Brexit and Notions of British Citizenship

By Dr Devyani Prabhat, Lecturer in Law (University of Bristol Law School).

DevIn a recent article, published in the inter-disciplinary journal Law, Culture, and Humanities, I have argued that a surge in number of cases of cancellation of British citizenship indicates a return to a loyalty-protection model of citizenship which was popular earlier during the two World Wars. Here, I will go further, and say that Brexit and the debates of exclusion of EEA nationals from the UK, are also influenced by the very same loyalty-protection view. The loyalty-protection view had become unfashionable in the aftermath of the Second World War but is now back in vogue. (more…)

Potions and prosecution: a case from medieval Herefordshire

By Dr Gwen Seabourne, Reader in Legal History (University of Bristol Law School).*

© M.J. Seabourne. Tomb of John de Swinfeld, Hereford Cathedral
© M.J. Seabourne. Tomb of John de Swinfeld, Hereford Cathedral

In 1292, Herefordshire, close to the Welsh border, received a visit from the royal justices, touring England with a view to hearing legal disputes, investigating crimes and making a tidy profit for the king from the various fines imposed upon individuals and communities. Precociously bureaucratic, the machinery of royal government recorded much of what went on before the justices, bequeathing to future generations priceless insights into life and law at this early time.

One intriguing case from the rolls of this 1292 session gives important glimpses of several different aspects of medieval law and life. As I have noted in a recent article in Social History of Medicine, Isabella Plomet, a woman from Hereford, managed to obtain some measure of legal redress from Ralph de Worgan, a surgeon of sorts, who was found to have agreed to treat her for leg problems, but actually gave her a drug called dwoledreng and proceeded to rape her. (more…)

The National Preventive Mechanism of the United Kingdom

By John Wadham, Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Implementation Centre (University of Bristol) and NPM Chair.*

john wadhamThe National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) describes the network of independent statutory bodies that have responsibility for preventing ill-treatment in detention.[1]  In every jurisdiction of the UK – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales the bodies in this network have the job of inspecting or monitoring every place of detention to try to prevent the ill-treatment of those detained. The inspection and monitoring bodies provide essential protections for anyone detained anywhere in the UK, many of whom are vulnerable.  Whether a person is compulsorily detained in a prison, an immigration detention centre, a psychiatric hospital, or as a child in a Secure Training Centre there is an organization designed to ensure that no ill-treated will be tolerated. (more…)

“Brexit means Brexit”: What next for UK Trade?

By Dr Clair Gammage, Lecturer in Law (University of Bristol Law School).

empiretradeThe 13th July 2016 is likely to be remembered as one of the most significant dates in Britain’s recent history. Following the political fall-out from the EU Referendum our newly appointed Prime Minister, Theresa May, has taken office. In one of her opening statements, May has confirmed that “Brexit means Brexit” and it seems that the triggering of Article 50 TFEU is an inevitability – it is now a matter of when, and not if, the trigger is pulled. With this in mind, we should perhaps pause and reflect on the Cabinet reshuffle with a view to considering some of the possible negotiation strategies we may see in the near future. The negotiation strategy will be twofold: in one respect the UK must negotiate its way out of Europe, and in another respect the UK must formulate a coherent external trade policy in order that relationships with non-EU countries can be developed. (more…)

Embracing the Uncomfortable Complexity of Police Legitimacy: The Only Way Ahead for Democratic Accountability?

By Ms Clare Torrible, Teaching Associate (University of Bristol Law School).

© Guardian
© Guardian

It can sometimes be easy to lose sight of the wood for the trees. The Policing and Crime Bill suggests a number of changes to the police complaints system and, having received its third reading in Parliament on June 13th looks set to make the statute books in due course.

However, as I have recently argued,* academic debate on police complaints can be conflicted and circular. Further, the reasoning in public debate is peppered with assertions (which seem to be presumed rather than tested) that reforms will deliver improvements in what, to my mind, is a worryingly ill-defined ‘public confidence’.

Policing is a necessarily conflicted social function. So by what measure can we assess the multiple reforms to police complaints and discipline that are about to be ushered in? In a recent article ‘Reconceptualising the Police Complaints Process as a Site of Contested Legitimacy Claims‘ I take a step back from the current academic and public debates and outline a new framework by which the true impact of these reforms might be assessed. (more…)

Brexit and private international law

By Prof Jonathan Hill, Professor of Law (University of Bristol Law School).

GlobesIt is unlikely that many voters, when deciding how they would vote in the recent EU referendum, would have given any thought to the implications of Brexit for private international law in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, Brexit is likely to have profound consequences in this (admittedly) complex and specialist field. The greatest effect will be felt in the commercial arena: in the context of cross-border litigation, for example, the EU has established, in civil and commercial matters, a common framework for the jurisdiction of national courts, the determination of the applicable law and the reciprocal recognition/enforcement of judgments granted by Member State courts. Brexit will also take the United Kingdom out of the EU-wide systems for the allocation of divorce jurisdiction and the mutual recognition of divorces and nullity decrees. (more…)

Race, Heritage and Epistemic Violence: What Brexit is for Africa and British-Africans

By Dr Foluke Ifejola Ipinyomi, Teaching Associate (University of Bristol Law School).

black_britain400In my personal blog, I examined in detail why many British-African voted Leave. It is my contention that the campaign failed to address the concerns of African citizens of the Commonwealth and those of African descent living in the UK. This was quite a considerable section of the electorate whose concerns were ignored or presumed. In fact some members of the Leave campaign petitioned to have this section removed from eligibility to vote, presuming that they would vote to Remain in the EU. Personally, I had an interesting time trying to counter presumptions made by various African friends about why they wanted the UK to leave the EU. I do wish I had said more when there was still time, but no one expects the unexpected. Ultimately, Africans voting to leave the EU was the result of badly run campaign, an enormous amount of misinformation and a glaring disregard of the history of Africa-Europe relations. The two primary issues that should have been addressed with regard to British-Africans were immigration and financial concerns. (more…)

PST Energy 7 Shipping LLC v O W Bunker Malta Ltd: A case on the statutory definition of a sale of goods

By Dr Mark Campbell, Teaching Associate (University of Bristol Law School).

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZkAAAAJDY3NzMyZTA3LTYzZDEtNGFhNi05ZDFlLWI0YWE0NjZjNGNlYgSection 2(1) of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (the ‘Act’) defines a sale of goods as ‘a contract by which the seller transfers or agrees to transfer the property in goods to the buyer for a money consideration, called the price.’ There are, accordingly, three reasons why a contract may fall outside that definition and, thus, the Act’s jurisdiction. First, there may be no transfer of property in the goods, as in a bailment where there is transfer of possession but not ownership. Second, the transfer may relate to subject matter other than goods: e.g. an assignment of intangible property such as copyright or debt. Third, there may be an absence of money consideration: e.g. a gift or a contract involving goods given wholly in exchange for other goods.

In PST Energy 7 Shipping LLC v O W Bunker Malta Ltd [2016] UKSC 23, [2016] 2 WLR 1193 the UK Supreme Court has recently examined the reach of s 2(1) and, in particular, the requirement for a transfer of property in the goods. The transaction in question involved the supply of bunkers (marine fuel) by O W Bunker Malta Ltd (‘OBWM’) to PST Energy 7 Shipping LLC (‘PST’), the owners of a vessel, Res Cogitans. That agreement contained a retention of title clause. Where goods are supplied on credit terms, a retention of title clause allows the seller to retain ownership of the goods pending payment by the buyer. OBWM had been supplied with the bunkers by its parent company, O W Bunker & Trading A/S (‘OWBAS’), which in turn had been supplied by Rosneft Marine UK Ltd (‘RMUK’). The contract between OWBAS and RMUK also contained a retention of title clause. Physical delivery of the bunkers to the vessel was made by RN-Bunker Ltd, an associate company of RMUK and the supplier to RMUK. The legal proceedings arose following an application for restructuring by OWBAS, an event which would allow ING Bank NV to claim the contract price from PST as assignee of debts owed to OWBM. Concerned that it may not recover the contract price from OWBAS, RMUK indicated that it would seek payment from PST on the basis that RMUK remained the owner of the bunkers. (more…)

The Human Rights Implications of Brexit

By Prof Steven Greer, Professor of Human Rights (University of Bristol Law School).

banner-1327289_640At this stage, the only firm conclusion which can be drawn about the human rights implications of Brexit is that they are likely to be uncertain for many years to come – for the UK, for the soon-to-be 27-member European Union, and for the 47-member Council of Europe, the parent body of the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights, the so-called ‘Strasbourg institutions’. Taking each of these in turn, let us consider the UK first. (more…)