Innocence Art and the Art of Innocence

by Dr Michael Naughton, Reader in Sociology and Law (University of Bristol Law School and  School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS))

Andy Malkinson by Sean Bw Parker

The purpose of this article is to formally launch the Innocence Art project under the auspices of Empowering the Innocent (ETI). In so doing, it charts the origins of the concept ‘innocence art’ and how it relates to ‘the art of innocence’, a dedicated approach to producing counter discourse through forms of innocence art to challenge the dominant discourses and existing criminal justice system arrangements in relation to false allegations, wrongful convictions and wrongful imprisonment. It concludes with a call to those affected by false allegations, wrongful convictions or wrongful imprisonment, whether direct or secondary victims, to participate in the art of innocence by submitting forms of innocence art, whether images of paintings, drawings or photographs, poems, stories or other literary works, to feature on Empowering the Innocent (ETI) websites as deemed appropriate. (more…)

Vicarious Liability and Course of Employment in the UK Supreme Court and High Court of Australia

by Professor Paula Giliker, University of Bristol Law School

This blog will discuss two recent and important 2023 cases: the UK Supreme Court decision in Trustees of the Barry Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses v BXB [2023] UKSC 15 and that of the High Court of Australia in CCIG Investments Pty Ltd v Schokman [2023] HCA 21.  Both discuss vicarious liability and, in particular, the Stage 2 course of employment test. To establish vicarious liability in tort, two stages must be satisfied. Stage 1 is concerned with the relationship between the defendant and the person committing the tort (usually that of employer/employee). Stage 2 is concerned with the link between the commission of the tort and that relationship.

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Unlawful deportations and House of Lords amendments: What now for people seeking asylum in the UK?

by Kathryn Allinson, Lecturer in Law, University of Bristol

It has been a busy few weeks in the life of the Illegal Migration Bill with a record 20 amendments made to it by the House of Lords and the Court of Appeal declaring that removals to Rwanda are unlawful. However, what does this mean for those people seeking asylum in the UK?

Court of Appeal rules that removals to Rwanda are unlawful

The government’s proposed plan to send people seeking asylum to Rwanda was ruled unlawful by the Court of Appeal on Thursday, 29 June 2023. The case was brought by Asylum Aid as well as 10 people from countries including Syria, Iraq and Albania, who arrived in the UK in small boats. Whilst the High Court had supported the government’s policy, the Court of Appeal judges, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Sir Geoffrey Vos and Lord Justice Underhill, ruled that Rwanda was not a sufficiently safe country and there was too great a risk that genuine refugees could be returned to countries where they risked persecution. (more…)

How can we evaluate Brexit?

by Professor Phil Syrpis,  University of Bristol Law School

This article examines attempts to evaluate Brexit. Brexit is a ‘complex event’ which involves far-reaching political, economic, legal and social change. When, as in relation to Brexit, the stakes are high and opinions are entrenched, methodologies are bound to attract critical attention. In the light of the prevalence of ever-louder claims that ‘Brexit has failed’, this piece discusses the inherent difficulties in making such an apparently definitive assessment of ‘a complex event’. In the specific case of Brexit, the near absence of settled objectives compounds the difficulties, with the result that the criteria on which evaluations are based will inevitably be contested. (more…)

The Post-pandemic World: Digitalization and cultural sector

by Tingting Bai* 

[This blog is part of a series on the pandemic. The introduction to the series can be found here.]

Digitalization in the cultural sector can support the dissemination of culture and was very beneficial in maintaining the economic, social and cultural activities during the covid-19 pandemic. Digitalization also has transformed the cultural sector in relation to public access and the operating model in the post-pandemic world. More irresistible and intensive than before, digitalization will be a crucial and unavoidable challenge in the reboot of the cultural sector. As such, it is important to rethink infrastructures, accessibility, cultural attractivity, legal rules, management of cultural content and data, and their effects on health. The objective of this blog post is to rethink digitalization within the context of the cultural sector and the cultural practices of the public. It will analyze the situation of the cultural sector in the post-pandemic period and its opportunities, challenges and problems. In particular, the blog aims at exploring some of the systemic risks involved in the digital evolution with an focus on France. (more…)

What are the main shortcomings of the ‘pro-innovation approach to AI regulation’ white paper published by the UK Government in March 2023?

By Andrew Charlesworth, Kit Fotheringham, Colin Gavaghan, Albert Sanchez-Graells and Clare Torrible (Centre for Global Law and Innovation, University of Bristol Law School). 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been permeating all aspects of our lives for a while. AI underpins several of the digital services we use and, perhaps less known to most of us, an increasing number of public services. However, only recently and on the back of questionable claims about existential AI threats, has AI regulation started to grab mainstream headlines, permeate public discourse, and quickly rise to the top of the political agenda. Before this recent flurry of AI regulation discourse, in late March 2023, the UK Government published a much-awaited white paper setting out its ‘pro-innovation approach to AI regulation’ (the AI White Paper). Much has happened in the short period since the AI White Paper was published, including the launch of a £100m Foundation Model Taskforce, the appointment of its Chair, and the announcement that, in a bid to lead the global discussion on AI guardrails, the UK will convene a global AI safety summit.  (more…)

What is the role of law schools in the project of decolonisation?

Tby Foluke Adebisi, University of Bristol Law School

 

Since 2015 and the #RhodesMustFall movement in Cape Town, South Africa, as well as its counterpart student movement at Oxford University in the UK, the question of the relevance of decolonisation to higher education has become quite prominent across Global North universities. Before this upsurge of interest, my academic work had been majorly concerned with the effects of incomplete decolonisation of African polities, for example, continued education dependency and humanitarian interventionism. However, with the increased focus on decolonisation in UK higher education, I became extremely frustrated with what I saw as the inadequacy, misunderstandings, and misuses of decolonisation as a practice and logic. I feel that these arose, not only from adamant refusal to engage with the questions thrown up by decolonisation, but also from the lack of a conceptual foundation to engage with those same questions.

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Rape allegations and the inversion of the presumption of innocence

By Dr Michael Naughton, Reader in Sociology and Law (University of Bristol Law School and  School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS)).

Michel Foucault’s methodology for understanding the contemporary moment was to conduct what he termed histories of the present; forms of genealogical analysis that examine the operation of the ‘truths’ peculiar to ‘the societies within which we find ourselves’, the ‘truths’ of ‘what we are’, the ‘truths’ that we live by; how we arrived at where we are Today; our present situation. Moreover, for Foucault, if we want to understand present-ness, we should problematise accepted and presentist thinking by looking for defining moments in history when the problematic under analysis was different; when things changed. (more…)

‘Escapades’ and Labour: Chaucer, Chaumpaigne and Legal History

by Professor Gwen Seabourne, University of Bristol Law School

In the first half of this academic year, a lot of interest was generated by discussion of newly-discovered documentary evidence relating to the life of medieval English poet and author, Geoffrey Chaucer. This was explored in a special edition of a literary journal, The Chaucer Review. Something new about Chaucer was of great interest to scholars of medieval literature, of course, but the subject-matter of the new evidence also drew in a wider audience, since it dealt with an episode in Chaucer’s life which was not primarily connected to his writing: an apparent accusation of rape. As somebody who has taken an interest in the issue of rape and sexual misconduct in medieval common law, I was keen to see the new evidence, and to think through its implications for Legal History, as well as the possible contributions which a legal historian could make to scholarship here. This post sets out some preliminary thoughts. (more…)

Can the government just go and ‘confidently and responsibly’ buy artificial intelligence?

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

On 29 March 2023, the UK Government published its much awaited policy paper ‘AI regulation: a pro-innovation approach’ (the ‘AI White Paper’). The AI White Paper made it clear that Government does not intend to create new legislation to regulate artificial intelligence (‘AI’), or a new AI regulator. AI regulation is to be left to existing regulators based on ‘five general principles to guide and inform the responsible development and use of AI in all sectors of the economy’, including accountability, transparency, fairness, safety, and contestability. (more…)