Article by Professor Emily Grabham shortlisted for SLSA prize

An article by Kent Law School Reader in Law Professor Emily Grabham has been shortlisted for a prize by the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA).

Time and technique: the legal lives of the 26-week qualifying period’, published in Volume 45 of the journal Economy and Society, follows the ‘legal lives’ of qualifying periods on family-friendly employment rights.

Drawing on documentary research and interviews with policy experts, union activists and legislative drafters, the article focuses on the formal qualities of qualifying periods, arguing that these legal technicalities conjure time and legal form as inextricable.

Professor Grabham’s article is one of three that has been shortlisted for the 2018 SLSA Article Prize.

Last year, Professor Grabham was awarded the Socio-Legal History and Theory Prize for her book ‘Brewing Legal Times: Things, Form and the Enactment of Law’ (University of Toronto Press, 2016). She was one of three academics from Kent Law School to be shortlisted for a prize in 2017 and one of two who were subsequently awarded a prize (Professor Helen Carr was the recipient of last year’s SLSA Article Prize).

This year’s SLSA prize winners will be announced at the organisation’s annual conference in Bristol in March.

Professor Grabham‘s research interests include labour law, law and time, labour and value, and feminist legal theory. She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to legal analysis, drawing on methods and perspectives from feminist legal theory, social anthropology, sociology, and science and technology studies.

Together with Dr Sian Beynon Jones from the University of York, Professor Grabham co-ordinates the scholarly network Regulating Time: New Perspectives on Regulation, Law and Temporalities. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the network investigates how law and regulation are shaped by dominant concepts of time.

Her three-year research project Balancing Precarious Work and Care, investigated how women in precarious work experience ‘work-life balance’. It was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council under its Future Research Leaders scheme.

Professor Grabham has published in a wide range of journals including Australian Feminist Studies, Body & Society, Social & Legal Studies, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies and Canadian Journal of Law & Society.

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

Expert comment: Disclosure failures erode confidence in criminal justice

Kent Law School’s Dr Sinéad Ring, an expert on sexual offences prosecutions, has responded to the revelation that hundreds of cases are dropped over disclosure failings by saying ‘it’s important to keep in mind that, while the disclosure process needs to be urgently addressed, there is no evidence to suggest that there is an issue with false allegations.’

‘The number of prosecutions that collapsed because of a failure by police or prosecutors to disclose evidence increased by 70% in the last two years, according to the BBC.

‘The Criminal Cases Review Commission has cited non-disclosure as the most frequent cause of referral for appeal.

‘Disclosure is an essential part of the criminal justice system. The Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) and the Criminal Justice Inspectorates (HMIC) have raised concerns about the effectiveness of current disclosure practices.

‘Inadequate disclosure creates a risk of the jury not being given the full picture and therefore potentially risks a miscarriage of justice. A failure in the process is important and we must deal with it in order to protect the defendant’s fair trial rights and to guard against unsafe convictions.

‘Cuts to police budgets, and to criminal legal aid, have made the pressures on police and on lawyers worse, leading to an increased risk of unfairness to the accused. More resources are badly needed to ensure that the police and prosecutors can deal with the large volumes of digital evidence that are now a common part of investigations, and to review as the case progresses, the question of what evidence should be disclosed.

‘A key innovation would be to follow the lead of some other European countries such as Denmark, which allows the accused access to all material gathered, including that which the prosecution does not intend to use. If any particularly private material, such as diaries, are involved, these should go before a judge for a decision on relevance.

‘Importantly, however, the disclosure issue does not mean that there is a particular problem with false allegations. The figures for false allegations are estimated to be around 3%.

‘While the process must protect against failures such as a failure to disclose relevant evidence to the defence, and fair trial rights must be protected, it is really important to recognise that a failure of disclosure in a particular case does not necessarily mean that the victim made a false allegation.

‘The fault for failure to disclose does not lie with the victim in any way and it is not correct to conclude from the increase in the number collapsed cases that the victims in these cases made up the allegation of rape or sexual assault.

‘We know it is really difficult for victims of sexual violence to report. Failures in disclosure that result in a collapsed trial are a failure for the victim too. The victim is denied an opportunity for the allegations to be heard and decided by a jury. This scandal around disclosure will do nothing to reassure victims or the public that the criminal justice system takes these cases as seriously as it should.’


Dr Ring teaches the law of evidence at Kent Law School. She has published widely in the area of criminal and evidence law on sexual offences. She is currently researching the criminal law on so –called ‘stealthing’ (non-consensual condom withdrawal).

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

£5k grant to research digital vulnerability

Kent Law School early career researchers Dr Asta Zokaityte and Dr Will Mbioh have been awarded a grant of £5,000 for an interdisciplinary research project to examine the relationship between vulnerability and the management of personal data.

The concept of vulnerability is used for the first time in the new EU General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force in the UK on 28 May 2018, to regulate how the personal data of children and employees are collected and processed. With their grant from the University of Kent’s Social Sciences Faculty Research Fund, Dr Zokaityte (Primary Investigator) and Dr Mbioh (Co-Investigator) seek to engage academics in a broader discussion of the concept of “digital vulnerability” and to further investigate the relationships and intersections between vulnerability and the governance of personal data in the UK.

The project team will write a co-authored article, for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, that will describe digital vulnerability. It will also conduct academic and policy scoping exercises with researchers, NGO and representatives of public bodies. As the project evolves, the team plan to apply for external funding that will enable them to run workshops and establish a digital vulnerability research network.

Dr Zokaityte is a Lecturer in Law. Her research explores the ways in which novel edu-regulatory techniques are deployed by financial regulators to govern consumer behaviour in financial markets. Her book Financial Literacy Education: Edu-Regulating our Saving and Spending Habits (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) offers an innovative way of thinking about financial literacy education and has been nominated for the Hart-SLSA Prize for Early Career Academics.

Associate Lecturer in Law Dr Mbioh has research expertise in the field of data protection. He has recently published in leading, international peer-reviewed journals including European Data Protection Law Review and the Journal of Internet Law.

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

Holding children accountable for genocide – University talk

Kent Law School Postdoctoral Researcher Dr Jastine Barrett will discuss Rwanda’s response to the genocide of 1994 as part of a series of free public talks about international legal issues in the news.

Dr Barrett’s talk,’What a Difference a Day Makes: Child Perpetrators of Genocide in Rwanda’, is one of a series organised by the Law School’s Centre for Critical International Law (CeCIL). The talk is free and open to all. It will be held on Monday 5 Feb in the Friends meeting House, 6 The Friars, Canterbury at 19.00, with doors opening at  18.30.

Dr Barrett’s research focuses on the role of children in the genocide when an estimated 800,000 people were killed in 100 days.  The participation by ordinary citizens, among them children, was a key, and distinguishing, feature of the Rwandan genocide.

Children were reported to be involved in the whole range of acts that were committed in the course of the genocide including murder, assault, rape, looting, destruction of property and denunciation to the militia of those in hiding.

In 1998, more than 4,500 children under the age of 18 were held in prisons, most of them accused of genocide-related acts: many later came before the formal courts or the gacaca courts (a quasi-traditional system of justice), and administrative measures were also adopted to deal with these child perpetrators.

In her talk, Dr Barrett will discuss Rwanda’s responses, in law, policy and practice, to child génocidaires and will touch on questions such as: What are the obligations on states when holding children accountable for international crimes? What challenges face a post-conflict state in complying with these obligations? How were children held accountable for genocide in Rwanda? And were children given differential treatment on grounds of their age as required by international law?

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

New international research network for PhD scholars launches at Kent in June

An international research network for PhD scholars with a shared interest in thinking about law will be launched at a conference to be held at Kent on Friday 15 June.

The new Interdisciplinary Legal Studies (ILS) Network, an initiative of academics at Kent Law School, seeks to engage doctoral students and early career researchers across all disciplines in a critical exploration of legal research.

The network’s inaugural one-day conference on ‘The Uses and Futures of Interdisciplinary Legal Studies’ will be hosted by the Law School on Kent’s Canterbury campus. Scholars are invited to submit a brief, 200-word summary of their doctoral research project together with a 200-word summary of their experience of/reflection on interdisciplinary legal research to KLSResearch@kent.ac.uk by Thursday 15 March.

As an alternative to the conventional pattern of papers and plenaries, the conference will provide opportunities for collective discussion in small groups and wider discussion with the support of six guest scholars: Professor Diamond Ashiagbor (Institute of Advanced Legal Studies); Professor Kate Bedford (University of Birmingham); Professor Emilios Christodoulidis (University of Glasgow); Dr Emilie Cloatre (University of Kent); Professor Marieke de Goede (University of Amsterdam); and Professor Ambreena Manji (University).

Law Schools already subscribed to the ILS network include: Kent Law School, Westminster Law School, Birkbeck Law School, Warwick Law School, Universidad de los Andes Law School, Melbourne Law School, LSE Law School, Science Po Law School, and the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Law School.

The registration fee for the conference is £35. More details, including arrangements for travel and accommodation, are available on the conference website. Any queries can be directed to conference organisers Dr Thanos Zartaloudis: t.zartaloudis@kent.ac.uk and Professor Donatella Alessandrini d.alessandrini@kent.ac.uk

A further conference is planned for 2020.


Conference Theme

Arguably, modern legal scholarship is today more vibrant, complex and inter-disciplinary than ever before. Legal studies and legal practices are increasingly informed by a wide range of complex interdisciplinary borrowing, interaction and cooperation. Furthermore, different approaches to legal research and education, as varied as doctrinal, neo-realist, socio-legal, feminist, neo-Marxist, law-in-action, critical, contextual and so forth, appear to concur, often through a growing degree of self-criticism, that the emergence of sophisticated interdisciplinary scholarship amidst various political perspectives, methods and disciplines has influenced or, at least, to an extent challenged legal teaching, learning, researching, decision-making, concept-constructing and vocational practice. Our primary concern in this conference is with inquiring into the manner and purpose of the interdisciplinary research experience in contemporary broad-minded legal studies.

Interdisciplinary practices and aims have been subject to contention, as well as variation and recalibration, for many decades. Is it, for instance, disciplinary integration and/or interaction that are aimed at? Is it, instead, juxtaposition, coordination, and the rigorous ability to read parallel sequences (often categorized as falling under ‘multidisciplinarity’)? Is it the critique of the structural formation of knowledges, or the ultimate transcending of a discipline that is aimed at (its transformation, often categorized under the name of ‘transdisciplinarity’)?

What if, however, interdisciplinary legal research aimed at neither a mere self-sufficient juxtaposition, nor an over-ambitious synthesis? Who would be the audience and what would be the purpose of interdisciplinary research and study of law and in law? It is often observed, for example, that interdisciplinary attempts in legal research borrow methods or material (however successfully) from another discipline in order to then near-exclusively address a legal audience, without manifesting, in fact, a genuine attempt to study as well as engage with that other discipline’s audience. What, then, if interdisciplinarity begins only once it admits that distinctions run through disciplines as much as between them and that therefore one has to study them rigorously in all sorts of ways (be they methodological and theoretical, instrumental and critical, endogenous and exogenous etc.)?

Academic disciplines are indeed contingent and highly permeable products of complex historical processes. Distinctions and synergies between disciplines are equally contingent on different histories and cultures (for example, history is the foundational social science in France, while in Britain it is categorized under the humanities; equally we can ask: is law a social science or a part of the humanities?). Lacking some kind of absolute consistency, disciplines differentiate their functions through transforming knowledges and practices, in the self-defining and self-serving interior dynamics. Disciplines are however a recent modern invention and, more than it is usually admitted, they have always remained in a state of almost permanent ‘crisis’, flux and cognitive (as well political or social) challenge. Within the institution of the University disciplinary self-definition and self-defense has intensified, often forgetting that disciplines themselves are re-created or redefined through collisions between differing cognitive spheres.

Interdisciplinarity, it is then proposed, may be neither a panacea for all the problems one encounters in legal research and higher education more widely, nor an unnecessary opportune distraction from the rigor of a disciplinary program of study. In addition, interdisciplinarity, in its multiple and complex formations and deformations, should not be constrained by the success of its hype. Too often, as a mostly managerial or marketing buzzword without much challenging substance, it has infiltrated Universities to the point that now almost all departments and all disciplines aim to foster interdisciplinarity in research and education. While it is most challenging a climate in which we find ourselves, we think that there has not been a better time to consider, anew, and with persistent care, the paths, claims and challenges of inter/disciplinarity in legal research (and by extension education more broadly). If interdisciplinarity is not to be or remain an empty signifier, yet another fashionable façade of progress and innovation (or even the latest desperate attempt to de-socialise and isolate knowledge), we need to ask what becomes of/in interdisciplinary formations and deformations of knowledge?

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

£10 voucher & weekly prize draw for Law students who complete NSS

Today sees the launch of the National Student Survey (NSS) – all eligible students who complete it by Monday 12 February can claim a £10 Amazon voucher and, for Law School students, there’s also a weekly prize draw until Friday 2 March!

If you’re eligible to participate in this year’s survey (mostly final-year undergraduate students), you’ll receive an email invitation from Ipsos MORI on Thursday 25 January.

You can complete the survey at: www.thestudentsurvey.com

To claim your £10 Amazon voucher:

  • complete the survey before Monday 12 February 2018 and forward your NSS survey completion confirmation email to nssawards@kent.ac.uk

To enter the Kent Law School weekly prize draw:

  • forward your NSS survey completion confirmation email to klsnss@kent.ac.uk  (the sooner you complete the survey, the more draws you’ll be entered into – once entered, you’ll remain in the draw!)

Kent Law School prize draws will be held as follows:

  • 12pm, Friday 26 January 2018. First prize – £100 Amazon voucher. Second and third prizes – a Kent Law School hoodie
  • 12pm, Friday 2 February 2018. First prize – £50 Amazon voucher
  • 12pm, Friday 9 February 2018. First prize – £50 Amazon voucher
  • 12pm, Friday 16 February 2018. First prize – £50 Amazon voucher
  • 12pm, Friday 23 February 2018. First prize – £50 Amazon voucher
  • 12pm, Friday 28 February 2018. First prize – £50 Amazon voucher
  • If the School reaches a completion rate of 80% by Friday 2 March a final draw will be held at 12pm that day with a first prize of £100 Amazon voucher and a second and third prize of a Kent Law School hoodie

The NSS is an annual independent survey giving students across the UK the opportunity to give their feedback on their experiences of university study. It’s widely recognised as a key measure of student satisfaction and only takes about ten minutes to complete. Feedback from the survey helps the School to develop its courses for future students. Helpful information explaining the importance of the survey is available on the Kent NSS website

Final-year students may also be interested in attending a ‘Finishing Strongly’ session to be delivered by Dr Steve Pethick from 1pm – 2pm on Wednesday 24 January in GLT1 – Dr Pethick will be talking about how to make the most of your final year (and this will include how to calculate your degree mark).

Posted in news | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Law student Ebun Adeniran wins final of Civil Advocacy Competition

The final of Kent Law School’s inaugural Civil Advocacy Competition, sponsored by Boys & Maughan Solicitors, has been won by Stage 3 Law LLB student Ebun Adeniran.

Ebun was presented with a trophy, and a cheque for £100 in the Wigoder Law Building’s Moot Room after competing against Stage 2 Law and Economics student Stanislaw Braminski on Thursday.

Both students mooted before a mock Court of Appeal comprising Jonathan Austin, a recently retired District Judge on the Kent Circuit; Matt Champ, a non-practising barrister and Chartered Litigator and Advocate at Boys & Maughan,, and Per Laleng, personal injury barrister and Kent Law School’s Director of Mooting.

Matt Champ, who organised the competition, said both Ebun and Stanislaw mooted exceptionally well: ‘They had clearly thoroughly researched their topics and remained resilient under pressure. When you consider the fact that when they started this competition they had no idea about civil procedure, having never studied it, seeing them do well is a testament not only to them but also the University.’

The subject of the moot was an application for relief from sanctions under r CPR 3.9. Each student had 15 minutes to address the court and an opportunity for a five minute reply. The facts of the case involved a breach of contract matter that had been struck out for failing to comply with an order. This led to an appeal, the mooting scenario, centering on an application for relief from sanctions where the claimant argued that the circuit judge was wrong to let the defendant back in.

Matt said: ‘With the fierce competition for pupillages and training contracts, mooting is an essential experience, particularly for students who want to become barristers or solicitor advocates.’ Boys & Maughan Solicitors arranged for a number of their experienced lawyers and recruitment decision makers to attend the final, giving Kent law students an opportunity to network, pitch for jobs and seek careers advice.

The next Civil Advocacy Competition at Kent will begin with heats in November 2018.

Kent Law School runs an intensive and wide-ranging mooting programme based in the Wigoder Law Building’s Moot Room; in recent years the Law School has entered teams in the: OUP/BPP Moot; English Speaking Union Moot; Jessup International Law Moot; Inner Temple inter-varsity moot; Landmark Chambers moot (property law); inter-varsity medical law moot at Leicester University; Southern Varsity Shield; and inter-varsity Mackay Cup (Canadian Law).

Image credits: Ian Priston, Boys & Maughan Solicitors

Posted in news | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Expert comment: The stalking of Emily Maitlis – what went wrong?

As the Emily Maitlis case has brought the phenomenon of stalking back to our front pages, Kent Law Clinic solicitor Hannah Uglow says ‘until we recognise this behaviour as a health issue we are failing victims and perpetrators alike.

‘Harassment or stalking are crimes of persistence. They are often made up of unremarkable incidents and don’t attract attention. The perpetrator is at a loss to understand how their presence at a particular place can be deemed to be an aggressive act. This unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group towards another person can create a prison around the recipient.

‘The most alarming aspect in the case of BBC presenter Emily Maitlis is that her ‘stalker’ had been convicted and imprisoned yet was able to write to her from prison and again while living in a bail hostel.

‘The Prison Estate’s legal framework specifically provides for the monitoring of communications between convicted prisoners and their victims. The Prison Service Instruction 49/2011 contains numerous provisions designed to protect the victim from unwanted contact. In such a high profile case this should be easy to spot. It is perhaps indicative of the impact of cuts on the Prison Service that there are cracks showing in the ability to enforce even the simplest of rules.

‘So what went wrong? Maitlis makes a number of good points in her comments and her ability to empathise is striking. She said ‘Whatever treatment he’s had isn’t working as a cure and he is obviously also a victim in this’. It is widely reported how Prisons are unable to fulfil prisoner sentence plans and provide the offender treatment programs identified for each individual. Prisons in crisis or prisons are the crisis?

‘Stalking is the result of delusion and obsessive compulsive behaviours that our state criminal justice and mental health systems cannot manage. We blame the cuts but surely it goes deeper into a cultural belief that we can simply lock people away and the problem disappears. Whether detained in prison or under the Mental Health Act the essence of Maitlis observation remains the same, the treatment, the cause of this form of behaviour is not addressed.

‘Further Maitlis describes dealing with the police. Often each incident being dealt with by a new officer and the trauma exacerbated by having to go over the entire history just to ensure they have the context, that the persistence, and the feeling of fear whether the threat is real or imagined, is brought home to them.

‘We have made great strides in dealing with harassment in the criminal law and under prosecution policy. It is the limitations on the police and prisons that stand out in this case. Last year Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate conducted a joint inspection of how the police and the Crown Prosecution Service tackle crimes of harassment and stalking. This report sets out a series of recommendations with laudable aims but until we recognise this behaviour as a health issue we are already failing victims and perpetrators alike.’

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

Considering postgraduate study in Law? Come to one of our open events in Canterbury or Brussels

Final year law and non-law students are invited to learn more about postgraduate funding and study opportunities at Kent Law School by coming to one of two open events taking place in Canterbury and Brussels.

Postgraduate programmes at Kent Law School are open to all graduates from a relevant discipline (an undergraduate degree in law is not a requirement) and may be of particular interest to those of you interested in developing your legal skills.

The Law School has an excellent international reputation; ranked 50th in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for law 2018, it is also listed amongst the top 100 law schools in the world in both the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017 and the Shanghai Ranking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2017.

The next Postgraduate Open Event on Kent’s Canterbury campus will take place on Tuesday 6 March from 17.00 to 19.00 in the Darwin Conference Suite. This event offers an excellent opportunity for you to speak to specialist academics and admissions staff about Kent Law School’s innovative, Masters in Law programme, the Kent LLM.

The Kent LLM enables you to broaden and deepen your knowledge and understanding of law by specialising in one or more different areas, according to your career interests and aspirations, even if you are a non-law graduate. All our programmes can be studied full-time or part-time and you can choose to begin your studies in either September or January.

You have the opportunity to develop specialisms in a host of subject areas including:

The Open Event offers a chance to learn more about Kent’s £11m postgraduate scholarship fund, including the Law School’s Taught Master’s Overseas Scholarship and Taught Master’s Home/EU Scholarship (which are both open for applications until Monday 19 March 2018.) You can also ask about: our competitive fees; the £10,280 Postgraduate Master’s Loans available for Home/EU students; and the Global Skills Award and Researcher Development Programme that can help enhance your career prospects.

For more information about the Kent LLM, including details of modules, please visit our website. You can also explore the Mastering Law blog (where our students write about their experiences of studying the Kent LLM) or watch our playlist of Kent LLM videos on our YouTube channel.

Study in Brussels

Two LLM programmes are also offered at Kent’s centre in Brussels and prospective students are invited to attend an Open Event at the Brussels School of International Studies on Wednesday 21 February from 17.00 to 19.00 (local time).

To find out more about any of Kent’s postgraduate events and/or to book your place, please visit the postgraduate events pages of the Kent website.

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

Call for submissions for Kent Student Law Review

A call for submissions for Kent Student Law Review’s Autumn 2018 volume closes at 2pm on Friday 26 January 2018.

Kent Student Law Review (KSLR) is a student-led publication offering both undergraduate and postgraduate law students at Kent a unique opportunity to have their very best work published. Each volume showcases informed critical legal scholarship that reflects the best representation of law in society.

This year’s Editorial Board is seeking submissions of between 3,000 and 10,000 words. Shorter submissions of high quality will also be considered as will case comments and book reviews (but these should not exceed 3,000 words).

Submissions can be on any topic and can include articles based on essays and dissertations originally submitted for assessment. In such cases, the submission’s original grade should be no lower than 65%. Even where articles satisfy such minimum requirements, revisions may be required at the discretion of the KSLR Editorial Board. ​

All submissions will be subject to a double-blind review process where neither the author nor the reviewer’s identities will be known to one another. Final decisions regarding the publication of submissions will be made by the KSLR Editorial Board and will ultimately be based upon quality of research and writing, diversity, and fit with the journal’s focus and philosophy.

Submissions must follow KSLR house style and be uploaded in Microsoft Word format.

This year’s volume will be the fourth with all previous volumes available to read on the KSLR website.

Further information is available on the KSLR Facebook page or via email from: KSLReditor@kent.ac.uk

Posted in news | Tagged , , | Leave a comment