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Legal Advice Centre

Our legal blog

In January 2019, we launched our new legal blog with student authors. Our student authors work together on current affairs topics of their choice, drawing out and articulating associated legal issues.

Countess of Chester Hospital pedestrian entrance. The Lucy Letby case: What does it mean for the United Kingdom’s healthcare system?
26 February 2024

On 18 August 2023, Lucy Letby was convicted of the murder of seven babies and the attempted murder of six. This makes her the most prolific child killer in the modern history of the United Kingdom (UK). In the wake of this conviction, this blog will discuss the case’s legal impacts on the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). 

A scene of a waterfall and forest generated by artificial intelligence. Is Artificial Intelligence Taking over the Entertainment Industry?
15 February 2024

The Writers Guild of America West (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) strikes brought business in the Hollywood film industry to a halt. While other important factors led up to the industrial actions, the production companies’ schemes, also known as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), to implement artificial intelligence technologies was the catalyst for the strikes, raising controversial questions about what was at stake for Hollywood.

A woman sat on the floor with her head in her hands If the Government Rape Adviser cannot get justice – who can?
31 January 2024

Former Ministry of Justice Rape Adviser Emily Hunt claims there is a “lack of will” to improve the criminal justice system for sexual violence victims. This blog explores the current system and askes what the police and Crown Prosecution Service are doing to address serious concerns.

Islands in the sea in Trinidad and Tobago An exploration into Clinical Legal Education in Trinidad and Tobago
18 December 2023

Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre students attend Hugh Wooding Law School’s Legal Aid Centre on a Clinical Exchange Programme.

Horizontal red, yellow and green stripes with Black History Month written in white. Black History Month
10 October 2023

Black History Month recognises the rich and varied contributions to British Society made by the culturally diverse communities across the UK. Held every October, this month-long event reminds us of the historical struggles, achievements and ongoing challenges faced by black people in the United Kingdom (UK). It provides an opportunity to raise awareness, promote understanding and engage in meaningful discussions about issues of race and social injustice. In this article, we will delve into the origins and significance of Black History Month.

A digital image of a brain in a skull surrounded by code AI - Regulatory Sabotage for the Legal Industry?
21 August 2023

This blog explores artificial intelligence and its role in the legal industry.

A globe turned to display Asia Demystifying Non-Domiciled residents - who are they, who qualifies, potential reforms and what are the benefits?
19 June 2023

This article aims to analyse the repercussions of recent reforms and inform non-domicile residents on their options regarding payment of taxes.

A woman sat of a sofa cradling her legs with her hair over her face The (in)effectiveness of gender-based violence laws
9 June 2023

Gender-based violence occurs when there is any harm committed against a person’s will as a result of power inequalities based on gender roles.

Digital art of a fantasy city scape NFTs and Crypto, Decoding the Unknown
8 June 2023

In our previous blog, we explored the current legislative framework of Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs) and whether it is sufficient to protect digital creators. The blog concluded that the legal institutions have not yet been able to catch up to the speed of development of NFTs; it is the aim of the Law Commission to clarify the law on these digital assets. Linking on from this, this blog will explore the legal status of NFTs and cryptocurrency in the UK and around the world. 

Transgender pride flag crumpled Is the “Investigation” of Mermaids Putting Young Transgender People at Risk?
6 June 2023

Mermaids describe themselves as a charity that “supports transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children and young people until their 20th birthday”. In light of the partial closure of its services, this blog will review why Mermaids is deemed controversial by its critics. It will also consider how the law can assist our evaluation of Mermaids’ partial closure and its potential risk to young transgender people.

Mold on a wall What is Awaab’s Law and how did the death of the two-year old reopen the discussion about the public housing sector?
30 May 2023

On Thursday the 9th of February 2023, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, announced amendments to the Social Housing Regulation Bill. The amendments are called Awaab’s Law, named after Awaab Ishak, who died in December 2020 due to poor housing conditions. This amendment aims to confront the issue of poor housing by recognising the mistakes made by Awaab’s death.

A black and white photo of prison cell bars Why is there an Over-representation of Black, Asian, and Minorities Ethnic (BAME) in the Criminal Justice System?
27 April 2023

There are several factors that contribute to the over-representation of BAME individuals in the criminal justice system such as discrimination, racial bias, and cultural differences. BAME individuals are more likely to be prosecuted, and subject to discrimination across the criminal justice system in comparison to white people.

A woman holding a phone Image-Based Sexual Abuse Laws: Bridging the Gap
26 April 2023

In this era of extensive use of online platforms, a prominent issue is image-based sexual abuse. This is a broad term which refers to a range of abusive behaviours including the taking and/or distribution of nude or sexual images without consent, including threats to do so, with the intent to embarrass or to cause distress.

A woman's face with a red semi-circle covering half her face Towards better working conditions for cancer patients?
21 April 2023

Today one out of two people will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime (IARC 2020). Medical science has made progress and mortality from cancer has fallen dramatically, which means that people might have to continue working during and after their illness. While the law provides some protection for cancer patients at work, there are still loopholes that need to be addressed. How can people manage to balance work and illness and what needs to change in the law to support this?

Transgender pride flag Re-evaluating human rights in 2022: Rishi Sunak’s attempt at eliminating legal protections for trans people
24 February 2023

As talks of a possible amendment to the Equality Act 2010 are underway, the legal rights of trans people are at risk – but, as we will try to show, trans people may not be the only ones affected by these changes.

A disheveled doll laying on the street Young, innocent and homeless: explaining the impacts of domestic violence on children
25 January 2023

Arguably before Covid-19, the implications for children living in a household where at least one parent was perpetrating abuse, were little acknowledged. Covid-19 revealed a pandemic of domestic violence and highlighted the need to consider the wider impacts of such violence on a child’s lived experience. This article will address the correlation between children witnessing or experiencing domestic abuse and youth homelessness.

Ukrainian flag Where will Ukrainian refugees go under Sunak?
20 December 2022

On 24 February 2022 we witnessed the start of the war in Ukraine and the desperate migration of Ukrainians seeking sanctuary. The UK was the only European nation not to provide a visa-free entry path to Ukrainians and instead provided six-month placements.

An astronaut standing on a purple moon facing a purple orb NFTs - the downfall of digital creators.
20 December 2022

Upon reading the title of this blog the first question that likely crosses your mind is, ‘What is an NFT?’.

A Tesla car charging (Re)liability of Autonomous Cars
20 December 2022

The advent of technology has significantly and permanently impacted most aspects of our lives. Travel is no exception, with distances feeling shorter than ever with the development of high-speed, comfortable and convenient modes of transport. The latest innovation in the transport field comes in the form of self-driving vehicles - with brands like Tesla, Mercedes, Audi and Google leading the way in this booming sector. 

The front of the British Museum against a cloudy sky Old Sails, New Winds of Change? Harnessing the ‘will’ to recompense historical wrongs shapes the future
15 December 2022

What are we to make of Charles III, who just months before taking up his new role as king, spoke of his “personal sorrow” over the crimes of slavery, marking the Commonwealth’s first official recognition of its dark origins? Or elsewhere, where we witnessed the largest ever global protests following the gruesome killing of George Floyd? Are we in fact on the cusp of meaningful change when it comes to making amends for historical and entrenched systemic injustices?

Icons of facebook, instagram, youtube, linkedin, pinterest and youtube. Intellectual Property in the Context of Social Media: Relevant Precautions You Need to Take and How to Use Online Platforms Lawfully
25 November 2022

With the processes of digitisation and globalisation of the 21st century, social media has become not only the primary means of communication, but also a mass creative space.

Disabled sign made up of multi-coloured blobs Should the duty on private employers to make reasonable adjustment for the disabled be the same as that for public bodies?
9 June 2022

A fundamental flaw in the Equality Act’s disability rights protection mechanism is that it leaves the disabled at a substantial—and arguably disproportionate—disadvantage in private-sector employment.

P&O Ferries Dismissals and the Law of Mass Redundancies
30 May 2022

As protests continue over the sacking of 800 employees, questions surrounding workers’ rights are at the forefront of the news. Was the termination legal and if so, what are the workers’ rights?

A person using Whatsapp on their phone Latest Review of The Draft Online Safety Bill from the perspective of SPITE victims
11 April 2022

On 8 February 2022, the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre and Mishcon de Reya published a note on the draft Online Safety Bill. The purpose of this exercise was to look at the draft Bill from the perspective of victims of image based sexual abuse "revenge porn" (we refer to them as SPITE victims – Sharing and Publishing Images To Embarrass), and to propose modest amendments that would improve the protection provided to them.

Stop the Refugee Bill logo A Rundown of the Anti-Refugee Bill and Why Asylum Seekers Deserve Better
17 March 2022

This is a short review of what we mean when we say ‘asylum seeker’ in the context of the UK and how the Nationality and Borders Bill will negatively affect asylum seekers if passed.

City skylines balancing on mounds of documents Pandora Papers, the Hidden Mind Behind and the Right to Legal Advice
22 February 2022

The biggest data leak on tax avoidance revealing shady transactions of multimillionaires. Tax avoidance is not an illegal practice; however, one global law firm’s name was mentioned in thousands of documents. Could the law firm have rejected those clients bearing in mind the fundamental right to legal advice we all have?

Queen Mary School of Law and Mishcon de Reya logos above a globe with neurons showing digital connectivity Review of The Draft Online Safety Bill from the perspective of SPITE victims
8 February 2022

Summary of findings by Mishcon de Reya LLP and Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre, as part of the SPITE Project

A pile of news paper articles with FAKE written across them Social Media, Misinformation and the Law
7 February 2022

Social media has allowed false ideas to spread throughout the internet. Does the UK have any legislation in place to prevent misinformation through social media?

Lady Justice holding scales, blind-folded Is Dominic Raab’s proposal to curtail judicial power constitutional?
21 December 2021

Analysis of proposals by Dominic Raab to reform judicial review, by introducing a ministerial mechanism to “correct” judicial decisions perceived by the government to be wrong.

An image of Facebook and Snapchat social icons on a phone screen Has the Time Come to End Anonymity on Social Media?
9 August 2021

In response to recent discussions about social media and racism, the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre and legal firm Mishcon de Reya have published a joint editorial piece tackling the issue of anonymity online.

Pairs of hands in handcuffs reaching out The problem of Human Trafficking
20 July 2021

Human trafficking is a despicable crime. Is our system fit for combatting it?

Lines of security cameras arranged on a brick wall Does surveillance law provide security or threaten privacy?
20 May 2021

The current surveillance legislation allows public authorities to legally intercept communications on devices upon approval of a warrant. Is this power harmful to our rights?

A white box with the Facebook icon. the box contains other social media icons including WhatsApp and Instagram. Social Media Privacy: Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp
14 May 2021

Recently, online social networking platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp have expanded exponentially. The massive influx of personal information that has become available online and stored has put user privacy at the forefront of discussion.

EU Flags at the European Commission The Post-Brexit legal and financial situation
14 May 2021

Now that the UK has officially withdrawn from the European Union, what will our legal and financial relationship be?

A zoom meeting displayed on a laptop next to coffee cup Regulating Work from Home: Promises and Challenges
29 April 2021

The Covid-19 Pandemic was a mandatory Work from Home (WFH) trial. Large shared offices, company socials and hours of commute have been replaced with isolated Zoom calls on the kitchen table at least for now (and for some organisations even permanently). This has urged governments to try some untested waters in employment law.

Vector image of people using electronic devices around a shield which says GDPR Protecting your personal information online
29 April 2021

Is your cat’s name protected by the GDPR? How is your personal information protected right now? Does Brexit have any effect on it? Who do you turn to if your rights under the GDPR have been violated?

2019 Hong Kong protest, the Tsuen Wan March, 25 August, 2019 Hong Kong: The Security Law, British Influence, and Judicial Independence
6 April 2021

As protests against China’s laws continue, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers resign after new disqualification legislation. The security law’s compatibility with the rule of law will determine whether UKSC Judges will keep serving in Hong Kong.

Facebook login page on a logo Taking on Misinformation: Facebook’s Ban on Anti-Vaccine Ads
12 January 2021

On 13 October 2020, Facebook announced that it would ban advertisements discouraging vaccines or suggesting their inefficacy. The step comes amid the Covid-19 pandemic, during which misinformation on social media surrounding the virus has prospered.

‘UN Women For Peace’ March Marking International Women’s Day, with a group of women holding a banner stating 'End violence against women' It’s an Abuser’s World: Why Countries Need to Criminalise Domestic Violence—And Still Haven’t
8 December 2020

Despite the efforts of multiple women’s rights movements, the fact still stands: in 2020, there are dozens of countries that have no laws on domestic abuse. This leaves thousands of victims in those countries completely hopeless.

A fleet of planes with the Union Jack on the tail Flightless Birds
11 November 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on the airline industry

Legal Advice Centre Reception What I learnt from my time as a Student Adviser at the LAC
16 September 2020

I sought some practical legal experience that could complement my studies. Of course, the typical approach would be to intern with a law firm but for obvious reasons, that is not viable during term-time. I found the solution to that in the award-winning Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre (LAC).

Police officer standing with their back to the camera in a hi-viz jacket with the word police on the back. There is a football pitch and crowd in the background Football Banning Orders: the unknown dangers
13 July 2020

A lot is known of the ‘football hooligan’ - a person intent on causing disorder at football matches; but little is perhaps known of Football Banning Orders (FBOs) which were introduced to tackle the problem of violence at football matches

A CCTV operator in front of a series of screens monitoring Birmingham city centre Football supporters recognising the dangers of facial recognition
2 June 2020

Facial recognition technology has been rolled out twice this season by South Wales Police for fixtures between Cardiff and Swansea, leading to anger and protest from supporters and civil liberty groups.

EU Flag blowing in the wind against a blue sky Post-Brexit Concerns on the Other Side of the Channel
19 March 2020

Will the European Union cope with the recent tensions it is facing?

Harvey Weinstein in Paris at the César Awards ceremony by Georges Biard The Weinstein Trial: Success or Hinderance for UK Victims?
10 March 2020

As the Harvey Weinstein trial came to a close, mixed views exist on how its outcome might affect UK victims bringing similar charges against their perpetrators

A person in glasses putting on a face-mask Coronavirus and the Legality of Quarantine
18 February 2020

The UK is strengthening its quarantine protocols as spreading coronavirus becomes an increasing public health concern

A teenage girl enjoying her Juul drives The people vs Juul: Are harsher regulations the remedy for the vaping epidemic?
7 February 2020

Whether you are a smoker or non-smoker, whether you are a teenager or adult, you will most definitely have heard about Juul and juuling. Juuling seems to be everywhere.  On the streets, on the news, and on social media. But how did Juul become so popular only four years after launching?

A doctor standing with cross armed in a theatre wearing scrubs and a sergical hat Huge Negligence Fees Cause Gaping Wound in NHS’s Money Bag
3 February 2020

A Freedom of Information request has unveiled the enormous fees facing the NHS as a result of medical negligence claims, prompting the government to explore potential solutions

Front of a Tesco Superstore with man walking with a shopping bag through the car park A Potentially Huge Payout for Tesco staff
30 January 2020

Tesco Action Group, a group which consist of more than 80,000 current and former Tesco employees, are bringing an equal pay claim against the UK’s largest retailer and supermarket Tesco. The claim relies on the pay differences of £3 per hour between in-store workers, who are mostly women; and warehouse workers, the majority of whom are men.

A woman prisoner with olive skin and shoulder-length wavy dark brown hair, wearing an orange overall sits on a bed in a small prison cell. Alone in her cell: Pregnant inside the UK’s prison system
16 December 2019

Following 27 September 2019, several investigations have been launched into the death of a newborn child after its mother gave birth entirely alone inside her cell at HMP Bronzefield, Britain’s largest women’s prison. 

People board a Thomas Cook aeroplane from the tarmac at Jardines del Rey Airport, Cayo Coco, Cuba. IMG: CWhatPhotos Thomas Cook, another one bites the dust
9 December 2019

The bankruptcy of travel-colossus Thomas Cook earlier this year left behind ruins, perils, and questions. With 9,000 UK jobs thrown out of the window and 150,000 British citizens abroad, we consider the profound legal implications of this headline news.

A picture of a Forever 21 shop front. IMG: Phillip Pessar Copy and paste: Ariana Grande sues Forever 21 for $10m in copyright storm
9 December 2019

Earlier this year, Ariana Grande’s legal entourage filed an action against Forever 21 after the clothing giant failed to secure her consent to use her image. Forever 21 have been seen to disregard copy right laws completely and as a result, are now likely to end up footing a bill worth £ 8.2 million.

Image: S Pakhrin S.60 in action at Notting Hill
29 November 2019

On 26 August 2019, we attended Notting Hill Carnival for the first time. Having existed since 1966, Notting Hill Carnival remains a spectacular celebration of Caribbean culture and is among the UK's most significant public events. Notting Hill Carnival is a cultural event unlike any other in the UK. The streets teem with over 1-million people, decorated with amazing outfits, food, music, parades, and (usually) sun. In some ways, Notting Hill Carnival is akin to Glastonbury Festival - great food, music, outfits, and (usually) sun.

A picture of right-wing activist and politician Tommy Robinsonstanding amongst a crowd of people, many of whom are using their phones to film/take pictures of him ‘Dehumanising language and calls for violence': Right-wing activist kicked off social media
24 May 2019

Far-right agitator Tommy Robinson has a talent for making headlines—and probably nothing else. Whether he is harassing journalists, disclosing sensitive court materials, advising the leader of UKIP, or running for election as an MEP, it is hard to avoid his presence in news media.

A close up of a person's blue eye with a Wonga logo reflected in it Collapse of Britain’s biggest payday lender!
12 March 2019

The payday lender giant is on the verge of shutdown. It has stopped accepting new loan applications, and is fighting off a swamping amount of compensation claims from its customers.

A female police officer stands at a police cordon set up on a street. There is a man standing on the other side of the cordon opposite her with his back to the camera. In the distance there is a police van and beyond that a police car. How Do We Address Our Knife Crime Crisis?
3 March 2019

Recent reporting has highlighted a disheartening rise in the number of knife crimes, particularly in England and Wales. Cuts to police numbers, higher secondary school exclusion rates and the increase of drug dealing operations are likely among the contributory causes.

Four young black men sit together on a bench. They are dressed casually wearing tracksuits, hoodies and wool hats. One of the men wears sunglasses. One man stands at the back wearing a silver mask. Banning drill: Deprivation, violence, and a failure of engagement
28 February 2019

Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Police secured two suspended nine-month prison sentences for 21-year-old drill rappers Skengdo and AM, after they breached a gang injunction banning them from performing a song.

Mexican drug lord El Chapo being escorted by authorities. He is handcuffed. Will El Chapo ever be stopped?
28 February 2019

Sixty-one-year-old Mexican drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán has been found guilty of multiple drug-related offences and sentenced to life imprisonment at a New York federal court after an eleven-week trial.

Two images shown side by side that are examples of blackface now and then. On the left a young white model wearing a black polo neck pulled up over her chin and nose, her lips are visible through a gap in the fabric which is lined by a red lip print. On the right is a picture of a white man in blackface from a poster advertising a minstrel show in late 1800s - early 1900s. Gucci CEO faces blackface backlash: ‘We made a mistake, a Big One’.
25 February 2019

Gucci has been one of the latest fashion brands to have issued an apology after social media users pointed out its latest sweater’s resemblance to blackface.

A picture of the exterior of HMP Wandsworth prison, London. It is a large brick building with a huge wooden door. Youth Injustice: More than half of young people in prison are of BAME background
15 February 2019

Jails in England and Wales contain a disproportionate number of youths from BAME backgrounds. This is the result of flaws in the justice system that urgently need to be addressed.

A close-up image of a hand holding a white Apple mobile phone. The Instagram login screen is displayed on the phone. Instagram bans graphic self-harm images
12 February 2019

The father of Molly Russell, a teenager who took her own life after being exposed to self-harm images shared on Instagram, has argued that the popular social media platform 'helped kill’ his daughter. Instagram have since taken steps to reduce graphic content on their platform.

The Universal Credit logo Universal Credit: ‘not fit for purpose’?
1 February 2019

Universal credit has proven highly controversial, with reports of astronomical overspending, administrative problems, and ministers ‘in denial’.

The front of a Lloyds bank branch. A person stands outside the doors under an umbrella. Overdraft fees: A broken system—and hopes of reform
30 January 2019

Earlier this year, headlines were made when it was announced that Lloyds Banking Group, which controls around a quarter of all current accounts, has introduced new charges on overdrafts. This would leave anyone borrowing less than £4,100 worse off and make borrowing more complicated.

A McDonald's shopfront with colourful yellow awning McDonald’s Big Mac trade mark revoked
28 January 2019

McDonald’s has been deprived of the ‘Big Mac’ trade mark in a ruling of the European Union Intellectual Property Office earlier this year. The American giant was challenged by Irish fast food chain Supermac’s. The company sued McDonald’s on the grounds that the patented use of terms ‘Mc’ and ‘Big Mac’ is hindering its expansion across Europe.

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