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Why the EU-UK security negotiations should be prioritising human rights protections

The UK and the EU are strongly coSecuritymmitted to continuing security cooperation in criminal justice matters after the UK withdraws from the EU, but diverge as to its nature and scope.

The UK would wish to strike a new security deal with the EU, allowing it to sustain cooperation on the basis of existing EU measures. But this ambition does not square with the EU position that the UK will be a ‘third country outside Schengen’ after Brexit, and that, as such, it will not be able to maintain the status quo.

To retain any fast-track system of extradition, as a sound alternative to the EAW, the UK will have to subscribe to key principles dictating how the latter operates, including fundamental European human rights; UK alignment with EU procedural rights directives should attract particular attention in that respect, argues Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Chair in Law at Goldsmiths, in a piece that was published by ‘Fair Trials’ NGO.

 Read Prof Giannoulopoulos’ analysis in full here.

Guest blog: The wrong referenda

Prof Eric Miller

Prof Eric Miller

It has become increasingly clear over the last two years that the UK, embracing direct government more than any time in its past, has had the wrong referenda, argues Prof Eric Miller, of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, in a guest blog published by our ‘Britain in Europe’ thinktank.

Scots voted by a small-but-significant margin to pursue a future together with the rest of the United Kingdom. Then the United Kingdom voted by a much slimmer margin to exit the European Union.

But buried within that second referendum (and the southern reaction to the first one) was a hidden, third one. The results of that third one should be made explicit before the decision to exit the European Union becomes final. For within that vote was a decision by England and Wales—legally and historically a distinct national group—to go it one way, and by the rest of the UK to go it another way.

Read the blog post in full here.

Eric Miller is Professor of Law, and Leo J. O’Brien Fellow, at the Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, where he teaches criminal procedure, evidence and jurisprudence.

Call for papers: Technology and Human Rights symposium

Call for papers: Technology and Human Rights in the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica and GCHQ-NSA scandals

Goldsmiths, University of London

Organiser: Law at Goldsmiths (with the Knowing Our Rights research project and the New Europeans civil rights organisation)

Monday, 5 November 2018 (09.30 – 16.30)

data analyticsDigital technology touches on and empowers every aspect of our lives, whether as consumers, users of public services, citizens or voters.

Yet the collection and exchange of personal information can interfere with our right to privacy, and the abuse of technology can distort our democracies and lead to serious breaches of human rights.

The informational privacy mega-scandals of recent years, such as the revelation (by Edward Snowden) of the post 9/11 global, mass, surveillance systems operated by security services, or the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal (which came to the surface through the work of Carole Cadwalladr and whistle-blower Chris Wilie), point, worryingly, to the rise of a new Panopticism that threatens to suppress private existence in the interest of security, financial gain and control of political power.

In this one-day international, interdisciplinary, symposium, we will ask:

  • How can the law be used to strike the right balance between freedom and security in the age of the internet?
  • What more can be done to make sure big technology firms respect the rule of law?
  • How can government surveillance best be monitored and held to account so that law enforcement agencies retain public confidence?
  • Can technology be used to promote democracy and development while respecting human rights?
  • Should the government be allowed to operate systems of bulk interception of private communications, intelligence sharing with foreign government and acquisition of communications data from communication service providers?
  • Does the European Court of Human Rights judgment in Big Brother Watch and Others v the United Kingdom strike the right balance?
  • How can the sociology of security and surveillance inform the debate on law, technology and human rights?
  • Who is best positioned to provide the legal solutions required? What are the limitations facing individual countries?
  • Has the European Union been successful in dealing with these challenges, and what are the next steps in the process of regulating the internet, securing privacy rights and enhancing data protection?
  • What role can international organisations such as the Council of Europe play?
  • What extra challenges for human rights are posed by the rise of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning?

We will discuss these issues with international experts and practitioners including from the fields of politics, law and social sciences, in order to crystallise the key questions and issues facing our society as we are confronted with modern technology that is increasingly invading our private lives.

Papers submitted can relate to any of the issues raised, and questions asked, above.

Deadline for the submission of abstracts (max 200 words): Friday, 12 October 2018

Papers should be submitted to


America’s return to isolated sovereignty (and the Brexit parallels)

In this latest blog for our Britain in Europe (BiE) think tank, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, former Slobodin Milošević prosecutor at the ICTY and BiE expert, reacts to John Bolton’s extraordinary attack on the International Criminal Court, criticises the UK Government for not properly condemning it without reservation and draws worrying parallels with Brexit.

America’s return to a primitive post-Westphalian pre-20th Century concept of untouchable, isolated sovereignty is extraordinarily dangerous.  What is sovereignty for the US will have to be respected by the US in other countries and then by all states for all other states. It is a concept of sovereignty towards which the more extreme right wing governments in Europe – and extreme supporters of Brexit in the UK -are edging, mindless of how Hitler’s rise, and the holocaust to come, were in part possible because no other state would challenge Germany’s internal criminality however gross until too late.

By way of an earlier example, in WWI the US respected Turkey’s sovereignty, conceived in terms similar to Bolton’s as expressed yesterday, and abandoned a million or so Armenians (despite their being Christians!) to butchery and refused to intervene despite being urged by its own Ambassador to Turkey to do so.

Other countries may now follow the US ‘lead’ and intervention by the ICC or any other agency in any way into the criminal conduct of states will be challenged as contrary to state sovereignty.

This approach to sovereignty – as Raphael Lempkin realised when he coined the word ‘genocide’ and forced states to draft the Genocide Convention – would have meant the Jews could be annihilated without external intervention (and Nuremberg war crimes trials indictments prepared by the US, the UK and others actually respected this concept, although this is little understood).

The Bolton approach to US infallibility and ethical insularity will lead, ultimately, to more not less armed conflict and more not less killing of innocents.



Not only is the US dangerous in itself when it claims to be above international law but it becomes a truly lethal ally. Yet none of its subservient, handholding friends – such as the UK – has properly condemned without reservation this US abandonment of respect for law despite international law being the only way, in the long run, that the world can survive the natural inclination and desire of politicians to lead their citizens to death in conflict.

Bolton’s extraordinary attack on the ICC shows this US administration not just to be led by a man – supported by racists at home – without morality or ethical standards and but moving to a position where its complete freedom from oversight by internationally agreed norms, as Bolton and Trump would like, will make it free to do within its borders whatever it likes.  Abroad the isolationist approach to sovereignty will allow it to give unrestrained military support for chosen allies in defiance of the judgement of other allies or of the UN (if that institution survives).

This US administration has numbed our sensitivity to what should be completely unacceptable state conduct.  Is that why our leaders have not appreciated the threat by Bolton not only to the ICC but even to the court’s officials?  In the UK we saw that it was possible for a drift to right wing populism to allow a newspaper to condemn those attempting to maintain the law as ‘enemies of the people’.  Bolton is doing something similar but much, much more sinister.  For him, echoing the Trump election campaign, he would ‘lock up’ the international law.

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC is BiE expert, and the spokesperson for the Knowing Our Rights (KOR) research project. BiE and KOR are based at Goldsmiths and feed into the LLB (Law) programme.

New video: challenges to judicial independence in times of crisis

Our Britain in Europe think tank published this week a video from the British Academy conference on Challenges to judicial independence in times of crisis.

The video has analysis by former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cmwgiedd; the Justice at the UK Supreme Court, Lord Kerr; Prof Kate Malleson (QMU); Dr McDermott-Rees (Swansea) and our own Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos.

Prof Giannoulopoulos, who is leading the Law programme at Goldsmiths, was the co-convenor of the conference (with Dr Yvonne McDermott Rees).

Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos opening the conference

Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos opening the conference

The conference was inspired by attacks at the British judiciary by the press, in the context of Brexit and the “Miller” judgment. It also had a strong international and interdisciplinary dimension, in response to similar attacks upon the judiciary abroad, in countries
as diverse as the United States, France, Poland, Greece and Turkey.

The conference also coincided with dramatic developments in the Worboys case, the London cab driver convicted of serious sexual offences against female passengers, and the attacks on the Parole Board that followed on from that. His Honour Jeremy Roberts QC, a member of the Parole Board for England and Wales and an expert in our ‘Britain in Europe’ thinktank, provided critical analysis of a number of issues relating to judicial independence arising out of the case, in two posts published at the British Academy’s blog

HH Jeremy Roberts QC

HH Jeremy Roberts QC

The first blog post appeared a few days prior to the conference and offered a useful introduction to issues that were discussed there: Three key issues about the Parole Board raised by the Worboys case.

The second followed up on discussions at the conference, concentrating on an examination of the High Court’s decision on the Worboys case.

The conference brought together a number of eminent experts in the area:

  • Dr Daniel Aguirre, University of Greenwich
  • Professor Ilias G. Anagnostopoulos, Athens Law School
  • Professor Vian Bakir, Bangor University
  • Dr Moa Bladini, University of Gothenburg
  • M Guy Canivet, former President, Cour de Cassation
  • Dame Sue Carr, Presiding Judge of the Midland Circuit
  • Professor Fiona De Londras, University of Birmingham
  • Professor Martina Feilzer, Bangor University Professor
  • John Jackson, University of Nottingham
  • Professor Kate Malleson, Queen Mary University of London
  • Professor Raphaële Parizot, Université Paris-Nanterre
  • His Honour Jeremy Roberts QC, The Parole Board for England and Wales
  • Professor Julian Petley, Brunel University London
  • Sir Konrad Schiemman, Court of Justice of the European Union
  • Dr Stephen Skinner, University of Exeter Professor
  • Professor David Sklansky, Stanford Law School

For more information on the conference see the British Academy webpage.

Prof Giannoulopoulos and Dr McDermott-Rees are continuing the conversation with participants in the conference on this all-important topic, with a view, potentially, of proceeding to publication of an edited collection that will aim to highlight the profound societal effect of attacks upon the judiciary, and offer reflection on how to counter them.

Former Lord Chief Justice, the Rt. Hon. the Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd

Former Lord Chief Justice, the Rt. Hon. the Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd

from left to right - Prof Vian Bakir, Judge Donald Cryan and Prof Julian Petley

from left to right – Prof Vian Bakir, Judge Donald Cryan and Prof Julian Petley