Tackling Terrorism in Britain: What are the Threats, Responses, and Challenges Twenty Years After 9/11?

by Steven Greer, Professor of Human Rights, University of Bristol Law School

Introduction

Twenty years ago the world witnessed the horrific events of 9/11. A great deal has happened on the counterterrorist front since. For one thing, the term ‘war on terror’, which never had any official traction in the UK anyway, has all but disappeared from the serious debate. Nevertheless, the threat of terrorism, and the struggle against it, persist around the globe. The UK is no stranger to either, at home or abroad. In fact, taking various forms and manifesting in several phases, the British experience has spanned at least a century and a half rather than simply the past two decades. Today, three distinct types of domestic terrorism – dissident Irish republican, far right, and particularly jihadi – predominate. A suite of counterterrorist laws and policies has been deployed to address the challenges they present.  (more…)

Can artificial intelligence bring corruption in public procurement to an end?

By Professor Albert Sanchez-Graells, Professor of Economic Law and Co-Director of the Centre for Global Law and Innovation (University of Bristol Law School)

Preventing, detecting, and sanctioning corruption in public procurement is one of the main goals of all systems of regulation applicable to the expenditure of public funds via contract (see eg Williams-Elegbe, 2012). Despite constant and regularly renewed efforts to fight procurement corruption at an international (such as the UN Convention against Corruption, or the 2016 OECD’s Preventing Corruption in Public Procurement report) and domestic level (see eg the UK’s 2020 ‘Local government procurement: fraud and corruption risk review’), corruption remains a pervasive problem in any given jurisdiction. Of course, there are different forms and degrees of corruption infiltration in different procurement systems but – if any evidence was needed that no system is corruption-free – pandemic-related procurement served as a clear reminder that this is the case (see eg Transparency International, 2021; as well as Good Law Project v Cabinet Office [2021] EWHC 1569 (TCC)). It should then not be surprising that the possibility that artificial intelligence (AI) could ‘change the rules of the game’ (eg Santiso, 2019) and bring procurement corruption to an end is receiving significant attention. In a recent paper*, I critically assess the contribution that AI can make to anti-corruption efforts in the public procurement context and find that, while it could make a positive incremental contribution, it will not transform this area of regulation and, in any case, AI’s potential is significantly constrained by existing data architectures and due process requirements.  (more…)

Study Skills Series: Formative Assessment

by Robert Craig, University of Bristol Law School

[The introduction to the series can be found here]

This post is written as if addressed to a student who is about to attempt a formative in my subject which is constitutional law.

Writing legal essays is probably the most important key skill you need to master. Try to structure your answer in a logical manner. Human beings like stories and those of us who mark your formatives and summatives are, contrary to certain vicious rumours put about by second year law students, definitely human. One helpful idea is to imagine you are writing to a senior professor in another subject (e.g., the Head of Bristol Law School, Ken Oliphant, who for some weird reason is not a public lawyer. He is, sadly, a tort lawyer – such a waste of a fine brain). (more…)

Smart doorbells: Can you use them without infringing a neighbour’s privacy?

by Andrew Charlesworth, Professor of Law, Innovation and Society, University of Bristol

Trusted Reviews

As any local solicitor can tell you, some of the most bitter legal disputes originate from disagreements between neighbours. Whether it’s property boundaries, loud music or parking spaces, what might initially be minor irritations can gradually lead to a full-blown court battle. A relatively recent development in neighbour conflicts are clashes centred on home surveillance products, such as CCTV cameras and smart doorbells. These technologies, which may capture footage beyond the householder’s property, can pit householders against neighbours who feel their homes and private lives are being unfairly spied upon. (more…)

Study Skills Series: Taking part in classes

by Robert Craig, University of Bristol Law School

[The introduction to the series can be found here]

In classes, it might be thought to be better to choose your own moment to contribute rather than perhaps be randomly asked a direct question that you were not expecting by the tutor in the class. They will be trying to involve you in order to encourage you to make the best use of classes, which are designed to help you develop and test your ideas and reactions to the material by discussing them with your tutor and peers. But, to repeat, it is far better for you to pick a good moment to contribute something, even if it is just a question. (more…)

What Are Law Schools For?

by Foluke Adebisi, University of Bristol Law School

I wrote an article as part of a special issue that reflects on the state of the traditional law school and legal education. The full text is open access and can be accessed here or through your local library or other institutional channels. The purpose of the article was to think through the role of law schools in local and global society, especially in teaching the world to our students, especially if we want to engage with the possibility of changing the world. (more…)

Study Skill Series: Proactive Learning

by Robert Craig, University of Bristol Law School

[The introduction to the series can be found here]

Law is a subject where there is usually a strong correlation between effort and progress. Experience with generations of law students suggests that it is a bad idea to “leave things until later” in your class preparation because it is much harder to come back to things, from scratch, when they are not fresh in your mind. Also, the volume of material can quickly add up. Little and often is better and, incidentally, pacing yourself well over time also helps you to learn and remember the content far more easily – not to mention that the discipline of training your mind to keep plugging away regularly is a useful, and marketable, life skill. You will be justified in giving yourself a little pat on the back when you get to the revision period if you are actually revising rather than “catching up”. (more…)

Should treatments for covid-19 be denied to people who have refused to be vaccinated?

 

by John Coggon, Professor, Law School, University of Bristol

Since the early stages of the covid-19 pandemic, urgent attention has been given to expediting the approval and provision of treatments that are shown to prevent or limit the harms that people experience when they contract covid-19. Such treatments have both reduced the burden of disease and lessened rates of mortality. As with any treatments within a healthcare system, these come against considerations of rationing and prioritisation. Any treatment is a finite resource, and in some instances there may be insufficient supply to provide it to all people who might benefit clinically. How, in such instances, may the NHS best, and most fairly, allocate a limited resource?1

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Study Skills Series: SQ3R

by Robert Craig, University of Bristol Law School

[The introduction to the series can be found here]

One widely recommended way to try to distil complex texts into notes is called “the SQ3R method”. It means “Skim, Question, Read, Recall, Review”. Some of you may find it useful, but – again – don’t force yourself to do things that don’t work for you. In essence, the SQ3R method means you first Skim the whole chapter and make a note of the main section headings, so you have an overview. Then you ask yourself (“Question”) what you are trying to get from the material – try to identify a few main things you want to know after each subsection. Then you Read a small section of the chapter – say 3-4 pages – without taking notes. Then you look away and Recall the main points. Then you Review those points by writing down the main points in your own words and from memory. This is crucial. Don’t write out what the author of the textbook said. And try to use simple, clear sentences. Also consider using the dictation tool on Word – my note taking improved massively when I started using that.

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How does the UK promote migration whilst preserving the hostile environment? Inequality in the implementation of the Global Compact on Migration

by Kathryn Allinson, University of Bristol, and Clara Della Croce, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

Photo: David Mirzoeff/Global Justice Now

Introduction

The UK has adopted the Marrakesh Compact and agreed to implement the objectives which it sets out (see paragraph 41 of the Marrakesh Compact). The UK Government has repeatedly claimed that national policy is not in conflict with the Marrakesh Compact. Alistair Burt’s, Minister for the Middle East, written statement to Parliament on 10 December 2018 acknowledges that the UK is bound by existing human rights obligations, that these rights are owed specifically to migrants and that UK polices are in line with them. More recently, the UK’s 2020 report to the European Regional Review of the Marrakesh Compact, outlined that ‘the GCM is fully integrated into the UK policy architecture… GCM principles are reflected in wider UK migration policy and maintains senior official/ministerial focus on the GCM.’ The UK government consistently claims that UK policy is in line with the obligations in the Marrakesh Compact and that these are in accordance with international legal obligations owed to migrants. (more…)