June 2020: Research round-up including socio-legal responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

Expert, critical analysis of socio-legal issues in the time of COVID-19 from Kent Law School academics plus all the latest news of their research

June 2020

Socio-legal insights in the time of COVID-19:

Articles, blogs, chapters, and expert contributions:

  • Value chain trade: a new dawn for ‘development’? An article by Professor Donatella Alessandrini for Afronomics Law that employs Social Reproduction Analysis (SRA) to unpack & critique the problematic assumptions that lie behind the international law governing global value chains.Dr Donal Casey has been awarded a Handelsbankens Forskningsstiftelser Grant of 1.8 million kr (approx £150,000)
  • Abortion in Italy: Forty Years On: an article by PhD scholar Elena Caruso for Feminist Legal Studies (Volume 28). Abstract: This comment considers the Italian Law 194 on abortion forty years after its approval in 1978 and it focuses on how its meaning has emerged as a result of its interpretation and application over that forty-year period
  • BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours – online bingo: Dr Donal Casey (a member of the The Bingo Project research team) was interviewed about online bingo for BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme last Friday. Dr Casey explains how online bingo is a more passive form of gambling than traditional land-based bingo and how it’s currently an exception within industry advertising codes that prohibit commercials before 9pm. Dr Casey says that most of the revenue comes from slots and casino-style games in the online environment with online bingo games being a loss leader. Listen again on BBC Sounds (17:40 in)
  • Cities, Post-Coloniality and International Law‘: A book chapter authored by Dr Luis Eslava with KLS alumnus George Hill for the forthcoming Elgar Research Handbook on International Law and Cities, edited by Helmut Aust and Janne Nijman
  • How might we recognise the value of homeware provision: Professor Lydia Hayes was a guest speaker for this talk organised by Birkbeck for ‘Birkbeck Inspires’, a free online events, activities and resources programme
  • The role of trade unions in rebuilding the state and society: Professor Lydia Hayes joined a panel for a zoom webinar on 30 June hosted by the Institute of Employment Rights critically exploring the problems of privatisation and deregulation exposed by COVID-19
  • Assessing Risk of Harm to Children and Parents in Private Law Children Cases: Professor Rosemary Hunter is the lead author of a Ministry of Justice report, published today, that has prompted the government to announce a major overhaul of family courts. The report examines how the family court protects children and parents in private law children cases involving concerns about domestic abuse and other serious offences.
  • Big Saturday Read: a blog by Dr Alex Magaisa
  • Articles for Forbes by PhD legal scholar Ewelina Ochab:
  • Making sociolegal research more social by design: Anglo-German roots, rewards and risks: An article by Professor Amanda Perry Kessaris for German Law Journal (forthcoming). Abstract: A central theme motivating the 2019 workshop on ‘Socio-Legal Studies in Germany and the UK: Theory and methods’ from which this paper emerged was ‘how academic traditions and institutional contexts have influenced the development of socio-legal research in Germany and the UK’; and whether there exists a ‘typical pathway into and through law and society research’ in each jurisdiction. My current research explores the potential of design to help us to understand and enhance sociolegal research methods. A key insight arising from that research is that designerly ways have the potential to be more inherently ‘social’ than legal ways. Reflecting back on the workshop discussion two questions arise for me—one retrospective and inward-looking, one prospective and outward-looking—around which this paper is structured this paper. Firstly, what signs of Anglo-German life can I find in the literature and practice underpinning my current research into sociolegal research and design? Secondly, might design have a role to play in nurturing a sense of Anglo-German sociolegal community? The combined effect of Anglo-German scholarship and practice is to teach us that a ‘sociological imagination’ is essential if we are to fully understand possible synergies between design and sociolegal research, and the risks and rewards of activating them. At the time of writing, social relations of all kinds are being strained, broken, deepened and reinvented to accommodate the material threats posed by a global pandemic; and all on the back of sustained pressure relations, perhaps especially Anglo-German relations, arising from Brexit; and all in the context of the rise of other nationalistic movements across the world. We cannot know what sociolegal research will or ought to look like in the coming months and years. My own experience of pandemic-lockdowns-as-natural-experiment has made visible to me how important sociomaterial interaction with my sociolegal community is, and reinforced my conviction that we must pay more attention to designing those moments that we are lucky enough to share in person.
  • Feminist Legal Biography: A Model for All Legal Life Stories: An article co-authored by Professor Erika Rackley and Professor Rosemary Auchmuty (University of Reading) for The Journal of Legal History. Abstract: Legal biography remains, with some exceptions, strongly influenced by Victorian biographical models, with a focus on ‘great’ men (since women could not become lawyers before 1920, and there have been few ‘great’ women lawyers) and their public achievements and contributions to law, and with little attention given to their private lives or their attitudes to women’s subordination in law. Feminist legal historians have widened the net to include women pioneers working in and with law before 1920. But feminist legal biography is not just about uncovering the lost lives of women; rather, it focuses on gender – the relationship between the sexes – and recognizes that biographies of men require consideration of the ways in which men maintained their dominant position in law and society, as much by the private support of women at home as by excluding and marginalizing women professionally. As for biographies of women, recent enthusiasm to recover their stories has suffered from a tendency to mould them into heroines or role models, again on the Victorian model. Feminist legal biographers of women need to avoid the perils of over-identification with their subjects (manifested by anachronistic familiarity and historical inaccuracy) and the siren call of anecdote and myth.
  • Taking, making and sharing intimate images without consent: Professor Erika Rackley participated in an academic roundtable as part of the Law Commission’s review of image-based sexual abuse laws
  • One case at a time? The unbearable judicial economy of Achmea: an article by Professor Harm Schepel for EU Law Live (Weekend Edition No 22 June 2020)
  • A Decade of Review: The UN’s Ombudsperson to the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al Qaida Sanctions Committee: Dr Gavin Sullivan was among a select group of expert panellists invited to discuss the Office of the Ombudsperson, a role created 10 years ago by the UN Security Council with a remit to conduct independent reviews of controversial terrorist listings. The online discussion, hosted jointly by the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism in The Hague (ICCT), the Office of the Ombudsperson to the UN Security Council ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, and the  Asser Institute Centre for International and European Law, was livestreamed to international lawyers and policy practitioners from the UN and global security field.
  • Global Counterterrorism Forum: Dr Gavin Sullivan was one of four selected experts invited to present his research on terrorism listing to the Global Counterrorism Forum (GCTF), a leading informal counterterrorism body.
  • BBC Radio Kent phone-in with Kent Law Clinic: Kent Law Clinic Director Graham Tegg took part in a live phone-in for BBC Radio Kent, answering questions from callers. He fielded a complex employment law enquiry about a woman who had been suddenly dismissed from her job in retail, shortly after being furloughed. And he tackled a query about probate from a man in the midst of a family dispute.
  • Cooperation with Lawyers and the Legal Community in the DPRK: PhD scholar Tristan Webb was invited to speak on a panel addressing engagement with the legal community in North Korea by the Korean office of German political foundation Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on 26 May.
  • Expert comment: Now, more than ever, is not the time to remove the right to jury trial by Darren Weir
  • The real scandals revealed by the National Audit office report on immigration enforcement: Kent Law Clinic Solicitor Sheona York points to three scandals revealed by the National Audit Office report on Immigration Enforcement