Law School Events, Law School Visits, Student Experience

Law Students Enjoy a Leadership and Cultural Course in Mauritius ☀️

Students from Lancashire Law School jumped at the amazing opportunity to undertake a Leadership and Cultural course in Mauritius!

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Two of our students have shared their thoughts on the experience with us…

Chantelle Gardner

“My personal goal was to go on at least one trip a year; last year I visited London with the Law Society. Initially when I received the email about the leadership and cultural course in Mauritius I replied straight away without a second thought! Just one of the amazing experiences that Lancashire Law School has to offer. As a mature student with two children opportunities such as this do not happen regularly. I also would like to add that I am also disabled and the lecturers were very understanding on my bad days.

After a jam-packed year 2 this was a perfect way to wrap up my year. I also hate flying so I am trying to conquer my fear of flights! A course, a beautiful destination and meeting new people; not only with my law school but the Mauritian law school as well. I enjoyed getting to know the 2nd year students more and also speaking to 3rd year students about what to expect for the next year. It was so valuable to be able to listen to students and get advice about the year ahead. For some students, this could be their first trip abroad and going on these trips you really do get to know different people from all different backgrounds. I personally enjoy meeting new people especially from different cultures.  These trips are vital, as not only are they educational, they look great on your CV and they can be great discussion in an interview.

The lecturers put an excellent spin on their styles of teaching and it was not death by PowerPoint! We had presentations on the beach, one to one psychometric tests in hotels and a negotiations scenario which we had to do independently.  The lecturers also kindly organised one evening for us to enjoy some Mauritian cuisine and watch Sega dancing which is the native Mauritian dance. The team building days were great and I loved the dodo quest, which I believe is like the escape room. My favourite parts of the course were the psychometric tests and the negotiation competition. The psychometric test really made students think about themselves and become mindful about what employers may want. Although I had never heard of these tests prior to the course, once I was aware, I pretty much knew how mine would show. It has really made me think as the work route I want to go down is very dominant which is not really me! The negotiation task was great as we worked with the Mauritian students. Our group was very varied and therefore there was lots of discussion and people stamping their feet! I really enjoyed the course and would encourage anyone to attend at least one trip whether it be in the UK or abroad.”

Rebecca Rushworth

“When the opportunity arose to go on a once in a lifetime trip to Mauritius to visit the campus, bond with foreign students and make amazing memories, who could possibly turn that down?

I went to Mauritius on the 12th May 2017. We spent one week there and it was hardly a week I would forget. The cost of this trip was £500, including Emirates flights, the stay in a hotel for the week plus transport to and from campus and various activities. It was well worth the £500!

To begin with, we had the first night off. We landed late and we were tired after the long flight. After checking into the hotel, we decided we wanted to have a look around to see where about we were and what was going on! It turned into one of the best nights I have had! I bonded with students I had not met before and turned out we was a little worse for wear the day after…

Following this spontaneous first night, we then visited the campus and met the Mauritian students. We received our itinerary for the week. It was a jammed packed week full of various meetings, visits and activities as well as free time to enjoy as we please. The days we spent during the week at the campus was a good experience, we joined with the Mauritian students and got to know them a little better. However, there were classroom activities inside when it was a beautiful 28 degrees outside! Us English students wanted to make the most of that weather!

Before we flew to Mauritius, we had a questionnaire to fill in online for a personality test, which we received feedback when we were away. I found that really interesting. The feedback fit my personality accurately and I was shocked as to how relevant it was. We had a BBQ on the beach one night, getting to know students, lecturers, and we also visited another hotel for dinner and to watch a Mauritian dance.

We had a trip to the Dodo quest! The whole team really enjoyed this activity and my team won so it was even better! Finally, the highlight of my week has to be the deep-sea fishing trip I undertook with a few fellow students and our lecturer, Martin. On the Friday before flying home, we was picked up at 3am. We got onto a boat, watched the sunrise over the island and went fishing! I loved it and very grateful to Martin for arranging it all.

Finally, the leadership course has taught me many skills that I will carry through and grow with. I have made friends for life and got to know people I would not have known if it was not for this trip. The lecturers; Steph, Susan and Martin did a great job and really got involved with the students, the conversations and banter! I could not have put a better team together.

I am very grateful to the Law school for putting this trip together and I do sincerely hope that it carries on as an annual trip for Law students; it is well worth the money. The experience was amazing and I wish I could do it all over again! Thank you!”

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Shaun Mills Senior Lecturer in EU and International Trade Law at UCLan, thinks the UK should stay, for now.

8dbc0a7c-3c88-4b8a-8ec9-bb254a372e21-ukeuflagIf you have not yet decided how you will vote in the EU Referendum on 23rd June, or if you still have an open-mind on the issue, I want to explain why I think that a vote to stay in the EU is the wisest choice for us all, at least for the time being.

We are all suffering from EU Referendum fatigue, so I will keep this brief. I have dedicated over twenty years to researching and teaching EU law. I have always encouraged my students to approach their studies in a balanced and open-minded way. This means accepting both the good (of which there is plenty) together with the bad things about the EU. However, I have found the nature of the debate surrounding this Referendum to be really quite alarming. So much misinformation is being presented. This is not the place to try and address all the untruths but suffice it to say that it is not legally possible for Turkey to join the EU unless everyone agrees (highly unlikely given its poor human rights record and its occupation of the Northern region of Cyprus) As for an EU Army? Really? That is a legal impossibility without the agreement of all Member States and, even if the UK wanted to sign-up to one, UK law requires a referendum before that power could be transferred to the EU.

That said, the thing that worries me most of all is that the majority of reputable economic experts, business leaders and World Leaders have all concluded that a vote to Leave the EU is likely to be harmful to the UK (at least in the short term). That worries me because we all know that the UK economy is not in the best shape at the moment. Why do we need to leave now? This Referendum is being pitched by some as our last opportunity to get out of the EU, but that is simply untrue. A Member State can leave at any point, this could even be done without a referendum.
The EU is the most successful regional trading block in the World, many other regions in the World actually want to emulate it (e.g. the new Russian led, Eurasian Economic Union and the African Union). The EU is not some dictatorship in Brussels, it is run by its Member States who have decided that in some areas it is better to act together rather than alone. The Big Three: Germany, France and, yes, the UK, are the driving forces behind the EU. If we vote to remain, I believe that our position within the EU will be strengthened further and we will be well-placed to use our influence to bring about much needed reforms. There is almost universal acceptance, at EU-level, that fundamental reforms are needed to key EU policies like free movement of persons. If the EU doesn’t change in the way that a majority of the British public wants, then in a few years time, after we have given our economy the time to recover, we will still have the option to leave.

At the moment, we are being asked to make a decision that could have a hugely detrimental impact on us all. Yet, the information we have been given on which to base our judgement, is often totally incorrect. We need accurate information about the pros and cons of EU membership, we also need to know exactly what is planned for the UK if we leave the EU. It simply isn’t good enough to expect us all to take such a giant leap in the dark. I fear that if we act in haste then we may have to repent at leisure.

Leaving the EU is likely to be an irreversible step, we need to be sure that we are doing the right thing. The World is becoming a very scary place, and there is safety in numbers. The UK should not risk becoming isolated, it has the power inside the EU to steer reform and become stronger as part of a reformed and better EU. In my view it is too soon to withdraw, we should give the EU and ourselves a better chance. Despite its many negative features it has very many positives ones too – after all, we are the European Union, and in it we can become stronger.

Shaun Mills – Senior Lecturer in EU & International Trade Law at UCLan

Human rights

‘Gotcha!’ The Conservatives’ Plans to Reform Britain’s Human Rights Laws

The following article is written by Ian Turner, Senior Lecturer in Law at UCLan.

In a previous Lancashire Law School blog, in July 2014, I questioned the Conservative Party’s intention to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) and/or the rights of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) which this statute incorporates into UK law. Today (at the time of writing) the Conservatives have published their proposals for reform, if they win a majority of Parliamentary seats at the next general election.[1] Justifying their plans, the Conservatives argue that “the recent practice of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the HRA has damaged the credibility of human rights at home”.

In reference to the ECtHR, the Conservatives believe it has expanded the ECHR “into new areas, and certainly beyond what the framers of [it] had in mind when they signed up to it”. The Conservatives also say that the current dispute between the ECtHR and the UK over voting rights for prisoners is “one clear example”. And they believe that the HRA “undermines the role of UK courts in deciding on human rights issues in this country”. As all First Year Public Law students know, s.2 of the HRA requires UK courts to take into account rulings of the ECtHR when they are interpreting ECHR rights in domestic law. “This means problematic [ECtHR] jurisprudence is often being applied in UK law,” the Conservatives further argue. So the “present position under the [ECtHR] and the [HRA] is not acceptable” and the next Conservative Government “will make fundamental changes to the way human rights laws work in the United Kingdom, to restore common sense and put Britain first”. To this end the Conservatives propose to eg. repeal the HRA and introduce a British Bill of Rights. This will still incorporate the ECHR into UK law but will not oblige our courts to follow the rulings of the ECtHR.

It is not for this blog to critique today’s Conservative proposals as established legal bloggers such as Mark Elliott,[2] Carl Gardner[3] and Adam Wagner[4] have already done so. But today’s proposals tie in well with a blog I was intending to write about my recent attendance at a conference on human rights at the University of Liverpool last month. The title of this conference was ‘Human Rights in the UK Media: Representation and Reality. (Indeed, Adam Wagner, who is a barrister at One Crown Office Row in London and the Editor of the well respected ‘UK Human Rights Blog’, was one of the conference participants.[5]) The media has seemingly been at the forefront of human rights misinformation ever since, say, the enactment of the HRA in 2000, thus inevitably fuelling today’s Conservative plans for the reform of human rights in the UK.

Because of word constraints I am unable to report on every paper that was presented at the conference, so will concentrate on only one, the keynote speech by David Mead, Professor of UK Human Rights at the University of East Anglia: ‘They offer you a feature on stockings and suspenders next to a call for stiffer penalties for sex offenders: do we learn more about the media than about human rights from tabloid coverage of human rights?’ Mead had trawled through dozens of internet sites of various national newspapers such as The Sun, The Star, The Mail and The Telegraph, looking for references to human rights. He found many human rights stories that were: ‘just plain wrong’; ‘distortions of the truth’; ‘giving undue prominence to the human rights of unfavourable victims’ eg. foreign criminals challenging their deportation; ‘giving little mention of the human rights of favourable victims’, ‘trivialising human rights’ eg. Theresa May’s reference to the human rights of a deportee separated from his cat[6] and ‘sins of commission’ eg. the media reporting spurious human rights claims such as the rights of prisoners to have access to hardcore pornography,[7] which are rejected outright by the courts, but not then reported as such by their original media sources. In conclusion Mead found that the majority of the press tended to portray human rights as undemocratic and benefitting only the ‘undeserving’. Today’s proposals to reform the HRA and our relationship with the ECtHR are surely grounded in this long-running misrepresentation of human rights by the media.

[1] The Conservative Party, ‘The Conservatives’ Proposals for Changing Britain’s Human Rights Laws’ 3 October 2014 <https://www.politicshome.com/uk/article/105764/the_conservatives_proposals_for_changing_britains_human_rights_laws.html> accessed 3 October 2014.

[2] Mark Elliott, ‘My Analysis of the Conservative Party’s Proposals for a British Bill of Rights’ 3 October 2014 <http://publiclawforeveryone.com/2014/10/03/my-analysis-of-the-conservative-partys-proposals-for-a-british-bill-of-rights/ > accessed 3 October 2014.

[3] Carl Gardner, ‘”Protecting Human Rights in the UK”: the Tory Human Rights Plan’ 3 October 2014 <http://www.headoflegal.com/2014/10/03/protecting-human-rights-in-the-uk-the-tory-human-rights-plan/> accessed 3 October 2014.

[4] Adam Wagner, ‘Apocalypse Soon: The Conservatives Reveal Their Real Plans for Human Rights’ 3 October 2014 <http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2014/10/03/apocalypse-soon-the-conservatives-reveal-their-real-plans-for-human-rights/> accessed 3 October 2014.

[5] Other esteemed human rights lawyers in attendance included: Eric Heinze, Professor of Law at Queen Mary College, London; Colin Murray, Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle; Colm O’Cinneide, Reader in Law at University College, London; and Jacob Rowbottom, Associate Professor in Law at the University of Oxford. Other participants included Owen Bowcott, the Legal Affairs Correspondent for The Guardian.

[6] Alan Travis, ‘Tory Conference Cat-Fight: Clarke and May Clash Over Human Rights Act’ The Guardian 4 October 2011 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/oct/04/theresa-may-clashes-judges-cat> accessed 18 October 2012.

[7] Amnesty TV, ‘Theresa May and the Human Rights Act – Video’ The Guardian 2 November 2011 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/nov/02/amnesty-international-human-rights-video> accessed 18 October 2011.

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The Supreme Court and Assisted Suicide

The following guest blog article has been written by Dr Kartina A. Choong – Senior Lecturer in Medical Law.

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The Supreme Court and Assisted Suicide: A Commentary on R (on the application of Nicklinson and another) v. Ministry of Justice; R (on the application of AM) v. DPP [2014] UKSC 38

It was a ruling which surprised no one. Despite a deliberation which spanned 6 months – during which, according to Lord Wilson, the appeals were debated “with an intensity unique in [his] experience” – the Supreme Court’s much-awaited decision in the case brought by Nicklinson, Lamb and ‘Martin’ was not altogether unexpected: that if the law on assisted suicide were to change, it is a task best undertaken by Parliament. It is a viewpoint which the judiciary has articulated on a number of previous occasions. The Court nevertheless confirmed that it has jurisdiction to declare whether s.2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 is compatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Yet with the exception of Lady Hale and Lord Kerr, the remaining 7 judges refused to make a declaration of incompatibility on the evidence before them. They preferred to allow Parliament the opportunity to review s.2(1) unburdened by the weight of such a declaration.

But if the continuous stream of high profile cases, of which the present one is only the latest, often gave the impression that Parliament has taken a passive stance on the issue, the lead judgement given by Lord Neuberger signalled that this is an erroneous conclusion. Parliament, after criminalising assisted suicide through s.2(1), has vigorously resisted repeated efforts from private members to liberalise the law. Not only that, it has in fact expanded the reach of this law in recent times through s.59 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 by bringing any assistance and encouragement provided through the internet within the purview of s.2(1).

Concessions have thus far only been won through battles fought in the courtroom over the rigidity, clarity and constitutionality of the law. But these are inevitably conferred in a reactive and piecemeal fashion. Looking back, when Diane Pretty failed to secure a guarantee from the DPP that her husband, Brian Pretty, would be immune from prosecution if he assisted her to die in a manner they did not specify, Debbie Purdie’s legal team knew better than to seek the same immunity for her husband Omar Puentes who was equally willing to assist her to die. Rather, their challenge centred around the absence of clear criteria of how the DPP would exercise the discretion granted by s.2(4) of the Suicide Act 1961 of whether or not to consent to a prosecution for s.2(1) offences. When the House of Lords ordered for the promulgation of an offence-specific policy, the DPP duly complied by issuing the Policy for Prosecutors in Respect of Cases of Encouraging or Assisting Suicide in February 2010 i.e. within months of the ruling. However, since Debbie Purdy had specified that the assistance she had in mind was for her husband to accompany her to the Dignitas Clinic in Zurich, the guidelines issued therein were by and large addressing the circumstances they presented. Because of this, although ‘Martin’ too had planned to die at the Dignitas Clinic, he had to seek clarification over whether doctors and others not within his circle of family and friends would be prosecuted if they were to extend him their assistance as his wife had refused to do what Omar Puentes was willing to do. Since the Supreme Court has strongly hinted that the DPP should review the policy to address the concerns brought by ‘Martin’, there is a chance that this too would lead to another piecemeal concession if the DPP confines her eventual review to the narrow set of circumstances raised by ‘Martin’.

As for those who are unable to travel to Zurich like Paul Lamb and the late Tony Nicklinson, the DPP’s policy is consequently of limited relevance. But inspired as they were by the acknowledgement gained by Diane Pretty from the European Court of Human Rights that her Article 8(1) right had been infringed – a point reconfirmed recently in Haas v. Switzerland (2011), Koch v. Germany (2013) and Gross v Switzerland (2014) for patients in not vastly dissimilar situations, Lamb and Nicklinson’s widow thereby questioned the constitutionality of s.2(1) in the light of the ECHR. Although the Supreme Court has, as we know, refused to take a firm stand on this point on this particular occasion, assisted suicide is already being debated again in Parliament. However, since Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill only addresses the issue vis-à-vis terminally ill patients, the discussions are not comprehensive enough to incorporate situations affecting patients like Pretty, Purdy, Lamb and Nicklinson.

This highlights the need for a more wide-ranging Parliamentary debate. Before this is embarked on, it is worth remembering that the inroads already made through case law – not only in assisted suicide cases but also in other cases where a third party is involved in bringing life to an end, have left the current law in an anomalous situation. While s.2(1) has stated in unequivocal terms that assisted suicide is a crime which is punishable with up to 14 years imprisonment, those who altruistically assist their loved ones to die abroad at the Dignitas Clinic would not be prosecuted, thanks in large part to the DPP’s policy. Thus assistance rendered on British soil attracts significant opprobrium and legal repercussions, but those rendered abroad do not. Also, cases like Re AK (2001) and Re B (2002) indicate that the wishes of competent adults to end their lives by asking their doctors to switch off their mechanical ventilators would have to be respected. However, the wishes of similarly competent adults for doctors to help end their lives through the administration of lethal injections are prohibited. Yet at the same time, courts have condoned the administration of opioids in dosages that are known would result in the abbreviation of life. Further, courts have declared it lawful for doctors to allow patients in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) to die by removing and discontinuing all life-sustaining treatment, including clinically assisted nutrition and hydration, notwithstanding the fact that such patients’ heartbeat and breathing are still functioning naturally. Thus when the issues that came to the fore in this Supreme Court case do make it to Parliament, ideally those related areas are also revisited and be subjected to equally extensive public debate. This would imbue the law relating to the bringing of human life to an end by a third party with coherence and a solid underlying rationale.

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International Law Students’ Buffet

As home to students of over 100 nationalities and with an admirable ranking in the International Student Barometer, UCLan offers an energetic, diverse community where everyone – students and staff – feels at ease and learns from one another.

We invited our international law students’ to unite and celebrate their nationalities and culture with an international buffet organised by senior law lecturer Peter Kay, who acts as personal tutor for all our students from outside the UK. We have students who have travelled as far as France, Mauritius and Ghana who to want to study Law at UCLan.

“I find my time here at UCLan an unforgettable experience! Being able to both live and study in this beautiful country fills me with a sense of joy and happiness. The teachers, students and experiences have made my total experience here in England perfect.”

Gloria Kostadinova Nikova, 1st year from Norway.

Graduates from Lancashire Law School can be found in a wide range of roles across the world, including UK and international legal practise, the judiciary, European and UK parliamentary offices, Chinese government legal offices, national and international business leaders, chief executives, chief constables and academics in universities in the UK, China, Europe and the Middle East.

“Studying at UCLan has been a wonderful experience. It is a very conducive and friendly environment in which to learn. The school offers a wide range of learning and teaching methods. I am so proud to be part of this institution.”

Zainab El-Rufen, 2nd year from Nigeria.

We are incredibly honoured to house such hardworking and inspiring students from across the globe, and look forward to welcoming many more in the future.

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