Public Engagement

Birmingham Law School staff substantially contribute through their public engagement work, locally and globally by...

Shaping the implementation of the new provisions of the French code of administrative justice on mediation

Photo of Sophie Boyron, Birmingham Law SchoolSophie Boyron has a particular research interest in the intersection of mediation and public law.  For this reason, she was invited to study the groundbreaking pre-mediation pilot of the Tribunal Administratif of Grenoble (December 2016-February 2017).

Following the adoption by the French Parliament of legislation embedding mediation in all French administrative courts (November 2016), she was co-opted to the national steering committee ‘Administrative Justice and Mediation’ set up by the French Conseil d’Etat to advise on the introduction of mediation in the French administrative courts and to draft the implementing legislation and judicial guidelines giving effect to the new legislative provisions.

Identifying best practices for women’s sexual and reproductive health rights

Meghan Campbell, Birmingham Law SchoolWith other colleagues from Birmingham; Dr Meghan Campbell is investigating the effect that private actors have on women’s sexual and reproductive health rights, using the experience of Kenya. In the last 20 years, international organisations (e.g. the IMF, World Bank, WTO and other UN agencies) have fostered reforms aiming at liberalising trade and investment and have emphasised privatising public services. In Kenya, in part due to these policies, multinational corporations are responsible for delivering education and health care.

However, there are indications that these are undermining women’s sexual and reproductive health rights leading to cost prohibitive user-fees in maternal health care or to private employers administrating maternity benefits in a discriminatory manner. Consequently, Meghan hopes to use Kenya’s experience  to identify best practices for women’s sexual and reproductive health rights and draw lessons for Kenya, East Africa and other countries around the world. Finally, she wishes to trigger a debate on the accountability for the human rights impact of international economic and trade policies.

Removing harmful pesticides from food production

Dr Aleksandra Cavoski, Birmingham Law SchoolIn the European Union, the approval of pesticide substances does not prevent the use of harmful chemicals in the production of our food. Consequently Dr Aleks Cavoski works closely with Pesticide Action Network -Europe.

They produced a white paper on the Reform of Pesticide Risk Assessment in Europe. Representatives of the Group were invited to present their findings to the DG Santé on 12 February 2019.

Shaping and disseminating to the community proposals on Criminal Law Reform

Dr John Child, Birmingham Law SchoolDr John Child is the co-director of the Criminal Law Reform Now Network which is funded by the AHRC. The network aims to facilitate the collaboration between academics and other legal experts to gather and disseminate proposals for criminal law reform to the wider community. 

For instance, the network has been involved in proposing reforms to the computer misuse Act 1990. In its framework document, the network argues that the 1990 legislation is no longer fit for purpose and that it needs a complete overhaul. One innovative proposal would see the introduction of a number of defences such as a public interest defence when someone is charged with computer misuse. 

Shaping the debates and policy decisions in the ‘common neighbourhood’

Dr Rilka Dragneva-LewersProfessor Rilka Dragneva-Lewers shapes the understanding of decision-makers regarding the common neighbourhood policy of the European Union with Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia and the Caucasus States (Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia).

To this effect, she has briefed Commission officials of DG Trade, officials of the EU trade delegation in Moscow, civil servants in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, officials of any number of embassies in Moscow and provided expert opinion on the nature of Eurasian integration to the World Economic Forum’s unit responsible for government relations in Eurasia. She aims to foster knowledge and understanding of the respective positions of the EU, Russia and the countries of the ‘common neighbourhood policy’.

Framing the debate on the liberalization of abortion legislation in Poland

krajewska-atinaDr Atina Krajewska is conducting research on reproductive rights in countries where access to abortion is restricted. She is currently investigating the way in which the medical profession shapes access to abortion services in Poland.

With the findings, Dr Kajewska aims to reframe the debate on abortion laws in Poland by providing the medical profession with information, training and legal support to help mobilize the medical profession around the liberalization of abortion legislation.

Designing the initial training and examinations of the Bar in Georgia

Dr Julian LonbayDr Julian Lonbay has acted as an expert for the Council of Europe on legal education, training and services. In that role, he provided advice to the Georgia Bar Association concerning their initial training and Bar examinations.

These recommendations were adopted and piloted last year. Due to their success, they are being rolled out this year. 

Making proposals for regulating cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain in Africa

Photo of Dr Maureen MappDr Maureen Mapp researches in particular how to bridge the normative gap between law and non-state ethno cultural norms.  In this regard, Maureen has provided technical expertise to the Commonwealth Secretariat on adoption of cryptocurrencies and their impact on agricultural based economies.

Also, in collaboration with UNAFRI, Maureen convened the first ever round table discussions (2016, 2017) on the policy, legal and socio-cultural implications of regulating distributed ledger technologies including cryptocurrency and the blockchain in Africa and in August 2018, she convened the first policymakers workshop on the development of policy proposals for the regulation of cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain in Uganda.  Finally, she has provided technical expertise to the Council of Europe Cybercrime division on the development of sustainable cybercrime legislation in East Africa.

Recommending the registration of nikah ceremonies

Rehanna ParveenThe Law Commission has published a scoping paper on marriage laws in England and Wales in 2015. A conference attended by the Law Commission was organised by a group of academics to respond to the scoping paper with a range of practical proposals concerning Muslim marriage practices.

In particular, Dr Rehana Parveen suggested that formalities be kept to a minimum and that instead a system of registration post ceremony for nikah marriages be introduced.

Promoting Social Progress through Controls on Corporate Activity

lorraine-talbotThe devaluation of social progress through a correlation of corporate success with shareholder value is analysed in research by Professor Lorraine Talbot in a substantial international project with the International Panel for Social Progress, published by CUP in 2018.

Professor Talbot has discussed the project’s findings in the House of Lords and a public meeting with NGOs organised by CORE Coalition.

Ensuring that the development of advanced digital technology respects ethics and human rights

Professor Karen Yeung, Birmingham Law SchoolProfessor Karen Yeung’s research expertise lies in the regulation and governance of, and through, new and emerging technologies. As a result, she is actively involved in several technology policy and related initiatives in the UK and Worldwide.  In particular, she is a member of the EU’s High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence that has just published the Artificial Intelligence Ethical guidelines.

In addition, she is a member and rapporteur for the Council of Europe’s Expert Committee on human rights dimensions of automated data processing and different forms of artificial intelligence (MSI-AUT); in this capacity, she authored an interdisciplinary study investigating where responsibility should lie when advanced digital technology (including artificial intelligence) affect adversely human rights and fundamental freedoms