Primary page content

Goldsmiths Law lecturer shortlisted for 2021 Financial Times Bracken Bower Prize

We’re delighted to learn that Aaron Taylor, Associate Lecturer in Law in our Department, has been shortlisted for the 2021 Financial Times Bracken Bower Prize. The prize is awarded for the best business book proposal by an author under 35.

This is extremely well-deserved recognition of the originality and pertinence of Aaron’s work, in both legal practice and academia. Aaron’s work has been a great fit for our LLB Law programme, with his dynamic expertise in areas such as commercial law, art law and financial wrongdoing perfectly complementing innovative elements of our LLB Law programme including our emphasis on clinical legal education.

Aaron’s proposed book is called Washed: Dirty Money and the Art Market. It will explore the abuse of the art market for money laundering, fraud, and financial crime.

Aaron’s book will discuss three key issues:

–  The first is the role of secrecy – in particular the use of offshore structures such as freeports, and the role of confidentiality provisions in private art sales – in the facilitation of money laundering and tax evasion.

– The second is the use of art, and especially looted antiquities, in the evasions of sanctions and the financing of terrorism.

– The third is the future of dirty money in the age of non-fungible tokens and cryptocurrencies.

It will then consider the regulation of the art market in the UK, US and EU, and alternative approaches that might be adopted to deal with the challenges of the digital future.

The book will draw on Aaron’s experience as a practising commercial barrister at Fountain Court Chambers and his academic work at Goldsmiths. Aaron has acted as counsel in notable art law disputes and in high-value fraud and corruption claims. He is on the Serious Fraud Office’s panel of junior counsel for cross-border proceeds of crime cases.

In our Department, Aaron lectures on a variety of topics relating to financial wrongdoing, across the civil and criminal law, and runs a branch of the Department’s Law and Policy Clinic on the law relating to fraud and corruption. He is the founding editor of Financial Wrongs, a blog and online resource on the law relating to financial crime.

LLB Law class visit the home of the EU in the UK

EU Law class visit to Europe House

After a stimulating two-and-a-half hours workshop, time for a group picture, with our students, staff from the EU Delegation and Lord Kirkhope

Learning Law in legal London is a fundamental aspect of the learning experience in our LLB Law programme. All our Law modules, from Criminal Law to Corporate, and Immigration Law to Contract embed a range of study trips and experiential activities, as part of ‘contact time’.

On the 15th of November, it was the EU Law class’s turn to go on a study trip in London. A very enthusiastic group of year 2 students who take the module went to Westminster to visit Europe House, where the EU delegation in the UK (formerly the EU representation in the UK) is based.

The students and their lecturers – Dr Virginie Barral, who convenes the module, and Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, our Head of Department – arrived early, giving everyone sufficient time to grab a ‘cappuccino’, ‘latte’ or soft drink from the local café; always a good starting point with our learning activities in London!

We then entered the impressive Europe House; 27 flags now there in the main meeting room – the UK flag no longer there – a quick and simple visual illustration of the impact of a highly complex process, political and legal, of withdrawing from the EU!

Students then took part in an interactive session on the EU’s history, values and decision-making processes including a quiz on quirky geographical and cultural facts about the 27 member states. Did you know that Ireland is the only country in the EU where you will find no… snakes! The staff teaching the workshop also broke down the inherently complex EU institutions into simplistic elements, that were visually represented as parts of a bike. Something we could use in our EU Law lectures in the future…

We were then joined by Lord Kirkhope, a lawyer and politician, who served as an MEP (Member of European Parliament) between 2003 and 2016. Lord Kirkhope shared with the class his vision of the future relationship between the UK and the EU as a pro European conservative politician. To round-up the visit, it was the students’ turn to pitch to Lord Kirkhope what they felt were the most urgent issues facing the EU.

We could not think of a better way to learn EU Law in action (and the ways in which it will continue to influence the UK in the future), and are very grateful to the EU Delegation for their wonderful hospitality (and would like to make this visit an annual occurrence!).

Immigration Law class visit Kingsley Napley in the City

As part of their commercial awareness and career development study trips embedded within the Immigration Law module, our LLB students recently got a chance to visit Kingsley Napley LLP, a leading law firm based in central London. Founded in 1937, this dynamic firm of more than 400 attorneys provides legal advice nationally and internationally and works with a wide range of clients in a number of specialist fields, including commercial, employment, real estate, criminal litigation, family, regulatory, dispute resolution, immigration, and public law.

Our students became acquainted with the specialist Immigration team, which has been advising businesses and individuals on all aspects of UK immigration and nationality law for over 20 years, and which is top-ranked in both Chambers and Legal-500 rankings. We were hosted by Ms Marcia Longdon, a Partner in the Immigration team. With experience spanning over 20 years in the industry, Ms Longdon has been listed in Who’s Who Legal as a Thought Leader in Corporate Immigration and was chosen as one of the first Legal Services Are Great champions. She shared with us reflections on her personal career path, offered poignant examples of her work and her day-to-day practice, and kindly provided career-development tips. We also met with Ms Ilda de Sousaanother Partner in Immigration. Both brought immigration practice to life and impressed upon the students the significance and breath of immigration law, while explaining in detail some of the newer elements of this rapidly-changing area of law (including the rights of EU nationals since Brexit, and employer-sponsorship rules for skilled workers).

Kingsley Napley partners, Ilda de Sousa and Marcia Longdon, speaking to our students about their practice in Immigration Law, and advising them on how best to prepare for applying and interviewing at law firms.

Next, Mr Stephen Parkinson, Kingsley Napley’s Senior Partner and former Deputy Head of the Attorney General’s Office, discussed other practice areas and the firm’s overall culture, shedding further light on what professional and personal qualities make a good lawyer. Our students were provided with tips on how best to prepare themselves for applying and interviewing at law firms generally, and about how to translate their work and university experiences into skills that law firms look for in potential trainees. As a member of the Diversity & Inclusion group, Mr Parkinson also emphasised the firm’s diversity and equality policies and how its various inclusion networks help to ensure that all employees have a full opportunity to maximise their potential.

After these formal presentations, the students had a chance to mingle and chat one-on-one with our hosts, learning more about the rewards of legal practice at such a progressive firm, and about ways of gaining legal experience.

Learning about Kingsley Napley’s work on cutting-edge legal issues and with clients who often appear in the news provided our students an exciting perspective and a nice complement to what they have been learning in the classroom. We are very grateful to Kingsley Naples for being able to offer our students this engaging opportunity, especially amidst Covid-19 related restrictions.