Law Drafting and Law Reform in Small Jurisdictions

21 Mar 2019, 09:30 to 21 Mar 2019, 18:00
Conference / Symposium
Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR


Law Drafting and Law Reform in Small Jurisdictions

Date and Time: Thursday, 21st March | 9.30am - 6pm

Location: Room L103, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5DR

Organised by The Centre for Small States, Queen Mary, University of London, in collaboration with the Society of Legal Scholars and the Sir William Dale Centre for Legislative Studies at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies. 

Law Drafting and Law Reform in Small Jurisdictions puts the spotlight on a different and neglected aspect of law drafting and reform: the question of size. Specifically, how does the size of a jurisdiction affect its ability to make and change its laws?

Some of the challenges affecting small jurisdictions include: a lack of resources and paucity of policy/drafting capacity; the pressures and pull from sources outside the jurisdiction (e.g. international bodies or NGOs; larger states; treaty commitments); a vulnerability to domestic capture (e.g. criminal elements, big local businesses, strong domestic lobby groups); weak/bad governance (e.g. laws or institutions which themselves do not encourage or promote good governance, reflection and reform); the legacy of colonial legal systems and their interaction with indigenous or customary laws; and struggles to comply with constitutional norms such as accountability and transparency. Despite these difficulties small jurisdictions also have certain advantages when it comes to making and reforming law: they can be flexible and creative; they can legislate very quickly if the political will is there; and there is strong informal/formal accountability in a small jurisdiction.

Speakers at this event will explore law reform and law drafting in small jurisdictions through the themes of sovereignty; the impact of colonialism and legal plurality; the challenges of harmonising laws at regional and international levels; and constitutional reform. 

About the Speakers:

Professor Claire de Than

Professor Claire de Than is a senior legal academic of more than 25 years’ standing, and a Jersey Law Commissioner, currently working on a Criminal Code. She has over 85 legal publications in total, including 15 books, chapters in leading legal monographs and edited collections, such as Reed and Bohlander, Substantive Issues in Criminal Law (Ashgate, 2011) and articles in a variety of national and international journals, including the Modern Law Review. Her research fields include criminal law, comparative law of tiny jurisdictions, human rights law, media law, and disability law. She has been an expert for the Law Commission of England and Wales on two recent projects. She has advised several governments and many organisations on criminal law, human rights and law reform issues, with specialisms in the law of British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

Dr Jennifer Ballantine Perera

Jennifer Ballantine Perera is the Director of the University of Gibraltar’s Institute for Gibraltar and Mediterranean Studies and the Director of the Gibraltar Garrison Library. Her main area of research is Gibraltar, with focus on social and colonial history; constitutional change and expressions of self-determination. She has a PhD in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent and was the Research Associate on the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project ‘Gibraltar Community and Identity’ (2003 – 2006). With Professor Andrew Canessa, University of Essex, she is the recipient of a major award from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), for the project Bordering on Britishness: An Oral History of Gibraltar in the 20th Century (2013-2016). Jennifer is the founder Director of Calpe Press, a publishing house dedicated to promoting Gibraltar writings and the editor of the Gibraltar Heritage Journal.

Dr Tanzil Chowdhury 

Tanzil Chowdhury is a Lecturer in Public Law at Queen Mary, University of London. He previously worked as a Research Fellow at Birmingham Law School where he assisted on a report to examine key provisions of Gibraltar’s 2006 Constitution for their Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Reform. HIs current work examines the constitutions of the British Overseas Territories through the prism of postcolonial theory and has published work in the journals Global Constitutionalism and Global Legal Studies exploring these matters.

Ms Susie Alegre

Susie Alegre is the Director of the Island Rights Initiative, an organisation focusing on human rights and governance in small island jurisdictions. Originally from the Isle of Man, she has spent the majority of her career advising on international human rights law, governance, accountability and the rule of law across the world for non-governmental organisations and inter-governmental organisations including Amnesty International and the European Union. Susie has written extensively on human rights and constitutional aspects of Brexit, particularly its impact on Crown Dependencies and overseas territories. She is a barrister and Associate Tenant at Doughty Street Chambers in London and is currently appointed as Interception of Communications Commissioner for the Isle of Man. 

Mr Roy Lee

Roy Lee is Legislative Counsel in the Law Officers' Chambers in Guernsey. He drafts and advises on legislation, including legislative policy development. Previously, he has drafted legislation, advised or consulted in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Guyana, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan, as well as Australia and New Zealand. His former clients include the IMF, the World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, the European Commission and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. He is admitted as a barrister & solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia. 

Mr John Wilson 

John Wilson is a former Attorney General of Tuvalu and of Montserrat, and is an experienced legislative drafter based in the UK. He specialises in drafting laws for small countries around the Commonwealth, including the Pacific and the Caribbean. He recently completed a law revision for St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha and is currently drafting biosecurity laws for the British Overseas Territories. 

Dr Alexandra Butterstein 

Alexandra Butterstein is an Assistant Professor at the University of Liechtenstein. After studying law in Germany, she obtained her doctorate in international corporate law at the University of Innsbruck. She focuses on Liechtenstein, European and international corporate and comparative law as well as European and international private law. She was admitted to the German bar in 2012 and is active as a barrister in her research areas.

Professo Lorenzo Cavalaglio

Lorenzo Cavalaglio is a Professor of Comparative Law at the Pontifical University of Lateran (Rome). He received his Ph.D in Contract Law (2000) from the Università degli Studi di Firenze; and his J.C.D. from the Pontifical University of Lateran. He is the author of the following books: “La formazione del contratto” (Milano, Giuffré, 2006); “Dalla potestas magisterii al munus docendi” (Rome, Lateran University Press, 2015); “La fondazione fiduciaria: struttura e funzione della destinazione patrimoniale” (Padova, Wolters Kluwer – Cedam, 2017) and of numerous articles on contract law, law and literature, trust law and legal traditions.

Dr David Zammit, University of Malta

David Zammit received his LL.D. from the University of Malta in 1993 and his Ph.D. in Legal Anthropology from the University of Durham in 1998. He is a full-time Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Laws and Executive Editor of the Mediterranean Journal of Human Rights. He has conducted anthropological field research in Maltese courts and legal offices and contributed various papers to scholarly conferences dealing with the interface between law and culture. His research interests span legal anthropology, tort law and the law of evidence. 

Professor Peter W Edge

Peter Edge is Professor of Law at the School of Law, and the Centre for Global Politics at Oxford Brookes University. He received his PhD in Manx constitutional law from Cambridge University in 1994, and has published extensively on Manx law, and broader legal context of UK dependent territories. Recent Manx work includes a multimethod analysis of the temporary licensing of foreign counsel as Manx advocates, and the reception and implications of the Lisvane Review of the Functioning of Tynwald.

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