Glasgow Law Post Graduate Conference 2018: An Overview

Glasgow Law Post Graduate Conference 2018: An Overview


Joanna Wilson and Felicity Belton had the idea for a Glasgow Law Post Graduate Conference last summer, while sitting in the sun outside Stravaigin, discussing various conferences they had attended. Some were good, some were bad - was it possible that Glasgow Law could do it better? One of their main aims was to highlight the Research Groups of the School of Law. It was also an opportunity to advance the Athena Swan agenda, providing equal opportunities to present, on appropriate panels, with special consideration given to parent friendly hours, part time PhDs and first time presenters.

Fast forward a year and the Glasgow Law Post Graduate Conference took place on 1 June 2018. There were three streams based on the Research Groups - International Law, Conflict and Security, Legal Theory and Law Reform & Public Policy. Joanna and Felicity had been joined by Donald Buglass in October 2017 and all three collaborated to get the event up and running.

A key feature of the conference was academics from the school chairing panels and giving feedback to each of the speakers. Going forward, all papers submitted will form a ‘working papers’ online publication. Funding from the School of Law and digital and administrative help from School Staff ensured that GLPGC was a success and that it will now become an annual event.

International Law

The International Law, Conflict and Security Research Group was delighted to have been involved in the Glasgow Law Postgraduate Conference 2018. We are very pleased with the success of this inaugural event, which has led to it becoming an annual fixture in the school’s calendar. It was such a joy to welcome researchers who had travelled the length and breadth of the country to share their research with us.

Session 1: Historical Narrative in International Law

The International Law stream day got off to a great start with our first panel and two very interesting presentations: Philip Burton from the University of Manchester on the PCIJ and its relationship with IOs, followed by G.C. (Connor) McBain of the University of Helsinki and soon to be International Law PhD candidate here at Glasgow, on the Darien Company and the role of Grotius in Scots legal approaches to the ‘New World’. Many thanks to Dr James G Devaney, who skilfully chaired the panel and led a fascinating discussion.

Session 2: Individuals, Armed Conflict and its aftermath

Dr Anni Pues expertly chaired our second panel, with contributions from Sarina Landefeld of Nottingham School of Law on the Construction of Individuals in IHL, Nomfundo Ndlwana of Bangor Law School on truth commissions (does telling tales post bellum suffice for the redress of gross human rights violations?) and Sergii Masol of the EUI on Regionally Recognised Human Rights in the Jurisprudence of the ICC.

Session 3: Contemporary Identities: Rethinking Jurisdiction and Citizenship

The third International Law panel was co-chaired by Eleni Methymaki and Prof Christian J Tams. Following exciting presentations by the University of Glasgow’s Kamila Feddek on EU citizenship and the legal right to have access to social justice, UofG Int Law’s Jeanne Gillet on jurisdiction and online surveillance, and Thomas Cheney of Northumbria Law School on Moon villages, Mars cities and space nations, our Research Group Chair, Prof Tams, provided some closing comments to sum up the day for International Law.

Personally, it was lovely to have the opportunity to work in close conjunction with my fellow PGR/GTAs, Felicity and Donald, to put the conference together: it’s been a wonderful way of achieving real cohesion between the Research Groups. Since her arrival in May, Ally Farnhill, the Intellectual Property PGR/GTA, has made an invaluable contribution to the realisation of this year’s conference, and we so look forward to completing next year’s event with a fourth stream for Intellectual Property!

We had our first meeting to begin discussing ideas for a Glasgow PGR Conference in June 2017 (sitting in the sun on Gibson Street!) and it has been so exciting to see these become a reality over the course of the intervening year. We are indebted to our many helpers, both staff and students, who have given of their time to make the conference the success it was. Our sincerest thanks to each and every one of you.

We’re already so excited for next year: watch this space for more information!

~ Joanna Wilson

Law Reform & Public Policy

Session 1: Access to Justice and Borders

Chaired by Sarah Craig, this session involved discussions about immigration. The first speaker Chantal Frindall (Surrey) gave a paper on ‘Kant’s self-respect and refugee women’. Next up was Kate Alexander (Glasgow) who is a part time PhD student, she presented on ‘Fathers and immigration detention: a pilot study’. Finally, Susannah Paul (Glasgow) a 1st year PhD student gave her first conference presentation about ‘Frame, legal consciousness and participation: a case study of immigration and bail hearings’. This session provided a rich, diverse discussion of the multiple problems accessing justice within the immigration system.

Session 2: Law Reform and the Criminal Law

Chaired by Professor James Chalmers this session had three PhD students, all at different stages of their research. Corsino San Miguel (Glasgow) who will submit his thesis soon, presented on ‘Imagine a world without trust…criminal law and the decision to trust others’. Peter Reid (Glasgow) a part time PhD student, who works full time in the criminal justice system presented his paper on ’What role should victims have with the justice system? Human Rights based approach to the prosecution of rape’. A late addition to the programme, Grant Barclay (Glasgow), stepped in when a speaker had to withdraw because of illness. He is a 1st year PhD candidate and gave us his thoughts on ‘Immediate threats and danger in reactive defences’. This session was an opportunity to discuss topics across the criminal law spectrum and the potential for reform.

Session 3: Families Children and Human Rights

Chaired by Professor Jane Mair, the final session of this stream involved discussion of human rights in three different legal systems. Oluwafifehan Ogunde (Nottingham) discussed the position in Nigeria in his paper ‘Child rights protection, federalism and culture: irreconcilable goals?’ Claire O’Connell (Cork) gave us the perspective from across the Irish sea in ‘The aspirational shortcomings of Irish legislation in assisted human reproduction’ Finally, Abba Amsami Elgujja (Salford) who had travelled from Saudi Arabia for the conference, gave the last paper on the ‘Adequacy of legal protection of patient confidentiality under the Saudi legal system’ It was a lively end to this stream with similar issues emerging across diverse legal systems.

~ Felicity Belton

Legal Theory

The Glasgow Postgraduate Conference was an excellent way to round of a very busy week of events for the Glasgow Legal Theory research Group. On Monday the group hosted a Collaborative PhD colloquium with researchers from Tilburg and Louvain. On Tuesday the group welcomed academics from across Europe to a workshop with Professor Wolfgang Streeck who delivered the annual Adam Smith lecture in Jurisprudence the following day. For further information please see here.

Session 1: Labour Law and ownership

Chaired by Professor Ruth Dukes this session explored labour law and the concept of split ownership in property. The first speaker Moritz Neugebauer, a second year PhD student at the University of Kent, gave a paper on ‘Atypical Work and Employment Status: A genealogical Study of the Application of Legal Technique’. Gaofeng Meng who recently passed his viva at the University of Glasgow was second to present and delivered his paper ‘Towards a Theory of Split ownership’ in which he discussed the history of land ownership in rural China as a potential example of the nature, necessity and complexity of split ownership as an alternative in property theory.

Session 2: Legal Sovereignty and Judicial Power

Chaired by Professor George Pavlakos this session explored ethics, values and moral reasoning as they pertain to legal sovereignty and judicial power. Leanne Cochrane, PhD candidate at Queen’s University Belfast, presented a paper on ‘Ethical Value Pluralism: Some Implications for the UK’s Legal Sovereignty’ which considered the foundational role of values in different legal sovereignties. Final year PhD candidate from University of Reading, Ana Cannilla gave the second paper entitled ‘Political Positivism, Judicial Moral Reasoning and Judicial Power’ arguing for the place of judicial moral judgment in the adjudication process.

Session 3: Questions of Constitutionalism

Chaired by Dr Marco Goldoni this session discussed the conceptual and theoretical tensions in UK and Scottish constitutional analysis. First up was second year PhD student at University of Liverpool Mark Bennett who gave his paper ‘Conceptualising Constitutionalism in the UK: Legal ‘Versus’ Political Constitutionalism as a Framework for Constitutional Analysis.’ Iain Hunter from University of Glasgow then presented his paper ‘The Power-generative Potential of Scotland’s Public Sphere’. Both papers were followed by a very rich and engaging discussion.

~ Donald Buglass

The research groups would like to thank all of the staff, volunteers and researchers who made our inaugural conference such a memorable day. We will be back in May 2019 but in the meantime follow us on twitter for updates: @UofGLT @UofGLawReform @UofGIntLaw

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