Primary page content

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!).

Law students attend Hamlyn lecture delivered by Lord Pannick QC

Lord Pannick QC delivering the first Hamlyn lecture

A few lucky Goldsmiths Law students were amongst a small audience attending in person the – within hours – sold out first Hamlyn lecture at Gray’s Inn Hall on October 11th.

The lecture, that is coordinated by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London, was delivered by Lord Pannick QC, one of the most distinguished barristers in the country, who has led in the Miller (1) and Miller (2) cases, where the Government suffered historic defeats, on the triggering of Article 50 and the prorogation of Parliament respectively. More recently, Lord Pannick acted for Shamima Begum at the Supreme Court.

The President of the UK Supreme Court, Lord Reed, introducing Lord Pannick.

The lecture celebrated advocacy (“The Essence of Advocacy”). Lord Pannick sought to identify the central characteristics of good and bad advocacy with the aid of examples from courtroom practice in the UK and abroad.

Lord Pannick elaborated on ten principles that all good advocates should follow such as sound knowledge of the relevant area of law (naturally), focussing on the strong(er) arguments, but being aware – and working on – weaknesses in your argument, engaging with the bench, plain speaking, avoiding “boring” the judge or taking the risk of humour, and ensuring you never lose your temper (no matter how serious the provocation).

Goldsmiths Law students with our Head of Department, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos

The lecture included an impressive range of references to great orators and politicians; Demosthenes, Aristotle, Seneca, Abraham Lincoln, Obama got a number of mentions, as did contemporary lawyers in the US and the UK, though not always for good reasons!

 

 

Welcome to Goldsmiths Law, Year 1 students!

We were delighted to welcome our new year 1 students to University last week. ‘Welcome week’ activities started with students spending a whole day with our academics and administrative staff, who introduced them to central elements of the learning and student experience at Goldsmiths Law.

The event started with a warm welcome from our Head of Department, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, who, upon congratulating the students for their success in relevant examinations, and the resilience they had shown in confronting the challenges inherent in the pandemic, spoke to them about the values that underpin the Law programme at Goldsmiths – human rights, fairness, equality, the rule of law – and attributes that the programme aspires to instil in them over the course of their degree as well as opening up to them an outstanding range of opportunities, from learning through continuous visits to legal institutions in London to engaging with experiential learning activities, clinical legal education and community-based voluntary work.

Dr Dagmar Myslinska, Dr Plamen Dinev and Mr Jean-Michel Villot spoke next, about student welfare and student support, with a focus on our dynamic personal tutoring system, examinations and progression as well as negotiating their journey into the degree through technology – what apps to download to ensure they’re up to speed with announcements and opportunities advertised by the department; how to communicate with the team; where to access their learning materials…

After a welcome lunch break where the students had a wonderful opportunity to mingle and get to know each other, the afternoon session kicked off with the Year 1 teaching team introducing their modules. Dr Alex Dymock highlighted how Criminal Law is a research led module informed by her expertise in sexual offences, offences against the person and obscenity law.

Dr Virginie Barral explained how recent political events such as the prorogation of Parliament provide exciting case studies for the study of Public Law and the Human Rights Act.

Dr Dagmar Myslinska spices up Contract Law through a Law in context approach while Dr Sheri Labenski infuses the study of the English Legal System with feminist and critical legal perspectives.

Last but not least, in 21stCentury legal skills, Dr Miranda Bevan brings her professional expertise as a barrister to ensure students learn to master legal research and writing, case analysis and advocacy in this highly practical module.

It was now time for the students to get involved, and our guest speaker, Michael Olatokun, who is a Research Leader in Citizenship and the Rule of Law, and the Head of Public and Youth Engagement, at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, gave the cohort an outstanding opportunity to discuss and reflect on what makes them passionate about studying law and a consensus quickly built on how law is such a crucial tool to drive change and bring about social justice. Michael first passionately recounted his personal story and what brought him to pursue a career as a barrister, no doubt inspiring many along the way. He then led a highly interactive session, with students involved throughout, on the importance of the right to protest as a fundamental human right.

Our new year 1 cohort can be very proud of themselves, and we certainly are! They proved highly engaged, contributing many valuable reflections on how to balance individual human rights in a proportionate way in the face of the collective needs for safety and security.’

Forthcoming lectures open to students/staff across the College and wider audiences

With a strong interdisciplinary ethos and appetite for engaging with challenging socio-legal issues, we strive to make our lectures and professional activities accessible across the College and to wider audiences when possible.

Please see below about opportunities to attend forthcoming lectures and public debates:

An examination of the criminal trial, February 8th, 13:00-15:00 (open to all Goldsmiths students and staff – RSVP by emailing d.giannoulopoulos@gold.ac.uk). With:

Silkie Carlo, Director, Big Brother Watch: Technology, human rights and the criminal justice system

Fallon Alexis, junior barrister, QEB Hollis Whiteman: Defending in criminal trials 

Prof Fiona Gabbert, Prof of Applied Psychology, Goldsmiths: How to ensure reliable information/evidence informs decision making in criminal trials

Dr Caoimhe McAnena, Clinical Lecturer in Psychology, Goldsmiths: The role of the expert witness in criminal trials 

Dr Emma Davies, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Goldsmiths:  Children in criminal trials (and the criminal justice system)

David Malone, Deputy Head of the Specialist Fraud Division, CPS; barrister, Red Lion Chambers: Prosecuting in criminal trials

Adam Wagner, The impact of Covid-19 on human rights, February 9th, 13:00-15:00 (open to all Goldsmiths students and staff – RSVP by emailing v.barral@gold.ac.uk).

Adam is a Visiting Professor in our department, and barrister at Doughty Street Chambers.

You may read Adam’s recent analysis on Covid-19 and human rights in the New StatesmanProspect and engage with discussion on this twitter thread.

Street Art and Copyright Law – February 11th, 10:00 – 11:30 (open to all students/staff at Goldsmiths the wider pubic – click here to register your interest and for more information).

Prof Leslie Thomas QC,  From the Mangrove to Brixton, from Lawrence to Lammy. The policing of Black People in 40 years. Do Black Lives really matter in the eyes of the policing establishment?16 February 2021, 18:00 – 19:30 (open to all students/staff at Goldsmiths and the wider pubic. Click here to register your interest and for more information).

Prof Leslie Thomas QC is a Visiting Professor in our department, the Gresham Professor of Law and a barrister (and former joint head) at Garden Court Chambers.

 

Dr Abenaa Owusu-Bempah in our 2019 annual criminal justice symposium at the British Academy

Dr Abenaa Owusu-Bempah (LSE), Part of art or part of life? Rap lyrics in criminal trials – 18 February 2021, 14:00 – 15:00 (open to all students/staff at Goldsmiths and the wider pubic. Click here to register your interest and for more information).

Harvard Law at Goldsmiths

As reported by The Lex 100 and University Business, our Department of Law has become the first Law department in the UK to offer a pioneering online course by Harvard Law School. Harvard’s ‘Zero-L’ course has been offered to our undergraduates at no cost, and is taught by 18 leading Harvard Law faculty members.

Zero-L is comprised of approximately a dozen hours of video lectures, vocabulary, and periodic comprehension checks that students can take at their own pace. Course modules cover a range of topics, including: an introduction to law and the legal profession; the history of the American Constitution; separation of powers and federalism; the stages of litigation; citizenship rights (civics) and much more. It also provides students with instruction and practise in basic skills, including how to read a case.

Materials developed by Goldsmiths Law academics to support the delivery of Zero-L direct our students to key areas of interest in the programme and give them to understand how Zero-L strengthens their understanding of English law and helps develop legal skills.

To find out more information, read here.

The adoption of Zero-L by Goldsmiths Law as reported in Lex-100

Books, music and film for the festive season

The academic team and Visiting Professors in our department are sending all our students their warmest wishes for a restful and enjoyable festive season and a New Year full of health and happiness, along with their suggestions for readings, films and even music which will help them take their mind off core Law learning activities when recharging their batteries. There is still a lot of Law in this Christmas reading list of course, but it’s the kind of Law that intersects with history, society, and culture. There is so much more than Law too. Do engage with these readings and other activities, and let us know what you think of them too (at @GoldsmithsLaw #GoldLawReads).
Dr Fatima Ahdash recommends Love in Colour by Bolu Babalola. This is a very exciting modern retelling of mythical love stories from around the world. Fatima also recommends Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. This Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie | Waterstonesfascinating novel is a modern retelling of the Greek tragedy ‘Antigone’ and recounts the story of the children of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee in London and their struggles with the security state, faith, identity and the ‘War on Terror.’
For those interested in History, the Holocaust, and international criminal law, Dr Virginie Barral recommends East West Street by Philippe Sands. This is “not a legal book, yet highly interesting for lawyers, weaving Philippe Sands’ family personal history, as well as those of great lawyers Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, and how they respectively ‘invented’ the notions of Crimes against humanity and Genocide in the run up to the Nuremberg Trials”.

During the break Virginie will be looking forward to reading The Ratline (the sequel to East West Street), which “follows the fate of the Nazi Governor responsible for Sands’, Lauterpacht’s and Lemkin’s families deaths, Otto Wachter, in the years after WWII”.

Judge Donald Cryan

Our Visiting Professor Judge Donald Cryan suggests the quintessential American classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, for its drama, professional ethics, integrity, courage, the anti-racist action and much more. Judge Cryan’s second recommendation is The Lion and the Throne by C. Drinker Bowen, explaining that “it is the biography of Sir Edward Coke who was active around 1600 and was one of the great champions of early parliamentary democracy”.

Rex v Edith Thompson by Laura Thompson | WaterstonesDr Alex Dymock enjoyed the following this year: Rachel Kushner – The Mars Room (a beautifully written and meticulously researched novel about life in a women’s prison in California); Laura Thompson – Rex v Edith Thompson (creative non-fiction account of the trial of Edith Thompson, one of the last women in England & Wales to face the death penalty); Virginie Despentes – King Kong Theory (a manifesto for a new kind of punk feminism). Over the break, Alex is looking forward to reading Katherine Angel’s new book, Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and Desire in the Age of Consent (out with Verso in 2021) and dipping into Lucas Richert’s Break On Through: Radical Psychiatry and the American Counterculture.

On films and TV, Alex recommends: I Love You, Now Die – HBO docuseries on the prosecution of a teenager in the US which asks the question: when should a party be held criminally liable for another’s suicide?; The Sopranos – which she’s just started watching for the first time and “it’s every bit as brilliant as everyone says”; Little Fires Everywhere – “a drama about gender, race and motherhood with superb performances from Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon. A rare example of a screen adaptation far better than the novel!”. She’ll “likely spend much of the break watching more Sopranos!”, she adds.

Dr Plamen Dinev would like to make a single recommendation, namely: ‘A History of Intellectual Property in 50 Objects’, edited by Claudy Op den Kamp & Dan Hunter. It includes contributions by some of the leading IP scholars, yet it is presented in an engaging and accessible way that should be of interest to students of all levels – and regardless of whether they have any prior interest in IP.
Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos recommends a first quick stop at Timothy Garton Ash’s long read, The future of liberalism, recently published in Prospect. Garton Ash suggests a “new liberalism” where the “fear of the human barbarism that can always return will be intertwined with hope for a human civilisation that we partly have”; it’s a useful reminder of what is at stake.
For those interested to learn more about the government’s agenda for constitutional reform (and risks this generates for some of our key democratic institutions and legal processes), Dimitrios points us to Prospect again, their recent report on the rule of law, notably David Lammy’s analysis on Save judicial review, Judge Neuberger’s explanation of how judges change their minds, Harriet Harman’s piece on what she calls the Overseas impunity bill, Alex Dean’s interview with former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, on how our judges are not activist, or the article by the Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland, who speaks of our “thriving legal services build on a foundation 800 years in the making” (but fails to acknowledge, in Dimitrios’ view, how the government’s constitutional reform agenda risks to undermine these foundations).
In undertaking research for an article that appeared in the August issue of the European Human Rights Law Review, Dimitrios read Dominic Raab’s The Assault on Liberty, which was published in 2009. The book is “mischievously presented as a defence of individual rights, when, in reality, it is the protection of individual rights — under the HRA and the ECHR — that the book is absolutely intent on assaulting”, wrote Dimitrios in the EHRLR article; it’s “an illuminating read for everyone keen to understand the threats European human rights are currently facing in the UK”, he observes. Raab’s book can be read with – and contrasted to – the brilliant On Fantasy Island, by Prof Conor Gearty.
During the festive period, Dimitrios is looking forward to reading Barack Obama’s A Promised Land (he got his copy from our brilliant independent bookstore at Goldsmiths, The Word, which currently operates an order-and-collect service). Dimitrios points to what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wrote in the New York Times, that with this book ‘Obama has already illuminated a pivotal moment in American history, and how America changed while also remaining unchanged’. But “above all, this book needs to be read with the last four years of Trump in mind”, he adds; “failures in Obama’s presidency will surely appear insignificant compared to the destruction that Trump’s populist machine has attempted to bring upon the United States’ key democratic institutions”.
Other books in his reading list include Lauren Lavrysen’s and Natasa Mavronicola’s Coercive Human Rights and Jan Wouter’s and Felipe Gomez Isa’s The Faces of Human Rights. On fiction, he has started to read Diane Cook’s, The New Wilderness; “it’s a new kind of dystopia that the book chillingly describes, a time in the near future when the final human project of environmental destruction is complete”, Dimitrios says.
On film, he strongly recommends The Small Axe series, which Goldsmiths alumnus Steve McQueen directed. Dimitrios has so far watched Mangrove, Lovers’ Rock and Red, White and Blue; “all beautifully shot, with Mangrove and Red, White and Blue depicting, with powerful accuracy, well-known episodes, and less well-known personal moments, of victimhood, but also of brave resistance, individual and cultural, to racist behaviour infecting our criminal justice system”.

For a TV series “guaranteed to send shivers down the spine”, Dimitrios recommends the Chernobyl, which he has recently watched. “I was a kid growing up in Greece when we learnt the devastating news of the nuclear disaster in Ukraine; the series eerily transports you back to that time, and place, and gives you unprecedented access to a culture of secrecy, rigid political hierarchies and unbending Party diktat, unmoved even in the face of unspeakable human tragedy”.
Finally, on music, Dimitrios says: “there cannot be Christmas without the Nutcracker, and though national operas around the world are closed due to the pandemic right now, there are some striking performances on YouTube; these from Staatskapelle Dresden  and the Russian State Ballet and Opera House are notable. Our Royal Opera House was planning a live stream this Christmas, but due to London’s move to Tier 4 status, they had to cancel  and are now inviting audiences, as an alternative, to purchase, for a very small fee, streaming access to a recording of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
He also suggests checking out NPR’s “aesthetically beautiful and deeply intimate” Tiny Desk performances as well as Goldsmiths Music featuring work by current and former students from the Department of Music in the College.

Our Visiting Professor, Dominic Grieve QC, is recommending the following “riveting, and topical at present, reads”: Enemies of the People by Joshua Rozenberg; The Invention of Tradition.  Essays edited by Eric Hobsbawm; The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas; The Twilight of Democracy by Anne Applebaum; A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor.
On films: The Leopard by Visconti based on the book by Lampedusa, and A passage to India by David Lean based on the novel by EM Forster.
For our Visiting Professor, Alison Levitt QC, It’s a Wonderful Life is “the best ever Christmas film and a reminder to us all about what matters”.
Our Visiting Professor, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, warns that his suggestions “are bound to be gloomy”, in view of the “the appalling [socio-political] circumstances in which we find ourselves”. His first recommendation is the film Billy Budd, starring Terrence Stamp and Peter Ustinov.  “The film needs to be watched slowly, questioning what may be the sub texts”, Sir Geoffrey advises. “The trial scene at the end – and no point in skipping in order to get there – asks absolutely fundamental questions that lawyers and law makers must consider”. Watch Sir Geoffrey’s second suggestion – the Lives of others – and “ask at the end what was its core subject”. Sir Geoffrey also suggests “Never look away”. It is “long and slow and worth every minute”.

On books, Sir Geoffrey recommends The Anarchy, by William Dalyrimple, which “provides a devastating but gripping account of the operations over a couple centuries of the East India Company”.  It says much about “colonialism, slavery, politics and can be ‘read across’ as relevant to today’s difficulties”.
Sir Geoffrey has a music recommendation too – Winterreise by Schubert – and advises that we can do what he has done recently and learn more about a famous work like this from here. You can also explore lectures by Parloff (and others) on other on music and sink into deep appreciation.
On law, Dr Mai Taha recommends the following: Brenna Bhandar, Colonial Lives of Property: Law, Land and Racial Regimes of Property (Duke University Press, 2018). She is planning to read soon, Nadine El-Enany’s, Bordering Britain: Law, Race and Empire (Manchester University Press, 2020).
She also recommends the following non-academic books: Hisham Matar, A Month in Siena (Penguin, 2019); Assata Shakur, Assata: an Autobiography (Lawrence Hill Books, 1988).
For fiction books, she is suggesting Elena Ferrante’s, The Napolitan Novels, and is also planning to read her new book The Lying Life of Adults (2020); Isabella Hammad, The Parisian (2019); Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler (1979).
Aaron Taylor has a few suggestions of excellent books (broadly) related to fraud which he’s read recently: Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, Billion Dollar Whale (The story of Jo Lho and the 1MBD fraud); Bill  Browder, Red Notice (Russian state corruption in the post-Soviet years); John Carreyrou, Bad Blood, (The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos); Sour Grapes (documentary, available on Netflix, about a fascinating huge-scale wine fraud). On his reading list in this area there are Rachel Maddow’s, Blowout (A book abut the oil and gas industry, subtitled “Corruption democracy, rogue state Russia, and the richest, most destructive industry on Earth”).
On other topics, he recommends: Georgina Adam, Dark side of the boom (About the excesses of the high-end market in contemporary art); Sarah Thornton, 7 days in the Art World (A fascinating viewpoint on all aspects of the art world, from artist’s studio to auction room); Bianca Bosker, Cork Dork (A journalist’s hilarious deep-dive into the world of wine); Philippe Sands, East-West Street (An absolute must-read: simultaneously a family history and an investigation into the origins of the concepts of genocide and crimes against humanity); Dan Hicks, The Brutish Museums (Subtitled: ‘The Benin Bronzes, colonial violence, and cultural restitution’)
If you’re looking for just one book, Aaron’s suggestion is East-West Street (he agrees with Dr Barral on this), and Bad Blood is the book he found hardest to put down.
Aaron has also recently watched two excellent biopics about US Supreme Court Justices: Marshall (about Thurgood Marshall), and On the basis of sex (about Ruth Bader Ginsburg). The Aaron Sorkin film The Trial of the Chicago 7 is also superb, according to Aaron, as is Sorkin’s previous film Molly’s Game.
Our Visiting Professor, Leslie Thomas QC, recommends Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, a book which has helped him over the years; “a simple small book that helps you overcome procrastination something we can all be guilty of”.
Leslie’s second recommendation is The Clapback by Lawal; “in a year of BLM and becoming Anti-Racist this book debunks racist stereotypes about black people” and is “well worth a read”.

Catch up with highlights from our “open day”

We were delighted to meet all our prospective students who joined us for our virtual open day last week (10 July 2020). You can watch highlights from the open day here, with contributions from our academics Dr Virginie Barral and Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, and our students Alex Choi and Melyssa Cruse.

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.

Liberty’s Martha Spurrier to LLB class: “We must keep the Human Rights Act intact”

Martha Spurrier to Goldsmiths’ LLB Law students: “Rules affecting our human rights can sometimes be unfair and the law inadequate. You must be prepared to challenge unfair rules and campaign for their change”

In line with our approach of teaching Law in its socio-political context and exposing students to key players in the legal and political process, we had the great pleasure of hosting Martha Spurrier in the Year 1 ‘Public Law and the Human Rights Act’ module, coordinated by Goldsmiths’ Dr Virginie Barral.

Martha was appointed earlier this year Visiting Professor in Law at Goldsmiths. She is the Director of the UK’s leading human rights NGO Liberty and a human rights lawyer specialising in questions of access to justice, freedom of expression, children and women’s rights, and the rights of prisoners and immigration detainees.

In her lecture, Martha discussed how the Human Rights Act had changed the way civil servants and judges make decisions on a day to day basis, noting that a remarkable undocumented impact of the Act has been on the way public servants have integrated the concepts of rights in the way they interact with people.

Confronting students with current debates about updating the Human Rights Act (in line with the Conservative government’s 2019 election manifesto), Martha brought to light the inadequacy of the common law to protect fundamental rights effectively and insisted on the importance of keeping the Human Rights Act intact.

She also pointed out that rules can sometimes be unfair and the law inadequate. She encouraged students to be prepared to challenge unfair rules and campaign for their change.

Martha also deplored the lack of attention and interest paid in the UK to economic, social and cultural rights such as the right to food, shelter, or health whilst the financial crisis and deepening socio-economic inequalities have brought these in sharp relief with more families unable to feed themselves decently. She called for more radical thinking about socio-economic rights and drew from the work of Andrew Fagan to show that poverty and destitution often mean lack of access to civil and political rights. A higher level of protection of socio-economic rights was thus necessary to ensure fuller civil and political rights protection.

Martha predicted that alongside the climate crisis, which raises obvious fundamental rights questions, the future direction of rights protection and campaigning in the UK will focus on socio-economic rights and that Liberty was certainly thinking very hard about this.

We are delighted with Martha’s appointment as a Visiting Professor in Law at Goldsmiths, and are very excited to be working with her and Liberty, in our attempt to confront our students with major socio-political and economic challenges that we’re facing in the UK today.

Mock murder trial at the RCJ: defendant “guilty” and “sentenced to life imprisonment”

LLB Law cohort at the Royal Courts of Justice (January 2020)

29 January 2020

Goldsmiths Law students in Year 1 of the LLB Law programme took part in a mock murder trial at the Royal Courts of Justice today, during the second RCJ visit of the LLB Law cohort this year.

The mock trial concerned a joint enterprise murder case. Students undertook the roles of judge, barristers, witnesses, clerk and jury, and were provided with background to the case and scripts to work from.

With a little prompting from the National Justice Museum facilitator, mock barristers questioned and cross-examined eight witnesses to establish the chain of events that led to the killing, the relationship between co-defendants and victim, and the specifics of the crime scene.

Jurors were provided with evidence of CCTV footage of the co-defendants fleeing the scene, and were asked to assess witness testimony on the basis of whether it helped establish whether the offence of murder had been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

The defendant was found guilty by the jury and was duly sentenced to life imprisonment.

The study visit and mock trial were part of the ‘English Legal System in a Global Context’ Year 1 module which introduces students to key legal institutions and concepts, and to relevant institutional parties and practice. Goldsmiths Law’s Dr Alex Dymock offered guidance to the students during the trial.

We are thankful to the National Justice Museum, for coordinating the mock trial and study visit, and our continued collaboration.