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The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 30th January 2017

The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 30th January 2017

Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week.

Human Rights Law

May pushes trade with Turkey despite human rights concerns

Prime Minister Theresa May has signed a $125 million fighter jet del with Turkey on Saturday and briefly mentioned human rights abuses. The objective of the deal is to boost trade between the NATO allies. Since the failed coup in July last year more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and around 40,000 people are jailed pending trial.

Her arrival, direct from the White House meeting with President Trump comes at a very tense political period. This is because Turkey has threatened to reject a migration agreement with Greece due to a dispute last year with regards to Greece’s unwillingness to extradite Turkish troops allegedly involved in the coup.

May stated that Turkey must “uphold its international human rights obligations”. She further stated that “Now it is important that Turkey sustains that democracy by maintaining the rule of law and upholding its international human rights obligations, as the government has undertaken to do.”

Barristers’ leaders and the Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) urged the prime minister to highlight threats to the rule of law. More than 3,400 Turkish judges and prosecutors have been dismissed in the past six months.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron also critcised this trade deal and willingness to seek strong trade links with Turkey. He stated” “As Theresa May seeks trade deals with ever more unsavoury leaders, she ignores the simple point that the most successful countries around the world respect human rights – economies flourish in free societies,”

“Yes, the prime minister should seek to promote British trade, but at this time her priority should be to secure a long-term trade deal with our European neighbors by fighting to stay in the single market.”

On her visit, in a joint conference with the Prime Minister Binali Yildrim she was also asked numerous times about Trumps refugee policy. To this she stated that it was up to Washington to decide on its own refugee policies.

Read more in The Guardian, Reuters and The Independent.

Commercial Law

Starbucks promises to hire 10,000 refugees

The CEO of Starbucks has promised to hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years as a result of President Trump’s ban on refugees in America. The company will focus mainly on those who have served in or supported the US military.

It is just one of the companies that has condemned the decision by Trump to prevent all refugees from entering the US. Airbnb, for example, are offering free accommodation to those who are affected by the flight bans.

This move looks very good on Starbucks as a whole, as it’s seen to be taking its corporate responsibility to the community very seriously. As well as this, it shows that even large corporations do not agree with the decisions of Trump. However, it has been reported that many people are now boycotting the company as a result of this decision, which will greatly affect the business in the short term.

It will be interesting to see how other companies respond to the situation in the US and whether it will affect future commerce there.

Read more on Bloomberg and Business Insider.

Technology

The effect of Artificial Intelligence on Education and Legal Services

The Bett conference has shown how some schools are introducing A.I. into classrooms more and more, with some schools wishing to include it with in the curriculum. Children learn about drones and alternative realities. Pupils from the London Design and Engineering University Technical College have taught robots movements, such as dabbing and skiing. Another group of pupils have developed a virtual reality environment centring on an Ethiopian village, highlighting the need for Water Aid. The incorporation of technology in the curriculum shows how individuals will need these skills in order to adapt to changing work environments.

This can be demonstrated by the effect of Artificial Intelligence on our legal services, something many of us may discuss at interview.  A result of improvements to technology has been that lawyers must have a much more client-focused service, as proof-reading for solicitors may prospectively become a thing of the past. For instance, Clifford Chance are already working with Kira systems, and A.I. software that can search and analyse contracts. Not only will the work of the solicitor change, but the courts will also feel the effect of technology. In recent studies by UCL, Pennsylvania and Sheffield University, A.I. was able to make the same decision as the Judge in many Human Rights cases. The machine had an accuracy of 79%, suggesting that in the following years, court procedure may be done online. Here are some of the other technologies that may affect legal services:

Chatbots: Rather than being charged extortionate prices to have simple questions answered over the phone or by post, online services with A.I can answer these simpler problems at no cost to the client. This is also a time-saver for solicitors.

Blockchain/LegalChain: Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, has massive potential. For instance, a possible application for this could be in Real Estate, in order to make conveyancing and the transfer of title more efficient.

Overall, this technology should theoretically improve the productivity of lawyers, meaning that the client can become an even greater focus of a solicitor’s work. Rather than having to search through contracts, solicitors will be able to become more innovative using technology and be able to focus on advising clients.

Read more on the BBC.

Learn more about The Bett Show here, or how UCL and Clifford Chance are using AI.

Family Law

Reports indicate that the UK is weaker than Comparable European Countries for Child Health

A report from the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (“RCPCH”) has indicated that child health in the UK is lower than that in many other European countries. The report raised concerns regarding obesity, mental health and child mortality rates. The report argued that child-poverty may be one of the main causes of these issues. However, according to the Guardian’s report, Professor Neena Modi, the President of the RCPCH, stated that child health in the UK is better than the US.

The RCPCH considered 25 health indicators in order to give an overview of the health of children. Such factors included asthma, diabetes and epilepsy amongst children. A number of other factors have also been considered in the report. In 2014, the UK’s infant mortality right was higher than the majority of comparable Western European nations. The UK is ranked 15 out of 19 for this issue. Smoking during pregnancy is also higher in the UK than many European counterparts. Underage drinking and smoking rates are also comparably higher in the UK. Furthermore, one in five children who start primary school are either overweight or obese, which presents risks of other long-term health issues.

Suggestions for improvement were made in the report. The report argued that advertisements for food products that are high in sugar, salt and saturated fat should not be shown before the watershed. The report argued for the banning of the sale of e-cigarettes to children, introducing a minimum pricing policy for alcohol and the reversal of public health cuts may also lead to improvements. These recommendations have been supported by the Obesity Health Alliance. The Department of Health in England has stated that it will be investing over £16 billion over the next five years in public health services to try and improve the situation.

Read more on the BBC, Sky News and The Guardian.

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