Celebration event in France marks launch of new linked award

A celebration event has been held in France to mark the launch of a new linked award agreement offered by Kent Law School in partnership with the Faculté de droit et de science politique at Aix-Marseille Université (AMU).

Kent Law School Director of English and French Law Dr Simone Glanert (one of the co-directors of the new four-year 2+2 programme) attended the event in Aix-en-Provence on Thursday 26 October together with Professor Jean-Philippe Agresti (Dean of the Faculty of Law at AMU), Professor Jean-François Marchi (co-director of the programme from the Faculty of Law at AMU). Also joining the celebration were AMU staff, students admitted to the programme and their parents.

The new programme offers students an opportunity to gain both French and English law degrees.

Students on the new four-year (2+2) programme will spend the first two years of their law studies at AMU (in Aix-en-Provence) and the last two years at Kent. Upon successful completion of the programme, students will be awarded both the French Master 1 Droit international et européen and the English LLB law degree entitling them to proceed to professional qualifying examinations in France and in the UK.

The agreement has been designed to enhance students’ employability prospects by allowing them to undertake professional studies leading to the practice of law in France, in the UK or elsewhere in Europe or overseas (for example, within EU or international institutions, within European or international law firms or within European or international corporations). As well as preparing students for postgraduate studies (eg the French Master 2, an LLM Master’s in Law or a PhD), the programme offers a solid grounding for further specialisation in subject areas such as comparative law, EU law or international law.

More details about the agreement (including entry requirements, the application procedure for admission to AMU and rules regarding progression to Kent Law School) are available on our website.


A copy of a report of the event in local newspaper La Provence


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Dr Gbenga Oduntan organises anti-corruption training in Nigeria

International commercial law expert Dr Gbenga Oduntan has organised a series of training conferences in Nigeria on tracing funds transferred as a result of corrupt practices.

The first two-day conference takes place in Lagos on 20/21 November with a second two-day conference following in Abuja on 23/24 November. Each event is targeted at anti-corruption activists, media practitioners, compliance officers, anti-corruption agencies, opinion leaders, bloggers, lawyers and legal advisers.

With the first day entitled ‘Tracking Noxious Funds: Strategies and techniques for whistleblowing and tracing property purchased’ and the second day entitled ‘Investments from Proceeds of Bribery and Corruption Transferred to the West and Tax Havens’, the training offers a practical, doctrinal and procedural introduction to researching company and property ownership using public sources of information. Conference attendees will also learn how to find shell companies and their property and how to identify online resources and sources of information. The training includes practical sessions that will enable participants to conduct their own searches under the supervision of expert facilitators from Europe, the US and Nigeria.

Dr Oduntan was awarded a grant of $50,000 for the training project by the MacArthur Foundation and the Institute of International Education after running a successful one-day conference called ‘Tracking Faulty Towers’ at Kent Law School in July.

Dr Oduntan said: ‘It has become clear over the last few decades last that the phenomenon of bribery, corruption and stolen funds is one of the principal causes of underdevelopment in the global south. The stolen wealth of Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries has not only found safe haven in the banks and financial institutions of the UK and other western countries but has become a major source of the funds for the purchase of UK properties contributing to housing shortages in London.

‘Every year billions of pounds of corrupt money enters the UK and is invested in property by corrupt individuals. Transparency International in March 2017 found out that over £4.2 billion worth of properties have been bought by politicians and public officials with suspicious wealth. This training workshop aims to enthuse and empower professionals, activists and media practitioners with the most up to date tools to trace stolen wealth of Nigeria that has been taken abroad. The workshops will define the law and identify the practical issues surrounding discovery of the illegal investments of politically exposed persons from Nigeria in the UK, the US and leading tax havens. The workshop will be held in conjunction with (and involve trainers and researchers from): two major UK Civil Society Organisations – Corner House and Global Witness; Re:common (an Italian research and advocacy group); and a coalition of Nigerian Civil Society organisations under the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA).’

Dr Oduntan has research interests in public and private international law particularly international courts and tribunals; arbitration; international commercial law, anti-corruption law, international economic law and oil and gas law. He is a recognized expert in sovereignty and boundary issues, as well as in air and space law. He is the author of several books including International Law and Boundary Disputes in Africa (Routledge, 2015) and Sovereignty and Jurisdiction in Airspace and Outer Space (Routledge, 2012). He is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and of the Nigerian Bar Association (Barrister and Solicitor).

Conference aims:

Attendees will discover the jurisdictional issues as well as contemporary rules of national and international law and procedure that are used to:

  • learn about the current innovative Nigerian whistleblowing programme which compensates whistleblowers
  • influence outcomes in safeguarding your country’s fortune through tracing where national loot is stored
  • research tax fiddles, scams and shell companies
  • research and trace the assets of dictators and statesmen
  • understand the means by which politically exposed persons disguise their wealth and use tax islands as well as financial hubs for storing stolen wealth
  • understand the issues surrounding the use of UK Companies House in conducting searches
  • learn how to work with Company Registrars in other countries
  • understand the potential for use of company Annual Reports and Prospectuses
  • examine the procedural rules that apply to researching companies and corporate networks
  • examine e-resources to trace proceeds of corruption and financial crimes
  • quiz world-renowned experts who have worked on some of the most high-profile anticorruption investigations in the UK, US, Europe and Nigeria including:
    • Panama papers
    • Nigeria-Shell Oil case
    • Abacha Loot
    • Gamal loot
    • Ghadaffi stashes
    • current Nigerian investigation and siezures etc.

Who is it for?

  • Anticorruption activists, civil society practitioners, community leaders, and academics
  • Nigerian and other African diaspora
  • justices, judicial officers, registrars, Senior Counsel, prosecutors, senior legal advisers, legislators and diplomats
  • anti-corruption agencies EFCC, ICPC, (Nigeria) Serious Fraud Office (UK)
  • diplomatic and consular staff

This course is strictly by invitation. It is spread over two days with morning and afternoon sessions including lunch breaks. It includes lectures, simulated exercises, roundtable discussions, a black-tie dinner and networking opportunities. There is no cost of participation and conference materials will be freely distributed to invited delegates.

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International law scholar Professor Anne Orford to give CeCIL Annual Lecture

International law scholar Professor Anne Orford will examine punitive responses to the current migrant and refugee crisis from a longer legal and social historical perspective for the 2017/18 Centre for Critical International Law’s (CeCIL) Annual Lecture.

The talk on ‘Surplus Population and the History of International Law’ will be held on Kent’s Canterbury campus on Thursday 30 November.

Professor Orford is Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, Michael D Kirby Chair of International Law, and Kathleen Fitzpatrick Australian Laureate Fellow at Melbourne Law School, where she directs the Laureate Program in International Law. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and a past President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law.

Her scholarship combines study of the history and theory of international law, analysis of developments in international legal doctrines and practice, and an engagement with central debates and concepts in related fields, in order to grasp the changing nature and role of international law in contemporary politics. Her publications include International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect (Cambridge University Press 2011), Reading Humanitarian Intervention: Human Rights and the Use of Force in International Law (Cambridge University Press 2003), the edited collection International Law and its Others (Cambridge University Press 2006), and, as co-editor, The Oxford Handbook of the Theory of International Law (Oxford University Press 2016).

Professor Orford’s talk is open to all and will begin at 6pm in Grimond Lecture Theatre 3 with an introduction by CeCIL staff member Professor Donatella Alessandrini. It will be preceded by a reception in Grinond Foyer from 5pm.

Each year, the CeCIL Annual Lecture brings leading figures in the field of international law to Kent to share their cutting edge contributions to international legal thinking. Previous speakers have included Professor Peer Zumbansen (King’s College London), Professor Gerry Simpson (London School of Economics) and Professor Vasuki Nesiah (New York University).

In anticipation of this year’s event, CeCIL is posting a special series of Professor Anne Orford quotes on its Facebook page.

CeCIL is an innovative research centre which aims to foster critical approaches to the field of international law, and other areas of law that touch upon global legal problems. In addition to an annual lecture, CeCIL offers a busy programme of activities for Kent Law School students, including a speaker and films series and workshops for students keen to develop their employability and international law skills. CeCIL also strives to engage students, scholars and practitioners interested in the critical study of international law around the world through developing collaborations and joint research efforts.

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Kent Law School partnership contributes to top research ranking for Brazilian law school

A partnership agreement with Kent Law School (KLS) has contributed to the success of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil in achieving a top research ranking for its law school.

UFMG’s Law Faculty has been ranked first for Law in a leading national league table called the Ranking Universtiário Folha (RUF) 2017. It has also received a score of 6 (out of 7) for its postgraduate taught and research programmes from the Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Postgraduate Education (CAPES).

All postgraduate programs in Brazil are evaluated every four years by CAPES in an evaluation process equivalent in status (though not in method) to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF). Schools that receive a score of 6 or 7 are considered of excellent quality at both national and international level. No law school in Brazil has received a score of 7 in the most recent evaluation.

The Law School’s Co-Director of Graduate Research Programmes at UFMG, Professor Fabricio Polido, attributed UFMG’s collaboration with Kent Law School as a significant factor in their ranking success. He said the KLS-UFMG partnership was repeatedly cited in evaluation documents by CAPES and was a reflection of his School’s commitment to international research networks.

The partnership with the UFMG’s Law Faculty in Belo Horizonte was signed in 2015, enabling both Schools to build on collaborative research activities for academics and postgraduate research students. One of the most significant joint research projects is the three-year Inclusionary Practices Project led by Head of Kent Law School Professor Toni Williams and the UFMG’s Professor Fabricio Polido as co-leader.

Staff from Kent Law School are visiting UFMG this term and further exchange visits are planned in Canterbury (in February 2018) and in Brussels (in September 2018).

There are several areas of shared research interests between the two law schools, including international economic law and global trade; legal history, discrimination and human rights; criminal law and the human body; theories of law and justice; theories of property; transnational legal ordering; globalisation and theories of the state; law, science and technology; globalisation and labour regulation. Both schools continue to explore opportunities to develop additional collaborative research activities including funding applications, research groups and joint seminars.

UFMG is the largest federal University in Brazil. It is ranked amongst the top 11 Latin American universities and amongst the top 6 Brazilian universities by QS world rankings. UFMG recruits students by way of a very competitive admission national exam, which makes the university one of the most sought after by applicants.

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Environmental seminar series begins with talk by Law alumnus Dr Emmnauel Osuteye

A new series of environmental law seminars has begun at Kent Law School with a talk by alumnus Dr Emmanuel Osuteye on disaster risk management in countries in Africa.

Dr Osuteye, now working as a Researcher with the Development Planning Unit at University College London, delivered a talk entitled ‘Shifting the Focus from Major Disasters to Everyday Risks: An investigation of risks in informal settlements, with focus on Ghana, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Tanzania and The Gambia.’

In his seminar, Dr Osuteye argued for a shift in the way disasters and risks are defined. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR, categorises a large-scale disaster as: a hazard which has killed at least 30 persons and/or destroyed at least 600 houses. While it is important that large scale disasters are handled and remedied, Dr Osuteye’s current research instead focuses on what can be called ‘everyday risks’ such as crime management, persistent air pollution, waste management, and normal diseases. These are not things that will be found in newspaper headlines, but they are things that people are living with that are causing them harm, every day, especially in informal settlements. Everyday risks often build up over time, and trap the people in informal settlements in cycles of risk accumulation, which it becomes very hard to break out of. It is these widespread conditions of vulnerability that need to be better understood and properly addressed, that are the objective of Dr Ostueye’s research.

His team have been measuring environmental, social and economic risks in informal settlements, and want to encourage policy and community action to address these hazards. The methodology of the project is looking to use the opinions of people to shape policy. This means meeting the local populations and asking about their perception of local threats. Different people will rank different risks in different areas. For example, 186 people rated crime as one of the greatest challenges in an area, while only 51 people mentioned wanting improved access to healthcare. Dr Ousuteye said: ‘This means that in this area we need to do something about crime, rather than expand the healthcare facilities.’ Dr Osuteye said a blanket approach to policy will not work in the case of tackling everyday risks: ‘We need their voices in the form of experiences – and then we need to investigate the policy around those experiences.’

At the moment, many policy changes are left in draft form, or are often slowed down by political interference. However, Dr Osuteye is seeing positive results of the small scale, action focused research in the communities: ‘Going to a big city it’s hard to manifest your argument, but in a smaller community you usually find it easier to get things done, as the invested interest for change is higher.’ The point is to make it clear that big scale policies are not always applicable to smaller communities. The investigation of risks in informal settlements is a way to base policy changes on the opinions and experiences of the local population to break the circle of hazards that they are living in, and thereby effectively improve their situations.

Report by Kent LLM student Saga Rad (who co-organised the seminar with fellow Kent LLM students Suthanya, and Voramon).

The Environmental Law Seminar Series has been designed specifically for students with an interest in the environmental law modules offered within the School’s one-year Master’s in Law programme, the Kent LLM.

Kent LLM students can graduate with a specialism in either Environmental Law or International Environmental Law by (i) opting to study at least three (out of six) modules from those associated with the specialism of their choice and by (ii) focusing the topic of their dissertation on their chosen specialism.

More information about environmental law research, events and academics at Kent can be found on the Environmental Law mini-site. More information about studying the Kent LLM (and choosing your specialism) can be found on our postgraduate pages.

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Skills conference for first-year law students

A Skills Conference to help first-year law students improve attainment and reach their full academic potential will be held on Monday 23 October.

Students will be given top tips and expert guidance on mastering the skills required for academic success throughout their studies at Kent.

The programme includes:

  • Just Ask Rebooted (10am, Woolf Lecture Theatre): an opportunity to ask questions of a panel comprising Deputy Directors of Education Dr Karen Devine and Dr Will White and Student Support Manager Hattie Peacock
  • Working with Resources for More Marks (11am – 12pm or 12pm – 1pm in KS16): an essential guide to research and referencing skills with Dr Joanne Pearman from Kent Law School’s Skills Hub
  • Effective Preparation (11am – 12pm or 12pm – 1pm in KS14): a guide to preparing for assessments with Dr Hannah Philips
  • Five Steps to Career Success (11am – 12pm or 12pm -1pm in KS15): expert guidance on making the most of opportunities to enhance employability skills and create a winning profile for potential employers with the Law School’s Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone
  • Smashing the First Year (2pm – 4pm in Woolf Lecture Theatre): advice on using the right skills to get the most out of your first year at law school with Deputy Director of Education Dr Will White

All Stage 1 students can attend and are asked to register online via Eventbrite.

The conference has been organised by the Law School’s Student Success Project Officer Sheree Palmer as part of a broader framework of support within the Law School that includes: the Student Support team; academic advisors; the Kent Law School Skills Hub; module convenors; student mentors; academic peer mentors; Westlaw and LexisLibrary representatives; the Value programme; a revision conference; and the School’s  Employability and Career Development support.

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Law students win compensation cases for victims of crime

Student case workers at Kent Law Clinic have won thousands of pounds in compensation for two separate clients who would not otherwise have access to legal representation against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

Kent Law School student Chantal Davison (now graduated), working under the supervision of the then Kent Law Clinic solicitor Dr Lucy Welsh took up a case for a man who, whilst living in the UK, was assaulted twice. He sustained both physical and psychiatric injuries and was initially awarded compensation of around £14,000.

Although the award was substantial there was further compelling medical evidence to show that his condition was severely disabling, leaving him unable to work with a poor prognosis for recovery. Kent Law Clinic argued this warranted a higher award. Also, having left the UK, he had to pay substantial medical costs which fell to be compensated under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme as ‘special expenses’.

The issue for the Law Clinic’s team centred on establishing that their client’s injuries were a direct result of the crime of violence he had suffered. Based on their representations and further evidence submitted, the award offer was increased to £47,000. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) accepted the extent of the injuries but the strict rules on payments for future loss of earnings meant that no offer was made in this regard, and the amount awarded is unlikely to meet the lifetime of medical expenses the client will face.

In a second CICA case, a Law School student (now graduated) Adrienne Ford, again under the supervision of Dr Welsh, made the initial legal representations to CICA on behalf of a woman who was a survivor of familial abuse as a child and young adult. This client had originally been told by CICA that she was not eligible under the Scheme as she was outside the two year time limit for bringing a claim.

The Law Clinic had to advise the client to forgo her claim for the early years of abuse because these offences took place before 1979 because she would not have been eligible due to CICA scheme rules.  The Law Clinic argued that the client was eligible as incidents had continued after she left the family home, and CICA eventually agreed a settlement of £27,500.

Hannah Uglow, Kent Law Clinic solicitor, continued to work on the cases with the assistance of student case workers last year. She said both cases illustrate how the seemingly straightforward Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, which is supposed to act as society’s acknowledgement of a victim’s suffering, often puts up barriers to claims which, without legal representation, may be insurmountable. The historic abuse case took a year to prepare and then a further 16 months before a settlement was reached.

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Law Clinic event to demystify family court proceedings

An event to help demystify and explain family court proceedings for people unable to afford legal representation will be hosted by Kent Law Clinic on Wednesday 1 November.

‘Demystifying the Family Court’ aims to give anyone expecting to be a litigant in person a better understanding of how the family court works. It will also help to explain what is likely to happen at a family hearing. It will be held in a replica court room (pictured) in the Wigoder Law Building on Kent’s Canterbury campus.

The Clinic’s Family Law Solicitor Philippa Bruce has enlisted the help of a local district judge and barrister to offer general advice on how the court works. The panel will also include a member of the public who has personal experience of both children and family proceedings.

Although it won’t be possible to offer individual legal advice on specific cases, the event aims to address a broad spectrum of questions ranging from when to arrive at court and where to sit, to how to prepare, organise and present a case in the family court.

Philippa said: ‘Representing yourself in family court proceedings can be very stressful and the court itself can feel like an intimidating place if you are unsure what to expect. Our aim is to take away the mystery and enable people who are representing themselves to feel more confident and capable of putting forward their case in court.’

Taking place from 6pm to 7.30pm, the event is open to all.

People in the local community seeking advice on specific cases can book an appointment to attend a Monday evening Clinic Advice Session staffed by volunteer legal advisors. Please contact the Law Clinic on 01227 823311 to find out more or to book an appointment.

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Professor Davina Cooper made Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences

Professor of Law and Political Theory Davina Cooper has been made a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the representative body of the social sciences in the United Kingdom.

Fellows are drawn from academics, practitioners and policymakers across the social sciences who are recognised after an extensive peer review process for the excellence and impact of their work addressing some of society’s most pressing issues.

The Academy recognises that Professor Cooper is internationally known for her work on the British state’s relationship to sexuality.

Regarded as a highly influential and visionary thinker, Professor Cooper was Director of the AHRC Research Centre for Law, Gender & Sexuality. Her work on the state, re-imagining political concepts, and on everyday utopias has been published, cited, profiled, and translated across a wide range of disciplines, including socio-legal studies, geography, politics, anthropology, gender studies and education. Professor Cooper was awarded the Charles Taylor Book Award 2015 for her book Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces (Duke University Press, 2013)

Earlier this year Professor Cooper, working with a team of colleagues, secured a grant of £724,000 for ‘Reforming Legal Gender Identity: A Socio-Legal Evaluation’, a three-year study investigating and evaluating the regulation of gender status in the law of England and Wales.

And in February, Professor Cooper was awarded an Advanced Research Prize in the 2017 University Research Prizes in recognition of work undertaken for her project ‘Transformative concepts: A methodological and political challenge.’

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Inspiring alumni talk on international careers in law and finance

Law students keen to pursue international careers in law and finance enjoyed a unique and inspiring opportunity to hear from four Kent Law School alumni employed by leading firms across the globe.

All four, who graduated ten years ago, were keen to return and share their top tips for success with students at an event organised by Law School Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone. They included:

  • Giovanni Li Voti who also completed an LPC before taking the New York Bar, working at Accenture and is now an in-house legal professional at Cloudreach
  • Vasileios Klianis who worked in accountancy at KPMG before joining the National Bank of Abu Dhabi
  • Nithin Bopanna who worked at JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank before joining the London Stock Exchange Group as a Change Advisory
  • Alessandro Maiano who completed his LPC and worked as a corporate solicitor before becoming an investment manager with venture capital firm Wilbe Ventures

After an informal presentation from each alumnus about their career, the panel shared their tips for successful networking, offering advice on how to make and use contacts effectively.

Jayne said: ‘The event was a big hit with students – one of the Kent LLM students who attended told me it was the best careers event he had attended. Another student told me that it was really inspiring to see how useful her degree will be to get jobs outside of the legal profession. She said that she could now appreciate just how beneficial her legal skills would be in whatever profession she chose to follow.

‘It was inspiring to hear that success will happen if you keep chasing it. The employability programme at Kent Law School is all the richer for having alumni involvement and we wish to thank our panel for taking part.’

Almnus Alessandro, who is already a member of the Law School’s Alumni Mentoring Scheme, took the opportunity while visiting Kent to invite his mentee out to dinner with all five members of the panel. Other attendees followed up on the advice given about effective networking with the result that one student is now being formally mentored by one of the panel (Giovanni) and another is engaged in useful discussions with Nithin about banking careers (with the possibility of informal mentoring).

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