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The universality of international law

The 14th Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law will take place at the University of Manchester, from 13th September through 15th September. This is one of the most important events in the international law calendar, attracting a growing network of scholars, researchers, practitioners, and students.

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Reciprocal loyalty in consumer transactions

Conventional wisdom holds that the interplay of demand and supply of goods in a free market economy, as if through an invisible hand, provides us with material wealth. This vantage point is based on Adam Smith’s reference to an economy where most of mankind lived in small communities, where self-interest was restrained by a desire to be esteemed by others, and personal relationships bound overweening opportunism.

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Do you have what it takes to be a copper?

Are you studying to become a police officer? Perhaps you have considered volunteering as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO)? Whether you are a student of policing, or simply interested in police theory, you can test your knowledge with our short policing quiz.

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The Grainy and Grisly History of Crime Photography

Judicial photography dates back to Belgium in the 1840’s when the earliest known photographs of criminals were taken within prisons by prison officials. In Switzerland, 1852, Carl Durheim was commissioned by Attorney General Jacob Amiet, and tasked with taking photographs of arrested vagrants in Bern. During this period, judicial photography was used by local authorities to document individuals who travelled, and were unknown to local police.

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The Geneva Conventions and the minimum standards of humanity

On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, it seems appropriate to look to the basic principles of humanitarian law, which show what is always unacceptable. Prior to 1949, there was little international humanitarian law applicable to non-international armed conflicts, although such conflicts were becoming increasingly prevalent and overtaking their international counterparts.

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Seven myths about feigning

Defendants may feign psychiatric disorders to reduce their criminal responsibility. From its detection and prevalence, to its connections with psychopathy, this extract from Finding Truth in the Courtroom debunks seven common myths about feigning, and why people do it.  

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The ever-evolving US Supreme Court

Justice Byron R. White, who served on the Supreme Court for 31 years (1962-1993), once observed that every time a new justice joins the court, it’s a new court. His observation may sound counter-intuitive: after all, a new justice joins eight incumbents. Can a single new member make such a difference?

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Studying law in the UK: Are you ready?

Your favourite club at school was the debating society, and you managed to negotiate an increase in pocket money as a teenager – it was obvious you were going to study law. But how much do you really know about studying for a law degree in the UK? How many people apply? And what pathways […]

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Are you a forensic psych expert?

The moment a defendant walks into a courtroom, everyone is trying to get in their head to figure out if they actually committed the crime, and what could have driven them to the act. That’s why expert testimony from mental health experts can be critical for juries, especially in high-profile cases. Do you think you […]

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Wars of national liberation: The story of one unusual rule II

In the first part of this post, I discussed the chequered history of Article 1(4) of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. This provision has elevated so-called “wars of national liberation” to the level of inter-state armed conflicts as far as international humanitarian law (IHL) is concerned—albeit only for the parties to the Protocol.

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Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un, and North Korean human rights

US President Donald Trump traveled to Singapore to negotiate urgent nuclear matters, and not to discuss North Korean violations of basic human rights. Any such willful US indifference to these violations in another country, especially when they are as stark and egregious as they are in North Korea, represents a sorely grievous disregard for America’s vital obligations under international law.

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Wars of national liberation: The story of one unusual rule I

If someone was to make a ranking of the most controversial rules of international law, Article 1(4) of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions would very likely make the top 10. The Geneva Conventions themselves probably need little introduction; these four international treaties were adopted in the aftermath of World War II and now form the core of international humanitarian law (IHL).

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How Wayfair opens the door to taxing internet sales

In a much anticipated decision, the US Supreme Court in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. declared, by the narrowest of margins, that a state may require an internet seller to collect sales and use taxes even if the seller lacks physical presence in the state seeking to impose the obligation to collect its tax. Wayfair is an important decision, though much of the popular reporting about it has been overstated.

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How much do patents matter to innovation?

Patents—rights that governments grant to inventors for new inventions—pervade the modern world. The US alone grants about 300,000 of them annually, mostly for components of, or methods relating to, larger end products. Your smartphone, for example, contains thousands of patented features; but even many seemingly simpler items, such as cosmetics, often contain one or more.

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Birkbeck crowned winners of the OUP and ICCA National Mooting Competition 2018

Congratulations to the Queen’s University Belfast team represented by Darren Finnegan and Conor Lockhart, who were crowned champions of the OUP and BPP National Mooting Competition 2016-2017, which took place at BPP Law School, Holborn on 22 June 2017. His Honour Judge Gratwicke returned once again to preside over the final and kept the students on their toes with some keen questioning.

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European Public Law: facing the challenge of decline

In recent years, Europe has lost much of its promise. The financial crisis, the debt crisis, the refugee crisis, the apparent systemic deficiencies of national and supranational governance structures, as well as a fading confidence in democratic government, have led to a certain impression of “messiness.”

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