Law School maintains top 20 position in three national league tables for 2018

Kent continues to be ranked among the top 20 law schools in the country in all three major subject league tables after being placed 14th out of 100 in The Times Good University Guide 2018.

The Law School is also ranked 15th in The Guardian University Guide 2018 and 19th in The Complete University Guide 2018.

Within the latest UK university ranking, published this weekend, Kent Law School is placed 8th for research quality and 16th for graduate prospects. The Times Good University Guide uses criteria that also measures student satisfaction, teaching quality, the wider university experience, entry qualifications, degree outcomes achieved, student-staff ratios, facilities spend and completion rates.

Earlier this year, Kent Law School was ranked among the top 100 law schools in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017 and is one of only nine UK law schools that also features in the top 20 of all three major UK league tables for law. Kent Law School has been top 20 in all three major league tables since April 2016.

Kent Law School’s reputation was further endorsed in this year’s National Student Survey (NSS) when the Law School was ranked 15th for student satisfaction (out of 98 institutions teaching law); figures, released in August, revealed that just over 93% of final year undergraduate law students reported overall satisfaction with their course at Kent.

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Kent alumnus Jonathan Cohen QC appointed Justice of the High Court

Kent alumnus and Kent Law Campaign Patron Jonathan Lionel Cohen QC has been appointed a Justice of the High Court.

Jonathan’s appointment, approved by the Queen last month, follows the retirement of Sir Anthony Edwards-Stuart.

He will be assigned to the Family Division, with effect from 2 October and will be known as The Honourable Mr Justice Cohen.

After graduating from Kent, Jonathan was called to the Bar in 1974 and obtained pupillage at 4 Paper Buildings. He became a specialist family lawyer dealing with high end divorce settlements as well as a number of legally aided child care cases. He took Silk in 1997 and was Head of Chambers at 4 Paper Buildings from 2003 to 2012.

He was appointed as an Assistant Recorder in 1993, as a Recorder in 1997 and as a fee-paid Judge of the First-tier Tribunal, Health, Education and Social Care Chamber in 2000. He was authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge (Family Division) in 2005.

In his online alumni profile for Kent Law School, Jonathan says: ‘Family Law is a fascinating area. No two cases or clients are the same. It is the area of law which affects more people than any other. I enjoy helping people through difficult times and doing my best for them in and out of court; I like forming my own judgment of the best result of a case and, if the case cannot settle, trying to persuade the Judge that I am right.’

Recently, Jonathan was a Patron of the Kent Law Campaign, supporting a £5 million fundraising project for the Wigoder Law Building, a new home for Kent Law Clinic and the Law School’s Mooting Programme that was completed and opened in 2016.

Jonathan is also a qualified mediator, collaborative lawyer and arbitrator. He is a Fellow of the International Academy of Family Lawyers and is a member of: the Family Law Bar Association; the Professional Negligence Bar Association; and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

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Book offers perspectives on nature and history of intellectual property law

A book edited by Kent Law School Senior Lecturer Dr Jose Bellido offers new perspectives on the nature and history of intellectual property law.

Landmark Cases in Intellectual Property Law (Hart Publishing) draws together the contributions of 13 different scholars, each exploring a specific intellectual property case. In his preface to the volume, Dr Bellido says: ‘All the cases gathered here aim to show the versatile and unstable character of a discipline still searching for landmarks. Each contribution offers an opportunity to raise questions about the retrospective and prospective narratives that have shaped the discipline throughout its short but profound history. Each contribution, furthermore, stretches the parameters of discussion by focusing on a variety of legal and historical features that have purportedly influenced the development of intellectual property.’

The book begins by revisiting patent litigation to consider the impact of the Statute of Monopolies (1624). It continues looking at different controversies to describe how the existence of an author’s right in literary property was a plausible basis for legal argument, even though no statute expressly mentioned authors’ rights before the Statute of Anne (1710). The collection also explores different moments of historical significance for intellectual property law: the first trade mark injunctions; the difficulties the law faced when protecting maps; and the origins of originality in copyright law. Similarly, it considers the different ways of interpreting patent claims in the late nineteenth and twentieth century; the impact of seminal cases on passing off and the law of confidentiality; and more generally, the construction of intellectual property law and its branches in their interaction with new technologies and marketing developments.

A chapter authored by Dr Bellido revisits ‘King Features Syndicate, Inc and Betts v O & M Kleeman Ltd (1940)’. The book is published as part of The Landmark Cases series and is available to buy online.

Dr Bellido has published widely in the field of intellectual property, trade marks and music copyright and has additional research interests in legal theory, and evidence and legal history. He is the Spanish national editor to the digital archive (together with Professor Xalabarder from the Universidad Oberta Catalunya and Professor Casas Valles from the Universitat de Barcelona). This is a major reference work of primary sources on copyright from the invention of the printing press (c1450) to the Berne Convention (1886) and beyond.

Earlier this year, Dr Bellido (together with Dr Hyo Yoon Kang) was appointed to lead Kent Law School as a research partner institution in a European Research Council Advanced Investigator Grant of Eur 2.2 million investigating patents and their role in scientific infrastructure. The five-year project ‘Patents as Scientific Information, 1895-2020‘ began this month.

Dr Bellido is a member of the Governing Board of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP). He has also been a Visiting Fellow at the Strong Museum of Play (Rochester, New York) in 2017 and at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) in 2016.

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Law students jet off to Japan for international moot

Three Kent Law students are jetting off to Japan today, on their way to compete in the 12th LAWASIA International Moot Competition 2017.

Law students Maariyah Baig, Cara Hall and Keegan Adsett-Bowrin (pictured en route from two different airports), are accompanied by Kent Law School’s Deputy Director of Mooting Johanne Thompson and will be competing against 16 teams from China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. All teams will be tackling a complex moot problem concerning the termination of a partnership agreement originally drawn up to establish a multimillion dollar jade-mining business in Myanmar. Mooters will draw upon intellectual property law, international trade, commercial law and contract law as they seek to establish: the validity of the termination of the agreement; ownership rights of jade-mining machinery and equipment related to the business; and subsistence and ownership rights of bespoke business software. All parties will be working under the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration i-Arbitration Rules.

The competition begins in Tokyo on Monday 18 September but memorials for both the claimant and the respondent were submitted by the Kent team in advance of their arrival. A final Award Ceremony to close the competition will be held on Thursday 21 September at the Hotel New Otani.

The annual moot is organised by LAWASIA, an international organisation of lawyers’ associations, individual lawyers, judges and legal academics in the Asia Pacific region; the chair of its Moot Standing Committee is Kent alumnus Raphael Tay, a partner at Chooi & Company in Kualar Lumpur. The competition is organised in conjunction with the LAWASIA International Conference and many of the conference delegates (who include legal advisers, attorneys and judges) act as moot judges.

It is the third year a team from Kent have entered the competition; in 2015, final year Law LLB students Orestis Anastasiades, Elena Savvidou and Lizzie Virgo secured a top ten finish in the 10th LAWASIA International Moot Competition held in Australia; and in 2016, Melanie Lafresiere, Jas Cheema and Tom Bishop competed in the 11th LAWASIA competition held in Sri Lanka.

Kent Law School runs an intensive and wide-ranging mooting programme based in a purpose built moot room in the Wigoder Law Building; 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).

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Focus on critical indigenous jurisprudence for collaborative network’s 2018 events

A collaborative, worldwide network of socio-legal scholars founded by two Kent Law School academics will focus on critical indigenous jurisprudence for its next annual international meeting to be held in Toronto in 2018.

Earlier this year, the Collaborative Research Network (CRN) on International Law and Politics, established by Senior Lecturer Dr Luis Eslava and Lecturer Dr Rose Sydney Parfitt, ran a diverse programme of 29 interdisciplinary events loosely grouped around the theme of ‘The South’ at the Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association (LSA) in Mexico City.

The events included roundtables, salons, a multiple book launch and panel sessions co-ordinated by KLS Head of School Professor Toni Williams, Senior Lecturer Sara Kendall and several other members of staff at Kent. They also included two guest lectures; one by Professor Anthony Anghie from the University of Singapore and the University of Utah, a founder of the TWAIL (Third World Approaches to International Law) movement, and another by Professor Julieta Lemaitre from the Universidad de los Andes Law School, a prominent figure in the field of legal ethnography in Latin America.

Looking ahead to next year’s LSA meeting in Toronto, Dr Parfitt said: ‘Canada is such an exciting place intellectually at the moment; there’s so much new and really groundbreaking work going on there, particularly in the area of indigenous jurisprudence and political theory. Our plan is to make the international dimensions of critical indigenous jurisprudence the CRN’s theme for next year, bringing together as many indigenous scholars as we can, not only from Canada, but also from Australia, Latin America, New Zealand, the US and elsewhere. And we’ll be collaborating with our colleagues in the Law and Indigeneity CRN on all that too, which we’re really looking forward to.’

The CRN was started as a way of organising panels at the annual LSA conference but Dr Parfitt notes that many of their colleagues have now begun to use it as a vehicle through which to pursue their own collaborations and to showcase their own research projects. Dr Parfitt said: ‘ We began with a handful of members and put on six panels in the 2015 LSA annual meeting in Seattle, and now, three years later, the network has nearly 300 members worldwide, who together put on a fantastic programme of 29 different events at this year’s conference – all with a very distinctive critical, interdisciplinary, socio-legal and, of course, international flavour.’

The CRN complements the international law teaching of undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral students at Kent Law School as well as the research undertaken by Kent’s Centre for Critical International Law (CeCIL). Dr Eslava, a Co-Director of CeCIL said: ‘The CRN extends and develops our commitment at Kent to the innovative teaching and practice of critical international law from an interdisciplinary perspective. It also helps support the work of CeCIL in encouraging the study of international law and the promotion of collaborative research across institutions within the UK and around the world.’

Members of the International Law and Politics CRN include scholars, teachers, researchers and practitioners from across multiple disciplines who share an objective to foster inter-institutional and inter-generational collaboration throughout the year. The CRN encourages members to publish work, hold public events, and to develop progressive approaches to research, teaching and international legal practice.

Members from Kent Law School include Professor Amanda Perry-Kessaris, Dr Asta Zokaityte, Dr Darren Dinsmore, Dr Donal Casey, Dr Emilie Cloatre, Dr Emily Graham, Dr Emily Haslam, Dr Ed Kirton-Darling, Eric Loefflad, Professor Helen Carr, Dr Iain Frame, Dr Kate Bedford, Dr Maria Drakopoulou, Dr Nayeli Urquiza Haas, Paulo Ilich Bacca, Dr Sara Kendall, Dr Serena Natile, Dr Suhraiya Jivraj and Professor Toni Williams.

The CRN has been generously sponsored since its establishment by Kent Law School, Melbourne Law School and the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard Law School.

Image credit: Leopoldo Méndez (1902-1969), Dance of Death I (1945). Printed at El Taller de Gráfica Popular. Published by La Estampa Mexicana. Included in Incidentes Melódicos del Mundo Irracional by Juan de la Cabad. Wood engraving on grayish-ivory China paper.
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New linked award offers opportunity to gain both French and English law degrees

A unique 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) in France, 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.

Kent Law School’s Director of English and French Law, Dr Simone Glanert, said: ‘In the course of this programme, students will experience academic and personal life in two different national, linguistic and institutional environments and develop knowledge and understanding of two cultures and societies. Students will gain first-hand knowledge of two influential European and worldwide legal traditions and cultures – the civil-law tradition in France and the common-law tradition in the UK – through intensive studies at two leading European law schools.’

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.

AMU is a foremost French university with a very strong and long-standing European and international presence in the academic world. AMU’s Faculté de droit et de science politique is widely acknowledged as one of France’s most prestigious law faculties. Offering outstanding study and research facilities, the Faculté also enjoys an excellent international reputation.

Kent Law School is a leading UK law school with a distinctive critical approach to teaching law. Ranked in the top 20 in each of the three major UK league tables for law, the Law School is also ranked amongst the top 100 law schools in the world according to the most recent QS World University Rankings. The Law School also has an international reputation for producing world-leading research; in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Kent Law School is ranked eighth in the UK for research intensity.

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

Aix-Marseille Université

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New student society offers practical approach to international law

A new society at Kent Law School, is offering students a practical approach to international law with a particular focus on developing skills in alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Kent International Law Society (KILS), established earlier this summer, has planned a programme of Global Learning Online (GLO) events for students keen to develop interests in international law arbitration. The GLO events, created by Kent Law School Director of Studies Lisa Dickson, will enable Kent students to engage in mock dispute management activities online with law students studying at institutions across the globe.

The society’s President, Elizabeth Cunningham, said: ‘I initiated Kent International Law Society because I wanted a society that would touch base on all facets of international law, such as boundary conflicts, international airspace and water disputes, space law and humanitarian law.’

In addition to ADR opportunities, KILS also aims to provide a network of contacts for students interested in pursuing a career and/or further studies within the broad field of international law. Other events the society has planned for the coming year include a talk on the practice of Space Law by Dr Gbenga Oduntan and a two-day visit to the International Criminal Court in The Hague (with an opportunity to observe a hearing from the public gallery.)

From September, Elizabeth has also been appointed as Vice President of Events for the international board of the Network for International Law Students (NILS). She says this dual role, which involves the coordination and planning of all NILS events held in the UK, will provide a more extensive network of contacts for KILS along with a more diverse range of opportunities for Kent Law School students: ‘NILS will be collaborating with KILS on an annual international law conference held in London and has invited KILS to partake in an ADR Instruction-based event in Delhi. NILS spans 21 countries, vastly expanding the possibilities for Kent students.’

KILS’s inaugural committee also includes Sarah Wege (Vice President) and Paige MInnis (Treasurer). Elizabeth, Sarah and Paige are all from Canada and are all studying Kent’s two-year Senior Status LLB programme. Elizabeth, from Alberta, (pictured left) has a degree in Biological and Physical Sciences (BSc) from the University of Alberta, Sarah (pictured bottom right) is from Ontario and has a degree in Social Justice and Peace Studies (BA) from the University of Western Ontario and Paige (pictured top right), is from Nova Scotia and has a degree in Business Administration (BA) from Cape Breton University.

KILS is one of seven student societies at Kent Law School. More information about KILS and all its events is available on the KILS Facebook Page and via email from internationallawsoc@kent.ac.uk

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Power, property and the law of trusts revisited: Roger Cotterrell’s contribution to critical trusts scholarship

A two-day symposium exploring Professor Roger Cotterrell’s critical scholarship in the field of trusts law will be held at Kent on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 October 2017.

Organised by Kent Law School Lecturers Dr Hayley Gibson and Nick Piška, the symposium will revisit the theoretical perspectives of Professor Cotterrell’s original ground-breaking article ‘Power, Property and the Law of Trusts: A Partial Agenda for Critical Legal Scholarship’. It was in this article, published in the Journal of Law and Society in 1987, that Professor Cotterrell first outlined his critical, socio-legal approach to the law of trusts.

Dr Gibson said: ‘This symposium invites a timely reflection upon the work begun by Cotterrell 30 years ago of extending critical legal thought to the area of trusts. ‘Power, Property and the Law of Trusts’ provided the key to new inquiries into how the ideology inherent in the property form extends to, and is exacerbated by, the function of the trust. We hope that the symposium will allow for a reflection on how widely critique can be used in the area of trusts; and how the form of the trust can open up new directions in critical thought.’

Nick Piška said: ‘A symposium on the politics of trusts is more pressing than ever given the increasing gulf between the richest and poorest in society and the role that the trust industry plays in global wealth management. Too often the trust is ignored, probably because it is not well understood by non-lawyers, and the focus is on the corporate form. We hope this workshop will go some way towards redressing the balance.’

With four key themes for discussion, attendees will be considering questions of power, property, ideology and inequality along with the broader societal significance of the effects of trust law. Speakers include:

Registration for the symposium is available online – a fee of £50 covers lunch, refreshments and a conference booklet.

The symposium is the fifth event for the Law School’s Equity & Trusts Research Network and is sponsored by the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA), the Kent Law School research group Social Critiques of Law, and the Law School’s Workshop Fund. More information is available online or via email from Dr Gibson or Nick Piška

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Alumna gains pupillage within 18 months of graduation

A successful mentoring partnership at Kent Law School helped aspiring barrister Meghan Daniels gain pupillage less than 18 months after graduating.

Meghan applied to the Law School’s Professional Mentoring Scheme during her studies at Kent and was partnered with barrister Jo Porter (Jo was based at Stour Chambers in Canterbury at the time but has since moved to 4 Paper Buildings in London). The one-year mentoring partnership with Jo helped Meghan gain experience and also helped affirm her desire to work in family practice at a regional firm. Her 12 month funded pupillage with the Family Team at Stour Chambers will begin in October, less than 18 months after she graduated with a degree in Law from Kent in July 2016.

After discovering an interest in family law during work experience at a family solicitors whilst still at school, Meghan developed her interest during her studies at Kent, in particular through a placement at Kent County Council’s social welfare department and through opportunities presented to her via her mentor.

Meghan said: ‘Jo, my mentor, was particularly forthcoming with allowing me to come along to court with her and being willing to discuss the cases with me afterwards and answering my many questions! On a number of occasions she would contact me to let me know that she had a particularly interesting case coming up if I was around and wanted to go along with her.

‘It was through Jo providing that experience and guidance that the mentoring scheme most contributed to my later gaining pupillage. I think the most important thing I needed to show at an interview was that my experiences had made me sure that family practice is what I am passionate about and that in addition, I know that I am well suited to it. Jo also kindly agreed to be a reference for me on all of my pupillage applications and proof read various parts for me.’

Meghan gained additional legal experience through a number of mini-pupillages and by marshalling for judges at local courts. She also took advantage of opportunities to develop practical legal skills at Kent Law School by completing extra curricular modules in Client Interviewing, Mediation, Mooting and Negotiation and by being an active member of the Kent Temple Law Society.

Since graduating Meghan has undertaken the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) at City Law School and has completed qualifying sessions at Middle Temple. She has also been working on a number of pro bono projects: ‘I have been volunteering with the National Centre for Domestic Violence, drafting witness statements for clients so that they are able to gain protection from violent and abusive partners. Throughout my undergraduate degree I volunteered as an appropriate adult with the Young Lives Foundation. This meant that I attended custody suites across Kent providing support to juveniles and vulnerable adults. Both of these pro bono projects provided excellent talking points at interviews and I would encourage any aspiring barrister to make sure that they get involved with things they are passionate about – there are so many out there!’

Kent Law School Employability and Career Development Officer Jayne Instone, who coordinates the Mentoring Scheme, said Meghan should be justly proud of her success at gaining pupillage so soon after graduation: ‘In my view Meghan did everything right starting with reflecting on and knowing what she wanted: she had a clear vision about the area of law that she wished to practice in and, to this end, she was engaged in relevant volunteering even before coming to university; she ensured that she studied hard and achieved the best grades she could; she took advantage of all the opportunities available to her; and, crucially, she made the best use of her mentor.’

Meghan is keen to give back to the Mentoring Scheme in time by becoming a mentor herself but in the meantime, her top advice for other aspiring barristers is to gain experience of as many different aspects of the legal system as possible: ‘In order to do this, you also have to make sure that you are making use of every possible contact – do not be shy! My personal experience is that members of the Bar are willing to help students in any way that they can.’

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Law School has one of highest student satisfaction rates in UK

National Student Survey (NSS) results released this month reveal that Kent Law School has one of the highest student satisfaction rates in the UK.

With just over 93% of final year undergraduate law students reporting overall satisfaction with their course at Kent, the Law School is ranked 15th out of 98 institutions teaching law.

The NSS is an independent annual survey, giving final year undergraduate students an opportunity to provide feedback on their academic experience at university. Kent Law School was ranked within the top 20% of institutions for teaching, learning opportunities and overall satisfaction (and was ranked amongst the top 50% in all nine areas of the student experience addressed by the survey).

Kent Law School scored particularly well in respect of its teaching quality with 95% of students agreeing that staff are good at explaining things and 94% reporting that they found the teaching intellectually stimulating. In a further endorsement of Kent’s distinctive critical approach to teaching, 93% of students said the course has provided them with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth.

The Law School’s critical approach to teaching places law in the wider context of society. In addition to a full and thorough grounding in the detail of law, students are taught to think about the history and development of the law, and the moral and ethical considerations which shape its development. A critical legal education also involves politics, philosophy, sociology and culture; it gets students thinking critically about different kinds of legal system, about power, and about who benefits and loses from different decisions.

Kent Law School is one of the leading law schools in the UK; ranked 14th in the Times Good University Guide 2017, 15th in The Guardian University Guide 2018 and 19th in the Complete University Guide 2018. Kent Law School is also ranked amongst the top 100 law schools in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017 (and is one of only 14 UK law schools that made the top 100 in this global list of 300 institutions.)

Earlier this year, the University was also recognised for the quality of its teaching; Kent was awarded gold, the highest rating, in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK. The University of Kent’s Statement of Findings can be found here.

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