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From Nuremberg to the International Criminal Court

ICTY Through Children’s Eyes – Sarajevo Kids Festival 2014
Edin, 14 years old, Sarajevo.

Our LLB Law class had the privilege of being taught by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC this week. Sir Geoffrey, who is a Visiting Professor in Law at Goldsmiths, has led on the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where the former President of Serbia was charged with crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of the laws or customs of war, including for planning, instigating, ordering or otherwise aiding the widespread killing of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats, during and after the take-over of territories within Bosnia and Herzegovina and the killing of thousands in detention facilities there or for the forcible removal of the majority of the Croat and other non-Serb population from the approximately one-third of the territory of the Republic of Croatia that he planned to become part of a new Serb-dominated state.

Against the backdrop of such seminal experience, that defined the development of international criminal law at the beginning of this century, Sir Geoffrey undertook a historic review of international criminal law, focussing on several milestones: from the post WWII Nuremberg trials to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the setting up of the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia and, more recently, the International Criminal Court.

Sir Geoffrey’s presentation also focussed on his work as chair of the Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting  from Prisoners of Conscience in China (murdering prisoners to extract hearts, livers, kidneys etc for commercial transplantation surgery).

The lecture was delivered in the context of ‘English Legal System in a Global Context’ module, which has the key aim of introducing our students to UK legal institutions, but goes further than what is normally covered in introductory modules of this nature, in comparing and contrasting UK legal institutions to foreign legal systems and in international law, with a view to enhancing the students’ knowledge of, and ability to critically analyse, how our domestic institutions operate and creating, more generally, a cosmopolitan legal spirit, that ensures we understand there is more to ‘Law’ than our domestic legal institutions and processes.

Sir Geoffrey presented his lecture in conversation with the Head of the Law programme at Goldsmiths, Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos. The lecture was delivered online, in an interactive format, as a response to the emerging Coronavirus crisis. Students had the opportunity to ask several questions and expressed their excitement for Sir Geoffrey’s invaluable contribution.


LLB students visit Linklaters LLP’s headquarters in the City

As part of their commercial awareness and career development study trips embedded within the Contract Law module, all our LLB students recently got a chance to visit Linklaters LLP’s headquarters in the City.

Founded in 1838, Linklaters is a member of the ‘Magic Circle’ of elite London law firms, and employs more than 2,500 lawyers across 38 offices in 20 countries. Its lawyers have expertise in a wide variety of matters, including corporate and commercial, competition, banking, business and human rights, dispute resolution, crisis management, financial regulation, projects, tax, capital markets, employment, and real estate.

Our students’ visit was hosted by Ms Sima Ostrovsky, a Managing Associate in the competition team. Ms Ostrovsky educated our students about various aspects of competition law that Linklaters lawyers deal with, explained the repercussions of violating competition regulations, and provided examples of some recent deals (such as last year’s proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda). She shared with the students how much she enjoys learning about the various industries in which her clients work, and explained how practicing competition law has enabled her to work with regulators, economics, and various service providers. As a competition lawyer at such a power-house law firm, Ms Ostrovsky not only advises clients on how to comply with competition law, but also devotes time to forward-looking practice, such as figuring out how competition law should develop to take account of new types of industries (such as Big Tech) and new political developments (such as Brexit).

Ms Ostrovsky and a trainee then provided the students with an overview of a day in the life of a Linklaters senior attorney and a trainee in the competition group, engaged in various aspects of competition practice (including mergers control, anti-competitive arrangements, and abuse of dominance). Learning about Linklaters’ work on cutting-edge legal issues and big global deals provided our students with a nice complement to what they had learned about in-house competition practice during their visit to Facebook last month.

Next, the Linklaters recruitment team was kind enough to offer our students an application workshop. The helpful HR representative explained what Linklaters vacation schemes are available to LLB students, and advised on how to do well with the application process and on assessment day. Notably, our students were provided with tips on how best to prepare themselves for applying and interviewing at big law firms generally. Students learned about how to translate their work and uni experiences into skills that law firms look for in potential trainees. They left more knowledgeable about what they can be doing from the beginning of their participation in our LLB programme to prepare for applying to law firms in the future.

Our study visit also included a tour of the client areas of the office, which occupies an entire modern high-rise building across from the Barbican Centre.

LLB students visit Facebook London’s law department

Goldsmiths LLB students learn about competition law and in-house corporate legal practice during visit to Facebook London.

Goldsmiths LLB students visited Facebook’s London law department, as part of their career development study trips in the context of the Year 1 ‘Contract Law’ module. The social media giant, based in California, also owns Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus, and is considered one of the Big Four technology companies (along with Amazon, Apple, and Google).

Located on six floors in a world-class facility near Euston, Facebook’s office offers a modern space designed to keep both employees and visitors happy. After signing non-disclosure agreements, our students attended an informative and fun talk by Ms Jantira Raftery, Competition Counsel on Facebook’s legal team which covers competition and antitrust matters across Europe. She talked briefly about the company and all its key products, and provided an overview of competition law and what she does to help ensure that Facebook does not engage in anti-competitive market behaviour. Prior to joining Facebook, Ms Raftery had worked in the competition group at Slaughter and May (one of London’s ‘Magic Circle’ firms), and in Brussels and New York offices of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (a prestigious multinational law firm). She was thus also able to offer insights into how legal practice varies between law firms and in-house corporate departments, and shed light on international practice of law.

Afterwards, our students were led on a tour of the Facebook office by its super friendly staff. They got to write their aims and aspirations on the ‘facebook wall’, for other visitors and employees to see. They were also introduced to various art and community projects that Facebook supports, and shown examples of the value that Facebook brings to small businesses. After posing for pictures and getting to play with some ground-breaking interactive technologies, our students were treated to sweets and posters, part of Facebook’s emphasis on creativity and on keeping their office fun. The students left inspired about not only competition law, but also corporate legal careers. We are very grateful to Facebook’s legal department and Ms Raftery for offering our students this opportunity.

Law programme gains attention at international event in Istanbul


Our Head of Law, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, has spoken at an international study event at the British Consulate in Istanbul, about the exciting educational and career development opportunities that come with studying Law in the UK, highlighting Goldsmiths LLB’s modern and innovative character; the integration of career development and experiential learning activities (such as study visits, mock trials, debating exercises, guest lectures by eminent legal professionals) into contact time in all modules of the LLB Law programme, its focus on studying law in its societal context, the dynamic team of academics and world renowned legal professionals it brings together…

Prof Giannoulopoulos spoke alongside representatives from Cambridge and Oxford Universities, who presented on the Oxbridge admission processes.