A Paean to Judicial (Self) Restraint: The UK Supreme Court Shamima Begum Decision

by Devyani Prabhat, Professor, Law School, University of Bristol

The Supreme Court has refused permission for Shamima Begum, who left the UK as a 15-year-old British schoolgirl for Syria in 2015, to come back to the UK so that she can effectively challenge the removal of her citizenship (decision dated 26th February 2021; [2021] UKSC 7). Begum was found in a camp in Syria two years back. The Home Secretary removed her British citizenship soon thereafter, arguing that she has eligibility for Bangladeshi citizenship, and would not be left stateless without British citizenship. (more…)

Stop Period Shaming: A Campus Movement or Ethical Care?

Prof. Xinyu Wang (China University of Political Science and Law) and He Xiao (a law PhD student at the University of Bristol)

Photo Marco Verch

Since October 2020, a “Stop Period Shaming” campaign has been quietly taking place within universities in China. It all started in early 2020, during China’s fight against the COVID-19, with various socially sponsored donations of medical supplies and an extreme shortage of feminine period products. The female doctors and nurses, who made up more than half of the medical team that went to Wuhan, overcame their cycles’ fragility and fought like the male doctors. (more…)

Mince pies, Parliament and Peculiar Old Laws: The enduring popularity of legal myths

Joanna McCunn, Lecturer, Law School, University of Bristol

Have you heard that it’s illegal to die in Parliament? Or to eat mince pies on Christmas Day? Are you a Welshman who’s been nervously avoiding Chester, and do you fret about committing treason by posting a letter with an upside-down stampPerhaps you look back with horror on those childhood crime sprees of ringing doorbells and running away 

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Bell v Tavistock: the Medico-Legal Consequences

by Sandra Duffy, Law School, University of Bristol

By tedeytan

On December 1st, the High Court handed down its decision in the case of Bell and A v Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust. This ruling concerned a judicial review of the practice of the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service in prescribing puberty-blocking hormonal treatments to children under 16 years of age.  (more…)

Can candour heal healthcare harm?

by Oliver Quick, Co-Director, Centre for Health, Law and Society, University of Bristol Law School

“Patient Talking With Doctor” by NIH Clinical Centre

Healthcare harm is a global public health problem. The World Health Organisation estimates that adverse events account for more deaths than either lung cancer, diabetes or road injuriesand that around 80% are avoidable. In low- and middle- income countries, poor quality healthcare accounts for 10-15% of deaths annually. Such statistics are striking if slightly simplistic in that unsafe care combines with pre-existing health conditions and diseases, and avoidability assessments are likely based on ideal, rather than real world, conditions. However, in England alone, the additional annual financial cost oproviding further care to harmed patients would equate to employing over 2,000 salaried GPs and 3,500 hospital nursesmuch needed given the high number of vacant positions in the NHS workforce. The annual cost of compensating and managing maternity negligence cases (£2.1 billion) now exceeds the amount spent on delivering babies (£1.9 billion.) Remarkably, there remains no coherent cross-government strategy and policy to address these spiralling costs.   
(more…)

Fair Shares? Sorting out money and property on divorce – how do couples currently cope?

By the ‘Fair Shares’ Project Team: Emma Hitchings, Caroline Bryson, and Gillian Douglas

In more ‘normal times’, the start of each new year marks the arrival of media coverage of the ‘divorce season’. Newspapers publish feature articles reporting that the stresses of Christmas prompt many couples to decide that enough is enough, and to make a new year’s resolution to get out of their marriage. Family solicitors duly issue press releases to advertise their services to assist them, both with getting the divorce itself and with sorting out the financial, property and child arrangements that will need to be made to deal with life going forward. In reality, this New Year ‘spike’ in divorce applications may not be much more than an urban myth. The divorce statistics show that in the years from 2011 up to and including 2019, there have only been three years when the first quarter of the year – January to March – has recorded the highest number of petitions (applications for a divorce) filed across the year. Rather, there tends to be a consistent flow of petitions across the year.

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Listing Controversy II: Statues, Contested Heritage and the Policy of ‘Retain and Explain’

By Prof Antonia Layard, Professor of Law (University of Bristol Law School)

“Edward Colston by John Cassidy, 1895” by mira66 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

[This article is a follow-up to an earlier one by the same author]

Seven months after the removal of Bristol’s statue of Edward Colston in June 2020, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is concerned. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph on January 18th, Robert Jenrick argued that “We will save Britain’s statues from the woke militants who want to censor our past”, claiming that “Latterly there has been an attempt to impose a single, often negative narrative which not so much recalls our national story, as seeks to erase part of it. This has been done at the hand of the flash mob, or by the decree of a ‘cultural committee’ of town hall militants and woke worthies”. (more…)

The PPE scandal shines a light on the worrying future of UK procurement law

By Professor Albert Sanchez-Graells (University of Bristol Law School).

The National Audit Office’s Report on its ‘Investigation into government procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic’ found that the relaxation of the standard procurement rules to allow for extremely urgent acquisitions, mainly of PPE, resulted in alarmingly widespread levels of procedural impropriety in the award of up to £18bn in public contracts. Most notably, the NAO report revealed the existence of a ‘VIP procurement channel’ for those with political connections, which resulted in much higher chances of obtaining very lucrative contracts than for those retained under the ‘normal’ pool of potential suppliers. This adds to (and partly explains) earlier reports of very large PPE contracts awarded to companies with no proven track record in the PPE market. (more…)

Arbitration agreements, governing law and contractual interpretation

by Dr Mark Campbell, University of Bristol Law School

 

This is currently a busy time for the UK Supreme Court when it comes to international commercial arbitration. The Court has recently handed down its judgment in Enka Insaat Ve Sanayi AS v OOO ‘Insurance Company Chubb’ (‘Enka v Chubb’).[1] That judgment followed an expedited appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal in April 2020.[2] Added to that, there a judgment in Halliburton Co v Chubb Bermuda Insurance Ltd, an important case involving an attempt to remove an arbitrator in the context of non-disclosure.[3] There are also appeals pending in Kabab-Ji SAL (Lebanon) v Kout Food Group (Kuwait)[4]  and General Dynamics United Kingdom Ltd v State of Libya.[5] (more…)

Who’s the Mummy (or Daddy… or Parent)? Trans parents: law, identity and birth registration in England and Wales

Liam Davis is a law PhD student at the University of Bristol. He tweets as @LiamJamesDavis.

With diverse formally formations increasing, it is arguable that the birth registration system is not fit for purpose because it is tethered to ‘traditional’ understandings of family life and cannot adequately account for ‘modern’ families. This post considers mismatches between law and identity within birth registration for trans parents.

This post is inspired by my article, “Deconstructing tradition: Trans reproduction and the need to reform birth registration in England and Wales”, published in the International Journal of Transgender Health. A limited amount of free copies are available direct from the publisher, here. Otherwise, you can request an Open Access copy through my university profile/emailing me, or by tweeting me.

Background

You would be forgiven for thinking that the term “male mother” is  an oxymoron, but this is the conclusion the Court of Appeal reached in R (McConnell) v The Registrar General for England and Wales [2020] EWCA Civ 559 regarding a trans man, Freddy McConnell, who gave birth and wanted to be registered as his child’s father (or parent) on the birth certificate. (more…)