The right to a fair online trial – Is the pandemic experience of online hearings in court proceedings a sustainable solution for the future?

by Anna Madarasi, judge and a former spokesperson of the Metropolitan Court of Budapest*

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

Online hearings are on the rise across the world. In a significant number of European countries, the use of online tools in court hearings for civil and criminal law procedures were introduced even before the pandemic, although in different ways and extent. However, the use of online hearings has always been controversial. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the courts almost everywhere in the world started closing doors to physical presence and looked for alternative solutions to move the cases forward. It quickly became obvious that an extension of online hearings was necessary, as judicial breaks and postponements seriously affected the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time. (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…)

An Opportunity to Make Police Accountability Mechanisms More Meaningful: Which way will the Supreme Court go?

by Clare Torrible, University of Bristol Law School

The Supreme Court’s is currently considering one of the most important cases for police accountability this Century. Stemming from the fatal police shooting of Jermaine Baker in 2015, R (on the application of Officer W80) v Director General of the Independent Office for Police Conduct and others (W80) concerns the correct test for determination of whether officers’ use of force against citizens may amount to misconduct. The point in issue is whether (as the IOPC is arguing) misconduct may be found where the use of force was not “necessary, proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances” (the objective test) or whether instead, (as various police stakeholders maintain) misconduct should be limited to occasions when the officer did not honestly believe that the force was necessary at the time it was used (the subjective test). (more…)

How Can Remote Hearings And Recorded Testimonies Be Harnessed To Combat Human Trafficking More Effectively?

by Jani Hannonen, Doctoral Researcher, University of Turku (Finland)

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

The worldwide Covid-19 pandemic has reformed work culture, with many people suddenly having to work remotely. Not even the criminal justice system has escaped the pandemic unchanged because it has forced countries to arrange court hearings in a remote format or postpone them. In this blog post, I explore whether the increased use of technology in criminal procedure as a result of Covid-19 could be harnessed to combat human trafficking more effectively. I shall elaborate on the issue from the Finnish perspective that I’m personally most familiar with. (more…)

Why the Illegal Migration Bill will not ‘Stop the Boats’

by Dr Kathryn Allinson, the Law School University of Bristol,

The Illegal Migration Bill was presented to Parliament this week, proposing to ‘prevent and deter unlawful migration’. It will do so by obligating the Home Secretary to detain and remove anyone who arrives in the UK irregularly whilst denying them access to asylum procedures and appeals. The only exception is unaccompanied children and those to whom removal would cause ‘serious and irreparable harm’. However, the Bill will not deter people from coming to the UK. Instead, the provisions of the Bill, if enacted, would place asylum-seekers in prolonged administrative limbo and result in legal challenges before the European Court of Human Rights (ECrtHR). (more…)

Can the COVID-19 crisis benefit employees with disabilities through telework?

by Clare Cathelain

(Claire Cathelain is currently enrolled as PhD student at University of Lille, she is on her 1st year. She got her law bachelor’s degree in 2018 and her master’s degree in social law in 2020 in Lille. She is specialized in health at work law and in the field of disabilities at work. She is directly concerned by this last subject.)

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

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the face of the world. During the health crisis, remote working increased for many reasons and remote work, whether voluntary or not, has been tested on a large scale. In several countries, teleworking has soared as a business continuity plan thanks to the digital revolution in recent years. (more…)

Introduction to a blog series on the post-pandemic effect: New opportunities for social and sustainable development?

By Dr Jule Mulder, The Law School, University of Bristol

This series of blogposts emerged from the 14th Legal Research Network Conference hosted by the University of Bristol Law School on the 15th and 16th of September 2022.  [The Legal Research Network Conference.] The conference focused on the post-pandemic effect and potential opportunities for social and sustainable development. Contributors were invited to explore the Pandemic and consider what we can learn from experience during the Covid crisis exposing structural vulnerabilities in industrialised societies and how this provides opportunities for social and sustainable development. (more…)

Shamima Begum case shows how little power courts have to check government national security decisions

by Professor Devyani Prabhat, University of Bristol Law School

The Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC), a court that specialises in national security cases, has upheld the home secretary’s decision to cancel Shamima Begum’s citizenship. The 23-year-old was deprived of her citizenship in 2019, four years after leaving the UK aged 15 to join Islamic State in Syria. The court found “credible suspicion” that Begum had been trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation, as her lawyers had argued. It also found that there were “arguable breaches of duty” by state authorities in having allowed her to make the journey to Syria. (more…)

Is Royal Mail Delivering the Wrong Messages on Industrial Relations?

by Professor Charlotte Villiers and Yefan Xu

The recent hearings of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Parliamentary Committee, taking oral evidence relating to Royal Mail on 17 January 2023, provide a case study of confrontational industrial relations brought about by corporate governance failure. A breakdown in trust between the boardroom and the company’s workforce is highlighted in the protracted and bitter industrial dispute involving strikes and stalemate in the negotiations around proposals to transform the business away from a universal service obligation of six days per week parcels and letters delivery and into ‘a more efficient parcels-focused operation’. Infrastructural changes have included increased automation and the introduction of ‘superhubs’ for parcels processing. The boardroom also seeks detrimental changes to the workers’ terms and conditions and working practices (redundancies, more flexible working, later shift times, some Sunday working) on the grounds that such changes will enable the company to compete in a ‘hyper-competitive market’ (Panel 1 Oral Evidence Transcript, and Panel 2 Oral Evidence Transcript). (more…)