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Will there be justice for Syria?

The war in Syria has wreaked havoc on the lives of the Syrian people, and affected many others. Since the war begin in March 2011, several hundred thousand people have been killed. Some 13.5 million people require humanitarian assistance, and over 10 million people have fled their homes – with 4 million fleeing Syria altogether.

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Sean Spicer’s Hitler comments: a warning from the history of speech and atrocity

Earlier this month, during a media briefing, Donald Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, engaged in what some have referred to as a form of Holocaust denial. Genocide denial is not merely an ugly reminder of a bloody past but should also be treated as a potential harbinger of a violent future. We are not anywhere close to that stage now, but we have been given notice and we ignore the larger context at our own peril.

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Ireland in 1922 and Brexit in 2017

In 1922 most of the people of Ireland left the larger United Kingdom, but the Irish were divided. The UK today is leaving the larger European Union. The comparison gives grounds both for hope and for fear.

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The international protection of diplomatic and consular agents

On Monday 19 December 2016, President Vladimir Putin had made plans to attend Woe from Wit, a satirical comedy on post-Napoleonic Moscow. It was written in 1823, six years before its author – poet and diplomat Alexander Griboyedov – was murdered by a crowd of Islamic religious fanatics, when Ambassador to Persia.

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Conor Gearty speaks to the Oxford Law Vox about human rights

In this episode of the Oxford Law Vox podcast, human rights expert Conor Gearty talks to George Miller about human rights in the UK. To hear the full interview with Conor Gearty, and to listen to a bonus podcast about his career and background, visit the Oxford Law Vox on SoundCloud.

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Public attitudes to the police

What do the public think of their police? This is a rather more complicated question than it appears. When public opinion polling was in its infancy, people were asked how they felt about ‘the police’. Perhaps training could make it look better, but that takes officers off the streets where the public demands to see them. To engage with controversy could, at least, elevate public debate.

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The end of scholarship?

What exactly is ‘scholarship’? According to a widely-used definition attributed to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), research is ‘creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge’.

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Testamentary freedom vs claims by family members

Should a person be free to dispose of property as she wishes on death, or be forced to leave it to certain family members? This is one of the most fundamental questions in succession law. Some (particularly continental European) jurisdictions allocate compulsory portions to certain family members, irrespective of any will.

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Filling Supreme Court vacancies: political credentials vs. judicial philosophy

In the current, hyper-partisan environment, relatively few individuals publicly supported the confirmations to the US Supreme Court of both Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., and Justice Sonia Sotomayor. I know because I am one of these lonely souls. Now, the same considerations which led me to support their confirmations lead me to support the confirmation to the Court of Judge Neil Gorsuch.

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Giving up on (indirect) Discrimination Law

Some readers might be surprised if told that one of the most significant cases on discrimination law generally, and race discrimination in particular, is likely to be decided by the Supreme Court before long.

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What has happened to environmental protection?

Fast forward to 2017: with a few possible exceptions, Congress hasn’t addressed any significant environmental problems for over a quarter century and has blocked important environmental legislation; President Trump has promised to gut the EPA; and its new administrator, Scott Pruitt, as Attorney General of Oklahoma, sued the Agency over and over again to kill major environmental regulations.

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Abortion: conflict and compromise

A few years ago, when I told a colleague that I was working primarily on abortion rights, he looked at me quizzically and replied, “But I thought they had sorted all of that out in the seventies”. Needless to say, he was a scientist. Still, while the idea that the ethical questions implicated in abortion were somehow put to bed in the last century is humorous, I knew what he meant.

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Mitochondrial replacement techniques and Mexico

The birth of the the first child after a mitochondrial replacement technique has raised questions about the legality of such procedure. In this post we explore some of the legal issues surrounding this case. Mitochondria are cellular organelles that generate the energy cells need to work properly. Two interesting features of mitochondria are that they are solely inherited via the maternal line and that they possess their own DNA.

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