‘Future Proofing Justice: Automatic Online Convictions’, Scottish Law and Innovation Network, Annual Conference,
It is widely recognised that justice delayed is justice denied: Technological innovations have the potential to contribute not only to sustainability but to procedural justice. In 2021, the Law Society of England and Wales adopted Law Tech and Ethics Principles, and the Law Society of Scotland developed their LawScotTech Strategy. These recognise the inescapable truth, that legal practitioners must be open to engaging with technological innovations, if they wish to ensure sustainability of professional legal practice. However, technological innovations are changing what it means to be a legal professional and challenging legal practitioners’ ability to perform their critical role as guardians of the rule of law. Although COVID-19 escalated the technological mediation of legal services delivery, many of these mechanisms were already in the process of adoption. For example, the use of technology to facilitate the giving of evidence by vulnerable witnesses has been embedded for many years. However, the pace of change has raised acute concerns in terms of the implications of such technological advancement for access to justice and the right to fair trial. Focusing on the UK Government’s proposals to introduce automatic online convictions, this paper will consider the potential of such technology assisted decision making systems to ensure a sustainable justice system. This paper will explore the tensions that have arisen, and continue to arise, through the integration of such technology into legal practice.
‘Policing Privacy As A Public Good’, American Society of Criminology Annual Conference, Philadelphia
Establishing a compliance industry was a hard fought battle against the avarice of state agencies in gaining access to information and intelligence, and the predisposition of the Banking industry to preserve secrecy (Levi, 1991). The battle however, is neither won nor lost, rather it is umpired by those in the compliance industry as they navigate between protecting the privacy of their clients and meeting the legal obligation to monitor and report clients conduct to comply with measures against money laundering, to counter terrorist financing. This paper will argue there has been a shift towards the need to share data with state agencies for the purpose of maintaining ‘security’ in EU and US and that the refining of Data Protection legislation is intended to provide appropriate protection of privacy. However, there needs to be shift in culture to embracing respect for privacy as a public good, in order to harness restraint in requests for and exploitation of data. This is fundamental to the development of the compliance industry where relationship with state agencies develop blurring the lines of roles and responsibilities in the sharing of data.
‘Privacy Boundaries in Digital Space’, Socio-Legal Scholars Association (SLSA) Annual Conference
In digital space the boundaries of privacy are often amorphous, symptomatic of human actors’ developing relationship with virtual spaces. As a result, those with little exposure to digital space may simply transplant their ‘real world’ expectations whereas those who immerse themselves may assimilate a new perspective on privacy. Focusing on the evolution of privacy in digital space, this paper discusses how interference in digital space has been addressed by UK and South African law. To do this, it considers the regulation of data protection and image-based abuse. It reflects on the legal implications of the fracturing of responsibility between state and non-state actors an draws out the consequences for governability of such actions through such responsibilisation. Lastly, it considers, in light of Altman’s theory of privacy regulation, whether these approaches offer normative coherence that can withstand the advance of digital society, achieving adequate legal protection of privacy.
‘Privacy Rights Versus Public Goods in the Policing of Money Laundering’, UACES Annual Conference, Krakow
This paper will examine the implementation of the anti-money laundering framework and how it is affected by the General Data Protection Regulation and the Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data. Accordingly, it will critically examine the relationship between privacy and data protection in the context of the policing of money laundering. Acknowledging that there are those who argue that the sharing of data is an important component of effective policing, this paper will argue that where there is a partnership relationship between state and non-state entities fostering informality should be viewed with caution. Law Enforcement have an obligation to restrain themselves from exploiting established relationships with private entities that result from the AML relationship. However, for such an end to be achieved, there is a need to reconceptualise privacy as a public good as opposed to private right, in order that law enforcement and compliance personnel can embrace a cultural shift towards restraint in the processing of personal data.
‘Remote Harms: Criminal Responsibility in Digital Space’, Sir Gerald Gordon Seminar, University of Glasgow
Digital space is recognised as presenting a significant challenge to the regulation of behaviour. This is particularly so because of the difficulty in distinguishing between the public and private sphere. This distinction has traditionally been influential in the determination of which spaces can legitimately be the subject of state regulation through the enforcement of criminal law. However, recognition of the prevalence and impact of ‘online harms’ has concentrated the mind of the UK Government on the potential of state regulation. Still, the proposed regulatory approach appears to side-step the attribution of criminal responsibility. This paper seeks to explore the attribution of criminal responsibility in digital space. It proposes that an individual’s normative understanding of privacy will impact on their perception of harm, be that harm caused to themselves, or harms that they may cause to others. Consequently, by examining more closely the relationship between privacy and the individual subsequent research will be able to consider what conduct should be criminalised in digital space and the blameworthiness of the individual perpetrator.
‘Remote Justice: Information Rights as a Tool of Empowerment’, BILETA Annual Conference
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a compulsory retreat from public spaces. While, for some, this displacement has brought about engagement with digital technologies in new and interesting ways, for others, digital technologies have proved to be the site of technology facilitated abuse (TFA). Consequently, there are renewed calls for regulation of TFA, with much of this discussion focussing on the design and enforcement of criminal law. However, the scope of behaviour perpetrated with, or through, digital technologies is much broader and demands a range of responses that offer access to justice. This paper argues information rights offer significant potential to enable survivors to gain control over personal information, to feel empowered, and to improve their mental health and wellbeing. Firstly, it defines information rights and how they are accessed. Secondly, it addresses the relationship between legal rights and empowerment in this context. And, lastly, it reflects on if, and how, information rights have been used within the UK to provide reflections on harnessing their potential in this area.
‘Walking the Tightrope: Conducting Interdisciplinary Research’, Faculty of Social Sciences Postgraduate Conference, University of Stirling
This presentation set out the key attributes needed to carry out interdisciplinary research: Know your limits, be persistent and ask for help.
Data Protection and Ethics in Research Design and Delivery Workshop, Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities Summer School
Data Protection Panel, European Law Students Association, University of Stirling
Finding Your Academic Voice, Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities Summer School