Apply for ELSA Kent’s Summer School on Migration Law

Students can now apply for places at an international Summer School on Migration Law organised by the European Law Student Association (ELSA) Kent.

ELSA Kent, a student society at Kent Law School, will host the summer school on the University’s Canterbury campus from Sunday 17 June to Sunday 24 June 2018.

It’s the second summer school to be organised by the society – ELSA Kent held the UK’s first ELSA Law School last year after securing approval from the international ELSA network. ELSA Law Schools are intensive legal courses addressing contentious issues in international law. Each summer school programme combines the theoretical perspective of expert academics together with the practical perspective of practising lawyers. They’re open to students and young lawyers across the world irrespective of ELSA membership.

Caroline Wilian, a member of ELSA Kent’s organising committee, said: ‘The Summer Law Schools are the essential ELSA experience, and participants often describe it as the best week of their life, so it appeared to us as the perfect project to pursue. It has been an exciting challenge!’

ELSA’s exacting quality control standards required ELSA Kent to demonstrate sufficient competence before their summer school in migration law could be approved. Caroline said: ‘Hosting last year’s event helped elevate our status and grow our network immensely in the UK and in Europe. It’s really put us on the map.’

The society received more than 100 applications for 30 places at last year’s event. Attendees came from: Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK.

Caroline said: ‘Many of our participants had previously studied or worked in the field of migration law and were often familiar with the published work of the specific academics involved in the programme. They hugely appreciated the benefit of being able to raise issues with them. It was very important to us that the whole summer law school embodied Kent Law School’s critical approach to law, and we were incredibly happy to see how much the academics stimulated our participants to discuss the issues. We had speakers who were able to communicate diverse accounts of engaging with migration law. This included academics but we also had Judge Ledi Bianku from the European Court of Human Rights and Sed Bikandy, a local architecture student who came to Canterbury as a refugee from Syria.’

Kent academics who contributed to last year’s conference included Richard Warren, Sian Lewis-Anthony and Dr Anthony Valcke.

Attendees can also expect to enjoy a lively social programme. Last year, social events included: a Masquerade at Westgate Towers in Canterbury (hosted by Kent Student Law Society); clubbing nights; a day trip to Broadstairs; and a three course Gala Dinner at Canterbury Cathedral Lodge.


Caroline said: ‘On the last day, our participants were hugging each other in tears and planning summer trips to meet each other again as they left Kent with many new friends from all over the world. We were incredibly proud of the event and felt that everything had gone better than we had ever dreamed of.’

Members of ELSA Kent’s organising committee also enjoyed the opportunity to develop new skills. Caroline said: ‘We learned how to communicate with leading academics and lawyers, and we built personal relationships with them. We also learned a lot about collaboration as we came to rely on each other for the completion of different tasks. And we gained a great deal of confidence in public speaking – it can be daunting to direct a crowd of thirty strangers in addition to highly respected academics and lawyers. All of these skills are important to complement our learning in our future legal careers.’

Fellow organising committee member Hendrik Jonsson said: ‘The Summer Law School required a big commitment of time, but it had a hugely positive effect on my academic performance. The practical organisational and management skills I learned in the process became tools which I could use to prepare essays for my modules and revise for exams. In the end, I found my grades greatly improved.’

Tickets for this year’s summer school will be available via the ELSA Kent Summer School on Migration Law Facebook Page. And anyone interested in joining the organising committee can email

Posted in news | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Solicitor General commends Law School for leading the way with student involvement in Pro Bono

Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP commended Kent Law School for “leading the way” in making it easy for students to be involved in Pro Bono work during a ‘hot seat’ question and answer session at Kent Law Clinic on Friday.

The Solicitor General made his comment in response to a student’s question about whether law clinic work should be compulsory for aspiring lawyers. He also said it was important that the ethos for law clinic or voluntary work should “come from within”. A short clip of the Solicitor General discussing the value of Pro Bono work with Professor John Fitzpatrick, Director of Kent Law Clinic, is available to watch on Twitter.

Among other topics raised by law students Afnan Arshad, Stanislaw Braminski, Maxwell Cunningham, Sophie Griffin, Alexandra Nadasan, Kinga Stabryla and James Whitehead, was a question about the most important duty of his role. The Solicitor General said it was to uphold the rule of law, adding: ‘A particularly important part of my job is reviewing crown court sentences that are too low, which I do on an almost daily basis.’

Robert Buckland QC MP, who was appointed as Solicitor General in July 2014, stopped to answer questions as part of a tour of the new £5m Wigoder Law Building where Kent Law Clinic is now housed.  The building was opened in October 2016 by the (then) Deputy President of the UK Supreme Court Baroness Hale and principal benefactor The Honourable Charles Wigoder.

During his visit, the Solicitor General met with Law Clinic staff and some of the lawyers who volunteer their time at Clinic advice sessions in the local community, including: Perveez Sethna of Parry Law, Canterbury; barrister Lavinia Glover of Becket Chambers, Canterbury; solicitor James Muir-Little of Furley Page Solicitors, Canterbury; and barrister Richard Honey of Francis Taylor Building, Inner Temple.

The Solicitor General also heard about Pro Bono Clinic work undertaken by Law School students; Second-year Law LLB student Alexander Dickens, final-year Law LLB student Quennie Bongcac and final-year International Legal Studies student Ledjana Gashi delivered mini-presentations on their practical experience of Clinic projects and live cases involving family law, housing law and immigration law.

Posted in news | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

From talk to training contract: how one Kent law student networked her way to success!

Attending an on-campus talk has led directly to a training contract with a London law firm for final-year Kent Law LLB student Alexandra Lima.

Alexandra secured a contract with Darlingtons Solicitors LLP after following up on advice given by their Marketing Manager, Craig Sharpe, at a talk on the importance of branding and marketing for aspiring lawyers in March last year.

Craig spoke specifically about the value of online networking and invited attendees to connect with him on LinkedIn. Alexandra was one of only two students to follow up on Craig’s invitation. Both were subsequently invited to compete for a work experience placement at Darlingtons by writing a blog post summarising what they had learnt from his talk. Alexandra secured the placement with her winning post and also successfully applied for a University of Kent Work Experience Bursary to cover her travel expenses.

During the two-week placement in June 2017, Alexandra spent time working within the conveyancing team, as well as litigation and family matters. Putting into practice what she had learnt from Craig’s talk, she connected on LinkedIn with the legal professionals that she met and maintained contact after the placement had finished. Alexandra’s online networking skills were instrumental in landing her a further two-week placement with the firm in January 2018.

Alexandra said: ‘I worked conscientiously during my second placement and was subsequently encouraged to apply for a training contract within the firm. My application was successful and from a large number of applicants, I was selected for an interview.’

Not only was her application successful but, as Alexandra discovered earlier this month, so too was her interview – her training contract with Darlingtons will begin in September 2019, giving Alexandra time to complete a one-year Legal Practice Course (currently the final vocational stage for becoming a solicitor in England and Wales).

The talk Alexandra attended last year was organised by the Law School’s Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone as part of a programme of ongoing employability support for law students. Alexandra urges current and future law students to take advantage of opportunities created and promoted by Jayne: ‘Any chance to listen to or speak to a legal professional should be taken, and further contact via sites such as LinkedIn are fundamental to future prospects. A career in law requires you to be ahead of the game and actively seek any opportunity to learn more about it. Opportunities are more common than one would expect, but what is uncommon is students actually going out and taking them.’

Posted in news | Tagged , | Leave a comment

PhD student secures £2k grant for legal fieldwork research

Kent Law School doctoral research student Mia Tamarin has secured a grant of £2,200 for fieldwork research in Israel and Palestine.

Mia began her PhD in Law at Kent in 2016. Her research investigates how the law/capitalism nexus shapes our understanding and management of water. The PhD Fieldwork Grant, awarded by the Socio-Legal Study Association, will enable Mia to ground her theoretical framework within a case-study on the use and management of water in Israel and Palestine. She plans to conduct semi-structured interviews with government officials and leading NGO executives involved with different levels of water policy-making, in both countries.

Mia pays particular attention in her research to a process she describes as ‘water commodification’ and will be looking to see how this process manifests in the conflict over water in Palestine-Israel.

In addition to being hugely instrumental in enabling Mia to undertake the fieldwork element of her project, Mia says the grant will also enable her to pursue the socio-legal dimension of her research more solidly overall.

Posted in news, research | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Award for Law Clinic’s significant contribution to development and practice of law in Kent

Kent Law Clinic is to be recognised for making a “significant contribution to the development and practice of law in Kent” with a special award from Kent Law Society. 

Kent Law Society, one of the oldest law societies in England and Wales, has chosen to honour Kent Law Clinic with one of two unique awards as part of its 200th anniversary celebrations. It will be presented to Kent Law Clinic Director Professor John Fitzpatrick at a gala dinner following the Law Society’s AGM on Friday 18 May.

Kent Law Clinic solicitors, staff, students and volunteers provide pro bono legal assistance to members of the local community who could not otherwise afford access to advice and representation. The Law Clinic also seeks to enhance the education of students at Kent Law School through direct experience of legal practice.

Law Clinic students work on live cases, under the supervision of Law Clinic solicitors – recent clinic success stories involving law students include: a successful appeal for a woman penalised for failing to attend an assessment appointment that had been cancelled; a complaint upheld for a family who had been unlawfully evicted; and compensation secured for clients with cases against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Scores of students from the Law School have gone on to enter legal practice in Kent after qualifying and, currently, 13 out of 40 local private practitioners who serve as volunteers on Kent Law Clinic’s ‘Advice Session’ rota, are Law School graduates. These volunteer practitioners give advice to members of the public while being observed by Law Clinic students. 

Since relocating to the ground floor of the purpose-built Wigoder Law Building in October 2016, the Law Clinic has taken advantage of the new replica court room on the upper floor to hold innovative events for the local community such as an event to help demystify and explain family court proceedings and an event offering an insight into the UK criminal justice process.

Other recent Law Clinic initiatives include a one-day conference to discuss the challenges faced by child refugees seeking international protection in the UK. 

The Law Clinic has received numerous awards recognising and celebrating its work, including: The Lawyer Award for Ethical Initiative of the Year 2014; The LawWorks Attorney General’s Award for the Best New Pro Bono Activity for its ‘Access to Land’ project in 2012; the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for ‘enriching the academic study of law through a casework service to the community’ in 2008; the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community’ prize at the Times Higher Education Awards 2005; and in 1998 the Law Clinic was a joint winner of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Civil Justice’ award in the Times/JUSTICE Awards.

Posted in alumni, news | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Kent Law School alumna is Private Client Lawyer of the Year

Kent Law School alumna Natalie Payne, now a solicitor at a leading London law firm, has been declared Private Client Lawyer of the Year in the UK at the Lawyer Monthly Magazine Private Client Awards 2018.

Natalie, who works for Mackrell Turner Garrett, was selected for the award for her work assisting people with Private Client matters, such as the preparation of wills, estate administrations, creation and management of trusts and charitable trusts, inheritance tax planning, lasting powers of attorney, Court of Protection applications, and management of affairs of the donors.

Natalie’s work mentoring law students at Kent and the College of Law was also recognised by the judges.

Natalie graduated from Kent in 2006 with a first class honours degree in Law. She is a member of The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn and was called to The Bar of England and Wales in 2007.

Posted in alumni, news | Tagged , | Leave a comment

£25k grant to research housing rights around the world

Professor Helen Carr, working in collaboration with colleagues from universities in South Africa and Brazil, has secured a £25,000 grant to research the theory and practice of housing rights around the world.

The grant was awarded by the Academy of Medical Sciences Global Challenges Research Fund Networking Grant Scheme to Professor Carr, Professor Danie Brand from the University of Pretoria in South Africa and Professor Maria Fernanda Salcedo of the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

Three interdisciplinary workshops will be held – one at Kent, one in Pretoria and one in Belo Horizonte – under the theme of ‘Home/City/World: Housing, Inclusion and Sustainability in the 21st Century’

The workshops have three main aims: to re-conceptualise home and housing rights for the 21st century; to research the lived realities of home and housing rights in a variety of global cities; and to analyse the implementation of housing rights in a variety of locations.

Professor Carr said the award panel had commended the interplay between theory and practical housing problems in the research project proposal. The panel also liked the interdisciplinary nature of the project and the fact that it built upon an existing collaboration.

In addition to research expertise in housing, Professor Carr is interested in social welfare and public law, and the regulation of the poor, especially the homeless, the asylum seeker, the anti-social and those in need of care.

In 2015, she co-authored a report Reconciling owning and renting in shared ownership housing: Moving forward that examined the practices of shared ownership in the UK. And in November 2017, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, she co-authored a major new report (Closing the Gaps – Health and Safety at Home) for housing charity Shelter, calling for the introduction of a new Housing Act. The report, co-authored by  Dr Ed Kirton-Darling (Kent Law School) and by Professor David Cowan and Dr Edward Burtonshaw-Gunn (Bristol Law School), was subsequently referenced in the Commons Library briefing paper for the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation and Liability for Housing Standards) Bill 2017-19 ahead of its Second Reading in January 2018.

Previous research into housing law reform by Professor Carr contributed to a new law aimed at protecting the rights of both tenants and landlords in Wales. The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, granted Royal Assent in January 2016, was described as ‘ground-breaking’ legislation by the Welsh Government. It aims to improve the lives of more than one million people who rent their home in Wales, replacing complex pieces of existing legislation with one clear legal framework.

Posted in news, research | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Kent alumnus Billy Ng speaks about diversity and social mobility in the legal profession

Kent Law School alumnus Billy Ng from Hong Kong, now a trainee solicitor in London, returned to Kent this week to speak to current students about diversity and social mobility in the legal profession.

Billy completed his Law LLB degree at Kent in 2015 and is due to qualify, in July. He’s now also working as a Mentor and a Social Mobility Ambassador for the Law Society of England and Wales, helping to raise the profile of fair access to the legal profession in the UK.

Earlier this week Billy spoke to students about the challenges he has faced, particularly as an international student and was keen to encourage students to persevere: ‘Strength lies in differences not in similarities. Despite coming from what some may call a disadvantaged background, we are not at a disadvantage. Make your differences your asset, look into yourselves and be proud of exactly who you are. Perseverance and confidence is key.’

Kent Law School Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone, who organised Billy’s visit, said: ‘Billy inspired students to reach for their goals. He made it clear that it doesn’t matter where you come from, or what obstacles you face, you can succeed if you put in the time and the effort to develop skills and experiences.’

During his time as a student, Billy was actively involved in student life and received both the Chancellor’s Employability Points Award and the Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year Award in May 2015 in recognition of his volunteering and fund-raising efforts. Billy was the Vice Chair of the Kent Law Campaign Student Group and helped raise funds for the £5m project to build the Wigoder Law Building, the building that now houses Kent Law Clinic and the Law School’s mooting programme.

Billy was particularly grateful for the services provided by Kent Law School’s Student Support Team in overcoming his own personal challenges whilst studying his undergraduate degree: ‘Pursuing a Law degree at a top Law School is not meant to be easy. As a result, frankly there were times when homesickness, family expectations, stress induced by work and deadlines, and anxiety of the uncertain future, can take its toll. I will always value and appreciate the assistance and encouragement I received from the Law School, for being understanding and empathetic towards students at difficult times. Without the relentless support, I would not have proudly graduated with a 2.1 at the end.’

After graduating from Kent, Billy was awarded a scholarship which enabled him to complete internships at commercial law firms in Bangalore, India and in Beijing, China. He returned to the UK to complete the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and a LLM in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Law in Guildford before securing a training contract with Carters Solicitors in Pimlico.

After Billy qualifies this summer, he hopes to pursue his dream to become a Higher Court Advocate, representing clients at Crown Courts, High Courts and beyond.

Posted in alumni, news | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Brothers in law: a unique experience of studying at Kent

It may not be that unusual for a student to study both their LLM and PhD in Law at Kent but it’s certainly more unusual for two brothers to be pursuing their postgraduate studies at Kent Law School at the same time! We caught up with Ahmed and Osama Memon from Pakistan to find out more about their unique experience of studying Law at Kent…!

Both Ahmed and Osama were impressed by Kent’s reputation and league table rankings but it was the award of a Kent LLM scholarship that sealed the deal for Ahmed. He completed his LLM in International Law at Kent in 2014 and returned the following year to begin his PhD. Osama began his LLM studies in September 2017 and said that Ahmed’s experience was one of the most important factors in leading him to choose Kent Law School: ‘What finally convinced me was Ahmed’s experience and his positive views about Kent’s academic tradition, and the quality of research and teaching. Ahmed and I have a very similar background and interests. We went to the same school, and we did the same undergraduate degree, which was the distance learning University of London LLB (Hons). I had a very specific idea about what I wanted from my postgraduate experience, and I felt that Ahmed’s experience was very close to what I was looking for.’

For Osama, coming to Kent was his first experience of living away from home so he’s been happy to take his younger brother’s advice on a lot of things – from shopping and cooking to research and writing: ‘And since we live together in Kent, I have tried to return the favour as best I can by helping with the dishes, cooking and cleaning, and grocery shopping. But I think the part that we enjoy the most is discussing our ideas and views with each other on different legal issues or problems. I am sure I am speaking for the both of us when I say that It just helps to have someone who knows your background, interests and opinions to listen to you and give you a proper feedback.’


Despite Osama choosing a different LLM pathway to his brother, Ahmed says they have a lot in common with respect to their studies: ‘There are many intersections about our opinions about law and how it operates. The law school’s culture of critical thinking in asking questions about what the law is and how it works is a common ground for us. So, we end up asking each other about references on broader themes and topics that we have a shared interest in.’

Before coming to Kent, Osama was working as a legal practitioner with a focus on immigration, taxation, customs, land, constitutional law, and succession. One of his main reasons for choosing to study an LLM was to develop his interest and skills in International Commercial Law, particularly trade law, arbitration and intellectual property – much of the work he did as a practitioner was in these areas. Osama said: ‘Another reason for my interest is that these areas of law give me an understanding of how the global political-economy works, and why the law is the way it is. I think that this is where Kent Law School’s critical legal perspective really helps. Subjects that normally people would expect to be doctrinal are taught with different critical or multi-disciplinary perspectives.’

Ahmed’s main interests lie in public international law, or specifically historical approaches to international law. He said: ‘I am particularly drawn to how we can understand contemporary problems by re-examining the history of international law as a discipline. I think history as an approach to understand law is just fascinating in a way which it reveals to us very different stories and realities about how things were – and in many ways – how they then develop. Thinking about the past can really have a bearing on what we know and do not know about our present.


‘My research delves (if not in so much depth) into critical perspectives of political economy, international global order and issues of global governance. Having to talk to Osama about these broader topics is always a learning opportunity as we both bring different interdisciplinary ways of thinking about these issues from the perspective of our specific interests.’

Ahmed’s doctoral thesis is tentatively titled ‘Network Governance and violence: A Critical Third World Approach to International Law History.’ He said: ‘My project is drawing on a critical, historical approach to re-examine how different forms of violence through transnational institutions are rendered invisible by the orthodox understanding and application of international law. This particular project makes the case that the unaccountable violence of the contemporary counter terrorism networks, such as US Special operation forces, can only be understood by understanding how international law historically approached transnational institutions and their violence. My project sketches the history of this relationship between the violence of transnational institutions and international law from the 17th Century Holy Roman Church, Commercial networks of the 18th Century, international organizations and policy/regulatory networks in the 20th Century and finally counter terrorism network of the post 9/11 era.’

In addition to his studies, Osama also has duties at Kent Law School as an LLM Student Representative: ‘As a Student Rep, my main duties include acting as a link between my class, Kent Union and the University, and to take any issues that the students have to the appropriate body or forum in the University. As a Student Rep, I am also invited to attend meetings within Kent Union or the School, such as the Student Staff Liaison Committee, or the Graduate Studies Committee, where I can discuss or raise relevant issues that the students feel are important.’

Once Osama completes his LLM, he expects to be heading home to Karachi to work in a corporate law firm. But he’s not closing the door on the possibility of further study: ‘My time here at Kent has also inspired me to consider pursuing a doctorate in the foreseeable future.’

Ahmed is clear that he wants to stay in academia: ‘I’d like to find a teaching job and continue doing research within my area of interest. Perhaps sometimes in the future, it would be interesting for us to do a collaborative project combining some theoretical aspects of my research with Osama’s interest in global trade and commercial regulation.’

The brothers agree that studying together at Kent has been a source of “massive mutual support”: ‘We can share everyday, mundane but absolutely necessary burdens. Small things such as cleaning and cooking, to getting a book from the library or getting together to eat on campus when we take breaks in between studying all become part of our everyday life. The only downside is probably the amount of coordination required when studying and living together!’ But, despite having each other to lean on, both believe it’s the friendships they have made during their time at the Law School which has made their experience at Kent particularly valuable.

Posted in news, research | Leave a comment

Kent consumer law expert calls for review of consumer credit in Britain

Kent consumer law expert Professor Iain Ramsay calls for a broad-ranging review to assess the economic and social role of consumer credit in Britain post-Brexit in written evidence submitted to the Treasury Committee on Household Finance.

Professor Ramsay says “persistent weaknesses remain in credit regulation” such as the ‘poor paying more’ for credit and calls for a reform of the rules on personal insolvency and bankruptcy. He says no fundamental review has been undertaken of the role and regulation of consumer credit in the UK economy since the the Crowther Committee Report in 1971.

His evidence, which focusses on the question of the “sustainability of the UK’s household credit and consumer debt’, has been submitted this month to a House of Commons select committee inquiry into income, saving and debt.

The inquiry is interrogating the state of UK household balance sheets, including whether households are saving adequately in the current economic environment and the effectiveness of the market in financing solutions and products to low income households.

Professor Ramsay has been involved in interdisciplinary research and policy making on consumer credit in North America and Europe over several decades and is a co-drafter of the World Bank Report on the Treatment of the Insolvency of Natural Persons (2013).

He conducted ground breaking empirical research on personal insolvency in Canada, and was a member of the Canadian Personal Insolvency Task Force (2000-2002). He has written extensively on comparative consumer insolvency and posts regularly on his blog Credit, Debt and Insolvency.

His current research, supported by a Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, focuses on explanations for the patterns of development of personal insolvency in the US and Europe. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

Posted in news, research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment