Excellent Easter Research in Lincoln Law School

 

Over the Easter break, a number of academics from Lincoln Law School presented their research at high-profile conferences, at home and overseas covering such contemporary challenges as corporate failure, Brexit, regulating the use of force, and environmental issues.

Five colleagues presented at the annual conference of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA), held this year in Bristol. Dr Ngozi Okoye presented a paper on ‘Beyond Box-Ticking: Company Directors’ Skill Profiles and Creating Effective Corporate Governance’. The paper highlighted limitations in the functioning of nomination committees and argued for enhanced evaluation of directors’ soft skills. Dr Amal Ali presented on ‘The Challenge of Brexit: Highlighting Intersectional Invisibilities’ which critiqued the EU’s and the UK’s anti-discrimination laws. It found that while the EU’s anti-discrimination legislation has generally improved the UK’s equality infrastructure, it is important to acknowledge that both legal systems do little to protect the rights of those in the margins and Dr Ali gave a number of recommendations in order for the UK to improve on this post Brexit.

Max Brookman-Byrne presented his research into the language used by the Ministry of Defence in its public reports of air strikes carried out against ISIS. The paper considered the way that the person targeted is presented within each report and the implicit claims made as to their status under international law. Utilizing a law and literature lens, he explored the narratives that are built up in official documentary support of such strikes. Dr Ali Bohm spoke on ‘Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and Colonialism – asking the right questions or responding to the wrong ones?’ It described the non-communication between mainstream and critical scholars, focusing on R2P as an example.  Work critiquing R2P is often ignored in the pro-R2P literature, especially as scholarship is increasingly defined by the need to show impact and policy change.  The paper considered what role there was for critical approaches to R2P, and the extent to which meaningful debate with R2P advocates was possible.

Ben Hudson (photo attached) showcased his recent policy work on access to higher education for forced migrants in the UK. Ben spoke on the legal and practical challenges that higher education institutions face when seeking to develop and implement Sanctuary initiatives, drawing specifically on the recently published Guiding Principles on Sanctuary Scholars in UK Higher Education that he co-authored with the Helena Kennedy Foundation’s Article 26 project: http://article26.hkf.org.uk/_/uploads/Article_26_-_Guiding_Principles.pdf.

Ben Hudson at SLSA 2018 Conference

Professor Duncan French, Head of School, spoke at the annual colloquium of the Wisconsin International Law Journal, in Madison, Wisconsin. His paper explored the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals and the systemic obstacles in their implementation, noting especially the limited ecocentric underpinnings of the Goals. In discussing the need for the international community to transition to a normative and governance framework better adapted to the environmental challenges of the Anthropocene – recognising the myriad of planetary concerns, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, ocean pollution – the paper proposed a clearer, and more overt, turning to an ecological Rule of Law.

Professor Matthew Hall, the School’s Director of Research remarked that the level of activity over Easter showed a “strong, and increasingly diverse, research profile in the School, reflecting both a broad array of research topics, and engagement across a range of different academic and policy-connected areas.”

Diane Ryland at Panel of Experts Meeting in Luxembourg

Accepting an invitation from the European Court of Auditors, Diane Ryland, senior lecturer in Lincoln Law School, participated as a member of a panel of experts meeting in Luxembourg on 16 March to discuss EU farm animal welfare law and policy.
Celebrating 27 years of researching and teaching EU law, Diane paid her first visits to the Court of Justice of the EU, the European Parliament, the European Court of Auditors and the European Investment Bank. It was evident that the European Project continues to expand, demonstrated in the fourth extension to the CJEU, namely its Golden Tower and in the developments in progress to the European Parliament Buildings.
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Climate Change Litigation Workshop

The Lincoln Centre for Environmental Law and Justice recently collaborated with Warwick Law School to host a seminar in Warwick on Climate Change Litigation, with contributions from academics, practitioners and activists. Discussing recent developments in such diverse jurisdictions as Australia, South Africa, The Netherlands, UK, United States, and Norway amongst others, the seminar explored the opportunities, emerging strategies and challenges of climate change litigation.

Professor Duncan French and Professor Louis Kotze, Marie Curie fellow at Lincoln Law School, both contributed papers to the seminar.

Professor French noted that “it was a remarkably informative day – how quickly climate change litigation is being picked up in jurisdictions, challenging States and corporations. There is more to do but there is a lot of encouraging developments”.

International Animal Rights Day 10 December 2017

Research undertaken by Diane Ryland, Senior Lecturer in the Law School at the University of Lincoln, is concerned with transnational animal welfare governance in agriculture with the objective of realising in effect the fact that animals are sentient beings able to feel pain and pleasure and experience comfort and distress. Increasingly, farmed animals are recognised as sentient beings with specific welfare needs, if not rights, deserving of respect and improved protection, but the extent to which animal sentience is translated into legally binding standards adequately to ensure the welfare of animals reared in lawful intensive farming practices is questioned.

Diane’s research looks at the global governance of the welfare of food producing animals. It examines the regional / transnational farm animal welfare standards of the European Union and the welfare standards emanating from the international animal welfare standard-setter, the World Organisation for Animal Health in its Terrestrial Animal Health Code concerned with the production systems for certain species of farm animal. Animal Welfare in agriculture is a complex issue in which diverse factors coincide and diverge, for example: science, values, cultures and religion, demographics, economics, politics and trade etc.

Private individual and collective farm assurance schemes have arisen alongside these public standards, with global retail chains sourcing agricultural produce to market in an extended agri-food supply chain. The potential for private standards to go beyond and fill lacunae in the public standards presents an opportunity to raise standards of farm animal welfare and bolster demand for enhanced animal welfare agricultural produce in a global value chain.

The relationship between public and private animal welfare standards is integral to Diane’s research. This interest led to her participation in Working Group 16 meetings held at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Paris, in which International Standardization Organization (ISO) Technical Specification 34700 on animal welfare management related to the food supply chain was the subject of negotiation prior to its adoption by ISO Technical Committee 34 Food Products on 1 December 2016 [General requirements and guidance for organizations in the food supply chain, 01-12-2016 [ISO/TS 34700:2016(E)]].

Diane’s research explores the implications of standardisation and proposes a framework of soft law tools of governance facilitative of raised standards of farm animal welfare, together with suggested market instruments, for example an enhanced animal welfare label, to engender increased demand for added-value agri-produce. She is researching for a PhD (Part Time) in Hybrid Animal Welfare Governance in Agriculture in the Law School at the University of Leeds, supervised by Professor Michael Cardwell, Professor of Agricultural Law.

This research, furthermore, has prompted both a nomination and shortlisting for an innovation in agriculture award, pursuant to which the education and awareness of the welfare needs of animals during their lives and the potential prospects of alleviating animal suffering through the recommendations advanced may reach a wider audience.

Visit to China by Professor French and Dr Melling

Professor Duncan French, Head of Lincoln Law School and Dr Graham Melling, Director of LLM Programmes, have recently returned from Guangzhou, southern China on a visit to a number of partner institutions. During their stay they visited the law schools of South China Normal University (SCNU) and South China University of Technology (SCUT). As well as meeting academics and students to talk about opportunities to study at Lincoln, both Professor French and Dr Melling took a range of classes on aspects of international law. Topics included the unilateral declaration of independence of Catalonia, the US withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the legal implications of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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