Congratulations to Professor Mike Schmitt who was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter’s Strategy and Security Institute

On October the 27th and 29th 2020, Professor Mike Schmitt spoke at a Marshall Centre for Security Studies (Germany) virtual workshop for government officials dealing with cyber matters from throughout Europe, Africa and the Americas. His first presentation was on Sovereignty and Intervention in Cyberspace, while the second dealt with International Law and the Use of Force in Cyberspace.

Dr Ruvi Ziegler on the principle of nonrefoulement in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights

Dr Ruvi Ziegler (University of Reading School of Law) will be speaking about the principle of nonrefoulement in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights at a Goldsmiths Law and the ‘Knowing Our Rights’ project online conference on 4th November, celebrating 70 years of the European Convention of Human Rights. The conference features a wide range of human rights scholars, NGO experts and politicians, who will come together to consider the past, present and future of the Convention.

Professor Mike Schmitt on foreign cyber election interference

Professor Mike Schmitt has written a three-part article on foreign cyber election interference for the European Journal of International Law Talk series. The three parts are available to read here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:


Dr Annika Newnham and Amanda Millmore publish in the journal Teaching & Learning Together in Higher Education

Dr. Annika Newnham and Amanda Millmore from the School of Law have just had an article published in the journal Teaching & Learning Together in Higher Education, which was co-authored with 4 of their student partners – Megan Bennett, Jessica Davies, Thomas Fuller and Teresa Chew.

The article “Reflections on a Student-Staff Partnership: Collaborative Design of Module Assessments” charts their student-staff partnership when designing a new module, which is now the final year option Children, Families & the State (now in its second year).

The students designed the module’s assessments, which included them running focus groups of their fellow students. Not only did they create a more diverse range of assessments for this module, which includes an assessment which can be completed in different ways according to student preferences, but they also mapped each assessment to employability attributes making these explicit within the module. These employability attributes came out of an earlier project run in 2017/18 with stakeholders from alumni, employers, students and academics to find out which attributes were expected of a Reading Law graduate. One of the positive outcomes for students undertaking this module is that they have concrete examples of where they have displayed the various attributes from within the module, to be used in applications for jobs, placements and further study.

The student partners between them have presented this project at 3 different national conferences together with Amanda Millmore, including the high profile Advance HE Teaching & Learning Conference. Megan & Tom won a bursary to give a presentation about their work in Belfast in 2019 at the SEDA Conference. Now they have added to their own employability skills further by co-authoring a journal article.

Professor Mike Schmitt on international security law issues

In September, Professor Mike Schmitt engaged three times with members of the armed forces on international security law issues. He first addressed military legal advisers from around the world attending the Legal Aspects of Maritime Security Operations Workshop that was sponsored by the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies (DIILS). Professor Schmitt spoke on remotely-conducted offensive cyber operations into other countries, focusing on the US cyber strategy of “Defending Forward.”  DIILS is the US government agency responsible for defence cooperation and education programs for foreign military lawyers.

Professor Schmitt next addressed US Naval War College (NWC) students on the international law governing targeting during armed conflict.  NWC is a post-graduate institution that hand-picked senior US and international military officers attend to study national security matters for a year. In 1996, while serving in the United States Air Force, Professor Schmitt graduated first in his class from the institution and before joining the University of Reading he was Chairman of the NWC’s Stockton Center for International Law. Finally, Professor Schmitt returned to the subject of cyber affairs when he served as the closing speaker for NATO officers attending the International Cyber Law Seminar at NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, where he is presently a Senior Fellow. His topic was the future of international cyber law.

Professor James Green on Russia’s controversial claim to Venus

Professor James Green has been quoted numerous times by the Daily Express in its article on Russia controversial claim to Venus. Professor Green’s contribution to the article includes an explanation of how the Outer Space Treaty works: “Russia cannot claim sovereignty over Venus as a matter of international law. The Outer Space Treaty is clear, in Article 2, that ‘outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.’ Admittedly, the OST doesn’t define what a ‘celestial body’ is exactly, and there has been some debate as to whether, for example, asteroids would qualify, but there is no doubt that a planet – such as Venus – would.”

You can read the article and more on what Professor Green had to say on the subject here.

Report on the 2020 Society of Legal Scholars’ Annual Conference

Members of the School of Law were out in force at the 2020 Society of Legal Scholars’ Annual Conference, which was hosted by the University of Exeter, and took place virtually in September. The work presented by our colleagues reflect the wide variety of impactful and important research that is being undertaken across the School.

Dr Charlotte Smith gave the key note speech for the Legal History subject section. Her paper was entitled ‘Legal Biography and Religion: Some Reflections’.

Professor Paul Almond presented a paper entitled ‘Smoked Kippers and Red Herrings: ‘Euromyths’ and the UK Regulatory Environment’.

Dr Rachel Horton presented her research on ‘Assisted Dying and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.’

Dr Ruvi Ziegler was the co-convenor for the Migration & Asylum subject section, and he gave a paper on the ‘Political rights of aliens’ in the Civil Liberties & Human Rights subject section.

Professor Gerard McMeel QC gave the keynote speech at the Contract, Commercial and Consumer Law subject section. His paper was entitled ‘An English Commercial Code’, and is based on his project to restate the key principles of English commercial law.

Finally, Dr Peter Coe, who is taking over the Convenorship of the Media & Communications Law subject section from this year, gave a paper in that stream entitled ‘The Internet, social media, citizen journalism and increased access to the public sphere: a new reality for free speech or just an illusion?

Professor Chris Hilson discusses two papers at the virtual IPSA 2020 panel on climate litigation

In September 2020, Professor Chris Hilson was a discussant for two papers at the virtual IPSA 2020 panel on climate litigation, which was meant to be taking place in Lisbon, but which was reconvened and hosted virtually by the London School of Economics. The papers were interdisciplinary, across Politics, Anthropology, Law, and Geography and covered a wide range of topics within – and approaches to – climate change litigation, including misleading information, human and nature-based rights challenges, Latin America, and public participation.

Listen to Ruvi Ziegler on CBC radio talking about his EU Passport project & the new Austrian citizenship law

Ruvi was interviewed on CBC radio’s ‘As It Happens’ programme about the new changes to Austrian law enabling applications for restoration of citizenship from victims of national socialism and their descendants.

See the article in the Observer, that also references our EU passport project.

The interview is available (by clicking on ‘listen to the full episode’) between minutes 26:20-33:20.