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Year 3 student launches Commercial Awareness Study Group

Study group

copyright: pixabay

Our Year 3 student, Dara Antova, writes about her motivation in launching a Commercial Awareness Study Group (all students watch out for the invites to forthcoming sessions):

The decision to initiate the ‘Commercial Awareness Study Group’ came from recognising the many challenges that exist in navigating the Training Contract route and/or legal work experience applications.

The primary goal was to create an opportunity to work with fellow students and applicants, to enhance our skills for discussion on news topics, case studies, and other interview-based scenarios in the legal industry—a skill crucial yet challenging to refine.

Our first session, conducted in collaboration with the Law librarian, Lauren Cummings, was nothing short of brilliant. Focusing on legal market analysis of news stories, the session proved to be highly interactive. Each attendee actively participated, sharing and discussing their analysis. The relaxed environment allowed for open conversations, providing us with the opportunity to learn more about the attendees’ aspirations while creating a space to share concerns and discover common ground. Beyond the professional development aspect, these study groups will act as a support system, fostering a sense of understanding among participants.

The positive reception of the first session has left fellow students and myself eagerly anticipating the next one, and I will be excited to continue facilitating a space where students can both enhance their commercial awareness skills and find valuable support in their legal journey.

Goldsmiths Law Summer School in Athens: “An Experience Beyond Words”

Goldsmiths students and staff in the Hellenic Parliament

Legal cosmopolitanism is a core value underlying the Goldsmiths Law curriculum, and in keeping with this approach to academic learning, we organised for 19 Goldsmiths students, including 5 students from our Journalism, Media, Politics, Sociology and Anthropology departments, as well as 8 students from Greek Universities we’re collaborating with, to attend our annual Summer School in Athens this June, on Human Rights, Law, and Policy: Britain, Greece and the EU. All 19 Goldsmiths students were supported by generous student scholarships by the Department of Law; widening access and participation for all is a key priority for our Department.

The programme, spread across a week, was a mix of experiential learning opportunities, taught academic sessions, cultural visits and student-centred socials. Students had the chance to learn contextually from diplomats, UN experts, Law academics, law enforcement officials, sociologists, economists, environmental law experts and other subject specialists. The summer school faculty brought together experts from Greek Universities and organisations as well as Goldsmiths Law academics.

Besides the academic element, students came together and created unique memories in more relaxed settings; the trip to the Athenian riviera and beach were important highlights, and so were dinners at local tavernas, fish restaurants, and cooling down from the Athenian heat with iced cappuccino coffee! There was sport and other games on the beach, and bowling, past midnight, on the final evening out!

Engaged Learning in Context

Goldsmiths students had the opportunity to attend academic sessions and seminars at leading Athenian universities, including the prestigious Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, the Harokopio University, Athens University of Economics and Business, and the Athens Conservatoire. Experts on important areas of Greek public law and human rights discussed a range of important issues, such as the refugee crisis, developments in constitutional, human rights and EU law, law and technology, and economic policy. Instructors included a retired female Greek police general, Zacharoula Tsirigoti, who oversaw the refugee crisis in the Greek-Turkish border in 2015, as well as leading UK and Greek academics.

Research roundtable at Panteion University

Research roundtable at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences

The keynote address was delivered by Ms. Jessica Simor KC, a Visiting Professor in our Law Department, and leading human rights barrister at Matrix Chambers, who has recently led on the major KlimaSeniorinnen v Switzerland case at the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg. Jessica spoke about the ground-breaking development of using human rights law to address climate change, and delivered a practical workshop to participants, about how to prepare a major case at the European Court of Human Rights.

Students’ understanding of refugee law and policy gained further perspective during a visit to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Students engaged in theoretical discussion and practical exercises.

Visit to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Another highlight of the trip was a discussion on the political role played by Greek Tragedies at the Theatre of Dionysus – the location at which they would have first been performed. Goldsmiths’ Dr Natalie Katsou, an expert on ancient Greek tragedies, introduced students to the theatre’s architecture and use in ancient times, before exploring the idea of ‘refuge’ in ancient Greek theatre in another workshop.

The programme, which began with a visit to the Greek Ambassador in London, HE Yannis Tsaousis, came to an official close at the British Council in Athens, where the British Ambassador to Greece, HE Matthew Lodge, awarded students their summer school certificates and spoke to them about the importance of British-Greek ties and UK’s commitment to Human Rights. He highlighted the significance of Goldsmiths Law’s summer school as an outstanding illustration of invaluable bilateral internationalisation efforts in the post Brexit era, and a gateway to the development of more comprehensive student exchange schemes in the future, in which area Goldsmiths Law could be seen as a pioneer.

Closing ceremony

To prove this point, the Head of Goldsmiths Law, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, and the Vice Rector of the Athens University of Economics and Business, Prof Vasilios Papadakis, announced to the Ambassador the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, in the context of the Athens summer school. The MoU marks the beginning of ambitious work to set up student exchange programmes which will allow Goldsmiths students to study in Greece a range of modules on Law, Economics, Business and Management, as part of their three year LLB, and Greek students from the Athens University of Economics and Business to study for the LLM and other postgraduate qualifications at Goldsmiths.

The British Ambassador, HE Matthew Lodge, congratulating Goldsmiths’ Prof Giannoulopoulos and AUEB’s Prof Papadakis for the signing of the MoU between the two Universities

Exploring Greek Landmarks from a Legal Lens 

Journalism student, Rebekah, citing Pericles in "Pnyka"

Journalism student, Rebekah, and Goldsmiths Law’s, Dr Jinal Dadiya, citing Pericles in “Pnyka”

Goldsmiths Law is all about experiential learning, and this time, our adventures moved from legal London to Legal Athens (and legal historical Athens!). Particularly moving was a group reading of Pericles’ funeral oration at Pnyka, the birthplace of democratic assemblies. Trips to the Archaeological Museum and the Acropolis Museum were marked by insightful observations on classical Greece as well as on legal and policy issues surrounding the return of the Elgin Marbles. Students also received a guided tour of the Hellenic Parliament, and in one of its chambers, similarities and differences between the Greek parliament and the Westminster model were explored.

The trip was about lessons and learning as much as it was about friendship and fun. Students from different cohorts and departments had a chance to bond, laugh, and think together in more informal environments with their instructors. Student satisfaction with the experience is best summed up by the words of Sociology and Politics student, Samara, who writes,

“This Summer School was an experience beyond words. As a Sociology & Politics student the invitation was kindly extended to allow me more opportunities in a field of interest, which I am very grateful for. There were many academic highlights, including learning about the migration crisis in Greece and how this corresponds with policy in the UK, as well as the Greek economic crisis and how this has effected the country to this day (at the Athens University of Economics and Business). Being able to develop my political stance on migration and economic issues from a law perspective was invaluable. All lectures and group activities were gracefully hosted by staff at the partnering universities or visiting professors, providing us all with thought provoking sessions and extra resources to pursue the field further. Furthermore, the trip came with the benefit of the enriching culture and landmarks that makes Athens the city that it is. The historic architecture and perfect preservation of what was once ancient Greece only added to the amazing experience, it’s completely incomparable to seeing the same artefacts in the British History Museum.”

Discussing constitutional law practice In the secondary chamber in the Hellenic Parliament

Discussing constitutional law practice In the secondary chamber in the Hellenic Parliament

Law student, Zara Sadiq, added:

Overall, my summer school experience in Athens was truly amazing. The combination of historical landmarks, delectable food, and warm hospitality made it a trip to remember. I highly recommend going on the summer school for anyone seeking a blend of cultural immersion and educational opportunities, and special thanks to the Law Department for such an incredible opportunity”.

Big thanks to Zara and Samara from our part. This means a lot!

Head of Goldsmiths Law, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, who devised and led on the delivery of the summer school for the second year in a row, with the crucial support of the Study in Greece organisation, finally noted:

The list of educational, cultural and social activities that we have undertaken, within just a week in Athens, in itself speaks volumes about the added academic, professional and emotional benefits that our students will have acquired there. It still fails to tell the full story of the unique memories that we have all brought back with us to London. Our Law programme goes much further than transmit technical knowledge, legal or otherwise, to students. It immerses them in cultural and professional experiences, and formal institutional settings, and seeks to provide constant inspiration to them, through the people and settings and experiences it introduces them, to aim high and achieve their dreams, in life.

We look forward to many of our prospective students coming with us to Athens next year!

Goldsmiths Law funds 12 summer internships with leading human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith OBE – students will work on capital cases, torture and rendition

We are thrilled to announce the first of many annual summer internship programmes with Goldsmiths Distinguished Visiting Professor Clive Stafford Smith OBE.

The Department of Law will provide 12 x £500 scholarships to support the scheme.

We are grateful to Prof Stafford-Smith for volunteering his time and expertise with the aim of offering the unique opportunity to our students to work on a range of live projects relating to counter-terrorism and human rights.

We are very pleased with the diversity of the group of students who have successfully applied – ten of the twelve are BAME, and seven women. We also opened the process up to various other departments, reflecting Goldsmiths’ commitment to interdepartmental coordination. Two undergraduates are from the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies and one student is doing an MS in Filmmaking.

Clive’s ten-week internship includes students from Bristol, Cambridge, Oxford, Canterbury, Leicester, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Queens College, so our students will work with their peers from other universities, some doing linguistics, some studying sociology. In addition, the Goldsmiths students with work alongside Clive’s apprentices from last year who are spending the summer in Alabama and Texas – the hope being that some of our cohort will follow in their footsteps to work on the ground in the US next summer.

The students will begin with a two-day introduction in Bristol on June 19-20, where Clive will run them through the various projects they will work on. For example, all the students will assemble a Case Theory Memo for a death penalty case where it seems likely that an innocent prisoner was executed, based on a review of the entire record that Clive has already laboriously assembled from several states. This means they will get to see an entire capital case from start to finish. It will ultimately lead to a film or a podcast, but only after a second year where – as with three of last year’s cases from Texas, and two from Alabama – students do the follow-up factual investigation.

Teenager Clinton Young is on death row

The students will also take part in factual and legal research for two clients still facing execution, and on June 19th, they will be able to speak directly to one (Clinton Young) to hear what it meant for a teenager to be sent to death row.

When it comes to the Guantánamo Bay clients, the advocacy is very broad. Several students have already volunteered to help Ahmed Rabbani (ISN 1461) with his Guantánamo Cook Book (and two of the 2022 students will be demonstrating some of Ahmed’s recipes at the introduction session). They will also be seeking to replicate Ahmed’s recent Karachi art show for Yemeni prisoner Khalid Qassim (ISN 242), another talented artist. And they will work on seeking compensation for the oldest Guantánamo prisoner, Saifullah Paracha (ISN 1094), an innocent Pakistani businessman who was kidnapped from Thailand.

Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui

They will also hear from Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui, the sister of Pakistani Dr. Aafia Siddiqui who is the only woman to suffer the US rendition-to-torture programme in the wake of 9/11. Clive recently took on her case, and several students have already indicated their interest in helping secure her justice – she was originally sold to the US for a $55,000 bounty, and abducted with  her three children from Karachi in 2003. Her youngest (Suleiman, an infant, right) was killed; her daughter Maryam (3) was forcibly fostered into an American family for 5 years; and her son Ahmed (5) was similarly held for half a decade. Aafia herself was taken to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan where she was subjected to torture. She is now facing 86 years in a federal prison in Texas.

A major academic project that will run through the summer, called Louisiana v. London, looks at the flaws in the contemporary UK legal system as they are reflected by the American Revolutionaries’ complaints in the US constitution and Bill of Rights. Some students will also work on ‘Constitutions’ for schools and universities that can help illuminate the benefits from a written structure.

Building on the recent ‘Generation on Trial’ project held at Goldsmiths, where Sir Nick Clegg was tried before a panel of Lewisham secondary students for the ‘crime’ of tripling student fees, the summer internship will help with the development of other ‘trials’ involving contemporary issues such as climate change, asylum seekers, and the monarchy.

Generation on Trial project: the trial of Sir Nick Clegg

Over the summer our students will have the opportunity to write, or make short social media films, on a range of legal and social science issues.

On each Tuesday of the ten-week programme, the students will assemble virtually or in person for an interactive lecture by Clive, or one of his guests, on a wide range of legal, advocacy and moral issues. If they wish, the students will also work one-on-one with Clive to identify their particular talents and passion, with a view to constructing as rewarding a career as he has had.

We hope that at the end of the summer the students will return to Goldsmiths fired up with knowledge and inspiration to continue their individual paths towards a life that is aimed at improving the lives of those around them.

Goldsmiths Law students at the European Court of Human Rights

Goldsmiths Law students at the European Court of Human Rights

In another impressive first for the Law Department, 22 students from across Year 1 to 3 of the LLB Law programme (and pathways) attended a Grand Chamber hearing at the European Court of Human Rights and met with the UK Judge at the Court, Judge Tim Eicke KC.

The trip provided students with unique insights of the work of the European Court of Human Rights including careers at the Court and Council of Europe, and led to thought provoking conversations on the right to strike, Judge Sofra O’Leary, the first female President in the history of the Court but also  the politicisation of the work of the Court, particularly in the UK, where the government has introduced legislation to reform the Human Rights Act and alter the relationship with the European Court of Human Rights.

Inkeri, a Year 3 LLB student, who started her course in September 2020, when Universities were battling with the effects of Covid, remarked:

It was incredible that Goldsmiths and the Law Department were able to give this opportunity to so many students. We missed a whole year of teaching in person, which took away many chances to get to know our peers and to fully engage with learning. The trip was not only a great learning opportunity and experience but an amazing chance in getting to know other year threes better, as well as year 2 and year 1 students. Of course, being able to go see a case at the European Court of Human Rights was the highlight of the trip. I really enjoyed observing how each party argued their case and how the judges analysed and asked relevant questions. It was intellectually stimulating and helped in many ways to put into practice what I have learnt during the past three years.

Led by the Head of the Law Department, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, and the department’s Legal Practice and Law Clinics Administrator, Christine Copping, the group made an early start, boarding one of the first Eurostars of the day to make the long, but fun, journey to Strasbourg, via Paris. Before long, students from different year groups were making new acquaintances; they were teasing each other over card games and music preferences and other non-University matters before we reached Paris, – a key ambition of our winter/spring trip abroad and Athens summer school is to bring students closer together, and this trip was getting very successful at that, very early on.

It was incredible that Goldsmiths and the law department were able to give this opportunity to so many students. We missed a whole year of teaching in person, which took away many chances to get to know our peers and to fully engage with learning. The trip was not only a great learning opportunity and experience but an amazing chance in getting to know other year threes better, as well as year 2 and year 1 students – Inkeri, Year 3 LLB student

The second leg of the long journey saw us board a high speed train (TGV) in Paris, and, at speeds reaching approximately 350 km/hour, we arrived in Strasbourg with only half an hour before we were to meet with the UK Judge at the Court, Judge Tim Eicke. Before we realised it, we were crossing the doors of the European Court of Human Rights, just as preparations in the main courtroom were being finalised for the Grand Chamber hearing the following morning. Judge Eicke welcomed us to the Court with a big smile, then quickly took us into the main courtroom! We looked in awe, thinking “that’s where it all happens”, this is the Court that decides human rights matters affecting more than 800 million people in Europe!

Outside the European Court of Human Rights

Outside the European Court of Human Rights

Before we could take it all in, Judge Eicke took us to the Court’s press room, for a workshop. He addressed the operation of the Court, and key concepts such as the “margin of appreciation” and “European consensus”, before reflecting on questions from our students, such as on the career pathway that took him to Strasbourg or on how the British Bill of Rights might affect the operation of the ECHR in the UK.

The one hour workshop finished with Professor Giannoulopoulos giving to Judge Eicke a copy of his recent book (with Prof Yvonne McDermott), on Judicial Independence Under Threat, as a token of our appreciation for Judge Eicke’s extremely kind reception at the Court, on the eve of a Grand Chamber hearing he would be sitting in not least. We are hugely grateful to him and his team for the way in which they welcomed us to the Court.

Day 1 came to an end with a wonderful 3-course dinner, at a traditional Alsatian restaurant. Students were then able to explore picturesque “Strasbourg by night”. The cathedral is perhaps one of the most impressive in Europe.

Another very early start was scheduled for the following day: breakfast at 7 a.m., and the group would be on its way to the Court before 07.45. The students’ organisation was put to the test, and they were all impeccable. By 08.30 a.m. we were entering the Court again, this time amongst dozens of other visitors, including the legal teams leading in the case and court officials.

More than just an academic programme…

The case was Humpert and Others v. Germany. The applicants Karin Humpert, Kerstin Wienrank, Eberhard Grabs and Monika Dahl, are German nationals, teachers who are employed by different Bundesländer as civil servants. In 2009 and 2010, respectively, they did not turn up to work for between one hour and three days, demanding an improvement in learning and working conditions. They were subsequently subjected to disciplinary sanctions for having been on strike. The applicants challenged the decisions against them in different administrative courts and the Federal Constitutional Court, to no avail. The Federal Constitutional Court held in particular that the Basic Law banned civil servants from going on strike, which it considered compatible with the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Court’s case-law. The applicants complained under Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) and under Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights that the ban on teachers – with civil-servant status – striking was not prescribed by law, was disproportionate and, in comparison with teachers employed on a contractual basis, discriminatory.

‘Without the right to strike, collective bargaining would be reduced to collective begging.  The two remain inseparable’, commented Loretta, another Year 3 student, after the hearing.

The legal team for the respondent country, Germany, in the case of Humpert and others v Germany (with Armand, Lily, Hamidha, Megan, Alex, Menelaos, Loretta, other Goldsmiths Law students and Prof Giannoulopoulos in the audience in the background)

It was a very academically intense day and a half for all since departing from London, so the rest of the stay in Strasbourg was officially deemed “free time”. The students were delighted. They split in small groups, to explore the old town, in the sunshine – we were very lucky with the weather.

During the long trip back you could easily tell some great friendships were already being formed… Back to London a few hours later, at St Pancras station, Prof Giannoulopoulos asked everyone to gather one last time: it had been such a privilege that we were able to visit the leading human rights court in Europe, he told the students, and they had all, once again, made everyone at Goldsmiths very proud, with their professionalism and politeness and empathy with each other, and with their academic effort… A shower of messages on the WhatsApp group we were using for communication followed: “I had so much fun. This is definitely a trip I will always remember”, texted Jess. “It was an honour to be part of this”, added Anja. “Thanks for inspiring us as always”, Scarlett said, joining the conversation (and she has only been with us for a few months, as a Year 1 student). “It’s one for the books for me”, pointed our Armand, simply and powerfully. “It was an amazing experience”, echoed Angelene. “It is very rare to be able to go on a trip which is equally as insightful as it is fun… we’re more grateful for it than you know”, commented Lily, and it sounded like the perfect concluding line…

After the Grand Chamber hearing, as we are leaving the courtroom at the European Court of human Rights.

The trip was supported by major scholarships paid by the Department of Law, and the School of Culture & Society, which took away 75% of the cost of the journey for all 22 students.

The Department of Law, and School of Culture & Society, are committed to widening access to these unique opportunities. The Law Department aims to host a winter/spring visit to international courts on an annual basis. Coupled with its annual summer school in Athens, these are initiatives that offer students unique access into legal cosmopolitanism, while building outstanding community and memories that we hope will last our graduates a lifetime.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to Ms Isabella Pilavachi-Jolly, from the Visitors’ Unit/Unité des visites at the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights, and Mr Andrew Cutting, spokesperson at the Council of Europe, for their invaluable support with this trip. The trip would have not been possible without their support. 

Immersive legal education meets technology and art

Salvador Dalí exhibition

Salvador Dalí predicted a future where machines would be able to think for themselves.

The Art Law module has gone from strength to strength again this academic year, providing a unique illustration of our Department’s highly distinctive, innovative teaching practice, with a strong emphasis on cross-disciplinarity and immersive legal education.

Led by Dr Plamen Dinev, whose research expertise spans a broad range of specialist areas, including intellectual property, technology (particularly 3D printing) and arts, the module brings together Goldsmiths Law faculty and a range of external partners and contributors.

Lecture at Mishcon de Reya

Mishcon de Reya are co-teaching our Art Law module, with one of the lectures taking place in their 21st century boutique law firm offices.

Part lecture, part exhibition.

We are especially thankful to Mishcon de Reya, a globally leading law firm specialising in the interconnections between law, technology and the arts, for co-teaching the module from their London office. The Art Law class visited Mishcon’s offices, for a two-hour lecture on the Art Market (and how Law regulates it), which was preceded by observation and discussion around the art collection that Mishcon house in their offices. The collection featured a range of powerful images taken by American photojournalist Eve Arnold – the first woman to join Magnum Photos – known for documenting Malcolm X and the Black Power movement in the United States.

A mini lecture from within the Parthenon marbles gallery at the British Museum. Prof Giannoulopoulos addresses their cultural and historic significance for Greece.

Earlier in the term, the Art Law students had a class in the British Museum, from within the Parthenon marbles gallery, with the conversation revolving around Greece’s claim for the repatriation of the marbles and their return to the Acropolis museum in Athens; Ioannis Andritsopoulos, the UK correspondent of Greece’s leading daily “Ta Nea”, whose investigative journalism has brought to the surface Boris Johnson’s Oxford Union speech which was making a passionate case for repatriation, and who has more recently revealed that the British museum is in ‘preliminary’ talks with Greece around finding a formula for the return of the marbles, spoke to the students about his work in this area. In the conversation that followed, this time at the Royal Society of Arts, where the group moved after the visit to the British Museum, the students drew on colonialist critiques and ideas of cultural heritage to show, predominantly, feelings of empathy with the claim for the return of the marbles. They also partook in a debating exercise where they had to argue for and against repatriation.

Goldsmiths Law students at the Royal Society of Arts, after their visit to the British Museum, debating ‘for” and “against” the repatriation of the Parthenon marbles.

In the penultimate week of term, the Art Law class was in central London again, this time visiting the wonderful Courtauld gallery, in the morning, where they were given a tour of works of Van Gogh, Gauguin, Monet, Cézanne, Manet, before visiting the Morgan Stanley exhibition on Peter Doig, one of the most celebrated and important painters working today, whose work has been heavily influenced from these major impressionist and post-impressionist artists housed in the Courtauld. Tanya Harris, from the Courtauld, contextualised the paintings for the students, confronting them with questions surrounding gender-equality, class division, and racial justice. Jonathan Bridges, formerly at Goldsmiths, and now at the Courtauld, had made the visit possible for our students.

Discussing Édouard Manet’s “A Bar at the Folies Bergère”

“Part of the exhibition and tour allowed us to see how Peter Doig ‘takes inspiration from art, music, poetry and film’, and how ‘his paintings are often rooted in the experience of places and people, or spring from a photograph or a captivating image in a book’”, noted Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, the Head of the Department, who helped introduce, with Dr Dinev, some of the key external activities in the Art Law curriculum, and who attended the visit. “Our approach to deconstructing Law at Goldsmiths is equally multi-dimensional and immersive”, Dimitrios highlighted for the attention of some of the students attending, calling upon them to “use art, music, film, poetry”, and to “interact with places and people”, in their effort to analyse the Law.

He also added: “The world-renowned comparative law scholar, Prof Mireille Delmas-Marty, first of the Sorbonne and then of the Collège de France, would always bring poetry into her lectures, to depict complex movements, transitions, transformations, divergence and rapprochement, in Law and society. I have more recently seen our Visiting Professor, Leslie Thomas KC, do the same thing, with great impact, in his anti-racist criminal law lectures, at Gresham College and Goldsmiths, and in all the other places where audiences were fortunate enough to see how deeply Law can be enriched in this way, and that breaking long-standing cultural barriers may require the emotional power that one can find in poetry, literature and music (much more than in black letter law).

Students using VR technology

Students exploring Dali with the help of VR technology

After the visit to the Courtauld, the students engaged with a highly immersive visit to the Dali: Cybernetics – The Immersive Experience. Using state-of-the-art audiovisual media, the exhibition exposed our students to surrealist Salvador Dalí, whose dreamlike works have had a profound influence on such modern artists as Jeff Koons and Goldsmiths graduate Damien Hirst. The installation included an interactive virtual reality journey into Dalí’s most iconic paintings, featuring oneiric scenes inspired by the work of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

“From Dalí to DALLE-E 2 – as part of modules such as Art Law and AI Law, our students have had the opportunity to place the law within its socio-economic context and explore the legal implications of artificial intelligence, VR, and other cutting-edge technologies currently shaping the modern art world”, commented Dr Plamen Dinev, module convenor for Art Law.

Law information day and Nick Clegg ‘tuition fees’ trial (this Saturday, March 18)

On Saturday, March 18, we will be combining our next open/applicant day for prospective LLB and LLM students, and our “Generation on Trial” mock trial, where we will be putting “Sir Nick Clegg” to the stand symbolically, for his role in the increase of the tuition fees by the coalition government. The mock trial brings together 24 Year 12 students as “jurors”, 8 LLB students as lawyers, 4 actors, including from our Theatre department, and other participants from outside Goldsmiths, including Sir Philip Colfox, a life-long LibDem, who will act a real life witness for the prosecution. The trial is coordinated by our Visiting Professor in Law, Clive Stafford Smith and his Generation on Trial project.

The Year 12 students participate in our Lewisham Challenge Law programme, and join us from the following schools:

Christ the King Sixth Form  College  (Lewisham

Haberdashers’ Hatcham Sixth Form (Lewisham)

SFH6 ( Sydenham School and Forest Hill Sixth Forms) (Lewisham)

Prendergast School Sixth Form (Lewisham)

Thomas Tallis School Sixth Form (Greenwich)

Goldsmiths Law students performing a mock trial exercise as part of their “English Legal System” module at the Council Chamber (February 2023) where this Saturday’s mock trial will take place.

We greatly look forward to welcoming prospective students, applicants and other inquirers to our open day. All our Goldsmiths Law students, and students from across the School of Culture & Society and other Goldsmiths departments are warmly welcome to join us for the day.

The schedule for the day will be as follows:

09.00 Mock trial begins (Deptford Town Hall, Council Chamber)

11-12 Open day presentation for LLB applicants and other inquirers (Deptford Town Hall, room 102)

12.30-13.15 Buffet lunch for LLB open day and mock trial participants (Deptford Town Hall, room 110)

13.30-14.15 Buffet lunch for LLB open day and mock trial participants (Deptford Town Hall, room 110)

17.00 Mock trial concludes (Deptford Town Hall, Council Chamber)

Open day participants and applicants will be able to follow the mock trial from 9 am and stay for as long as they desire.

Email us at with any queries.

Q & A with our new lecturer in Law, Dr Jinal Dadiya

Dr Jinal DadiyaAt the end of January, we were delighted to welcome to Goldsmiths Law our new Lecturer in Law, Dr Jinal Dadiya. In this Q & A, she introduces her pedagogic expertise and research specialism to us, and expresses her enthusiasm for joining our Department of Law.

Where did you work/study before joining Goldsmiths?

My doctoral research was at the University of Cambridge. I also have a graduate degree in law from the University of Oxford and an undergraduate degree from the National Law School in Bangalore, India.

Before starting the PhD, I was an attorney in the Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy team at a leading Indian law firm. I have also taught briefly at the University of Keele and at Cambridge.

What are your specialist areas in law?

ivfMy research relates to the fields of health law, reproductive justice, human rights law, and regulation theory. My doctoral thesis examined how assisted reproduction should be regulated for efficacious realisation of the human right to health. We live in a world where reproductive technologies such as IVF and egg/sperm freezing are ubiquitous, and by and large, considered ethically acceptable. Yet, they remain inaccessible to many. Access restrictions are along predictable grounds such as sexual orientation, marital status, race, citizenship, and financial status. Law and policy can create frameworks to enable access for underserved communities. My work looks for a conceptual foundation for legal reform within the international human right to the highest attainable standard of health. As one of very few human rights that place manageable ‘provision’ obligations on governments, it forms a great basis for recommending policy reform. As you’d imagine, my work on the right also has implications for other areas of health policy and provision.

I am also interested in law and literature analysis, and am working on a project comparing the treatment of heartbreak in law and in fiction. Contemporary scholars have been examining the place of emotions like love and trust in law. My project looks at celebrated instances of relationship breakdown which turned into courtroom battles, to develop an account of the value judges ascribe to the emotional and psychological experiences of romantic heartbreak. I compare this to how such incidences have been memorialised in fiction by writers of novels. The idea is to analyse the extent to which these accounts differ, and to explain why these differences matter.

What is your role in Goldsmiths’ Law programme?

This term, I will be convening Tort Law and also doing some teaching on the Criminal Law and Art Law Modules. I will also supervise some dissertations, and will be developing my own research projects, focusing particularly on the use of Heartbalm Torts in the early 20th century. Traditionally, in the common law, you could sue someone for breaking your heart unjustifiably. The success of your claim would depend on many factors, such as whether they seduced you or misled you in wrongful ways. For reasons good and bad, in most jurisdictions, you can’t sue for heartbreak anymore. My work examines the rise and fall of such tortious action.

What is your approach to teaching?

I believe that classrooms should be reflexive and responsive spaces. By this, I mean that instructors and students should listen to one another, and then introspect, to develop individual impressions and opinions. I find that this is an especially useful approach for understanding law in its lived context. To visualise the law within society, and to analyse it critically, are vital skills for all legal careers and my teaching strives to prepare students for this. I hope that interactive learning within my classroom develops students’ skills of legal articulation, as this is crucial to lawyering and legal application. I also emphasise the significance of legal accuracy. And so, my teaching focuses on legal building blocks, and encourages students to pay close attention to statutory language and case law.

What are your plans for the Tort Law module for the coming term?

During spring term, the Tort Law module will cover some traditional areas of tortious action including nuisance and trespass. Where possible, we will develop strategic positions to support and defend claims, as well as to mitigate tortious risks. While most of the module will be practice oriented, we will also look at the conceptual and philosophical foundations of the concept of harm in tort. Experiential learning activities will draw on contemporary issues such as liability for AI powered products and the UK government’s recent move to reform the law to curb SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

Broadly, what are you looking forward to the most being at Goldsmiths?

The element of adventure that is central to the Goldsmiths Law experience is what excites me the most. The approach to learning is exploratory, be it within lectures, or during activities and field visits. Not only does this make learning fun, it makes the law come alive as a very real phenomenon. As an academic, and on a personal level, I find the law thrilling. I’m hoping that legal escapades at Goldsmiths will give me chance to share this enthusiasm.

When a Right is no Right at all – Clive Stafford Smith on Shamima Begum

Clive Stafford-Smith, 2015|© Reuters/Paul Hackett/Alamy

Visiting Professor in Law at Goldsmiths, Clive Stafford Smith OBE, who has fought against the death penalty in the United States, and untold cruelty at Guantanamo, throughout all his career, comments for Goldsmiths Law blog on yesterday’s judgment of the Special Appeals Immigration Commission (SIAC) which declined to overturn the government’s decision to remove her citizenship on the grounds of the risks she poses to national security.

Compared to Americans, British people are very complacent about their “rights”. They are also careless about misplacing and then losing them. It is a well-worn legal saw that where there is a right there must be a remedy. However, equally where there is no remedy there is no right. The shameful case of Shamima Begum is the latest illustration of this.

One of the Brexit battles was fought over a return to the old time British passport which trumpets grand language:

“His Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of His Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.”

Once this meant something – perhaps, in the age of Gunboat Diplomacy, it meant too much. Increasingly, it means very little.

I have watched as recent ministers have retreated from the protections that the passport used to provide. For many years I have represented Kris Maharaj, proud owner of a British passport, who was sent to death row in Florida in 35 years ago. He recently became the first person I have represented in many years where British ministers have refused to intervene in court to support the rather simple proposition that he should be released because he is totally innocent. This is very sad.

But your passport is a little book, and in Shamima Begum’s case the government is indulging in a new wave of “Suella Braverman Book Burning”. Shamima had her passport simply taken away from her. In her first case, the Supreme Court said that the government was not rendering her stateless since she could claim Bangladeshi citizenship. This was risible, given that she has never been there: she was born in the UK, and the Bangladeshi government assured us that she “would be hanged if she entered the country.”

Shamima’s most recent case was decided today by the secretive Special Immigration Appeals Court (SIAC) who focused primarily on the “‘credible suspicion’ that Ms Begum was trafficked” to Syria. Indeed, there has been a major exposé on how a paid informant for the Canadian spy agency was the one who trafficked her as a 15-year old juvenile.

This apparently counts for nothing, based solely onthe submission advanced on behalf of the Secretary of State that the conclusion that Ms Begum travelled voluntarily to Syria to align with ISIL is an integral part of the overall national security assessment carried out by the Security Service.” It is important to translate this into plain English: if MI6 says in a secret proceeding to which Shamima is not privy that she went to Syria to join ISIL, then it does not matter what other people say.

George Orwell would be proud.

We hear much about Guantánamo and its dysfunctional and secretive court system. Yet I have worked there for 21 years and again it is vastly preferable to SIAC. In Guantánamo I get to see the secret evidence, and then talk to my client about it (with certain limitations), whereupon my client can testify to his heart’s content. In SIAC, the “Special Advocate” can do no such thing, and is cut off from the client. All the more so for Shamima, who is stuck in what we have long called “Guantánamo on the Euphrates”: she has never met any of her lawyers, and was not allowed to provide any evidence herself.

The SIAC judges say it’s really just an administrative issue where the government minister’s decision is essentially unassailable:

Ultimately, although many right-thinking people will strongly take issue with the assessment of those advising the Secretary of State, the Commission has come to the conclusion that the assessment that Ms Begum’s travel was voluntary cannot be impugned on the application of administrative law principles in these appellate proceedings.

One might divine from this that Suella Braverman and MI6 were “wrong-thinking”, yet they have won the day over Shamima’s fundamental rights.

It is my view that we need to protect Shamima because she was born with human rights and she is a human being. I, for one, am not willing to banish anyone forever, or send them to Rwanda, because Suella Braverman says we should. But we can take a more selfish approach to legal rights: if we do not protect hers, we will soon lose our own.

Illiberal (and, dare I say it, ignorant) politicians are quick to sacrifice ancient rights with the promise of a favourable tabloid headline. Yet liberty is always eroded first at the margins, before creeping up on the rest of us. The politician decries how a hated subgroup is “granted” a particular right; plaudits from the populist tabloids follow. But then inexorably the rest of us find that we have lost out too. When, for example, the IRA were the terrorists-du-jour, in 1988 the Thatcher government took away their right to remain silent in Northern Ireland. The Guardian warned at the time that “the right is important because it prevents undue pressure being applied by the police to suspects.” Yet, as sure as night follows day, six years later the Government took the right from the rest of us in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

It is perhaps ironic that British lawyer think their system is so superior to the U.S., where 65 years ago the Supreme Court held in Trop v. Dulles that it would be “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Eighth Amendment to strip people of their American passports even if they had been duly convicted of a treasonous crime.  Here the U.K. courts effectively leave it to a secretive chat between Suella Braverman and a spook. Perhaps it is time we got serious about preserving our rights in a written constitution, before they seep away.

Clive Stafford Smith, JD, OBE, is a Visiting Professor at Goldsmiths and is teaching a clinic on the importance of constitutional rights in the face of populist challenges.

For further comment, please contact him at


Immersive teaching

Special feature on “Public Law and the Human Rights Act”

All modules at Goldsmiths Law engage leading thinkers and policy experts, who join forces with our dynamic academic faculty to enrich the learning experience, especially through an immersive learning approach that brings to life, and allows us to deconstruct, academic theory.

Dr Lena Holzer, who is leading on Public Law this year, has integrated a broad range of guest lectures and activities, including from eminent Visiting Professors at Goldsmiths Law.

“The immersive teaching approach as employed in the Public Law module enables students to grasp the real-life implications of making and implementing the law. It shows law in action and therefore makes law less of an abstract concept and more of a tool of the everyday,notes Lena.

In this second term, the module will expose students to an exciting line-up of guest lecturers and activities.

First, we will be welcoming back to the module, Dominic Grieve, again this year. We are thrilled that the former Attorney General for England and Wales and former MP for the constituency of Beaconsfield, will be teaching in our LLB Law programme for a third year now; he joined us a Visiting Professor, in 2020-21 academic year, with a focus on the interaction between Politics and Law. Dominic will be delivering a guest lecture on the public law impacts and the constitutional crisis created by Brexit on 17 January 2023. With his extensive background in law and government, Dominic will provide a unique perspective on these important issues.

Next, we are delighted to welcome back Eleanor Hourigan, whose contributions have also become an annual feature of this module. Eleanor is a leading expert in human rights who currently acts as the Counsel for Human Rights and International Law to the House of Commons and Secretary to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Eleanor will be joining us for a guest lecture on the role of parliamentarians in the protection of human rights in the UK on 7 February 2023.

Additionally, we are thrilled to have Adam Wagner, also a Visiting Professor in our Department (since September 2019. Adam is a leading human rights barrister and commentator with specific expertise on the human rights impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. He will be joining us for two guest lectures, addressing the human rights impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on 14 February 2023 and the Equality Act 2010 on 28 March 2023. Adam has appeared in numerous high-profile cases before the UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights; his insights and practical experiences will be of great value to our students.

The Head of the Department, Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, commented: “Our Visiting Professors who are contributing to Public Law this year have been at the forefront of shaping public policy and debate. In addressing the constitutional crisis created by Brexit, the former Attorney General, Dominic Grieve – who has had a long and impressive career in the Conservative governments and party – will be reflecting on constitutional developments that he and colleagues had set in motion themselves and on political action they had been central to. Eleanor Hourigan will be similarly drawing on many years of operating from the centre of key parliamentary committees affecting the operation of human rights, while Adam Wagner will be sharing with students invaluable insights acquired in his numerous contributions to television and radio in the UK, as the key commentator in the country on Covid legislation, as well as his deep theoretical knowledge on the topic, as expertly captured in his recent book, Emergency State.

Public Law class during their visit of the UK Supreme Court in March 2022

The module also includes a broad range of experiential learning activities including a parliamentary debating exercise and a visit to the UK Supreme Court. The students will have the opportunity to observe the Court’s chambers, participate in an interactive workshop where key Supreme Court cases will be discussed, visit the historic exhibition and learn more about the inner workings of the highest court in the country.

These guest lectures and activities are designed to provide our students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the fundamental role that public law and the Human Rights Act 1998 play in our society and politics.

In view of the broader interest of the topics taught in the guest lectures scheduled this term, we are delighted to open them up to other students and colleagues at Goldsmiths. If you are interested to attend, please email re the dates below:

All lectures are on Tuesdays, 11-1, at the cinema, in the Richard Hoggart Building:

Dominic Grieve on constitutional crisis created by Brexit, January 17

Eleanor Hourigan, on the role of Parliamentarians in the protection of human rights, February 7

Adam Wagner on the human rights impacts of Covid, February 14

Adam Wagner on the Equality Act, March 28


Goldsmiths appoints ‘legendary’ Clive Stafford Smith as a Visiting Professor in Law

credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA/Shutterstock (via Guardian)

We are thrilled to announce the appointment of Clive Stafford Smith OBE as a Visiting Professor in Law at Goldsmiths.

Clive has earned global admiration for his anti-death penalty work in the US. He is the founder of leading NGO Reprieve, who fight for people on death row, people held without charge or trial, people tortured and people targeted by illegal and lethal drone attacks. Through his pioneering legal practice and activist work, Clive has always strived to empower young people to protect human rights. His death penalty project in the US has over the years enabled hundreds of students to do life-saving, transformational work. His work defending Guantanamo detainees has been equally revolutionary. The Guardian describes his legendary status by highlighting his ‘intransigent, crusading spirit’.

“Clive instantly fascinates with the sharpness of thought and depth of knowledge he very naturally has on display when in conversation with you, and you are totally mesmerised by the strength and intrinsic nature of his conviction in doing justice for all; justice for the most vulnerable and alienated in our society, above all”, said our Head of Department, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos. “And that is before you even begin to consider what he has achieved already, through his fearless human rights practice, his pioneering initiatives, and through the work of the students, and young people, that he’s been so successful in mobilising around the right to fair trial, faced with the often inherent barbarity of the criminal justice system”, he added, before concluding:

“I cannot wait to introduce Clive to our students. Our principles and values as a department and community could not be more perfectly aligned. We’ll take huge inspiration from his work, and beam back that embedded passion for justice, equality and human rights, and our aspiration to set in motion legal education as a force for good and change”.

Clive’s latest initiative 3DC focusses on the objective of “empowering the next generation”, including through historic (and more modern) fictional trials (the ‘generation on trial’ initiative). 3DC “works to inspire [their] ‘apprentices’ to find and establish a career in which their talents meet their passion to right the damage done by [Clive’s] generation”.

After graduating from Columbia Law School in New York, Clive spent nine years as a lawyer with the Southern Center for Human Rights, working on death penalty cases and other civil rights issues. In 1993, Clive moved to New Orleans and set up the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center, a non-profit law office specialising in the representation of poor people facing capital charges.

In total, Clive has represented over 300 prisoners facing the death penalty in the southern United States. While he only took on the cases of those who could not afford a lawyer – he has never been paid by a client – and always the most despised, he prevented the death penalty in all but six cases (a 98% “victory” rate).

Few lawyers ever take a case to the US Supreme Court – Clive has taken five, and every one of these people prevailed.

In 2001, when the US military base at Guantánamo Bay was pressed into service to hold suspected terrorists beyond the reach of the courts, Clive joined two other lawyers to sue for access to the detainees. He believed that the camp was an affront to democracy and the rule of law: his ultimate goal was to close Guantánamo and restore to the US and its allies their legitimacy as human rights champions. During those early days, Clive received death threats and was labelled a “traitor” for defending “terrorists”. It was three years before the Supreme Court finally allowed lawyers into the prison camp.

Meanwhile, Clive travelled the length and breadth of the Middle East to find the families of “disappeared” prisoners. He was undeterred by the interventions of unhappy US allies – including the Jordanian secret police, who took him into custody in 2004.

To date, Clive has helped secure the release of 69 prisoners from Guantánamo Bay (including every British prisoner), and still acts for 15 more. This is a phenomenal number – far more than any other lawyer or law firm – and demonstrates Clive’s peerless ability in his field. More recently, Clive has turned a strategic eye to other secret detention sites, including Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan and the British island of Diego Garcia.

Clive has received many awards and honours. In 2000 he was awarded the OBE for humanitarian services. He was a Soros Senior Fellow, Rowntree Visionary (2005) and Echoing Green Fellow (2005). In addition, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Lawyer Magazine (2003) and The Law Society, the Benjamin Smith Award from the ACLU of Louisiana (2003), the Gandhi Peace Award (2004), a Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Award (2008), the International Freedom of the Press Award (2009), Unione Nazionale Cronisti Italiani (for the defence of Sami al Hajj), the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Award (2010), the Contrarian Prize (2014) and the Amnesty International Chair (2014).

Alongside these, Clive was ranked 6th on the 2009 list of Britain’s Most Powerful Lawyers (The Times, July 2009) and ranked 3rd on the 2009 “High Profile” British lawyer list (The Lawyer, September 2009).