Issue 6 | Spring 2013 | Southampton Law School
Verdict Many senior lawyers in the UK and worldwide started their careers at Southampton Law School. Our degree programmes combine academic education from staff who are actively involved in research with excellent links with legal professions. This newsletter will highlight our studentsâ€™ achievements and activities over the last year in the classroom and in the wider world. How flooding is challenging insurance law | page 3 The NHS in crisis? | page 4 Taking Southamptonâ€™s expertise in Maritime Law to China | page 6
Welcome to the Southampton Law School The exciting features in this issue of Verdict show that Southampton Law School is continuing to develop its reputation for excellence in teaching and research. In September 2012 we welcomed several new members of academic staff to strengthen and consolidate our teaching in core areas of the curriculum and also in modules based upon specialist research. The staff in the Law School are frequently published in leading journals, as well as authoring text books and monographs, maintaining a long tradition of outstanding lone and joint scholarship. Our research centres are also thriving. The Institute of Maritime Law (IML) continues to deliver its acclaimed short courses around the world and to attract well qualified students to the LLM Maritime Law. CLEG (the Centre for Law, Ethics and Globalisation) and the Centre for Health, Ethics and Law (HEAL) are both flourishing, and have recently joined together to present as an evening dedicated to the discussion of issues relating to the Mid-Staffordshire Inquiry with our own Professor Jonathan Montgomery in conversation with Robert Francis QC, the Chairman of the Inquiry. The Institute for Law and the Web (ILAWs) is also bolstered by new members of staff and will shortly welcome the first UKâ€™s lecturer in Cyber-Security, to enhance its links with Universityâ€™s Centre of Excellence in Cyber-Security. Students at Southampton also benefit from the annual Careers Fair and the fortnight long Employability Skills Programme, designed to build upon skills desired by future employers. Both events are attended by the leading UK Law firms and other legal employers, many of which are represented by alumni from the Law School. In general, the Law School at the University of Southampton goes from strength to strength. It provides a top quality legal education and is an excellent place to study, providing the foundation for many future careers in law. Professor Hazel Biggs Head of school, Professor of Law
Verdict | Spring 2013
How flooding is challenging insurance law In the last few years, floods have caused chaos in many communities across the UK. Heavy rain and high winds have swept across the country raising river levels to alarming levels and increasing the power of damaging surge tides. The result has been misery for families forced out of their homes by flood water and big bills for insurance companies who foot the bills for repairs. Now, many householders who live in areas of high flood risk are increasingly finding it difficult to find affordable home insurance. Matters will come to a head later this year because an arrangement between the UK government and insurers to provide insurance cover for people in the worst ‘at risk’ areas will expire in June 2013. Researchers at the Southampton Law School are working on a major project to provide information to policymakers who will decide on how to tackle the problem. Research Fellow Mateusz Bek, who studied for his LLB and LLM at Southampton, is investigating and assessing how Australia, New Zealand and the USA administer home insurance and deal with legal issues surrounding floods and other natural disasters. “Solutions adopted, if any, vary from one country to another depending on
the policy pursued by the particular government,” he explains. “Climate change is forcing governments to think again about their policies in this area.” Mateusz has already unearthed some fascinating information about insurance policies around the world. In New Zealand, householders are covered for risks of flooding and other natural disasters if they insure their properties against fire, However, as it is estimated the Christchurch earthquake will cost New Zealanders around £10billion, changes may lie ahead. In Australia, there have been different definitions of ‘flood’ in insurance policies, causing confusion for householders. The project is supervised by Senior Research Fellow Johanna Hjalmarsson, who is a member of the University’s Insurance Law research group after graduating from Southampton with an LLM degree. The Southampton Law School is also home to the largest community of postgraduate researchers in insurance law in the UK. Verdict | Spring 2013
The NHS in crisis? Legal aspects of the Mid-Staffs inquiry into needless deaths Senior NHS managers and lawyers joined academic staff and students at a Southampton Law School event to learn more about what happened at Stafford Hospital that led to many needless deaths and poor quality patient care. Robert Francis QC, the chair of the independent public inquiry into avoidable deaths at Stafford Hospital, discussed the legal aspects of his report into the Mid-Staffs NHS Foundation Trust with Jonathan Montgomery, Professor in Health Care Law. Caring for Patients not Systems: Reflections on the MidStafford Inquiry was organised by the Centre for Law, Ethics and Globalisation (CLEG) and Health Ethics and Law Network (HEAL) with Hickman & Rose Solicitors. Mr Francis recalled hearing evidence of ‘appalling suffering’ given to the inquiry by patients’ relatives including the story of an elderly diabetic patient who died because no-one gave her the insulin she needed. He condemned managers’ ‘low grade deception’ of everyone outside the hospital and called for a new offence of ‘wilfully obstructing candour’ to oblige all staff to tell the truth about mistakes and wrong doing.
Verdict | Spring 2013
The public inquiry followed a Healthcare Commission report into unusually high death rates at Stafford Hospital which found appalling care and neglect of patients between 2005 and 2008. The Francis Report revealed up to 1200 patients were let down by a culture that put reducing costs and achieving targets above the quality of care. It also raised fundamental questions about the culture of the NHS, its professional and managerial values and how to ensure that caring for patients is the first and paramount concern of health services. Co-Director of CLEG Oren Ben-Dor, Professor of Law and Philosophy, says: “This event marked a unique collaboration between legal academics and practitioners. The subject of this lecture will vary from year to year and the series will constitute a platform to link domestic issues to the growing challenges posed by globalisation.”
Legal aspects of trust on the Internet Law lecturers Dr Sophie StallaBourdillon and Roksana Moore from the Southampton’s Institute for Law and the Web (ILAWS) research centre are part of a major University European Union project, which is examining questions of online trust and trustworthiness. They will be exploring how the law can contribute to increasing trust among users of the Internet and, generally, what drives this trust. Principal Investigator of the project is Dr Mike Surridge from the University of Southampton’s IT Innovation Centre. “Our aim is to make people more confident in using the Internet. We believe if users know the system will warn them about any online risks, they will have more trust in the technology behind widely-used systems and software,” he says.
Verdict | Spring 2013
Taking Southamptonâ€™s expertise in Maritime Law to China Southamptonâ€™s Institute of Maritime Law (IML) combines expert legal education for undergraduate and postgraduate students, as part of the Law School, with specialist training for professionals. A new two week short course will be held for maritime lawyers in China for the first time in 2013. Planned in collaboration with the Faculty of Maritime Law at Shanghai Maritime University, it will focus on the training needs of the Chinese market and of foreign shipping interests regularly dealing with Mainland China. IML is a long-established key provider of research-led legal education and professional training worldwide. It all began with the original Maritime Law short course at Southampton, which will be held for the 40th time in August 2013. Meanwhile, law students from Shanghai Maritime University and Dalian Maritime University can now spend their final year of study at Southampton. After graduation, some may stay on to take an LLM degree in Maritime Law. The Study Abroad arrangement between the universities was signed following a positive visit to Shanghai by IML Director Filippo Lorenzon.
Verdict | Spring 2013
Understanding how the law works in practice Second year law students gain an insight into the world of work on the Southampton Law School’s Employability Programme. Each year the Law School’s Employability Skills Programme provides students with a unique opportunity to attend sessions over the course of a fortnight, relating to career options and providing them with an opportunity to develop important transferable skills. The sessions are run by solicitors, trainees and partners from provincial and city law firms, judges, in-house lawyers, barristers and other careers destinations. Sessions range from a 45 minute talk, to a three hour inter-active workshop, on a variety of topics, such as negotiation, writing skills, commercial awareness, client interviewing skills and the business game workshop.
The Law School also offers Barlink, a unique programme which was introduced in October 2008 especially for this Law School. Barlink is run in collaboration with barristers from local chambers, 12 College Place, Southampton. Second and third year law students who are seriously interested in going to the Bar are each placed with a barrister (four altogether) for one academic year. It involves shadowing junior members of chambers and attending local courts. The programme is hugely popular and successful. Our four students are “twinned” with barristers specialising in Crime, Employment, Family and Housing law. Verdict | Spring 2013
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