Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week:
- Human Rights Law
Reported by Anna Flaherty
Historic Talks Between Trump and Kim Jong-un
Following the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, Trump has labelled the joint agreement as being “tremendous”. The agreement established that the North Korean regime will remove nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula. However, informally, Trump has agreed to suspend US military exercises in South Korea, with the supposed aim of withdrawing from the South entirely.
Whilst the summit may have eased tensions between the USA and North Korea, the issue of human rights violations in North Korean seem to have taken the backseat. The International Bar Association (IBA), the world’s largest body of legal professionals, has warned us that these talks between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un should not enable the North Korean regime’s breaching of human rights to be overlooked. Violations of human rights in North Korea include murder, extermination, enslavement, forcible transfer, imprisonment, torture, sexual violence, persecution, and enforced disappearances. It is thought that there are 80,000–130,000 political prisoners in North Korea. These acts, reported by the IBA, only concerned violations within North Korean prisons, let alone the acts against the rest of the general public. When asked by reporters as to whether the issue of human rights had been raised at the summit, the President merely stated that “Well, he [Kim Jong-un] is very talented […] I don’t say he was nice”.
Reported by Anna-Mei Harvey
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer & AI firm collaborate with University of Manchester
As law students, we are increasingly aware of the impact that technological advancements are having on the legal sector. Universities are apparently also aware. Magic circle firm Freshfields has therefore teamed up with AI firm Neota Logic and the University of Manchester to offer a new, tech focused module to final year undergraduates.
The optional module launching in January 2019 is called “legal tech and access to justice.” The module’s key focus is the delivery of legal services via tech-based applications, aiding non-profit organisations’ access to justice. This is a key development for students across the country.
Law can be seen my some as a ‘traditional’ subject to be structured around prescribed modules and teaching methods. Others will criticise universities for failing to incorporate legal technology within their courses. If future lawyers are to embrace the so called ‘fourth industrial revolution,’ universities ought to be offering relevant courses to enable that and teaching the skills future practitioners will require.
Isabel Parker, chief legal innovation officer at Freshfields has said that ‘the landscape of legal service delivery is continuing to evolve’. This is indeed the case, and Manchester clearly recognises the importance of teaching its students that the law is more than an academic subject. To successfully practice the law, we require more than legal knowledge. Academics are a basis for practice but skills such as those the new module will teach will set students apart from the crowd. This module ought to be a flagship project for academic institutions nationally.
- Public Law
Reported by Dan Petch
Ministry of Justice set to refund overcharged fees
Claimants starting proceedings in the High Court and County Court have been overcharged by £103 since 2016.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said that they are setting up a refund scheme in response to the news of overcharging of civil court fees. The error has been made due to cases being categorised in the wrong way, leading to a higher imposition of fees.
The MoJ admitted in March there was issues affecting a number of claims and the way in which they are catagorised. The MoJ stated they would change their policy immediately, saying it was ‘not appropriate’ to be charging a higher court fee to cases such as personal injury.
The MoJ have stated it would cost too much to set out the exact figure of how many claims were wrongfully charged and how many claimants are set to receive refunds.
Jon Heath, a partner at Levins Solicitors in Liverpool had threatened previously to the policy change, judicial review regarding the MoJ’s role in upkeep of public policy. It appears that different courts have different methods in billing court fees, some taking a cut from the final damages payment rather than asking for payment at the time of applying for court proceedings.
Heath eluded to the possibility that for years, claims involving damages of up to £5000 have been overcharged.
Read more here.
Reported by Jutha Cheewat
Hunt to appoint medical examiners to investigate NHS patient’s death
Jeremy Hunt ,the health secretary, has announced the appointment of the medical examiners following the case of Hadiza Bawa-Garba.
The defendant, a trainee pediatrician, was convicted for the death of a patient. The junior doctor argued that the real cause of death was the fact that the NHS was understaffed. Despite that, she was suspended for 12 months.
Professor Sir Norman Williams has led a review that has proposed that the system in which healthcare professional should be regulated to a greater extent. The actions of healthcare professionals would be constantly monitored to improve the service.
According to The Guardian, Hunt recommended that “the appointment of experienced doctors as medical examiners to look at all deaths and engage with bereaved families and the removal of the General Medical Council’s power to appeal the outcomes of their tribunals”.
Hunt also added that there is a need to review clinical manslaughter charges so doctors would not be prosecuted for any possible ‘honest mistakes’.
Hunt accepted the proposal in the hope that it will also protect both the patients from mistakes and help doctors in preventing such mistakes being made in the future. He said that the current system is not as helpful, as doctors are more fearful and focused on criminal charges rather than working to the best of their ability despite risks.
The report attempted to improve the current condition by clarifying when gross medical negligence charges apply and when they does not.
Read more here.