Human Rights

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Same Sex Marriage

What’s In a Name?

Hassan Khan and Claire Fox argue the case for same sex marriage 

The government’s proposals

In March 2012 the government published its consultation paper on equal civil marriage. The proposal is simple: same sex couples will, like opposite sex couples, be allowed to marry one another in a civil ceremony. Marriages solemnised through religious ceremony and on religious premises will only be legal between a man and a woman. The government is committed to these reforms and seeks views on how equal civil marriage should be implemented. The government’s response to the consultation is expected towards the end of 2012. 

31 August 2012
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Death Row in Uganda

When Graeme Hall was asked to coordinate a project on death row in Uganda, he expected the prisons to be desperately depressing places. Little did he realise that the court room could be just as bad.  

In 2011, I was extremely fortunate to be selected by the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies (CCPS) to become the coordinator for a project on death row in Kampala, Uganda. CCPS is an NGO and research department within Westminster Law School which undertakes numerous pioneering activities globally in support of moves to abolish the death penalty. During six months in Uganda, I started a project which aims to increase the capacity of Ugandan defence lawyers representing those charged with capital offences (known as ‘state briefs’). This article offers a flavour of my experiences in a country whose immense beauty is mired by a brutal and bloody recent past, and whose justice system remains shackled by antiquated colonial laws, practices and prejudices. 

31 July 2012
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Barefoot Lawyer


Barristers are invited to take part in a barefoot campaign as an act of solidarity with lawyers imprisoned or murdered simply for carrying out their professional duty.  On 12 November – Barefoot Lawyer Day – they are asked to join with legal professionals across the world, take off their shoes and socks, take a photo of themselves as barefooted lawyers and post it on twitter @tweetlawfeet or a facebook page of the same name. They can also support the petition at

30 June 2012
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Making a difference

Lucy Perman explains the work of theatre company Clean Break. 

Clean Break uses theatre to change the lives of women offenders. We were founded 33 years ago by two women in prison at HMP Askham Grange in Yorkshire and today we have grown to become a critically acclaimed theatre company, commissioning and producing plays by some of the UK’s best female playwrights on the theme of women, crime and justice; and providing high-quality theatre-based courses, qualifications, training opportunities and specialist support which are critical for the rehabilitation of women offenders. 

31 May 2012
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An Interview With...Senator David Coltart

Graham Howard recounts his recent interview in Zimbabwe with the country’s minister of Education, Sport and Culture, Senator David Coltart.  

“Zimbabwe’s economy, although still in poor shape, has stabilised - inflation is down to below 4% and the economy grew 9% last year. Schools and hospitals are open again and life is gradually improving. Human rights abuses have lessened dramatically.” 

Senator David Coltart. 

29 February 2012
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Global Friendship - The buddy scheme at work in Zimbabwe

Chairman of the Young Barristers’ Committee David Nicholls and  James Evans of the COMBAR Africa Committee report on their visit  to the Law Society of Zimbabwe’s Summer School in Nyanga.  

When I was asked by the previous Chairman of the Young Barristers’ Committee if I would like to visit Zimbabwe in order to launch the Buddying Scheme that has been set up by the Bar Council and the Law Society of Zimbabwe (“LSZ”), my first reaction was one of complete horror. For over 10 years, the only news from Zimbabwe has been dire: political and racial violence, endemic corruption, hyper-inflation and rigged elections have emptied the bread basket of Africa. 

29 February 2012
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Justice Without Politics?

John Cammegh looks at the the Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal and asks: Reconciliation - or revenge?  

The development of international criminal tribunals over the last 20 years owes much to the maxim “No Peace Without Justice”. But there can be no peace without a winner: it is the winner’s privilege both to dispense the justice and write the history in the aftermath of any conflict. 

31 January 2012
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The Special Tribunal for Lebanon

Iain Morley QC looks at the Special Tribunal and how it is helping end political assassination in Lebanon.  

On 14 February 2005, at 12.55hrs, in downtown Beirut, the largest-ever bomb in peacetime was detonated as the motorcade of Rafiq Bahaa El Din Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, passed at speed. It killed Hariri, eight members of his convoy, 13 members of the public, and injured 231 others. The explosion was so large it created a 10m crater and an atomic-style mushroom plume. 

31 January 2012
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The Silent Voices…

When will immunity end for the human right violators? Sumon Akter investigates the situation in Nepal.  

The internal conflict in Nepal saw many Nepalese fall victim to the cruelty of those who are there to protect their rights and interests, as well as those claiming to fight for their rights. In 1996, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) declared a “people’s war” against the “ruling classes”, which included the monarchy and the political parties. During this decade-long war the Maoist and the security forces committed acts of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other human rights abuses. 

31 January 2012
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Film Review - Not My Life

Child trafficking continues. Felicity Gerry reviews “Not My Life”, a film exposing this brutal world and hoping to bring about change. 

Not My Life is a brutal documentary about modern day slavery. It exposes the reality of human trafficking across continents, asks why such activities take place and what can be done. The international premiere took place at Curzon Mayfair on Thursday 20th October 2011 and the full documentary was shown on CNN International without ad breaks over the following weekend. Oscar-nominated director Robert Bilheimer hopes that the film can be a catalyst for change, putting the plight of the world’s youth in the forefront of the public consciousness. 

31 December 2011
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Chair’s Column

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Earnings, reform and engagement

The new Bar Council earnings report presents a collective challenge for the self-employed Bar, remote hearings are changing and Bar Conference is back next month

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