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…)

Reforming Banking Culture: So near or so far?

on the by Dr Eleanore Hickman, University of Bristol Law School

The Senior Manager and Certification Regime (SMCR) is considered to be a response to the excessive risk taking and poor corporate culture from which the financial crisis and the LIBOR scandal emerged. At that time, accountability was in short supply and the SMCR sought to address this. In my recent paper I consider whether the SMCR is fit for this purpose and conclude that, although it is in principle, in practice it is falling short. The Government have pledged to begin to review its reform in the first quarter of 2023. (more…)

What if the CCRC had unlimited funding? A submission to the Law Commission’s review of the appeals system

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


A UK Government and Parliament Petition emerged recently calling for the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) to be given more funding. The case made by the petitioners was as follows:

‘We want the Government to increase funding for the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), so they have more resources, funding and manpower to review all possible miscarriages of justice in the criminal courts. We believe that the CCRC is under resourced, and that the Government should increase its funding to ensure it is able to identify any miscarriages of justice in the criminal courts. By increasing its funding, the Government can help ensure that people who have been a victim of a miscarriage of justice receive the support, and justice, they deserve.’

The Petition, which echoes regular and longstanding calls for the CCRC to have more funding (see here, here, and here), comes at an important moment in the struggle for justice for alleged innocent victims of wrongful convictions. (more…)

The Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010: Is it a good legislative model for protecting positive rights to mental health?

By Afiya France, PhD Student, The Law School, University of Bristol

The UK government is forging through on its declared commitment to modernise the 1983  Mental Health Act (MHA) for the 21st century. This key piece of legislation sets out a legal framework for the detention and compulsory treatment of people with a mental health disorder.  The Draft Mental Health Bill 2022  was published in June 2022, and pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Select Committee is ongoing. This Draft Bill follows the government’s white paper, Reforming the Mental Health Act which incorporated the majority of the recommendations of an Independent Review . (more…)

Litigants In Person and Financial Remedies on Divorce

by the ‘Fair Shares’ Project Team: Emma Hitchings, Caroline Bryson, Gillian Douglas, Susan Purdon and Jenny Birchall

We know that a relatively small proportion (only around one-third) of divorcing couples goes to court to get any kind of order dealing with their financial arrangements, and of those, most will arrive with an agreed settlement that they want turned into a binding ‘consent order’ rather than have the judge decide for them. Even consent orders are subject to scrutiny by the court to ensure that their terms are fair and not contrary to public policy, but while this scrutiny should be more than a rubber stamp, the court is not ‘some kind of forensic ferret’, as Waite LJ put it in Pounds v Pounds ([1994] 1 FLR 775), burrowing into the minutiae of what the parties have agreed and querying every detail. Of course, where the couple haven’t reached a settlement and the judge has to decide the outcome of their case, he or she will have to look in depth at the parties’ circumstances and reach a decision based on the law set out in the relevant legislation and case law. (more…)