Students Staff

18 February 2015

Legal success in national student contest

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 5:11 pm

Two Essex law students have demonstrated key practical legal skills and qualified for the national final of the Client Interviewing Competition.

Madeleine Cowper and Tasneem Sadiq took part in one of three regional finals and will represent Essex at the national final on 7 March at the University of Sussex.

The annual competition, which this year received a record number of entries, helps students demonstrate interviewing and counselling skills in a simulated law office interview. Working in teams of two, the students advise a client played by an actor.

Madeleine and Tasneem said: “Penny Brearey-Horne and the Law Clinic Frontrunner Natalie Taylor helped us out immeasurably. Natalie posed as our ‘client’ and they both judged and improved out technique…The competition is less about the advice you give to the client and more about how you make them feel. It is important to communicate in an accessible way and crucial that you impart a client with confidence in your abilities.”

They added: “This is a rewarding experience that has helped hone our communication skills.”

The competition is sponsored by legal firm Irwin Mitchell.

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6 February 2015

Essex presence at Magna Carta conference

Filed under: Latest news, People pages, Research impact — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 5:27 pm
Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury

Essex graduate Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury was one of those participating in the Magna Carta event

Essex alumni have played a key role in an international conference marking the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.

Opened by Essex graduate and Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow MP, the four-day Human Rights in the Modern Day Commonwealth: Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter conference brought together parliamentarians, experts and academics.

One event focusing on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights featured an all-Essex panel: Chair of our Human Rights Centre Professor Sir Nigel Rodley was joined by Essex Honorary Graduate and former member of staff Baroness Onora O’Neill, and Dr Corinne Lennox who graduated in 2000 with an MA Theory and Practice of Human Rights.

Participants also included Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, the first female Speaker of the Bangladesh Parliament, who graduated from Essex in 2000 with a PhD and picked up an Honorary Degree last year.

The conference was hosted by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK at the Houses of Parliament. The programme included the practical and social understanding of rights and freedoms, protection of women and girls, FGM, the death penalty, equality, LGBT rights, freedom of speech and a free press, terrorism and the right to a fair trial.

 

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16 January 2015

Cris wins top solicitor honour

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 5:11 pm
Cris McCurley

Cris McCurley with the BBC’s Mishal Husain

Essex law alumna Cris McCurley has won the Solicitor of the Year award at The Law Society Excellence Awards 2014.

Selected by a panel of senior industry experts, the Law Society event honours the brightest stars of the legal profession. It was hosted by BBC News presenter Mishal Husain in Westminster.

Cris, who is an international family law specialist and partner at Ben Hoare Bell LLP, studied law at Essex and eventually qualified as a lawyer in 1990. She joined the partnership at Ben Hoare Bell in 2006 to develop specialist family law services, the majority of her casework involving black and minority ethnic women and children who have experienced abuse.

A powerhouse in family law and committed to demanding justice for vulnerable individuals, Cris has fought for rights of men and women throughout the world, including Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Cris has worked with the United Nations, the government, and is a member of many specialist advisory groups and professional panels. She has also received several awards in recognition of her work in human rights.

Recently she attended the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) enquiry into the UK Government compliance with the convention. She gave evidence against the Government in relation to women’s access to justice being cut by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), resulting in a finding against the Government. She is also a justice ambassador and very involved in fighting Legal Aid cuts on human rights grounds.

 

 

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26 November 2014

Professor warns of more asylum seeker deaths in the Mediterranean

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 5:47 pm
Professor Steve Peers

Professor Steve Peers

Professor Steve Peers, from our School of Law and Human Rights Centre, has appeared on Dutch national television talking about new measures aimed at reducing the number of asylum seekers attempting to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean.

Speaking on Niewsuur, which is broadcast by Nederlandse Omroep Stichting, Professor Peers said: “I think in an area the size of, as large and as rich as Europe you could say that another 100,000, 200,000 more people could be accommodated, although that’s a small portion of the overall numbers in the tens of millions worldwide. But I think politically that’s not realistic. It wouldn’t be easy to get elected as a politician who said ‘let’s have another 50,000 people in France’, or ‘20,000 in the Netherlands’.”

Professor Peers warned that the new measures are likely to result in more asylum seekers drowning in their bid to reach the EU, and human traffickers being the main beneficiaries of the Frontext co-ordinated sea operations.

Watch Professor Peers’ appearance (at 02.00 and onwards).

 

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3 October 2014

Landmark refugee project

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , , — Communications Office @ 2:37 pm

Professor Geoff Gilbert from our School of Law and Human Rights Centre has been awarded $50,000 for a project which could improve the welfare of millions of refugees around the world.

Professor Geoff Gilbert

Professor Geoff Gilbert

Professor Gilbert, an expert in international refugee law, will explore new solutions for dealing with refugee crises which, if implemented, could contribute to the protection of refugees from arrival to the eventual long-term solution to their displacement.

The project is funded by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and will culminate in December when Professor Gilbert, and Senior Research Officer Anna Magdalena Ruesch, will present their recommendations in Geneva.

Professor Gilbert explained: “Traditionally there have been three solutions to international refugee crises: placing people in refugee camps; repatriation, and resettlement in other countries. These solutions have not evolved since the UNHCR was founded in 1950, in the wake of World War II, and we are now seeing third generation refugees being born in camps, and people living their whole lives without proper access to basic human rights like health, education and work.”

He added: “We are at a point now where we need new solutions that really empower refugees, and that we can implement the minute they are displaced.”

Professor Gilbert and Ms Ruesch will make two field trips, to north Africa and south America, where he will meet with refugees and displaced people, agencies and non-governmental organisations, as well as government officials, judiciary and civil society.

They will explore how utilising different sets of laws can reshape UNHCR solutions and improve refugee prospects.

Dr Clara Sandoval and Lorna McGregor, both of the Human Rights Centre and School of Law, will advise as experts in the rule of law.

In February 2014 Essex became the first university in the UK to sign a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

 

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25 September 2014

Essex experts influence ECHR decision

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , — Communications Office @ 4:12 pm
Professor Noam Lubell

Professor Noam Lubell

Judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) have found that the detention of an Iraqi national by British forces in 2003 was not arbitrary, after experts from our School of Law and Human Rights Centre supplied independent advice.

Professors Françoise Hampson and Noam Lubell provided guidance on how human rights obligations and the law of armed conflict should be applied in the case of Hassan v the UK.

Professor Lubell explained: “The detention regime under the law of armed conflict significantly differs from human rights law in a number of aspects, and the Court need to examine the legality of British procedures in a complex case to which both bodies of law apply.”

The Essex lawyers provided the Court with a detailed expert opinion, analysing the applicable law, and suggesting how the two bodies of law could be applied together in practice. The judgement noted in detail the analysis provided by them.

Professor Lubell added: “It’s a very important case, because the Court has gone further than ever before in presenting and clarifying its approach to international humanitarian law and human rights obligations during armed conflict.”

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9 July 2014

ECHR takes advice from Essex lawyers

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , — Communications Office @ 12:24 pm

Two Essex lawyers have lent their human rights expertise to a case pending before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Professors Françoise Hampson and Noam Lubell have advised the ECHR on the complexities of human rights obligations during armed conflicts, in relation to a landmark case relating to the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.

They submitted an amicus curiae, an independent expert briefing which has the potential to influence the decision of the court.

Their submission addresses the scope of extra-territorial applicability of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as the relationship between the law of armed conflict and human rights law.

It refers to an earlier amicus curiae intervention, also written by Professors Hampson and Lubell, on a separate case, Hassan v UK, which was submitted to the ECHR in October 2013.

Both amicus curiae are available to read on the Essex Research Repository.

 

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4 July 2014

Law student speaks at UN

Filed under: Latest news, Student experience — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 2:40 pm
Yasmin (right) with her room-mate from Uganda

Yasmin (right) with her room-mate from Uganda

An Essex law student has argued for greater governmental investment in “global-oriented education” at the headquarters of the United Nations (UN) in New York.

Yasmin Afina, a first-year undergraduate, was given the opportunity of a lifetime to share her ideas with students from around the world after winning the English category of the UN Academic Impact (UNAI) Student Essay Contest.

Sixty winners from the contest – ten from each language of the UN – attended the five-day Global Youth Forum in New York which culminated with the students making presentations based on principles of the UNAI.

Speaking about why she believes governments should make greater investment in accessible, high-quality global-oriented education, Yasmin argued it is “a long-term investment in the future generation for the economic and industrial development of the country” and that it will “strengthen global networks for both future professional and academic relations.”

After her return, Yasmin said: “I have met…so many people with such interesting and unexpected backgrounds. I feel like we were all meant to meet at some point and that we were meant to exchange our ideas before spreading them across the globe and perhaps become part of history.”

She added: “This experience was truly unique and priceless.”

Find out what inspired Yasmin’s winning essay.

 

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12 June 2014

BBC interview explains Bergdahl release

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 3:18 pm
Professor Noam Lubell

Professor Noam Lubell

As news of the release of US Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, in exchange for five Guantánamo Bay detainees, hit the headlines, Essex’s Professor Noam Lubell explained on the BBC the legal framework for exchange of prisoners.

Speaking to news reader Nicholas Owen, the Head of our School of Law outlined the difference between hostage-taking and the incarceration of prisoners of war to ensure they cannot continue to take part in fighting.

Responding to media criticism of the US administration’s decision to release five prisoners in exchange for just one US soldier, Professor Lubell explained: “Unless individuals are charged and convicted for a crime, then once the hostilities are over there’s an expectation in fact that both sides would release prisoners.

“So, if the US is claiming, and they are saying that they’re moving towards an end to, at least their involvement in the Afghan conflict, then it makes sense to be releasing prisoners on both sides. In fact, it’s not necessarily about a swap, both sides should be working towards release of prisoners taken during this conflict.”

Watch Professor Lubell’s interview in full.

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Legal eagles’ charity walk

Filed under: Latest news, People pages — Tags: , — Communications Office @ 2:32 pm
Richard Owen, Law Clinic Director, is one of those taking part

Richard Owen, Law Clinic Director, is one of those taking part

A team from the School of Law will be raising money to improve access to justice this month when they take on the 10km Ipswich Legal Walk.

Organised by the Eastern Legal Support Trust, the Ipswich event helps fund free legal advice to vulnerable people in the region.

Teams of walkers from law firms, barristers’ chambers, law schools, in-house legal teams and charities will take part in the walk on the evening of 30 June.

The event is sponsored by the Law Society, with Associate Sponsors Fisher Jones Greenwood.

If you would like to support the Essex team, you can sponsor them online through Virgin Money Giving. If you want to go one step further and join the team, contact Richard Owen, Law Clinic Director, by 16 June.

 

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