Over the past year the number of questionable police use-of-force incidents has been ever present. The deaths of Eric Garner in New York, Michael Brown in Missouri, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Ohio, are but just a few tragic cases.
The violent progress of the Islamic State (IS) through towns and villages in Iraq has been swift, aided by foreign fighters from Britain. IS has now taken control of large swathes of Iraq and there are growing concerns amongst senior security officials that the number of British men and women leaving their country to support and fight alongside the extremist group is rising.
In February, the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery Alabama released a report, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror. In researching for the report, EJI examined the practice of lynching in twelve southern states between Reconstruction and 1950. The report’s conclusions and recommendations provide important lessons about the past, present, and future of society.
In 1878, Frances Power Cobbe had published in Contemporary Review an essay entitled ‘Wife Torture in England’. That essay is noted for the its influence on the Matrimonial Causes Act 1878 that, for the first time, allowed women living in violent relationships to apply for a separation order. In the intervening 150 years, concern about violence experienced by women at the hands of their husbands, boyfriends, ex-husbands, ex-boyfriends, and other family members has reached around the world.
In May 2014, in Sudan, Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for the ‘crime’ of ridda (apostacy) and to 100 lashes for the ‘offence’ of zena (sexual immorality). The case generated international outrage among those who care about women’s rights and religious freedom.
Professor Jane Holder of University College London has been named Law Teacher of the Year 2015. The prestigious national teaching award, which is sponsored by Oxford University Press, was presented at a lunch event held on Friday, 27 February 2015.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was a watershed in international relations because with this act, Moscow challenged the post-Cold War international order. Yet what has been fascinating is that over the last years, Russia’s President and Foreign Minister have repeatedly referred to ‘international law’ as one of Russia’s guiding foreign policy principles.
Modern society requires a reliable and trustworthy Internet infrastructure. To achieve this goal, cybersecurity research has previously drawn from a multitude of disciplines, including engineering, mathematics, and social sciences, as well as the humanities. Cybersecurity is concerned with the study of the protection of information – stored and processed by computer-based systems – that might be vulnerable to unintended exposure and misuse.
In its recent decision in Mennesson v. France (App no. 65192/11), the Fifth Section of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that surrogate children—in this case, born in the US and having US citizenship—should not be prevented from registering as French citizens, as this would be a violation of their right to respect for their private life. The Strasbourg court’s view, which is very understandable, is that nationality is an important part of a person’s identity.
Copyright these days is very high up on the agenda of politicians and the public at large. Some see copyright as a stumbling stone for the development of digital services and think it is outdated. They want to make consumers believe that copyright protection is to be blamed, when music or other ‘content’ is not available online, preferably for free. From Brussels we hear that ‘national copyright silos’ should be broken up, that the EU Internal Market is fragmented when it comes to copyright.
The 18th Annual International Arbitration Day will take place 26-27 February 2015 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. A joint conference presented by the International Bar Association (IBA) Arbitration Committee and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), International Arbitration Day will gather lawyers and academics to look back on investment arbitration and discuss its future, a theme that coincides with ICSID’s 50th anniversary.
Shortly after it emerged in the 1980s, surrogate motherhood was dealt a severe blow in France by a decision of the Cour de Cassation, its highest civil court. In 1991, it ruled that an agreement entered into by a woman to conceive, bear a child, and relinquish it at birth, albeit for altruistic reasons, was contrary to the public policy principle of unavailability of both the human body and civil status.
January saw the critically acclaimed and award winning Broadchurch return to our TV screens for a second series. There was a publicity blackout in an attempt to prevent spoilers or leaks; TV critics were not sent the usual preview DVDs. The opening episode sees Joe Miller plead not guilty to the murder of Danny Latimer, a shock as the previous season’s finale ended with his admission of guilt. The change of plea means that the programme shifts from police procedural to courtroom drama – both staples of the TV schedules. Witnesses have to give evidence, new information is revealed through cross-examination, and old scores settled by witnesses and barristers.
In the days following the terrorist attack in Paris on 11 January, thousands of people took to the street in solidarity with the victims and in defense of free speech, and many declared ‘Je suis Charlie’ on social media around the world. The scene is familiar with what we have seen in several other countries in the aftermath of major terrorist attacks.
On an overcast day in January 2013, with no criminal justice background and no real teaching experience, I entered the stark grounds of New Jersey’s only maximum-security women’s prison to co-teach a course on memoir writing. The youngest in a classroom of thirteen women, many of whom were serving life or double-life sentences, plus my two mentors and co-teachers, Courtney Polidori and Michele Tarter, my mind began spinning with concern and doubt.
Picture this. A legendary hotel concierge and serial womaniser seduces a rich, elderly, widow who regularly stays in the hotel where he works. Just before her death, she has a new will prepared and leaves her vast fortune to him rather than her family. Wills have always provided the public with endless fascination, and are often the subject of great books and dramas.