Personality and Procedure: Judges and UNCLOS adjudication

In his first post as GJA Student Ambassador, Connor Hounslow reports from the 2017 Scottish Centre for International Law‘s Annual Lecture. This year’s lecture was delivered by Natalie Klein, Professor and Dean of Macquarie Law School.


Last Tuesday, Professor Klein delivered the Scottish Center for International Law Annual lecture on the role of the judge in developing international law, especially within the context of the Law of the Sea. As described by Professor Klein, her body of research on this topic represents a microcosm of the international legal system. Nonetheless, Professor Klein’s explorations in this lecture posited an understanding of the judge which applies to the broader international legal universe.

Natalie Klein, Professor and Dean of Macquarie Law School, giving the Scottish Center for International Law Annual Lecture on ‘The Role of Judges in Developing the Law of the Sea’.

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Introducing our first 2017-18 Student Ambassador

The Global Justice Academy runs a Student Ambassador programme within the University of Edinburgh, where current undergraduates and postgraduates can get involved with our work. Here, Connor Hounslow introduces himself as our first Student Ambassador for 2017-18. Connor will be reporting from upcoming events as well as penning opinion pieces for this blog. Stay tuned!

My name is Connor Hounslow andI  hail from Westborough, Massachusetts.  I am third-year MA (Hons) International Relations with Quantitative Methods Student at the University. My aligned interests with the Global Justice Academy include political theory, international law, as well as the use of quantitative methods in the social sciences.

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Building Bridges, Not Walls: Bauman’s Reflections on the Present-Day ‘Migration Panic’

profile-jgIn his second book review as a Global Justice Academy Student Ambassador, James Gacek considers Zygmunt Bauman’s Strangers at Our Door and the popular panic that often surrounds mass migration.

Zygmunt Bauman’s (2016) book, Strangers at Our Door, provides a significant contribution to a growing discussion which counters the illusory panics of mass migration. Bauman explores the origins, contours and the impact of ‘moral panic’ seemingly spreading across Western, liberal democracies, and dissects the present-day ‘migration panic.’ Such migration panic, he contends, is witnessed within anxiety-driven and fear-suffused debates percolating within Western societies. While moral panic is not a new concept—one in which articulates that some malevolent force of ‘evil’ threatens a society’s well-being, coupled with the anxieties ostensibly overwhelming felt within such societies (c.f. Cohen, 1972)—what is new is the feeling of fear spreading among an ever-growing number of people within Western nations.

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Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland Launches

setting-up-tweetThe Global Justice Academy is delighted to support the launch on the Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland (PGRNS). This guest post by co-organiser, Rhian Sutton, reflects on the launch event which took place in October, and plans for the Network over the coming months – including how you can get involved. Rhian is reading for a PhD in History at the University of Edinburgh.

The Postgraduate Gender Research Network of Scotland (PGRNS) was formed in August, 2016. PGRNS aims to provide a platform on which postgraduates engaged in researching gender across Scotland can share their work, advertise events, workshops, and conferences, as well as learn about calls for papers and funding opportunities. Our goal is to facilitate discussion among researchers with common interests across both universities and disciplines in order to allow students to engage with people and ideas that they would not usually encounter through the course of their study.  Ultimately, the network hopes to assist postgraduate students in enriching their research through the discovery of, and engagement with, new perspectives of gender research.

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MBA Team Syria: Making a Difference to the Community

DSC00990As a part of the Strategic Leadership course on Edinburgh’s MBA programme, a group of five students organised a social event to help draw awareness to the Syrian refugee crisis. In this guest post, Debjani Paul offers an overview of the event, which centred around the the personal life experiences of three Syrians now settled in Edinburgh – Aamer Hanouf, Hussen Al Ajraf, and Amer Masri.

With the rising global concerns including climate change, an increase in global population, poverty, and terrorism, world leaders have much to focus on. It is becoming a new norm for companies to be socially responsible by promoting sustainability and contributing at least in one of the global concerns, also known as Corporate Social Responsibility. This is the ethical way to do business that every future leader should practice.

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Democracy, Violence, and Teaching: a Summer of GJA Events

Mathias ThalerThis summer, the Global Justice Academy ran its first Summer School in conjunction with the School of Political Sciences, and the School of History, Classics and Archaeology. GJA Co-Director, Dr Mathias Thaler, reflects on the success of the three-day course, and plans to revise the Summer School for 2016. Dr Thaler also reports on  initial forays into establishing a ‘Democracy Lab’ at the University of Edinburgh, following the launch of his new honours course on democratic theory.

  1. Summer School on Political Violence

Summer School 1

From June 24 to 26, 2015, SPS organised a Summer School on political violence, in collaboration with the Global Justice Academy and HCA.

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Identity and Belonging A Workshop


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Identity and Belonging  

Identity and Belonging

The Edinburgh University Law School; the Global Justice Academy; the Finnish research group Family Law and Personal Life;and the Finnish Graduate School Law in a Changing World co-organized an intriguing and inspiring workshop on identity and belonging at the Old College, in the dignified atmosphere of the Raeburn Room, on Thursday and Friday 16-17 May. The presentations in the workshop all addressed, in one or another, combinations or intersections of legal subjectivity, issues of minority citizenship, marginalized identities and belonging. They challenged the constructions of normality and subjectivity in the law from various perspectives, such as queer and gender aspects, perspectives to vulnerable or incapable groups, and approaches focusing on care and caring activities.


The workshop was opened by the convenors with warm words of welcome by Professor Anne Griffiths (Edinburgh University, Law School) and some remarks concerning the practical issues by Doctoral Candidate Sanna Mustasaari (Helsinki University, Law Faculty), followed by a cosy round of introductions. The first speaker, Professor Jennifer Corrin (The University of Queensland, Australia), spoke under the title Who is an Islander, elaborating on the definition of islander in the complex legal system of Solomon Islands. The term ‘Islander’ is the principal term used to differentiate between indigenous and non-indigenous members of society in Solomon Islands. Historically, this term has been defined in different ways in legislation. It has also received conflicting interpretation by the courts, particularly in the context of marriage and divorce, as the definition of “Islander” also defines whether the law applicable to a case is customary law of the village and tribe or the State law. The term is of crucial importance, for instance, in deciding which of the three matrimonial regimes is applicable to a case.  


In her thought-provoking presentation titled Families, Identity and Belonging: Rethinking Personhood and Property in Botswana Anne Griffiths spoke about the changing attitudes towards family relationships and care in Botswana through a study of inheritance dealing with land transfers. She addressed, for instance, the joint effect of gender and class to the changing position of women in contemporary Botswana. Anne Griffiths’ presentation was followed by Doctoral Candidate Henna Pajulammi (Lapland University, Law Faculty), who spoke about the child’s right to participate, addressing the legal framework of children’s participatory rights, policies and practices in Finland. The first session, as well as sessions 3 and 5, was superbly chaired by Dr Frankie McCarthy (University of Glasgow).


The second session, chaired by Anne Griffiths, dealt with gender and representations of sexuality in law. In her interesting presentation, titled Sexual citizenship in post-Yugoslav States: “Europeanization” and changing legal frameworks, Katja Kahlina (Edinburgh University, CITSEE project) assessed the ways in which sexual citizenship has been re-defined in the Yugoslav successor states in the past decade, and reflected critically upon the process of “Europeanization” by examining to what extent the hierarchical distinction between the “civilized” Western Europe and “yet to be civilized” Eastern Europe present in the negotiation process affects the (nationalist) resistance to the rights of sexual minorities. Doctoral Candidate Carolynn Gray’s (Universities of Glasgow and the West of Scotland) presentation, titled The (Gender)Queer in UK Law: Why Current Protections are Insufficient, elegantly addressed the epistemology of sex and gender, asking us how do we define sex and gender, and posing the question of why do we base the system for protecting and acknowledging individuals on gender identity that continues to be based on the binary model of male or female.


Doctoral Candidate Pablo Marshall (Glasgow University) opened session 3 with his presentation, titled Criminals’ Disenfranchisement: Genealogical Observations on Political Capacity, that examined the disqualification of various groups of people and different possible justifications of restricting criminals’ right to vote. His presentation interestingly compared elements of political capacity consisting of both cognitive and moral capacity. Pablo’s presentation was followed by Doctoral Candidate Kati Nieminen (Helsinki University, Law Faculty), who in her presentation, titled Rebels without a cause? Conscientious objection and civil disobedience in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, addressed the ways in which the private and public spheres may be manipulated to emphasize certain elements of an objecting act in order construct them as private claims or violent manifestations. Continuing with the themes of restrictions of rights and freedoms both Anna Mäki-Petäjä-Leinonen (Helsinki University, Law Faculty) and Dianne Gove (Alzheimer Europe) spoke about challenges related mainly to old age. Anna’s presentation titled Elder law approach to the restriction of freedom discussed the promises of elder law as a relatively new field of law to systematically address the problems experienced by the elderly in relation to the paradox of needing both protection and recognition of autonomy. Dianne’s presentation titled People with dementia and restrictions of freedom took these points to a practical level by introducing the new guidelines of Alzheimer Europe and the important work carried out through this European organization which promotes rights and good care for people with dementia.


In the final session of Thursday, brightly chaired by Professor Ann Stewart (Warwick University), Dr Jane Mair (Glasgow University) and Doctoral Candidate Sanna Koulu (Helsinki University, Law Faculty) discussed the complicated issues relating to recognition of care aspects in family relationships and law. In her presentation, titled The Value of Care in Work and Family, Jane addressed the relational and intimate aspects of care and posed the question of whether the progress of formal equality has in reality empowered those members of the family (usually women) who in day-to-day life take the duties of providing other members of the family with care. Sanna’s presentation, titled Doing right by the family? From an ethic of justice to an ethic of care, picked up the theme, asking is there room for an ethic of justice in family law, thus forming a harmonious continuum to end the academic program of the day.


The first session of Friday, the second day of our workshop, focused on challenges of cross-border mobility cultural diversity. Opening the day, Doctoral Candidate Katja Karjalainen (Helsinki University, Law Faculty) spoke about the interplay of Hague conventions and EU private international law. In her presentation, titled Foundation of the EU Private International Family Law: Focus on the cross-border protection of incapable adults she asked, for instance, whether the free movement and the parity of citizens are fulfilled when in the case of EU citizens weakened capacities. Dr Magdalena Kmak’s (Helsinki University, Law Faculty) presentation, titled Producing Subjectivity through Confinement: Detention of Asylum Seekers in European Union, widened the theme of cross-border mobility to asylum seekers and third country citizens. Examining the compromise version of the recast of the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down standards for the reception of asylum seekers and Dublin III Regulation, adopted by the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament, she discussed the problems of providing for detention of asylum seekers with open norms that, in fact, enable the use of detention to an even wider group of asylum seekers. Magda also introduced real life examples of asylum seekers who have refused to be seen as powerless victims lacking agency, and thus challenge the prevailing narrative about people in need for international protection.


Dr Dorota Anna Gozdecka’s (Helsinki University, Law Faculty) presentation, titled Rights or Responsibility? – Post-Multicultural Europe and Dilemmas of Recognition, brought the discussion back to themes similar to those discussed in relation to care. Approaching these issues from a philosophical angle, she showed how the Levinasian ethics of alterity could, in fact, help us to see beyond the rather limited lens of rights by presuming an a priori responsibility for the Other. Sanna Mustasaari’s presentation titled Citizenship and Family Law in the Era of Cultural Diversity and Transnational Family Networks, presented a relatively optimistic account of the promises of rights, sketching out some building blocks for a new paradigm of the research on the family to be used in the new settings of transnationality and cultural diversity. This revised paradigm would draw on the idea of universalism of rights, as in that there are elements of rights that can be perceived as cross-culturally salient.


The last session of the workshop was chaired by Sanna Koulu and addressed new approaches to personal qualities, labour and law.Ann Stewart’s thought-provoking presentation, titled Exploring the legal identity of migrant women body workers in the UK, was based on her published text, a chapter titled Legal Constructions of Body Work, in Wolkowitz et al (eds.): Body/Sex/Work, Palgrave MacMillan (2013). In her presentation she described the contrasting ways in which the ‘sex’ and ‘care’ work are regulated through criminalisation and denial of the status of work. Doctoral Candidate Marjo Ylhäinen (Helsinki University, Law Faculty) touched upon the same theme of difficulties in understanding needs for protection in contemporary ideas of labour law. In her presentation, titled How the object became the subject – autonomous responsibility and labour law, she asserted that the modalities of time and space, through which the identity of controlled worker was born, are now challenged by increase of the value placed on personal capabilities and personality of the worker. She discussed how this new identity of the employee may be met in labour law and what implications it might have to the idea of legal protection of the employee.


All of the sessions were followed by vivid and intent discussion, participated also by Nina Miller (Glasgow University) and Dorota Szpakowicz (Edinburgh University) with their sharp and clever questions and comments. Hopefully the inspirational atmosphere and captivating discussions during the workshop will bear collaboration in the future. Many ideas were thrown in the air – to mention one possible site for such cooperation, the Research project Law and the Other , at the University of Helsinki, could suit very well for future research meet-ups on identity and belonging. The researchers in the research group Family Law and Personal Life will also continue to work to arrange a follow-up for our wonderful workshop.

Scottish Child Law Centre Student Advocacy Project

Scottish Child Law Centre Student Advocacy Project

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Scots law assumes that a child over the age of 12 has sufficient capacity to decide whether they wish to express a view in children’s hearings or in court actions which affect them.  In exercising their right to express that view, many children face a number of challenges which, without support and guidance, might deter them from making their views known.

The Student Advocacy Project was established by the School of Law at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the Scottish Child Law Centre, to support children who are the subject of a court action or a children’s hearing. The aims of the Project are to:

*    ensure that children caught within either system understand the processes and the issues involved
*    support the children in forming and expressing a view, if that is what they wish to do
*    ensure the children understand what happens when a decision is made
*    assist the children with finding appropriate, independent advice, if necessary

Suitable cases will be referred by the Scottish Child Law Centre to the University’s Pro Bono Coordinator, Rebecca Samaras, and appointments will be arranged for children to meet with trained student advocates, all under the supervision of volunteer child and family law solicitors and University staff.

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Innovative Learning: In(justice)agram

Innovative Learning:  In(justice)agram

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Students in innovative learning week, set up Instagram accounts, and used social media to discuss justice and injustice around them.  See the student blog on the experience at:


If you want to join in the on-going conversation see: #ILWJustice

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Co-Designing Student Engagement

Co-Designing Student Engagement

TEDx University of Edinburgh

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In February, EUSA Global and the University – including the Global Academies, Beltane Public Engagement and Innovative Learning Week – organised TEDx University of Edinburgh.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At our event, we hosted a line-up of speakers who shared their expertise and sparked deep discussion around the theme Global Challenges, Grounded Solutions. While the TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, our individual TEDx event was self-organised by a team of staff and students at the University of Edinburgh.

The event was a huge success and highlights included

–- Student leadership from across the University Ten Student Choice Award submissions to win a spot in the speaker lineup. In one minute, students were asked to share their idea worth spreading and the University community voted on their favourite.

– An open masterclass for speakers arranged by Beltane Public Engagement. The University community was invited to attend and learn some tips on public speaking –

– Seven engaging speakers from disciplines across the University, including Lesley McAra Head of the Law School.

– A student-led design concept, including an animation from an ECA student showcased at the event – and

This campus is full of ideas, not all from academic research. Our students are passionate and hope to inspire change. TEDx University of Edinburgh demonstrated the importance of co-designing these activities alongside our students. This not only creates meaningful leadership and engagement opportunities, but it builds a vibrant community –both staff and students – focused on discovering grounded solutions.

For more information on TEDx at the University

Website –

Facebook –

Twitter –

If you are interested in volunteering with next year’s TEDx event, please email with your interest.

If you are interested in getting involved in other EUSA Global activities, please visit

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