Firearms Global Perspectives on Consequences, Crime and Control

Dr Helen Poole, Executive Dean of the School of Justice, Security and Sustainability, has co-edited Firearms: Global Perspectives on Consequences, Crime and Control with Dr Simon Sneddon (University of Northampton). The book explores the illicit use of firearms across the globe, including legal, social science, technical and research perspectives on the issue.

Read more here.

The famous ‘Belmarsh case’ – twenty years since the detention of ‘A and others’, in breach of their human rights

On Human Rights Day (10th of December), Aidan Flynn, Senior Lecturer in Law, recollects the famous ‘Belmarsh case’ on the twentieth anniversary of the detentions that led to the case.

Following the Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks in the USA in September 2001, the UK Parliament swiftly passed the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.  In exercise of his power under section 14 of the Human Rights Act 1998, David Blunkett, the then Home Secretary, made the Human Rights Act 1998 (Designated Derogation) Order 2001.  The derogation related to article 5(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.  Article 5 of the Convention is concerned with the “right to liberty and security of person.”

The appellants in the ‘Belmarsh case’ were certified by the Home Secretary under section 21 of the 2001 Act.  This led to their detention under section 23 of the Act.  Eight of the nine appellants were detained on the 19th of December 2001.  They were held in high security conditions at Belmarsh prison.  They challenged the lawfulness of their detention, and the case reached the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords, which was the highest court in the land until replaced in 2009 by the Supreme Court of the UK.

Giving the leading judgment, Lord Bingham described the circumstances in which the appellants found themselves in December 2001, “the appellants share certain common characteristics which are central to their appeals.  All are foreign (non-UK) nationals.  None has been the subject of any criminal charge.  In none of their cases is a criminal trial in prospect”

In the Appellate Committee, the case was heard by a panel of nine Law Lords rather than the usual panel size of five.  It had to decide two main issues.  Firstly, were the conditions for derogating from Article 5 met.  Secondly, if they were met and the Derogation Order was lawful, were the provisions of the 2001 Act relating to powers of indefinite executive detention without trial “strictly required by the exigencies of the situation.”  These words are from Article 15 (‘Derogation in time of emergency’) of the Convention, paragraph one of which reads as follows “In time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation any High Contracting Party may take measures derogating from its obligations under this Convention to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation, provided that such measures are not inconsistent with its other obligations under international law.”

On the first issue the Appellate Committee decided that the question involved a political judgment with which it should not interfere.  Lord Bingham said “I would accept that great weight should be given to the judgment of the Home Secretary, his colleagues and Parliament on this question, because they were called on to exercise a pre-eminently political judgment.”  However, Lord Hoffmann dissented, taking the view that the events of ‘9/11’ did not constitute a public emergency threatening the life of the British nation.  He commented that “whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive Al-Qaeda.”

On the second issue, the decision of the Appellate Committee has been summarised by Lord Bingham in his well-known book ‘The Rule of Law.’  The provisions of the 2001 Act were “incompatible with the UK’s obligations under the Convention ………… the measure did not rationally address the threat to security, was not a proportionate response, was not strictly required by the exigencies of the situation and unjustifiably discriminated against foreign nationals on grounds of their nationality.”   The 2001 Act was discriminatory because it differentiated between non-UK citizens and UK citizens.  UK citizens could not be detained in the same way under the terms of the Act.  This was one of the strong arguments advanced by the appellants which led the Appellate Committee to reverse the decision of the Court of Appeal.  The Committee issued a declaration of incompatibility under section 4 of the Human Rights Act.  Section 23 of the 2001 Act was incompatible with Articles 5 and 14 (‘Prohibition of discrimination’) of the European Convention.

In his recently published book, Sir Jack Beatson identifies the ‘Belmarsh case’ and Ghaidan, from the same year, as examples of the principle of non-discrimination.  This principle is a requirement of the European Convention on Human Rights.  Most provisions of the Convention were given effect in UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998 which came into force on the 2nd of October 2000.

 

 

 

 

Closing the door on protection? Exploring the impact of lockdown upon children and young people’s services in the UK

Dr Luke Telford has co-writen a journal article called “Closing the door on protection? Exploring the impact of lockdown upon children and young people’s services in the UK”, with D. Briggs, A. Ellis, A. Lloyd, and J. Kotzé. The article was published in the YVJ special issue, Critical youth voices on the Covid 19 pandemic: International perspectives and can be found here

Domestic Abuse Victims Facing Homelessness

Aryan Sharma (Student)

According to the Guardian, domestic abuse has caused nearly 1 in 6 new homelessness cases, from April to June of 2021.

Data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities further suggests that even as the overall amount of homeless people is decreasing, the amount of domestic abuse cases are only going up. According to research, in 2021, out of approximately 34,830 households that were considered homeless, about 5,590 of them were caused by domestic abuse.

Representatives from Women’s Aid believe that it is absolutely unfair for victims to have to make the choice between living with an abuser or facing homelessness. Further research by Women’s Aid in 2020, reported that most women living with an abuser, had said that the abuse had gotten worse during the pandemic. According to estimations, it would take an annual investment of at least £409m, in order to support victims and organise domestic abuse services across the country.

A spokesperson from the Local Government Association stated that the recent domestic abuse bill was more focused on accommodation, rather than any community-based support services. These support services are vital as victims need more support than just accommodation. They would need accepting communities, valuable job opportunities, and safe places to grow from.

A change in the new domestic abuse bill could allow victims to leave their homes, while also having a reliable place to go to, without the risk of domestic abuse.

It is no secret that homeless people have had to suffer over the years, due to poor weather conditions or ineffective government policies, or even a lack of support from local authorities and organizations. With the COVID-19 pandemic only increasing domestic abuse cases, homeless people and domestic abuse victims need support now, more than ever.

Staffordshire University Legal Advice Clinic (SULAC) provides free legal advice on matters regarding domestic abuse, or housing issues. We are working remotely during the pandemic and interviews are conducted via Microsoft Teams. If you would like to make an appointment, please call us at 01782 294800 or email us at SULAC@staffs.ac.uk

Are Employers Perpetuating the Gender Pay Gap by Asking About Salary History?

Lauren Foster (Student)

The Fawcett Society is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life. They are asking employers to stop asking prospective employees about their salary history.

The Fawcett Society stated that asking about previous pay in interviews can contribute to keeping women on lower wages.

They presented a survey of 2,200 working adults and found 47% of people had been asked about past salaries. Also, 61% of women said the questions asked had an effected their confidence to negotiate better pay.

Jemima Olchawski, the chief executive of the Fawcett Society told the BBC that unless more is done, the gender pay gap will not be closed until at least 2050.

The survey of the Fawcett Society also found that 77% of people felt their salaries should reflect the value of the quality of work they do. The reality is that 58% of women and 54% of men felt salary history questions meant they were offered a lower wage than they might otherwise have been paid. 

Only a quarter of people that have participated in the survey felt that pay should be based on past salaries, in contrast to 80% of respondents who felt that their pay should be based on their ability to carry out their job role regarding skills and responsibilities.

The campaign group found 77% of people felt their salaries should reflect the quality of the work they do.

The Fawcett Society stressed that more needed to be done by both the government and employers to tackle issues like discrimination within the workplace.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of the following:

  • Age,
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or civil partnership,
  • Pregnancy and maternity,
  • Race,
  • Religion/belief,
  • Gender,
  • Sexual orientation

Here at SULAC we offer free advice on all matters relating to employment and discrimination. If you would like an appointment please call 01782 294458 or email SULAC@staffs.ac.uk

 

Land Registry announces first mandatory digital process

Jack Marshall (Student)

The digital age is now upon us. Previously if conveyancers wanted to make changes to an existing title it would have been sufficient for them to provide a scanned copy of the form

From November 2022 it is compulsory to use the digital registration process. This is significant as it is the first time the Land Registry have made a digital channel mandatory.

Currently, fewer than 10% of the population make application changes to titles through an online registration service.

Simon Hayes who is the Chief executive and Chief Land Registrar has been quoted as saying “this is a game changemaker”. He also went on to say that “doing an application process based on data rather than the traditional paper based method is fundamental to transforming the way we register and will pay a vital role in improving the end-to-end conveyancing journey”

Statistics show that doing an application through an online registry service cuts down errors by 25% and the amount of time it takes to process applications is halved.

Staffordshire University Legal Advice Clinic offers free legal advice on all land registration issues. If you would like an appointment please call 01782 294458 or email SULAC@staffs.ac.uk

Law Book Club

The first session of this year’s LLB Book Club was held on the afternoon of Wednesday the 6th of October

The book club is part of a range of activities the Law department are implementing for our students outside of teaching.

Students are reading and talking about Fake Law: The Truth About Justice in an Age of Lies, which was published in 2020. 

They are enjoying the opportunity to converse in a very convivial setting about the range of issues that the author explores, issues that deserve the attention of not just law students but everyone.

An observational study using the Impact Point approach to measure the utility of digital forensic science in online child sexual exploitation cases

The Centre for Crime, Justice and Security carried out work for the Home Office on the effectiveness of digital forensics in child sexual exploitation.

‘An observational study using the Impact Point approach to measure the utility of digital forensic science in online child sexual exploitation cases’ can be accessed here

G7 Speakers’ Conference in Lancashire

G7 Speakers recently met face-to-face at their annual conference which was held in Chorley in Lancashire. Aidan Flynn, Senior Lecturer in Law, reflects on the role of Speaker of the House of Commons.

The G7 Speakers’ Conference took place in Lancashire from the 17th to the 19th of September.  It was hosted by Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, the Speaker of the House of Commons, and the theme was ‘Secure versus Open Parliaments?’  Sir Lindsay welcomed Speakers and Presiding Officers representing Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and the European Parliament. 

The Speaker of the House of Commons chairs debates in the Commons Chamber.  The holder of this office is an MP who is elected to be Speaker by other Members of Parliament.  Baroness Boothroyd, the first female speaker (1992 to 2000), referred to the office as “the top insider’s job in the Mother of Parliaments”

Sir Lindsay’s immediate predecessor has stated that the role involves “a duty to stand up for MPs individually, to champion Parliament institutionally and to try to make Parliament look more like the country we are charged to represent”  In the words of other former speakers, the holder of the office “should be the servant of the House and not of the executive” and must “exercise a firm hand and throw out the people who break the rules.”

Richard Onslow, speaker from 1527/8 to 1571, is buried in Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire.  The Onslow Monument is inside Shrewsbury Abbey, a Parish Church in the Church of England Diocese of Lichfield.

 

How I Stepped Up to Level Five

Shabana Butt completed the Step Up to HE programme at Staffordshire University and is now starting level 5 of her Criminal Justice with Offender Management degree (second year of a three year degree and third year with a foundation year degree). Shabana shares her experiences of studying the Step Up programme and how it helped prepare her for further study. 

From a young age I was always fascinated with the law and the criminal justice system and toyed with the idea of becoming a solicitor working in the criminal justice sector. I left school with some GCSEs but did not progress to further or higher education. Fast forward in time to 2019, and my children were now of secondary school age and I felt that the time was now right for me to ‘do something for me’ and take up studying in higher education.

I saw an ad on my sister’s FaceBook for the Step Up to HE at Staffordshire University. I went onto the Staffordshire university website and started to research how to enrolL on the the ‘Step Up’ programme. I completed an online application form and then had an interview with Ashley Cotton who was running the programme.

I received an email letting me know that I was successful in the interview; I was offered a place on the step of programme and enrolled on the course, which started in April 2019. I was excited and a bit nervous of what I was letting myself in for. I had face to face sessions with Ashley and Judy Rimmer, and we were given sessions on study skills, essay writing and academic referencing. I was shown how to set out an academic piece of work and how to use Harvard (a referencing system).  We were involved in some basic group discussions and some simple presentations. The whole purpose of the Step Up to HE seemed to be to preparing us for study in higher education and we had the opportunity to write an essay about a subject of our choice. We were asked to complete an assignment discussing a medical situation; I wrote about diabetes.

I submitted the assignment on Turnitin on Blackboard; we had been shown how to use Turnitin on the programme. I knew that if I was successful, I would be able to progress to a full degree at Staffordshire university. I was excited and really pleased, because I had worked very hard and got 70% on my assignment. It was the first time I had undertaken an academic piece of writing since I was at school, but the help of Ashley and the other tutors my experience was absolutely fantastic and really built my confidence. Ashley and the tutors put on a graduation ceremony for us, and we had a buffet, pictures were taken and we were made to feel very special by Staffordshire University.

I was still interested in law and the criminal justice system, so I enrolled on the LLB with a Foundation Year (FY). I had a great time on the foundation year and received a lot of support and met a lot of really nice friends, some of whom I still I’m in contact with and are on the same course as me now. It was far more intense undertaking the full-time foundation year as we had four modules and were required to be in the university for a lot longer.

I had a lot of support by my tutors on level three on the foundation year and I could see how there was a natural progression from the ‘Step Up’ Programme to the FY year. Both programmes provided me with ample support and the opportunity to develop my skills and build my confidence as I approached the full three-year programme. I really enjoyed my criminal law and criminal justice modules in the foundation year.

A level four student called Farida Zerglaine was on a course called Criminal Justice with Offender Management and she told me how she was really enjoying it. She said that she had a fantastic time on the level four and recommended that I go on to that because I liked the criminal side of my studies. I spoke to the course leader who was also the tutor my FY module – Louis Martin. He explained to me that the course was about people who are interested in working in the criminal justice sector working with offenders and young offenders. I was interested in working with young offenders in Stoke and had some experience of the youth offending service. I decided to transfer onto the Offender Management course, and I had a fantastic first year.  All the support and guidance provided by Staffordshire university over the last two years really prepared me for success on the Offender Management course.

So here we are! I write this now as I start on level 5 and have already done some research for my research project on youth offending and I wrote a blog about this earlier on in the year. I can’t wait to start in October I’m really looking forward to it.

For more information about studying Offender Management with us, visit our Criminology course page to read more about our new Criminology with Offender Management pathway.