19] Nationality Asylum and Immigration Bill Deb 30th April 2002 col. 54 (Angela Eagle)

[20]  Home Office ‘Exclusion from the UK’ (Home Office 2018 version 2.0) 13

[21] Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan, Qari Abdul Rauf v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 1884, Sales LJ at 34

[22] Shabir Ahmed, Abdul Aziz, Adil Khan, Qari Abdul Rauf v Secretary of State for the Home Department[2017] UKUT 118 (IAC) at 62

[23] The Secretary of State for the Home Department v Abdul Waheed Pirzada [2017] UKUT 00196 (IAC) at 15

[24] Attorney General’s Reference (No.3 of 2000) [2001] UKHL 53, at 58

[25] Quinn v Ministry of Defence [2018] NIQB 82 at 56

[26] R v Shaid (Mohammed) [2019] EWCA Crim 412 at 44

[27] Pham v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] UKSC 19 Lord Sumption at 108