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Interested in Environmental Law? Don’t miss the PIEL Conference

Established in 2007, PIEL UK is not-for-profit organisation run by students from throughout the University of London. PIEL UK organises an annual conference on a burning topic in Environmental Law.

This year's Conference, 'Satisfying Consumption: Trade and the Environment' will be focused on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (TTIP) being negotiated between the US and the EU.

It will also explore the role of corporations and trade networks in causing, but also managing, a range of environmental problems, from excessive waste to deforestation and climate change.We endorse a interdisciplinary approach, welcoming activists, academics and practising lawyers from a range of fields. The full-day event typically attracts around 200 students, academics and practitioners, and is realised entirely through the sponsorship of Universities, NGOs and law firms. This is a highly-affordable full-day event which offers great opportunities to find out about environmental law and to network. We are delighted to have City Law School as our official partner this year.

Where: Cass Business School
When: Thursday 9th April, 9am – 6pm
Screenshot 2015-03-27 22.32.12

Tickets: Book online

Student - £5
Low Income - £15
NGO - £20
Professional - £30.

Includes vegetarian lunch and wine reception.

Speakers include Emanuel Adam (BritishAmerican Business), Amelia Womack (Deputy Leader of the Green Party), Alan Bates (Monckton Chambers), Nicholas de Sadeleer (University of St. Louis, Brussels) and Tom Burke CBE (former government adviser and founder of Third Generation Environmentalism).

For further information see the full-size flyer, PIEL website, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.


City Scholars Moot Final at the Supreme Court

Monday 16th March saw four City students battle it out in front of His Honour Judge Donald Cryan in the amazing surroundings of the UK Supreme Court.

Judge Cryan is a Circuit Judge and also sits as a judge of the High Court Family Division. He is a Bencher of the Inner Temple and Chair of the Institute of Family Law Arbitrators Advisory Committee.

This was the Final of the City Scholars Moot, open to all LLB and Graduate Entry LLB students at City - the problem revolved around obligations and variation of contracts. Essentially what happens when builders promise to complete work on time but fail to do so and only complete the job when more money offered to do the same work.

Appellants were undergraduate students, Jamie Popat (third year) and Abubakr Karimabadi (second year) and Respondents were first year students on the Graduate Entry programme, Kahroba Kojouri and Alex Battick.

Jamie, Abubakr, Judge Cryan, Jason and Kahroba

Jamie, Abubakr, Judge Cryan, Jason and Kahroba

Judge Cryan permitted the appeal on both grounds, awarding modest damages of £750. He was impressed by all the mooters, making comments like this:

Of Jamie: "A calm, well-argued case - very impressed by the way you dealt with my questions.."

Of Kahroba: "Projected amiably - confident in face of testing questions. Admirable how unfazed you were in dealing with authorities outside of your bundle..."

Of Alex: "..Will make a good advocate. You responded well to questioning and were appropriately confident and clear in your responses"

Judge Cryan picked out the "impressively calm and mature presentation" of Abubakr, choosing him as the winner on the night, before all finalists joined him for a celebratory dinner at the RAC club on Pall Mall. Judge Cryan noted Abubakr's well structured argument and his use of authorities "citing just the right parts at appropriate length in response to the court's questions". Kahroba was the runner-up on the evening.

Kahroba and Jason getting in the zone!

Kahroba and Jason getting in the zone!

Abubakr and Jamie preparing

Abubakr and Jamie preparing

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How to complete your Gateway application forms: Panel Event

Reserved for Georgina, Gary, Morayo, Michael and Paul!

Soon to be filled!

The Pupillage Advisory Service will be running their annual panel event on Wednesday 18th March 2015.

Georgina Wolfe (5 Essex Court and author of 'path to pupillage') has been asked to talk about how to answer the 'why barrister' 'why you?' etc questions on the form (content) and what they will be looking for in a pupil.

Gary Lidington (11 Stone Buildings ) will be talking about technique (how to complete the form) and what they are looking for in a Pupil

Morayo Fagborun Bennett (Harwicke) will be speaking about how to demonstrate commercial awareness on the form specifically; (ability to relate to lay and professional clients, ability to attract and retain work, ambition to build a successful practice and business, understanding the need to work in a team with the solicitor and lay client)

Michael Edmonds from 9 Bedford Row will be talking about what they are looking for in a Criminal Set and how to ensure that applicants demonstrate to Criminal Sets the current issues around Crime and Criminal Practice.

Paul Skinner from Henderson Chambers will talk to you about how to tailor your form to Common Law sets and what they are looking for in a Pupil.

A Question and Answer session and drinks reception will follow....

Sign up via Eventbrite.


The City Law School Networking evening – Adrianna Wit

Hanging on every word!

Hanging on every word!

If you ever wondered what would happen if you mix law, networking and bingo, the City Law School Alumni Networking Event held on 3rd of March was the best way to find out! Over 40 alumni gathered together in the law common room to share their graduation afterlife with current students.

Networking receptions are part of the fabric of student life. Usually the formula of such events is pretty standard. This time however, City's Careers and Development team decided to change it by introducing the networking game, which was the core theme of the reception. Thus the well-known game of bingo became a thread of communication between the alumni and the students and in many situations helped to break the ice.

Every student was provided with a bingo card containing 20 fun facts from the bio of the guests. If you ever wondered which of the alumni used to sing for the Queen, whose dress was criticised by Bill Murray or who saw the famous BRITs fall, It could not been a better place to find out.

Common room packed like never before...

Common room packed like never before...

The atmosphere was delightful, all alumni engaged themselves into sharing experiences and valuable hints and tips with the current students. What can go wrong if you gather together people who share same passion?


Many guests proved this by helping students and starting a conversation; really useful for us newbies. If you ever struggled figuring out the convenient icebreaker, this time the Careers team did it for you.

For me as a first year student it was an amazing opportunity to get myself familiar with the formula of such events but in atmosphere lacking any pressure and intimidation. Alumni of The City Law School willing to help, students willing to learn from their predecessors, a friendly atmosphere, lots of law-related chat and a pinch of excitement created by the bingo game. Boxes all checked!

Many thanks for all the guests and careers office for preparing an event and I am sure I will not be the only one who would love to repeat this experience!

Many thanks to Adrianna Wit, LLB1 student at the City Law School.


City’s Jodie Drummond defends Guy Fawkes to win Crowther Shield Advocacy Competition


On Wednesday 18th February, Lincoln's Inn hosted the Crowther Shield advocacy competition. This is an advocacy competition like no other. BPTC students from across the country were invited to present a plea in mitigation following the conviction of their client and given just five minutes to persuade the court to pass a lenient sentence.

The twist?

The defendants on trial were historical or fictitious characters, convicted of the crimes of their past. Students faced the challenge of defending: Goldilocks, King Herod, The Grinch, and Peter Rabbit, among others.

The competition was judged by Lincoln's Inn barristers, and attended by honorary guest Mrs Crowther. The standard was incredibly high, calling for creativity and top notch advocacy from each and every competitor. This year's winner was City Law School student Jodie Drummond. She successfully mitigated on behalf of Guy Fawkes, which was no easy feat given the nature and severity of his crimes. All competitors spoke of how challenging it had been, but how entertaining it was on the night.


City Law School students win Inter-BPTC Moot Competition

Jodie Drummond & Michael Levenstein

Jodie Drummond & Michael Levenstein

On Saturday, 21 February 2015, Lincoln's Inn hosted the Final Round of the national Inter-BPTC Moot Competition, pitting Bar students from across the country against each other in a series of knock-out rounds in which competitors were required to take alternating sides of the same problem. Competitors were selected on the basis of a preliminary moot competition held late last year, in which the highest scorers represented their schools. The case in question was heard before the Court of Appeal and involved what remedies should follow from a commercial contractual dispute--namely, should a party who deliberately breaches his obligations to make a larger profit with a third party be liable to disgorge his ill-gotten profits to an aggrieved claimant?

Each round was decided by judges and barrister members of the Inn, and each student team represented their respective BPTC provider. City Law School, represented by Michael Levenstein and Jodie Drummond, successfully appealed that a claimant should be able to recover both the cost of reinstatement and/or account of profits where a deliberate breach in a construction contract occurred by a specialist renovator. In so doing, they defeated the Respondent ably represented by Cardiff Law School, to make their mark--literally--on this year's IPMC Shield.

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City Law School Events in March

The City Law School Networking Reception 3rd March 18:00-20:00
Where? Law Common Room, Innovation Building

Networking bingo!

Networking bingo!

Register for and attend this event to meet with The City Law School Alumni who have embarked on successful careers in law or outside the legal sector.

This event aims to help you:
- Make more informed career choices
- Get top tips from your predecessors
- Build career and skills development plans
- Develop your networking skills.

Part 1: Networking bingo game

Students will be encouraged to make their way around the room, speak to as many alumni as possible and complete their bingo cards by finding alumni who relate to the bullet points on the cards.

Part 2: Drinks and networking reception

Your opportunity to ask questions and network! Light refreshments will be provided.

Book online for your place at this exciting event.

LPC Law talk for BPTC & LPC students 17th March 18:30-20:00
Where? Lecture Theatre, Atkin Building

LPC Law are pleased to be conducting a talk for BPTC & LPC students. The talk will be attended by one of the LPC Law Advocates and a HR professional. The Advocate will talk about the role, their experiences at court and working with LPC Law. The HR member will talk about the recruitment procedure and how to apply for advocacy positions commencing in 2015 (with a view to commencing work after graduation).

LPC Law specialises in the provision of advocacy services. To maintain LPC Law's high standards of advocacy we are looking to recruit BPTC and LPC graduates to work as Advocates attending hearings in the County Courts on behalf of our clients.

To register your attendance, please log into City CareersHub (when prompted, use your City username and password).

How to complete your Gateway/ Pupillage Application forms 18th March 18:00-20:00
Where? Student Common Room, Atkin Building

Barristers from Pupillage Committees at a wide range of sets talk to students about completing their Applications for Pupillage Open to all - including prospective students.

Drinks and nibbles to follow in the student common room.

Event open everyone (including prospective students) but pre-booking is necessary. Book your tickets!


Why Students Must Unite Against the Legal Aid Cuts – Virginia Santini

Students Unite!

Students Unite!

The history and impact of the cuts

Cuts to legal aid have obstructed access to justice with our government showing complete disregard for such fundamental rights by enacting the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, thereby impeding the availability of quality legal advice and representation for all in civil and criminal proceedings (1).

Legal aid funding in family, debt, education, employment, housing, immigration and welfare benefits cases has been vastly reduced and in some areas almost entirely removed (2). The legal aid cuts have exacerbated the effects of other public service cutbacks such as the benefits cap, cuts to disability allowance and the bedroom tax, as many people are unable to mount effective legal challenges to government decisions regarding these cuts without financial assistance.

The recent Public Accounts Committee report demonstrated the Ministry of Justice’s failure to collect sufficient evidence prior to pushing through cuts indiscriminately (3). In criminal law, legal aid fees have been slashed by 8.75% for solicitors and there are plans to bring in further cuts for both sides of the profession (4).

How can students fight to save legal aid and access to justice?

As students we can make our voices heard and spread the message about the devastating effects of the legal aid cuts by signing an open letter to Grayling, calling on him to repeal LASPO and introduce a meaningful consultation process to protect our justice system - Sign the letter now!.

The Government is staging a Global Law Summit (GLS) from 23rd – 25th February 2015 to coincide with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. It is being hypocritically presented as a celebration of founding principles and the rule of law, while the Government simultaneously dilutes state accountability and denies legal aid to those who need it most. The Justice Alliance has planned protests to challenge this farce. A three-day march will commence from Runnymede, the site of the signing of Magna Carta, on Saturday 21st February, culminating in a protest at Old Palace Yard (near the GLS venue) at 1pm on Monday 23rd February with speakers including actress Maxine Peake. You can join in at any stage of the march over the weekend, and come along to the rally. Full details of the event are available via the Justice Alliance website.

There will also be a student contingent at the demonstration at Old Palace Yard on 23rd February, meeting outside Westminster Abbey at 12:30pm. We urge you to join the student movement to challenge the government’s hypocrisy and demand an end to attacks on our justice system. Details of the contingent will be posted on Facebook.

Please contact either Grace Loncraine of Students for Legal Aid, or Virginia Santini of Haldane Student Society of Socialist Lawyers for more information about any of these activities.

(1) Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).
(2) Low Commission Report, Legal Action Group.
(3) Public Accounts Committee Report on Young Legal Aid Lawyers website.
(4) "Legal aid contracts for on-call criminal solicitors to be slashed by two-thirds”, The Guardian, (27th November 2014).


The Future of the European Court of Human Rights

Are we … prepared to contemplate the gradual emergence of a court [the ECHR] with the equivalent jurisdiction throughout Europe of that enjoyed by the Supreme Court in the United States of America?
Lord Judge, ‘Constitutional Change: Unfinished Business’, 4th December 2013

In the May 2015 General Election, the way forward for Human Rights is a key differentiator between the major parties' manifestos. Most notably, the Conservative Party wish to scrap the Human Rights Act 1998 and leave the European Convention on Human Rights, in favour of a 'homegrown' Bill of Rights.


What should the future be for the European Court of Human Rights?

Do we want a powerful European Court with power equivalent to that enjoyed by the US Supreme Court?

Our panellists come together to discuss this burning issue.
The panel for the evening includes:

Adam Wagner (1 Crown Office Row, UK Human Rights Blog)
Angela Patrick (Director of Human Rights Policy, JUSTICE)
Kirsty Brimelow QC (Doughty Street Chambers)
Jon Holbrook (Barrister & Writer)

Date/Time: 18:00-19:30, 4 March 2015
Venue: Atkin Building Lecture Theatre, City Law School - Gray's Inn.
Please direct any enquiries to the Keep Calm and Talk Law events team.

Sign Up required


Benefits and EU law – the law behind the story – Helen Longworth

Author Helen

Author Helen

There is a social scandal emerging from the doctrine of freedom of movement. Workers are encouraged to move across the EU to meet the needs of employers at the lowest end of the market. They are subsidised by welfare programmes that claim to promote work but really promote low pay. Such were the sentiments expressed by some of the panel by the end of a discussion on Benefits and EU law held under the aegis of the Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law at City University.

The conversation, part of a series run by the University, was intended as an interactive debate on a topical issue in EU law, specifically benefits. The panel was chaired by Panos Koutrakos, Professor of EU Law and Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law at City University. He was joined by Professor Damian Chalmers, London School of Economics, Jacqueline Minor, Head of EU Commission Representation in UK, Professor Niamh Nic Shuibhne, University of Edinburgh, and Professor Philippa Watson, City Law School and Essex Court Chambers.

The scope of discussion was enormous, from the philosophical level questions of: “What is EU citizenship?” and “Where are the edges of the doctrine of freedom of movement?” to detail, such as “how could the UK stop remittances of child benefit from EU parents working in the UK to their children living in another member state?” At the centre of it all was the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice (CJEU) in Case C 333/13 Elisabeta Dano, Florin Dano v Jobcenter Leipzig.

But first, Ni Shuibne outlined the basic principles.

Benefits are an area that is not harmonised, nation states have the ability to manage their own systems as long as they don't conflict with freedom of movement. For the purposes of claiming benefits in a host member states, EU citizens are split in to three categories: economically active people who have the same rights as any other citizen working in that country; those who are not economically active but seeking work who cannot receive benefits for three months after arrival and then should have access to those specific benefits that facilitate access to work; and those who are not economically active nor seeking work.

This final group only have the right to reside in another EU country after three months if they have sufficient means and sickness insurance not to become a burden on the host state. After five years uninterrupted residency everyone can claim a permanent right to residency. So there is a gap for those people between 3 months and five years. The question of what responsibilities host member states have to such people during that gap has been unclear. There was no obligation to provide assistance, but neither could the need for assistance be an automatic grounds for removing a citizen.