Monthly Archives: April 2014

Political Studies Association Prize

Dr Benoit Dillet of the School of Politics and International Relations has been awarded the Political Studies Association’s Sir Ernest Barker Prize for Best Dissertation in Political Theory.

The award, to be presented at the Political Studies Association’s annual conference dinner on 15 April, was for his doctoral thesis, ‘The Outside of the Political: Schmitt, Deleuze, Foucault, Descola and the Problem of Travel’.

Professor Richard Sakwa, Head of the School of Politics and International Relations, said: ‘This is a great achievement for Benoit and recognition of the scholarly rigour and innovation that characterises his work in political theory. Since joining the School, first as an undergraduate on the Bi-diplome in Politics and International Relations organised by Kent and Science Po, Lille and then as a doctoral student, Benoit has contributed greatly to academic life as a researcher, core member of the Centre for Critical Thought, assistant lecturer and co-ordinator of the REF submission. As his thesis and related work is published in the years to come, I have no doubt that this first-rate young scholar will have a significant influence on the development of contemporary political theory.’

Benoit’s thesis was supervised by Dr Iain MacKenzie and the examiners were Dr Johanna Oksala (Helsinki) and Dr Adrian Pabst (Kent).

PhD student is appointed Cyprus defence minister

A PhD student at Kent has been appointed as defence minister in Cyprus.

Christoforos Fokaides, who recently submitted his doctoral thesis in the School of Politics and International Relations, was named in the role by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades following the sudden death of the previous Minister of Defence in March.

As well as studying at Kent, Christoforos teaches political science at the European University of Cyprus and is a member of the country’s ruling Disy party’s executive bureau. He studied economics and Turkish history at the University of Cyprus before undertaking his PhD at Kent.

Christoforos’ supervising tutor at Kent, Dr Neophytos Loizides, of the School of Politics and International Relations, said: ‘While here, Christoforos has pursued his doctoral studies while serving in important policy positions back in Cyprus. Following the completion of his doctoral studies, he had been due to continue his academic career with a prestigious fellowship at Yale University awarded by the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.

‘Everyone in the School congratulates Christoforos on his appointment and we hope to see him back here at the University when things quieten down a bit for him.’

Kent Law Clinic wins village green case

Kent Law Clinic, the University’s pro-bono legal service, has helped residents in Westgate-on-Sea with their bid to secure village green (TVG) status.

Applying for TVG because they feared they would be prevented from using a field in the heart of their community, the residents called on Kent Law Clinic to represent them at a Public Inquiry. The owners of the field did not accept that the residents were entitled to use it, and also claimed the residents did not constitute a ‘neighbourhood’ – a requirement for village green status.

Kent law students Alex Courtnage, Oliver Hartland and Hannah Lennox appeared alongside Kent Law Clinic solicitor Elaine Sherratt, as advocates for the residents at a five-day Public Inquiry. They argued that the residents had continuously used the field ‘as of right’ for 20 years for ‘lawful sports and pastimes’, as required by section 15 of the Commons Act 2006.

The students prepared for the case by taking and submitting 32 witness statements from residents, and then by calling 17 witnesses in person at the Inquiry, including a distinguished local historian. In support of their argument, the students presented the residents’ evidence of the wide variety of activities taking place on the field, including dog walking, kite flying, football, camping, blackberry picking, bike riding, bird watching, and picnicking.

The Inquiry Inspector accepted the residents’ evidence about their sports and pastimes, found that there was a neighbourhood called ‘the Linksfield Estate’, and recommended that the field be registered as a village green by Kent County Council.

Kent student, Oliver Hartland, said: ‘This is such a happy result for this community. These are very difficult cases to win and we are confident that Kent County Council will give effect to the Inspector’s recommendation.’

Kent Law Clinic is a highly successful partnership between students, academics and solicitors and barristers in practice locally. As part of Kent Law School, the Clinic aims to enhance the legal education of students through their supervised provision of a public service for local people who need legal advice and representation but cannot afford to pay for it. The Clinic has been a central part of the work of Kent Law School since the early-1970s.

A campaign to fundraise for a new facility for the Clinic, which is based at the University’s Canterbury campus, was launched in November 2013.