Professor Therese Callus France 24 News interview on the Vincent Lambert case in France

Professor Therese Callus gave a television interview on France 24 about the laws around the right to die following the Vincent Lambert case in France.

The case of Vincent Lambert, a victim of a motorcycle accident over ten years ago and who has been in a vegetative state ever since, has raised serious questions relating to the value of life, the meaning of death, and medical decision-making at the threshold of the two. Given that France has adopted End-of-Life laws which allows for the withdrawal of treatment in certain circumstances, it was ultimately the question of the role of different family members in the decision-making process, and the existence of conflict between them, that has thrust this case to the fore of media attention. The case was prolonged due to the disagreement between Vincent’s family: his wife and children agreed with the doctors’ decision to withdraw treatment and relied upon what they claimed to have been Vincent’s own wishes on the subject, in accordance with French law. His parents and siblings on the other hand refuted that Vincent would have wanted to stop treatment and claimed that French law violated his fundamental rights and discriminated against him on the basis of his disability. After exhausting all national courts and their case being rejected by the European Court of Human Rights, the parents had sought the intervention of the United Nations Committee on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, the French Supreme Court held at the end of June that any investigation which the Committee could carry out did not prevent the State hospital authorities from giving effect to the declaration by the national administrative court that the withdrawal of treatment was lawful.

Besides complex jurisdictional issues as to which courts should deal with this issue, this case highlights the difficulty in making medical treatment decisions for patients who are unable to communicate what their wishes would be. What role do family members play and what role should they play in identifying what the patient would want?

Professor Therese works predominantly in the areas of family and biomedical law. As the UK Representative in the International Academic Network on Bioethics, she has co-edited a number of comparative law collections in biomedical law and ethics.

Part 2 student Jess Davies & Lecturer Amanda Millmore from School of Law co-present at the Advance HE conference

Amanda Millmore(L) & Jess Davies

Following on from the success of Part 2 students presenting at the SEDA Conference in Belfast in May, another Part 2 student, Jess Davies, attended the national Advance HE Teaching & Learning Conference on 4th July 2019 in Newcastle. Jess co-presented a session about the staff-student partnership assessment design project that she had been involved in, together with Amanda Millmore from the School of Law, and fielded audience questions. Jess was able to network at the conference with academics and policy advisers and now has opportunities to enhance her CV further as a result, improving her own employability skills.

Jess had been part of a core group of 5 students working with Amanda Millmore and Dr. Annika Newnham (academics from the School of Law) this year to design assessments for a new module, which embed employability skills. These students ran focus groups with other law students, and collaborated in the design of the assessments, and the new module “Children, Families and the State” is starting in September 2019 for Final Year students with the student-designed employability skills-focused assessments. The module is already oversubscribed!

Professor Rosa Freedman honoured with University of Reading Research and Engagement Award

Professor Rosa Freedman, at the School of Law, has been recognised by the University’s Research and Engagement Impact Awards for her work in safeguarding children from sexual exploitation and abuse in conflict and crisis zones. Developing robust guidelines alongside the specialist organisation Keeping Children Safe, Dr Freedman’s work has shaped the way peacekeeping forces are recruited and trained and help ensure international standards for child safeguarding are applied worldwide.

Twelve outstanding projects were shortlisted this year and from these four winners were announced on 25 June 2019.

Professor Christopher Newdick at the School of Law also made the shortlist for his research work on Priority Setting in the NHS.

For more information on the awards, click here.

Read about Professor Rosa’s project here.

The Contemporary Challenges Facing LGBT+ Asylum Seekers: UK and Global Perspectives conference

The Contemporary Challenges Facing LGBT+ Asylum Seekers: UK and Global Perspectives conference, was held on 1 May 2019 at the University of Reading, School of Law. The conference as a whole was hosted by the Migration & Asylum Section of the Society of Legal Scholars under the auspices of GLAR, and it was sponsored by the Society of Legal Scholars and by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.

This podcast is the first panel from the conference, which was focused on UK Perspectives. It features three speakers, and was chaired by Dr Ruvi Ziegler (University of Reading), who also was the organiser of the conference.

Part 2 features the second panel, on Global Perspectives. It featured four speakers, and was chaired by Dr Ana Beduschi (University of Exeter).

Congratulations to our USSU National Mock Trial Competition team

Mikhailis Moulagiannis and Katie Stephens

Congratulations to our team of first year LLB students, Katie Stephens and Mikhailis Moulagiannis on their exceptional performance at the USSU National Mock Trial Competition, coming second. The final round was held in Kingston Crown Court in front of HHJ Sarah Plaschkes QC. The trials were based on various areas of criminal law, such as blackmail and drug dealing. Our team competed against Swansea University in a case regarding large quantities of Class A Drugs.

The teams were scored based on knowledge of the case, application of facts, advocacy skills, overall presentation and ability to adapt, and the top teams from each round went through to the next.
The competition was organised through the University of Surrey Law Society as a national competition sponsored by the University of Law.

It teaches you a lot about working as a team and how crucial attention to detail and knowing the case is” – Katie Stephens

Hague University Visit

On May 17, 2019, Dr Andrea Miglionico attended the LLM Fair at The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS). He met the Dean of the Law Faculty and the Vice-President of the European Commission and presented the wide offering of the School’s programmes to the University’s students.

2nd Year Law students at the SEDA Conference 2019

Year two students Megan Bennett and Tom Fuller presented at the SEDA Conference in Belfast (Staff & Educational Development Association) on 9th May 2019. They had been awarded a student bursary by SEDA to present our collaborative project, and they also took part in a panel answering questions from the audience. Megan and Tom , had been part of a core group of five students working with Amanda Millmore and Dr. Annika Newnham (academics from the School of Law) to design assessments for a new module, which embed employability skills. The five students in the core group were Megan and Tom, plus Jess Davies, Teresa Chew & Krissy Hiu. These students ran focus groups with other second year law students, and collaborated in the design of the assessments, and the new module Children, Families and the State is going to be running for their year group as a Final Year optional module in September 2019 with the employability skills focused assessments. The project was awarded money under the PLanT projects scheme in 2018/19.

Nuclear weapons might save the world from an asteroid strike…

but we need to change the law first.

The Conversation published an article by Professor James Green (School of Law) on law changes that are needed before nuclear weapons could realistically be used to destroy an asteroid heading for Earth, in the style of the film Armageddon.

This piece has also been covered in the Metro, Newsweek and MSN news.