Modern Slavery and International Law

Elizabeth Faulkner, Staffordshire University Law Lecturer, attended two conference events during January. The first event focused on ‘Modern Slavery’ and the second on ‘International Law’ – during which she was able to present aspects of her own research. 

January 23rd 2018, King’s College, London – The Politics of Numbers: ‘Modern Slavery’, Prof. Joel Quirk, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

This was a rather exciting event for me to attend, having read the works of Prof. Joel Quirk whilst undertaking my doctoral research. The talk was chaired by Associate Prof. Sam Okyere (University of Nottingham) and together they form part of the team from Beyond Trafficking Slavery BTS. The uniqueness of BTS is that it links academic research with journalism, attracting over a million readers globally. BTS encompasses a relatively niche school of thought in terms of contemporary discussions of slavery, labour and exploitation.

Joel Quirk delivered his talk upon the ‘Politics of Numbers: ‘Modern Slavery’, which was incredibly interesting as he illustrated links between the statistics that I had not considered. The talk essentially drew together my preconceived ideas and provided them with clarity and support. Definitely worth the trip to King’s College, London. One of the highlights of the day was exchanging stories of strange encounters overseas whilst undertaking research with Joel and Sam, on route to Five Guys for food!

January 31st 2018 – The Neglected Methodologies of International Law: Empirical, Socio-Legal and Comparative

This event was truly unique in terms of content, organised by Rossana Deplano and Paolo Vargiu (University of Leicester). The format for the day was split into two panels and a series of simultaneous panels. The two panels namely, Panel 1 – Empirical and Socio-Legal and Panel 2 – Comparative and Critical Approaches, offered a wealth of information.


Presentations included:

The epistemological need or socio-legal research in international law’ (Prof. Fiona De Londras, University of Birmingham.

‘From preserving sovereignty to protecting humanity: the untold story of the numbers behind the UN Security Council’s practice’ (Dr Rossana Deplano, University of Leicester).

‘Doing it differently? Pluralising International Economic Law Scholarship’ (Dr Celine Tan, University of Warwick).

The final session of the day provided the opportunity for early career academics to present their research, and the methodology behind the project, to a small group of peers, chaired by two more senior academics. My panel included Mikolaj Firlej (University of Oxford) and Alice Margaria (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, and it was chaired by Dr Celine Tan (University of Warwick) and Dr Richard Craven (University of Leicester). I discussed my abstract entitled ‘A critique of the historical evolution of the international legal responses to the trafficking of children’. Celine suggested that I should undertake archival research in Geneva as I would uncover a wealth of resources, referring back to her own experiences in Washington D.C when none of the sources were available electronically.

The workshop provided a great networking opportunity and the organiser Dr Rosanna Deplano intends to develop a book proposal of an edited collection of the papers presented, including my own!

A Staffordshire University Law Graduate – What next?

“It is this work ethic and desire to explore opportunities that I am grateful to Staffordshire University for. The ambition was always inside me, it just needed nurturing and encouraging”

“Grades do matter of course, but what employers want to see and want to employ is a person” – Llloyd Myatt.

It is all a blur. At least, this is what I remember: nervously sitting there at 08:59am, waiting for my results somewhere in June 2016, then graduating in July and starting my Masters in September; it really does happen so fast.

At this moment in time, I am currently studying my Masters, which is an LLM in International Law at Keele University. It may be so close geographically to Staffordshire University, but they could not be further apart from their teaching style, approach and research. The different experiences have been a great benefit and my studies will only become richer from it. It is what I will carry with me when I graduate in January 2019.

Studying part-time is giving myself the opportunity to participate in other things, such as Citizens Advice, marathon running and preparing my PhD applications. My PhD will concern the modern doctrine of pre-emptive force and whether it has any legal basis under International Law. This is something modern and exciting that I cannot wait to explore further at PhD level. With this being said, a PhD is a bold prospect as you leave the general studies of law to something specific that interests you; you are likely to contribute to research in your field of interest.

It is this work ethic and desire to explore opportunities that I am grateful to Staffordshire University for. The ambition was always inside me, it just needed nurturing and encouraging. This is exactly what the lecturers did for me: they inspired me and personally wanted me to achieve. They also pushed me to go the extra mile to make myself not only the graduate that I wanted to be, but also the person I wanted to be. Getting involved in the competitions and activities during my time at Staffordshire University enabled me to network, to gain contacts and, most importantly, to develop as a person.

It is this experience that is my advice for anyone currently studying at Staffordshire University or who has just graduated. Enjoy your time, do everything that you can, no matter how silly it may sound or be. I (including a few friends) were involved in the gardening society, played five-a-side and helped with the video for the Legal Advice Clinic.

You can never do enough, as there is always more that you can put in. Grades do matter of course, but what employers want to see and want to employ is a person. A person who has experienced everything, whether it be working serving coffee, raising money for charity or even taking a gap from education to raise children, work full-time or to even travel the world.

Current students, graduates and anyone else concerned, do as much as you can. Make yourself known, build up your CV and develop yourself into the person you decide to be. Whether this be in legal practice, academia, business, human resources, real estate or finance, management or even producing. Your degree is the key to so much, it is you that has to open that door.

The best of luck.

Lloyd Myatt LLB (Hons)
LLM Student in International Law