SULCN Summer Workshop

SULCNOn Wednesday 8th June we welcomed the Scottish Universities Law Clinic Network to GCU for the 2016 SULCN Summer Workshop. As well as advisors from the Law Clinic at GCU there were representatives from the Aberdeen Law Project, The Free Legal Advice Centre at Edinburgh University, The Edinburgh Napier University Law Clinic, Robert Gordon University Law Clinic and the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic. We were also joined by Arlene McDaid, the founder of the Scottish Chapter of the Legal Hackers movement and Kapil Summan of Scottish Legal News.

Attendees had the choice of two workshops to choose from to start the afternoon, one run by Donald Nicholson OBE and the second by Rob Marrs, Head of Education at the Law Society of Scotland.

Donald Nicholson

Donald Nicholson

Donald discussed his soon to be published paper, ‘”Our Roots Began in (South) Africa”: Modelling Law Clinics to Maximise Social Justice Ends’. Many aspects of Law Clinics were discussed during the session such as the need for balancing the social justice aims of clinics with the educational focus on the participation of the student volunteers. Those in Donald’s session were split in to groups and asked to design their ideal Law Clinic and design a pitch to secure funding for this. It had participants debating whether there should be a focus on one aspect of pro bono work or whether a balancing act should be struck between multiple aspects and which was the best approach for maximising community impact. The impact clinics can have was also considered through both remedial and educational approaches. The remedial work done by Law Clinics after something has happened to a client is vitally important but just as important is the educational work done to make people more aware of the law, how it works and what their rights are. One of the best ways this can be done is through Street Law.

Rob Marrs

Rob Marrs

Street Law was the focus of the session delivered by Rob Marrs. Rob took the participants through one of the highly interactive sessions used in schools around the world based on the case of Michael Morton, a man sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife. Rob went through the evidence used in the case piece by piece, at each stage asking the participants whether that piece made them think guilty or not guilty before revealing the fascinating true story. The session, like all good street law lessons, makes the students really think about the law and improve their understanding of it’s principals and values while also encouraging the development of other skills such as critical thinking and forming logical, well presented arguments.

The workshops were followed by a plenary session at which general SULCN business was discussed and this page will be updated with the minutes of that meeting when they become available. The SULCN meeting began with the election of Malcolm Combe to the newly created post of Chairperson and this was confirmed unanimously. Malcolm has been a driving force behind SULCN since it’s inception and this is now being officially recognised. After a recap of Donald’s session for those who had been in Rob’s and vice verse future SULCN activity was discussed. The next event will be in September with the date and venue to be confirmed shortly and it was decided that GCU will host the 2017 SULCN Conference next June. This will be an excellent opportunity for us to showcase our new campus and welcome Scotland’s other law schools and members of the legal profession to GCU to discuss how Access to Justice can be achieved through pro bono services. GCU, whose motto is, ‘for the common good’ is an ideal venue for such a conference.

Our new Chair, Malcolm Combe

Our new Chair, Malcolm Combe

Finally, we heard from Arlene McDaid who has helped to organise an upcoming Legal Hackathon event in Glasgow, info for which can be found here. This event combines people from the legal sector with developers in order to come up with innovative ideas which can be used to make legal services easier to access for those who need to.

Our thanks go to everyone who attended, particularly Donald and Rob for their excellent workshops which have given the participants lots of fresh ideas for how to improve upon the already excellent work done by the organisations in SULCN.

We are already looking forward to hosting next years SULCN Conference but the following info should keep Access to Justice fans going until the next SULCN gathering.

Donald’s paper has now been published and is available from the International Journal of Clinical Legal Education.

Orla Drummond and Gráinne McKeever of the Ulster University Law Clinic published a paper entitled Access to Justice through University Law Clinics in October last year which is available here.

And finally, our new chair, Malcolm, has complied a Storify of the SULCN 2016 Summer Workshop.

The minutes from the SULCN meeting held at the end of the workshop can be downloaded here – SULCN Minutes – 8th June 2016

Networking Evening

In March the Law Clinic team were pleased to welcome representatives from some of Scotland’s leading firms and organisations to GCU for a networking evening with our LLB students. The evening was a fantastic opportunity for them to speak to professionals from:

The Evenings Guests. Photo by Joe Beaver

Ashurst; Brodies; BTO; CMS; COPFS; Katani & Co; Livingstone Brown; MacRoberts; McCluskey Browne; McLean & Stewart; North Ayrshire Council; North Lanarkshire Council; Peacock Johnston; SCRA; SYLA and  Whyte & Mackay.

Most of the organisations represented are now employers of GCU Law graduates and our students were extremely grateful to all our guests who gave up their evening to speak about their careers in law and the many, varied opportunities open to students studying law.

There was a real mix among the guests in both the sectors they worked in and the roles they perform. Being able to hear from experienced solicitors and trainees about their experiences in the profession, securing jobs within it and the lessons they learned during the job hunt was invaluable for our students about to embark on the same journey. We were also fortunate to have HR Partners join us and their tips on the application and interview process as well as what specific attributes their firms look for were very well received! Being able to have this interaction in a one to one conversation rather than across a stall at a packed careers fayre was a fantastic opportunity for the students. Our Academic Director Claire McFadzean was delighted by the turnout of employers, GCU graduates and students. “There is a real focus at GCU on the employability skills of our students. This is a key focus in the Law Clinic and on the modules ‘Skills for Legal Employment’ and ‘Professional Links’. It is vitally important in this competitive legal market that our students have well developed skills in client care, interviewing, negotiating and legal letter writing. This networking event has allowed our law students to discuss their skill set and experience with professionals in the industry and allowed them to leave with greater knowledge on how to best move forward in developing and improving their CV.

GCU Graduates

GCU Graduates

 

As well as welcoming guests from so many prestigious firms and organisations we were very happy to welcome back among them a large number of GCU graduates. Seeing what they have gone on to achieve in their careers was fantastic for our current students and gave them a real sense of what is possible for them. Seeing how well they are doing speaks volumes about the LLB at GCU as does the fact that these former students were willing to return and spend the evening giving back to the current law students at GCU, Indeed, Hazel Langan, one of our LLB graduates is now a Partner at McLean & Stewart.

 

 

The broad range of career paths showcased on the night included both traditional careers in law and roles that students may not initially have considered when beginning their legal education. Guests on the night came from a wide variety of roles within the profession including among others, a Partner in a high street firm, a Procurator Fiscal and in-house solicitors with local authorities and drinks giant Whyte & Mackay. New legal careers such as the Legal Technologist role pioneered by Ashurst were highlighted along with the opportunities afforded by this role such as working abroad in one of their many international offices. Representatives were also present from the Scottish Young Lawyers Association, membership of which provides many benefits to those beginning their legal careers, even at the university stage. Our Student Director Ian Laing spoke of the benefits of membership of SYLA and said, “At the beginning of May I was able to attend a talk given by a former lawyer of both FIFA and FC Barcelona free of charge courtesy of SYLA.” For students looking to further their studies there were guests who have embarked upon Masters degrees and Doctorates in law to talk about their experiences in academia beyond the LLB.

The night was styled as a ‘Speed Networking Evening’ and used a speed dating format to make sure that all of our students got the chance to speak to each of the guests. Every five minutes a bell would ring and the students would move on to the next table. The event ended up running over time with people slow to move on when the bell rang but this was due to everyone enjoying the evening and nobody was in a rush to wrap it up at the end. This showed how much of a success the event was from the point of view of the students who all thoroughly enjoyed it and also highlighted how generous the guests were with their time. They had all come from work, some from Edinburgh and Dunblane, to the event yet nobody was desperate to leave. We are incredibly grateful to all the guests who joined us and helped to inform and inspire the next generation of the legal profession in Scotland.

Ian and Ryan with Greg Scott from Ashurst and Ryan Watson from Livingstone Brown (both GCU Graduates)

Ian and Ryan with Greg Scott from Ashurst and Ryan Watson from Livingstone Brown (both GCU Graduates)

Our students found the evening both thought provoking and insightful having been able to make connections with people in a variety of different areas of law. Student Director Ian and Media Manager Ryan Bell contrasted the evening with other events they have attended with Ryan saying, “I really enjoyed the format. It was something very different to the usual networking events where there can be awkward ends to conversations as you run out of things to say. The five minutes was perfect and left you with things to go back and speak to people about afterwards.” Ian commented, “Ryan and I recently attended an event where we had been invited as finalists in the Scottish Legal Awards. We saw that circles quickly formed in the room and it didn’t give you a chance to speak to everyone so we wanted to do something which would give the students this opportunity. Speaking to my fellow students we would all be keen to come back and take part in this event in the future once we have begun our own careers.”

We would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to all who attended, both invited guests and students for what we hope is the first annual GCU Law Clinic Speed Networking Evening. Thanks must also go to Patrick Ring who helped with the organisation of the evening and especially to James Connolly and Andrew Tickell, lecturers in Law at GCU for footing the bill for the wine. Everyone definitely appreciated that!

A full gallery of pictures from the event taken by Joe Beaver on behalf of GCU Visual can be found here.

 

 

 

 

SULCN Workshop at GCU

On 8th June we will be welcoming members of the Scottish University Law Clinic Network to GCU. The afternoon will run from 2-5pm and attendees will have the choice of one of two workshops before an hours general discussion. Following this all are welcome to join us at the pub! The timetable for the afternoon is below and anyone interested in attending can register here. Anyone registering for Workshop A will have the paper emailed to them in advance of the session.

13:30-14:00 – Arrivals & Refreshments

14:00-16:00 – Parallel Session

Workshop A –Donald Nicholson OBE of Strathclyde University will lead a discussion of his yet to be published paper examining choices to make when designing clinics to maximise community impact. The paper will be made available beforehand.

Workshop B – Rob Marrs, Senior Policy and Development Manager at the Law Society of Scotland will host a workshop on Street Law. This is a concept used worldwide and it utilises highly-participatory, law-focused lessons to educate people about their rights and the legal process.

16:00-17:00 – Plenary Session. General SULCN business. The agenda for this can be found below along with the minutes from the previous meeting.

 

Agenda – 8th June 2016

Minutes – 2nd April 2015

Further information on the SULCN event held in June last year at the University of Aberdeen provided by Malcolm Combe can be found in his Storify of the event and follow up piece in The Journal.

 

 

 

 

 

OUR REVIEW OF THE WEEK IN LAW (25/4/16-29/4/16

GCU lawIt’s been a while since we’ve had one of these posts up but dissertation deadlines, coursework and exams have all gotten in the way.

FAMILIES OF HILLSBOROUGH VICTIMS TO SUE POLICE

The families of the victims of the Hillsborough tragedy are planning to launch a multimillion-pound claim against two police forces following this week’s decision that the 96 victims were unlawfully killed. James Saunders of Saunders Law, on behalf of the victims, spoke of evidence of a systematic cover-up intended to shift the blame away from the police. His colleague Nia Williams said the action was, “for accountability, not damages”, for the families who have been suffering since 1989.

Read more at: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/apr/28/hillsborough-families-to-sue-police-for-abuse-on-industrial-scale

More on the inquest and the fight for justice can be found in the excellent work of David Conn (@David_Conn) and can be read here.

EU REFERENDUM DEMYSTIFIED BY FREE E-BOOK WRITTEN BY ACADEMICS

Produced by The Hunter Foundation in partnership with a host of the UK’s leading European scholars a free eBook entitled Britain’s Decision – Facts and Impartial Analysis has identified 19 key questions. It attempts to offer impartial analysis of these 19 issues and Sir Tom Hunter hopes that it will allow voters to make up their own mind about the huge decision ahead.

Read more at: http://www.scottishlegal.com/2016/04/28/academics-produce-free-e-book-demystifying-eu-referendum/

The E-Book is available for download here

BRITON’S ABROAD LOSE HIGH COURT BID TO VOTE IN THE EU REFERENDUM

A challenge brought by two Britons living abroad, one in Italy and the other in Belgium who wanted to have their say in the forthcoming referendum have had their bid denied. It is estimated two million Britons living elsewhere within the EU will not be able to take part in the referendum. Aidan O’Neill QC who represented the expats said that in the event of a victory for the Leave campaign British expats would no longer be EU citizens, meaning that their rights to live, work and receive health care free at the point of use will be in jeopardy. James Eadie QC, representing the government argued that had the challenge been successful then it would be impossible for the referendum to take place as planned on 23 June.

Read more at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36159009

PROBLEMS WITH NEW JUDICIAL POWERS IN SCOTLAND

Former GCU Law lecturer Chris McCorkindale (@chrismccork) has written a piece examining issues with the expansion of judicial power resulting from devolution. These powers carry significant constitutional implications yet have not been the subject of any serious scrutiny. Chris breaks down the implications in an excellent piece for the Judicial Power Project.

Read the piece in full at: http://judicialpowerproject.org.uk/the-new-powers-of-the-judiciary-in-scotland/

NOMINEES FOR THE NEXT UK JUDGE AT THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS

The nominees for the next UK judge at the ECHR have been revealed. Tim Eicke QC has appeared at the Supreme Court numerous times instructed by both claimants and the government. He has been a QC since 2011. Jessica Simor QC has also appeared for both claimants and the government and recently represented pro-privacy groups at the European Court of Justice against the UK government in a surveillance case.  Finally, Murray Hunt, a founder of Matrix Chambers and visiting lecturer at Oxford University who also advises parliaments joint committee on human rights.

Read more on the nominees and the post at the ECHR at: http://www.theguardian.com/law/2016/apr/28/uk-nominees-for-judge-at-european-court-of-human-rights-revealed

CAN THERESA MAY LEAVE THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS?

For anyone with a spare ten minutes GCU Law lecturer Nick McKerrell (@DrNikLaw) has recorded an excellent podcast on the European Convention on Human Rights and whether Theresa May can remove us from it.

The podcast can be found here: https://www.spreaker.com/user/drnickmck/what-is-law-can-teresa-may-leave-the-eur

TRIAL HALTED SO JUDGE CAN FIND OUT WHO ONE DIRECTION ARE

Three defendants accused of selling counterfeit One Direction merchandise had proceedings against them halted while the judge, Ian Lawrie QC, had to ask their barrister who the boyband are.

Read more at: http://www.legalcheek.com/2016/04/one-direction-judge-halts-trial-because-he-has-no-idea-who-boyband-is/

OUR REVIEW OF THE WEEK IN LAW (21/3/16-25/3/16)

GCU lawIt’s been a busy week in the law clinic as in addition to our client workload we ran a Speed Networking evening in the university on Tuesday and attended the Scottish Legal Awards last night. We were nominated in the Pro Bono category and made it all the way to the final four. Unfortunately we didn’t win but there’s always next year and there will be posts up soon on both events. Anyway, these are the legal stories which caught our volunteers attention this week.

Hulk Hogan Wins Damages Case Against Gawker

Last week’s review linked to the Hulk Hogan v Gawker showdown in the US Courts. The decision was reached this week and The Hulkster will be very happy with the result! He has been awarded $115m in damages and the size of the award has led to questions regarding the impact it will have across the publishing industry and also on the future of Gawker.

Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/19/business/media/gawker-hulk-hogan-verdict.html?_r=0

 

Call For Worldwide Decriminalisation Of Drugs

Medical experts believe that current drug policies are leading to deaths, violence, the spread of disease and in addition harm both health and human rights. Should drug use be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal one?

Read more at: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/24/medical-experts-call-for-global-drug-decriminalisation

 

Faculty of Advocates Pro Bono Scheme Praised

Mr Justice Langstaff has praised the Faculty of Advocates for a scheme which helps claimants at hearings of the Employment Appeal Tribunal. For people without legal experience to appear on their own behalf can be a frightening prospect so the assistance of the Faculty in addressing this unmet legal need is of massive benefit.

Read more at: http://www.scottishlegal.com/2016/03/24/senior-judge-praises-facultys-pro-bono-scheme/

 

Who Regulates The Robot Lawyers

An artificial intelligence designed by a 19 year old student is estimated to have save people £2m and rising in parking fines. The site which provides legal advice is not regulated by a legal regulatory body so who actually oversees it if it goes wrong?

Read more at: http://www.legalcheek.com/lc-journal-posts/compliance-and-the-robot-lawyer-what-happens-when-it-all-goes-wrong/

OUR REVIEW OF THE WEEK IN LAW (14/3/16 TO 18/3/16)

GCU lawThree and Four Year Olds Able To Represent Themselves In Court?

A senior immigration judge in the United States argued this week that 3 and 4 year old children can be taught to understand immigration law and subsequently represent themselves in court.  This claim comes as an argument rages in the U.S. over whether or not migrants are entitled to tax-payer funded legal representation.  However, despite reiterating this claim, he was derided by legal and child-psychology experts with the later in particular noting that child development at the ages of 3 and 4 is lacking the logical reasoning required to represent oneself in court.

Read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/can-a-3-year-old-represent-herself-in-immigration-court-this-judge-thinks-so/2016/03/03/5be59a32-db25-11e5-925f-1d10062cc82d_story.html

 

Right to Die Law To Be Voted on in Belgium

In European news, Belgian lawmakers will vote on a controversial right to die law in which Doctors will be given seven days to approve or reject any person’s petition for the right to die or to pass it on to another doctor if required. The proposed law was introduced by the socialist opposition party in Belgium and is interesting because it also includes healthy people who wish to die. Owing to Belgium’s liberal stance on euthanasia laws, the law is receiving support from the majority of Government and is likely to succeed.

Read more at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3491951/Belgian-lawmakers-vote-world-s-death-demand-law-mean-no-doctor-stop-patient-wants-die.html

 

“Mhairi Black: Westminster is worse than I feared” – video interview:

The UK’s youngest serving MP, Mhairi Black, discusses her experiences with columnist and political author, Owen Jones. Black talks barriers to politics, and what she feels is the antiquated Westminster ‘old boys club’. She feels that they are “excluded from reality”, allowing tradition to rule over reason. Jones questions the impact of the Scottish referendum on the Scottish electorate and Black herself, to which she praises the now highly educated and politically engaged population. Finally, she discusses the changing attitudes toward the Labour party in Scotland, and why she feels that this occurred.

To see the full interview, please follow this link:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2016/mar/17/mhairi-black-owen-jones-video-interview

 

“What the 2016 Budget Means for You” – Miles Brignall

A quick-fire guide to what the 2016 Budget could mean for you, your family, and your future.

Link: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/mar/16/budget-2016-what-it-means-for-you

 

Time for the Legal Profession to Fully Embrace Technoloy?

The legal profession is one which can be seen as stuffy and old fashioned. There is also a sense that lawyers spend so much time learning how things are that they are resistant to change. There are a number of start-ups which are aiming to change this and bring some innovation. In a shrinking market with improving competition a number of firms are attempting to position themselves at the forefront of legaltech.

Read more at: http://techcrunch.com/2016/03/17/is-legal-tech-catching-up-to-fintech/

 

Guy Ritchie and Madonna’s Custody Fight Hits the Headlines

Guy Ritchie has sought advice from Fathers4Justice in his fight with Madonna over custody of their son Rocco. He felt the need to do this in order to get a ‘jargon-free rundown’ of his parental rights.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3498149/Guy-Ritchie-turns-Fathers4Justice-advice-custody-fight-Madonna-15-year-old-son-Rocco.html#ixzz43EyEJmrv

 

Hulk Hogan in Court Claiming Damages For Publication of a Sex Tape

Wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan has been attempting to sue the website Gawker for millions of dollars after they posted a video he featured in online. This trial is on-going but has already seen a number of bizarre claims. The New York Times has done an excellent job of going behind the headline grabbing claims to examine the legal issues in what could turn into a pivotal case in internet law.

Read more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/18/business/media/hulk-hogan-v-gawker-a-guide-to-the-trial-for-the-perplexed.html?_r=0

 

OUR REVIEW OF THE WEEK IN LAW (7/3/16 TO 11/3/16)

GCU lawThese are the legal stories which caught our volunteers eyes this week. We’re in the process of getting some original pieces together on the big stories put up on here to follow on from our podcast series last year but until now here are our legal highlights of the week.

Should Schools Ban Tackling In Rugby?

There have been calls for a ban on tackling in rugby at school level backed by a group of more than 70 doctors and sporting experts who have sent a letter to government ministers. The risk of brain injuries caused by head trauma has been a major concern to World Rugby whose Chief Medical Officer has conceded a rule change may be required. At the moment the responsibility for the decision lies with the schools but this is shaping up to be a very contentious debate.

 Read more at: http://www.burnesspaull.com/blog/2016/03/should-schools-ban-tackling-rugby

 Court of Appeal Overturns Prison Smoking Ban

The Government has successfully applied for the ban on smoking in prisons to be overturned. The ban on smoking in public places does not apply to state prisons and other crown premises in England and Wales according to the appeal court.

 Read more at: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/08/prison-smoking-ban-overturned-by-court-of-appeal

Reform to UK Finance Law

Provisions in UK finance law are being expanded to include rogue bankers who will now face lengthy prison terms if they are found guilty of ‘reckless misconduct’ in the course of their business.  The new Certification Regime and Conduct Rules will hold bankers accountable at an individual level. Furthermore, the existing provisions known as ‘Senior Managers and Certification Regime’ have been extended to include all sectors of the financial services industry.  These developments have been in place since Monday the 7th March 2016.  Chancellor George Osbourne is hopeful that these tougher provisions will avoid the financial crises experienced in recent years and to ensure that the banking sector performs to an adequate standard.

Read More at: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/senior-managers-regime-george-osbornes-new-legislation-jail-failing-bankers-1547930

Legal Aid Granted for Private Prosecution in the Glasgow Bin Lorry Crash

The relatives of the victims of the Glasgow bin lorry crash have been granted legal aid after seeking a private prosecution against Harry Clarke, the driver of the bin lorry.

The Crown Office refused to charge Clarke, who fainted at the wheel, for the deaths of the six pedestrians, despite a fatal accident inquiry finding that he had lied about his medical history. Erin McQuade and her grandparents, Jack and Lorraine Sweeney, the relatives of the three victims of the Christmas 2014 crash, are seeking the prosecution against Clarke and have now applied directly to the high court for permission to stage the case.

The Scottish government’s justice secretary, Michael Matheson, said legal aid would also be granted to Clarke and to William Payne, who is facing a similar prosecution by relatives of the victims involved in a similar incident in Glasgow city centre in 2010. Matheson said the case can go ahead as it “raises fundamental questions that have not previously been tested in case law.”

Read more at: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/mar/09/glasgow-bin-lorry-crash-legal-aid

 However, there has been criticism from people who believe the prosecution should not go ahead, particularly privately.  Judges will decide on this within the next week. GCU lecturer in law Andrew Tickell goes behind the headlines with his analysis at http://lallandspeatworrier.blogspot.co.uk/

Demand for Pro Bono Work has Almost Doubled since Cuts to Legal Aid

The number of applications the Bar Pro Bono Unit receives for legal assistance has almost doubled since widespread cuts to civil legal aid was introduced three years ago.

The Justice Secretary, Michael Gove, endorsed pro bono legal work in his first policy, proposing that the UK’s “two-nation” justice system can be improved by persuading “those who have benefited financially from our legal culture … to invest in its roots”.

Increasing demand for free legal representation and advice has applied serious pressures on legal aid charities and the goodwill of barristers and solicitors.

Over 3,600 barristers have committed themselves to helping desperate claimants. Jess Campbell, the unit’s chief executive, said: “We are seeing a 30% increase in applications year on year. The bar has always supported pro bono work and giving unbilled hours. It’s in the nature of the profession to do it.” Approximately 90% of the unit’s funding comes from the bar, chambers and individual barristers.

Legal professionals warn that pro bono work is not there to fill any legal aid gap.

Read more at: http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/sep/13/demand-for-free-help-almost-doubles-since-cuts-to-legal-aid

Online Court proposed to resolve claims of up to £25,000

The Civil Justice council has called for an internet-based dispute resolutions system to be implemented within the next two years. The official body that overlooks the Civil Courts has recommended that the UK Justice system should adapt to the shifting patterns of the so called ‘digital age’ with the introduction of an online court system to widen access to justice and resolve claims of up to £25,000. Low-value civil court cases in England and Wales could be dealt with by online disputes which would similar to that already used by eBay.                                                                               The report’s principle author, Professor Richard Susskind, said that ‘’The current system is too costly, too complex and too slow, especially for litigants in person’’. The online dispute resolution (ODR) model proposes a three-tier process: the evaluation through interactive services and information, discussion between online ‘’facilitators’’ and finally, if no agreement has been reached, then a resolution would be achieved by a trained judge relying on electronic submissions. If it was felt necessary, then a telephone hearings system could also be built in the final stage of the system. Only the judge would have to be legally qualified and rulings by the ‘’online judge’’ would be as enforceable as any traditional courtroom judgment.

Read more into the issue at: http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/feb/16/online-court-proposed-to-resolve-claims-of-up-to-25000

Judge challenges government over legal representation for vulnerable people

Mr Justice Charles, a senior high court judge, has challenged the government to provide legal assistance and representation for vulnerable people as a backlog of safeguards cases that cannot be tried builds up in the court of protection. The ruling, if applied, will halt the advancement of thousands of sensitive requests a year most commonly involving those with dementia, Alzheimer’s or learning disabilities who need some sort of treatment involving some loss of liberty. The judgement comes as a result of the most recent confrontation in the debate between the legal profession and ministers over how much money should be spent on the justice system in a time of real difficulty.

Read more at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/mar/10/judge-challenges-government-over-legal-representation-for-vulnerable-people

Our Review Of The Week In Law (29/2/16 to 4/3/16)

GCU lawThese are the legal stories that caught our eye last week and this will be the first of a series of weekly posts where we’ll round up the week in law as seen by our volunteers.

Divorce to move online by 2017?

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, has recently told barristers that certain court proceedings, such as divorce, could be “digitised” as soon as 2017. Citing increasing amounts of litigants and a necessity for the law to improve, online divorce proceedings amongst other standardised court procedures could become the norm for the majority of litigants seeking such services.

This type of standardised and streamlined service could provide relief to both those seeking an immediate legal action and courts struggling through a backlog of litigants and cases. However, the question remains whether or not an emotionally muddled action like a divorce could be done through something as simple as a questionnaire?

Read more at: http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/divorce-to-move-online-in-2017-says-munby/5053929.article

On that same theme an app created by a Canadian Law Graduate that aims to simplify the divorce procedure is preparing for a UK release.  The app, called Thistoo, aims to speed up the process by offering automated completion of relevant documents in cases where couples are self-representing.  It also offers a database of previous decisions to give an idea of the outcome of the case. It is hoped that access to this software will save time and money and alleviate some of the strain of an otherwise stressful time. However, critics argue that the provision of legal services in this method detracts from the personal approach that is required during such proceedings and is unlikely to make much of an impact in changing the methods of providing these services.

Read more at: http://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/55791

New Snoopers Charter

Hours after more than 100 MP’s lodged an objection to the snoopers charter, Theresa May brought the bill before parliament and the second reading is due 14th of April.  Argued that such a rapid turnaround shows contempt for privacy and may have serious implications on Human Rights.

Read more at: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/01/proposed-snoopers-charter-shows-governments-contempt-for-privacy

Changes to Vicarious Liability

Two significant decisions which will impact vicarious liability

Cox v MoJ (https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2014-0089-judgment.pdf)(English Case but will likely be followed) Vicarious liability extended beyond the contract of employment to inmates in a prison

Mohamud v Morrisons  (https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2014-0087-judgment.pdf) (Also English) – Assualts by employees are covered by the doctrine, where normally they wouldn’t be as it isn’t within the scope of duties.

Read more at: http://www.legalcheek.com/2016/03/todays-supreme-court-vicarious-liability-decision-to-hit-law-syllabuses/

 

Employment Law Workshop

Barry Nichol

Barry Nichol

On Monday 14th December some of the clinic team had the chance to take part in an employment law workshop run for us on the topic of Disability Discrimination and Reasonable Adjustments in the Workplace.

Mandy Armstrong

Mandy Armstrong

Barry Nichol and Mandy Armstrong from the employment law team at Anderson Strathern donated the session free of charge to the law clinic and all of our advisers who took part really enjoyed the morning. Disability discrimination is an area we have had enquiries about in the past and so to be able to hear from two experienced practitioners currently working in that field on how to handle the cases was a great opportunity. Both were excellent speakers and laid out brilliantly for the team the main areas of the law, important cases and talked us through how to manage a case from start to finish.

Everyone who was in the session felt they took a lot away from it and we are extremely grateful to Barry and Mandy for giving up their time to come through from Edinburgh and speak to us.

We are constantly trying to improve our service and this will hopefully be the first of many sessions with firms and organisations to ensure the advisers in the clinic are able to take on a varied range of cases and get the desired result for our clients.

The Clinic Advisers

The Clinic Advisers

Street Law On Buchanan Street

The Team Setting Up

The Team Setting Up

On Wednesday 9th December the team spent the day on Buchanan Street advertising our services to Glasgow’s public. It was a good opportunity for us to raise our profile in the community and showcase the services that we offer.

We have a huge resource of legal knowledge amongst our LLB students and the Law Clinic is a way for them to put what they learn on the law programme into practice. Claire McFadzean (Academic Director) says “The work of the Law Clinic aligns perfectly with our goal to be the University for the Common Good. I am very proud of our LLB students and how they positively impact our local community.” Ian Laing (Student Director) says that “our student advisers make a huge difference to people’s lives with the assistance that they provide through advising members of the public. “

Patricia Taylor (Operations Manager (The Law Clinic)) “Having a stall on Buchanan Street as Glasgow’s shops are entering their busiest period will allow us to promote the Law Clinic to a huge number of people and with recent changes in consumer law it means people may be unsure of their rights”.

Our Advisers At Work

Our Advisers At Work

 

Due to our location on the GCU campus right in the heart of Glasgow City Centre, directly opposite Buchanan Bus Station and just a short walk from Queen Street and Glasgow Central stations we are ideally placed for people requiring help.

This will be the first of many promotional events the Law Clinic undertakes. We are hoping to run a similar event elsewhere in Glasgow around spring time and make it a regular feature in our calendar.