Rule of Law

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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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Rule of Law & Maritime Capacity Building in Somalia: Part 2

David Hammond continues recounting his experiences as a UK representative for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and legal advisor to the European Union (EU) in Somalia for the establishment of the East African Legal Advisory Programme in support of the current EU counter-piracy programme.  

In the short period of time the EU team had in both Somaliland and Puntland, I had concentrated rounds of engagements with Ministers for Justice, Attorney Generals, Directors of Public Prosecution and Ministers of Interior and Security to name but a few. Their unified message was reflected in all of our meetings. In addition to the humanitarian assistance provided through the United Nations (UN) and other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), further expert support for government departments was required in terms of monitoring, mentoring, training and advisory roles in the maritime and counter-piracy environment. Those departments needed western legal expertise to continue with the advancement of their own domestic legislation, judicial engagement in the lawless coastal areas and development of general legal skills. Consequently, our offers of such assistance were warmly welcomed. 

31 May 2012
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Legal reform in Albania

James Dingemans QC looks at the legal profession  in Albania and the work of the Slynn Foundation there.  

On Wednesday 30 March 2011 a delegation from the Albanian National Chamber of Advocacy, (the ANCA), which is effectively the Bar Council, Bar Standards Board, Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority for Albania all rolled into one organisation, visited the offices of the Bar Council and Bar Standards Board. This article attempts to explain what they were doing there. 

30 June 2011
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Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

Osama bin Laden was killed in May in a US military operation.  As the dust in Pakistan settles, Ali Naseem Bajwa QC and  Anna Morris consider the issues raised

President Obama’s announcement on 2 May that al-Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden, had been killed in a US military operation in Pakistan was a dramatic and significant moment. The news was widely welcomed; however, once some of the facts of the operation became public, voices of disquiet began to emerge about the state killing of an unarmed person in another sovereign state and the fact that he would now never stand trial for his alleged crimes. Here we will examine those concerns and analyse some of the main issues that are engaged by the killing of bin Laden. 

30 June 2011 / Ali Naseem Bajwa
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Something in common

Commonwealth Lawyers Conference: February 2011 saw India hosting  the 17th Commonwealth Lawyers’ Conference. Nichola Higgins reports.  

Hyderabad, the sixth most populous city in India combines bustling bazaars and statuesque mosques with a major centre for the IT industry in India (earning the city the sobriquet “Cyberabad”).  In February, it played host to the 17th Commonwealth Lawyers’ Conference, during which over 700 lawyers, academics and judges descended on Hyderabad between 5th and 9th February 2011. Lawyers have much to learn from the comparative experience of other commonwealth countries and to facilitate such learning the CLA holds a biannual conference as well as regional events. 

31 May 2011
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Enemies of All Mankind

Lord Justice Sedley reviews three books on the topic of international law and piracy.  

Among the casualties of warfare during the last hundred years have been many of the rules governing the conduct of hostilities. The Hague and Geneva Conventions describe the members of warring States’ armies and militias as “lawful combatants”. The reason they contain no category of “unlawful combatant” is that no such antithesis is recognised in international law. The counterpart of the lawful combatant is the civilian, who is entitled to the ordinary protection of the law. 

01 October 2010
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Law in Action

domgreiveDavid Wurtzel meets Dominic Grieve QC MP 

While his colleagues have been emphasising how different they will be from the Labour Minister who came before them, the new Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP, prefers to see the development of the law officers’ role as “seamless”. When we met in his Victoria Street office in late July, he explained that he looked back to his Tory predecessors, Patrick Mayhew and Nicholas Lyell. 

01 October 2010
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On 18 June 2010 the Bar Council International Committee (“the International Committee”) hosted a roundtable discussion at the Bar Council’s offices on the similarities and differences between the common law concept of “the Rule of Law” and the civil law concept of “Rechtsstaat” (“legal state” or “state of law”). 

31 August 2010
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New Director at Bingham Centre

Professor Jeffrey Jowell QC has been appointed the director of the new Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, which is established within the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.

31 August 2010
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Making a connection

David Wurtzel meets Lord Justice Laws, the 2010 Master Treasurer of Inner Temple, and finds philosophy, politics and the law are closely interrelated 

30 June 2010
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Chair’s Column

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Justice at the polls

The Chair of the Bar launches a Manifesto for Justice as campaigning gets under way

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