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Jo Stevens, Labour MP for Cardiff Central was guest of honour this month at a leaving ceremony for students of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) – the solicitors’ vocational training - offered by Cardiff Law School’s Centre for Professional Legal Studies (CPLS). This year’s cohort included over 120 students, a number of whom attended the “graduation” with their guests.

Speaking at the event Jo Stevens said, “Thank you for doing your LPC at Cardiff University. This is a brilliant University that is the beating heart of my constituency. I also hope many of you will stay and build your careers here (as) it is essential that we have a strong legal community in Cardiff and in Wales. Cardiff and Wales need you.” Her choice as guest was particularly relevant as, prior to her election to Westminster in May, Jo Stevens was a solicitor and director of Thompsons Solicitors, a UK wide law firm dedicated to representing trade union members and others injured or mistreated at work. She was well placed to address students in the ceremony, held on 14 November, having had first-hand experience of the Solicitors’ Finals Examinations, the course which the LPC replaced, which she studied in Manchester. She spoke with envy of the vast improvement in training offered by the Legal Practice Course and how much better prepared for practice the students she was addressing were by comparison with how she had been.

Ms. Stevens was joined at the ceremony by a number of high profile guests from the legal world including three members of the judiciary: His Honour Judge (HHJ) Milwyn Jarman; retired judge HHJ Graham Jones and retired judge Sir Malcolm Pill, who as Lord Justice Pill was, before his retirement, the most senior member of the Court of Appeal. Representing the School and CPLS was CPLS Director Professor Angela Devereux who made the welcoming address, and LPC leader, Byron Jones who presented the students to the guest.

Each graduating student was congratulated personally by Ms Stevens at the ceremony, at which the winners of four awards were announced. The awards are made by law firms Hugh James for Litigation, Blake Morgan for Property Law and Geldards for Business Law and Practice. Additionally a Prize for the best overall performance on the Legal Practice Course is donated by the Jane Hodge Foundation and given in memory of Edgar Buck.

In an exceptional turn of events the winner of all four prizes was Harry Moyle. Harry was named as the winner of the Hugh James Prize for the best performance in Litigation alongside his classmate Lauren Powell, however all other prizes were awarded to Harry alone. This was a huge achievement- of which Professor Devereux said, “His obvious diffidence at this achievement does him great credit. He is both talented and well-grounded, which will both be equally valuable attributes in what we are sure will be a glittering career ahead.”

This October Dr Jo Hunt, Reader at Cardiff School of Law and Politics gave oral evidence to the House of Lords EU Committee. The House of Lords is currently undertaking an inquiry entitled ‘Visions of EU reform’ and the Select Committee had travelled to Wales to receive evidence at the Senedd.

The UK Government is seeking to renegotiate the existing terms of the UKs membership of the EU and is proposing a range of reforms in respect to the EU and how it operates. These reform renegotiations will precede the critical referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, which will take place by the end of 2017.

The inquiry started with an evidence session on Monday 19 October which heard the views of the First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Carwyn Jones, AM ,the Welsh Assembly Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee, EU Funding Ambassador Dr Hywel Ceri Jones and Dr Jo Hunt who is also ESRC Senior Fellow of the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative.

Should you wish to find out more, the evidence session is available to watch at Parlimentlive.tv.

tudents from Cardiff University’s innovative new course ‘Devolution in Practice: Work Placement Module’ visited the Senedd in Cardiff Bay this November for a special seminar session.

As part of the event, students attended First Minister’s Questions, which serves as the highlight of the Assembly’s week. This is the full plenary session during which opposition party leaders and backbench Assembly Members are able to question the First Minister.

Following First Minister’s Questions, the students took part in a seminar with Lord Elis-Thomas AM. As the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly in the period 1999-2011, Lord Elis-Thomas chaired the weekly First Minister’s Question session and now participates as a backbench Assembly Member. He also participated in Prime Minister’s Questions as an MP between 1974 and 1992.

Dr Einion Dafydd, the module convenor, interviewed Lord Elis-Thomas and students posed questions on a range of issues including the broader purpose of First Minister’s Questions in the Senedd and Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, the functioning of the National Assembly, and the future of devolution.

This September, Dr Edwin Egede, of Cardiff Law School attended the third Conference on Operational Maritime Law organised by the NATO Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Operations in Confined and Shallow Water and the Portuguese Navy.

Dr Egede specialises in international law and ocean governance and participated as a law of the sea expert at the event which took place in Lisbon, Portugal.

The conference explored current legal challenges in maritime security with an overall aim of specifically identifying legal positions among experts which may support current operations and contribute to the planning and executing of prospective operations.

The event’s audience was far reaching with NATO naval officers, national legal advisers, members of the US Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps and academics from a variety of NATO countries, such as the United States of America, Germany, Portugal, Netherlands, Estonia, Lithuania, France, Poland, United Kingdom and Turkey all being in attendance.

It was an occasion of fruitful interchange of views and vivid discussions on topical issues such as law of armed conflict, unmanned underwater vehicles, the mining of international straits, maritime law disputes on the horizon, South China seas dispute, freedom of navigation, stateless vessels, legal framework on persons rescued at sea and bunkering in the exclusive economic zone.

This month, students from the lower sixth form of St John’s College, Cardiff were guests of the Department of Politics and International Relations, the Wales Governance Centre (WGC), and the National Assembly at an event held in the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay.

Run in collaboration with the Political Studies Association, this event was one of a series taking place across the UK entitled ‘Change your Future: Understand Parliament’. The event gave young people the chance to examine the functions of legislatures in the UK and an opportunity to suggest improvements.

Wide-ranging discussion with the students covered a variety of topics including the largely negative manner in which MPs are often portrayed in the media, the relationship between Westminster and The Senedd, the extent and nature of political education in schools, and the vexed issue of compulsory voting.

The students involved enjoyed the workshop, with one remarking, “It made me aware that there is so much more to politics. I also now realise how difficult it is for the government to try and increase participation in the political system and how vital this knowledge is for young people.”

Dr Stephen Thornton (who organised the event with the valuable assistance of Dr Ian Stafford, Lleu Williams of the WGC and Rachel Evans) commented that, “The enthusiasm for knowledge about the political system displayed by these 16 and 17 year olds is very encouraging – though it is equally clear that MPs and AMs do need to raise their game to become positive role models amongst the young.”

This October students and staff at Cardiff School of Law and Politics got their walking shoes on and took part in the 10K Cardiff Legal Walk, which incorporates the Three Courts Walk. The Cardiff Legal Walk takes place each year to raise money for legal services, an area which has been affected heavily by legal aid cuts.

The walk is organised by Reaching Justice Wales - Cyrraedd Cyfiawnder Cymru (RJW) which is part of a network of seven Legal Support Trusts who support pro bono and advice agencies, ensuring funds can be distributed where needed most throughout England and Wales. Their fundraising is far reaching, supporting agencies that work with families at risk of homelessness, older people unable to gain access to legal services, and women and children who have been trafficked for domestic servitude or prostitution.

This year’s walk took place on 8 October around Cardiff’s civic centre. More than 25 students and staff from the law school took part contributing by asking for sponsorship for the 10K jaunt. This year’s event also marked the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta and highlighted the document’s importance and relevance to access to justice today.

Professor Julie Price who is responsible for the Pro Bono unit of Cardiff School of Law and Politics said, “Our Pro Bono unit has seen a marked increase in requests from vulnerable and disadvantaged people trying to find help with legal issues. Taking part in this year’s Legal Walk is another way that our students can contribute positively to those outside the school who need help accessing crucial legal

New project launched to examine Wales’ relations with the EU ahead of forthcoming referendum

A new project has been launched to address the role of Wales within the European Union in the context of the forthcoming in-out EU referendum.

Academics in the University’s Wales Governance Centre and the Centre for European Law and Governance have established the Wales and EU project to support informed and balanced discussion about the relationship between Wales and the EU ahead of the EU membership referendum.  

The landmark project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s “The UK in a Changing Europe” initiative.

The Wales and the EU project has four interrelated components. The first part will look at key areas of policy centred around competences devolved to Wales including agriculture, structural funds, and the environment, and consider what “Brexit” may mean for Wales. Stakeholder events will take place over the coming year to discuss and raise awareness of the particular situation of Wales in the EU.

The second component involves research on the role of the National Assembly for Wales in EU policy making. A more substantial role for Member States’ legislative bodies is central to the UK Government’s reform agenda for the EU.       

The third component of the Wales and EU projectis the continuation of the existing EU Exchange Wales network established in 2013. This is a forum for regular discussion between policy-makers and academics with an interest and expertise in EU related matters.

Finally, the Wales and EU project will also host sessions with young people over the next year to explore questions around the relationship between Wales and the EU.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Jane Hutt AM, Welsh Government Minster for Finance and Government Business, said: “The next 18 months will be critical for the UK’s relationship with the EU and the decisions taken will influence all our lives.  This is an exciting and very timely initiative and I look forward to seeing the results of this research.”

ESRC Senior Fellow and Wales and the EU project member Dr Jo Hunt, said: 'The UKs relationship with the EU is set to change whether the referendum vote is to leave or remain –the legal consequences for Wales need to be properly understood.”

Project member, Dr Rachel Minto added:Through the various activities of the Wales and the EU project – all of which are underpinned by rigorous, independent, academic research – we aim to support informed discussion and debate in Wales.”

University law professor volunteers in ‘The Pack’


While most of the nation enjoys the Rugby World Cup from the comfort of their homes, a School of Law and Politics professor has gone one step further by volunteering as a roving reporter during the event this September and October.

Professor Angela Devereux, whose usual role is Head of the Centre for Professional Legal Studies, is a keen rugby fan so when she saw an advert last year inviting people to get involved in The Pack, the name for the volunteer team, she applied.

She said, “I'm 60 next month, so I wanted to do something outside my usual sphere. I filled in a form setting out my experience and skills and said I was happy to do any job they thought I was suited for.

“I was invited for an interview at the Millennium Stadium last August and in January I received an email saying I had been selected to be in The Pack. This was a real achievement as only 6,000 out of the original 20,000 applicants made it to this stage.

“I was told I would be a flash quote reporter; interviewing players and coaches at press conferences and in the Mixed Zone after the match, filing the quotes I had obtained on a news service site - Rugby News Service - accessible to all the accredited media.”

In her previous life before law and academia, Angela was a journalist in England and Paris so her volunteer role was a dream come true.

Now that the World Cup has begun, Angela has worked on three matches in Cardiff so far: Ireland vs Canada, Wales vs Uruguay and Fiji vs Australia.

On match day she sits in the press tribune and afterwards interviews key players as they make their way from the changing room to the team bus.

“The most fun is being a part of such a great tournament and feeling like you’re gaining an insight most people aren’t able to get - like watching the former Canadian team captain arriving at the stadium with a large soft toy of a moose under one arm, or meeting the charming Uruguayan team.” 

“The toughest thing so far is learning the Fijian names and having to type really quickly which is tricky when you're nervous!”

The rest of the competition which runs until 31 October 2015. For information on fixtures taking place in Cardiff visit the Rugby World Cup website.

While most of us are enjoying the Rugby World Cup from the comfort of our living rooms, a School of Law and Politics professor has gone one step further and is volunteering as a roving reporter during the event this September and October.

Professor Angela Devereux, whose usual role is Head of the Centre for Professional Legal Studies, is a keen rugby fan so when she saw an advert last year inviting people to get involved in The Pack, aka the volunteer team, she applied. Angela said, “I'm 60 next month, so I wanted to do something outside my usual sphere. I filled in a form setting out my experience and skills and said I was happy to do any job they thought I was suited for.”

“I was invited for an interview at the Millennium Stadium last August and in January I received an email saying I had been selected to be in The Pack. This was a real achievement as only 6,000 out of the original 20,000 applicants made it to this stage.”

Angela was delighted to be chosen but matters improved tenfold when she discovered what her role entailed. “I was told I would be a flash quote reporter; interviewing players and coaches at press conferences and in the Mixed Zone after the match, filing the quotes I had obtained on a news service site - Rugby News Service - accessible to all the accredited media.” In her previous life before law and academia, Angela was a journalist in England and Paris so her volunteer role was a dream come true.

Now that the World Cup has begun Angela has worked on three matches in Cardiff so far: Ireland v Canada, Wales v Uruguay and Fiji v Australia. On match day she sits in the press tribune during the match and afterwards interviews key players as they make their way from the changing room to the team bus.

“The most fun is being a part of such a great tournament and feeling like you’re gaining an insight most people aren’t able to get - like watching the former Canadian team captain arriving at the stadium with a large soft toy of a moose under one arm, or meeting the charming Uruguayan team.”

“The toughest thing so far is learning the Fijian names and having to type really quickly which is tricky when you're nervous!”

Good luck to Angela for the rest of the competition which runs until 31 October 2015. For information on fixtures taking place in Cardiff visit the Rugby World Cup website.

An ecumenical colloquium, believed to be the first meeting of its kind in the USA, was held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Saturday, 12 September 2015 under the auspices of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff University Law School.

The colloquium was an ecumenical exploration of the teaching of church law to ordinands and others training for ministry in churches and was organised and run by Professor Norman Doe, Director of the Centre for Law and Religion at Cardiff Law School. Mark Hill QC, an Honorary Professor at Cardiff, and the Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, Honorary Research Fellow at Cardiff University Law School also took part.

Thirty lawyers and teachers at theological colleges and seminaries participated, mostly from the USA, but also from Canada, England, Wales, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and South Africa. The day was spent examining the purposes of teaching and study in church law in ministerial training, the subjects of study, the methods used, and also whether there would be longer term value in setting up an international network of teachers and scholars in this field for greater ecumenical understanding. Among the lawyers, the Christian denominations represented were: Roman Catholic, Anglican/Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, Dutch Reformed, and several other reformed churches.

The event was held at Harvard Divinity School, the result of a lot of hard work by staff at the school including Leslie MacPherson Artinian, in the Office of Ministry Studies, and Professor Dudley Rose, Associate Dean Ministry Studies, who welcomed the participants to Harvard Divinity School. Through the good offices of Bishop Stacy Sauls, Chief Operating Officer of the Episcopal Church USA (and a Cardiff LLM in Canon Law graduate), the event was sponsored by the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church, and, with the support of David Booth Beers, Chancellor of the Episcopal Church, by the Boston law firm Goodwin Procter LLP. Norman Doe is writing a report for the participants and further debate.