A Question of Law
Extradition, Freedom of Speech & Julian Assange

Extradition, Freedom of Speech & Julian Assange

April 7, 2021

This edition of A Question of Law will focus on the topics of extradition, freedom of the press and Julian Assange. Our guest Ben Keith, barrister at 5 Saint Andrew's Hill, will explain these concepts and put them in perspective in the context of Julian Assange's extradition requests. 


Explaining, at first, the extradition proceedings that Assange has been subjected to (7:15), Ben will clarify how the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) functions, its speedy and efficient procedures which until the UK exited the EU was adapted to its needs (8:50). We will soon understand that the process requires very little evidence about the offence allegedly committed as the EAW is based on trust and cooperation between all European countries.  

We'll then discuss whether the use of this ultra-effective instrument was appropriate and proportional in Julian Assange's case ( 13:25), taking into account the controversies around the allegations, the lack of charges and the fear of further extradition to the US. Ben will explain that the issue was mainly to do with two different legal systems (14:25), that there was no risk of further extradition and that the process did not infringe on Assange's freedom of movement under the European Convention of Human Rights (8:54).


Similarly, Ben will explicate how the extradition treaty between the UK and the USA works (24:30). Despite a few inherent unbalances (24:56), the procedure is, here too, fundamentally grounded on trust.      


Then we will explore the recent Court's decision to block Julian Assange's extradition request to the US (27:37). Summarising the most important points, Ben will provide highly informative insights on the Judge's decision to reject the argument according to which the request was politically motivated (28:09) and shed light on the differences between political motivation and political offence (28:36). Instead, he will explain how she looked at the combination of horrific prison conditions in the US and Assange's mental health issues (29:18) to conclude that sending him to a supermax prison would almost certainly lead him to commit suicide (31:50).  

Ben will then turn to the question of freedom of speech and whether Julian Assange acted as a journalist expressing his press freedom when he released classified information to mainstream newspapers or whether there were sufficient reasons to believe that this constituted an offence susceptible to justify his extradition (37.06).

Based on these analyses, he will reveal why he thinks this decision is particularly interesting (39:20) and what is likely to happen at the appeal stage (40:08).


Finally, he will share with us why he decided to become a barrister (41:16) will reveal the proudest moment of his career (43:00), the significant hurdles intrinsic to the profession (44:06), the most important lesson he has learnt (44:54) and provide valuable advice for aspiring barristers (46:13).


Behind the Scenes: Richard Meeran

Behind the Scenes: Richard Meeran

March 17, 2021

In this episode of A Question of Law, our returning guest, Richard Meeran, will reveal the driving forces that have fuelled his determination throughout his career and have led him to pioneer an area of law for which he is world-renowned.

This second special edition of the year in our podcast series will focus on Richard’s motivations to become a lawyer, his encounters with discrimination and racism, his deeply felt sense of injustice and how those have shaped his career. Full of purpose, insight and advice, this episode will allow us to look behind the scenes to unveil the deep reasons which drove Richard to develop the concept of corporate liability for multinational parent companies. His inexorable passion will become evident when he talks about the cases that have marked his career and the depth of his attachment to Leigh Day's ethos. However, he will also reveal how he has tackled his most significant hurdle, the importance of placing victims’ interests at the centre of litigation and the self-belief required to be successful. Finishing this episode with precious advice for aspiring lawyers based on his own experience, he will also divulge how he likes to unwind after a long week.

This podcast is personal and insightful, and I feel incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to shed light on the personal thoughts of a, usually, very private lawyer!

Thank you.


Seeking Remedies for Corporate Wrongdoing

Seeking Remedies for Corporate Wrongdoing

February 24, 2021

In this episode of a Question of Law, our guest, Richard Meeran, partner at Leigh Day, will discuss how he has pioneered the development of parent corporate liability and access to judicial remedies in the UK.   

Through three examples, Richard will describe the harm that multinational corporations can inflict on developing countries' local communities.  He will explain that Cape PLC’s employees (5:24) suffered and died of asbestos-related diseases, that Thor Chemicals’ workers were poisoned by mercury (7:43), whereas Anglo American South Africa has allegedly poisoned children and local communities with lead.     

 He will then explain that such human rights abuses are permissible because hosting countries are so dependent on investments and jobs that they willfully allow multinationals to operate with impunity (12:02), at times with state officials' complicity (13.09). Such an environment greatly hinders victims' chances of accessing justice and remedies in their local courts (18:20).

Influential International initiatives have been adopted (20:13) to prevent and remedy corporate abuses, but their voluntary nature has limited their impact (24:34).

Richard will then explain that he has developed UK multinational parent company liability using tort law. He convinced British courts that a duty of care could be assigned to parent companies domiciled in the UK for their subsidiaries' abuses committed abroad (27:29). This novel approach has the advantages of providing jurisdiction to British courts and circumventing the corporate veil issue (28:29). The second significant obstacle was the principle of Forum non-conveniens, which he managed to overcome with two landmark cases (30:42) by demonstrating that substantial justice could not be obtained in local courts. The legal principle of the duty of care owed by the parent company was cemented in case-law in 2012  (34.22) and confirmed in 2019 (35.15). But liability still depends on the nature of the parent company control over its subsidiary, making disclosure of documents a critical element (37.03).

He will then look at the evolution of this area of law in other jurisdictions (38.19) and the lingering hurdles some still face (38.37),  to conclude that the inconsistency and incertitude of the process calls for an internationally binding treaty (41:00) which should ascertain the duty of care and facilitate victims access to justice (43.19). 


More information about Richard’s work can be found on:


Landmark cases won in court:

Connelly v RTZ Corporation Plc [1997] 3 WLR 373

Lubbe & Others v Cape Plc 2000 1 WLR 1545

Tabra & Others v Monterrico Metals Plc [2009] EWHC 2475; [2010] EWHC 3228

Other case settled:

Ngcobo v Thor Chemicals Holdings Ltd & Desmond Cowley

Ongoing case:

Lead poisoning class action against Anglo American South Africa Limited

The UK Prison System: An Objective Review

The UK Prison System: An Objective Review

February 10, 2021

In the edition of a Question of Law, our guest, Vicki Prais, a human rights specialist on prisoners’ rights and dignity behind bars, will objectively assess the state of the UK's prison system.

She’ll start by identifying the various types of prisons (4:15) and will give us an overview of the changes in the inmates' population (5:15), providing insights on their ages, sentences, backgrounds (6:10) and health status (7:50).

Looking at the state’s obligations towards its detainees (8:20), i.e. to keep them safe, healthy and promote their rehabilitation, she’ll point out that they are enshrined in specific International treaties ( 11:15) and the Human rights Act (13:10).  

She’ll then explain that the prison system is in crisis, engulfed with rampant violence, insecurities and overcrowding (14:30), which negatively impact staff's safety and morale as a result of budget cuts (16:00). The deplorable state of prison conditions leaves inmates feeling dehumanised, which fuels staggering numbers of self-harm and suicide attempts (17:38). 

COVID 19 has convoluted the situation even more.  Despite positive attempts to curtail the risk of infection (19:28) and maintain communication with the outside world (21:13), detainees have been locked up in their cells for almost entire days (22:09) and deprived of most of their activities (23:12). The pandemic has also exacerbated the already alarming backlog of cases waiting to be heard by Criminal Courts. Virtual courts have swiftly been created (24:18); nevertheless, the backlog has reached such proportions that, in some cases, it compromises fairness and justice (23.51).

Vicki will then offer her views on improving the whole system by shifting from the concept of punishment to that of rehabilitation (25:08). Following immediate pragmatic actions (26:27), she suggests a review of the sentencing default system (27:12) with an emphasis on tackling the causes that drive people to jail in the first place (27:42). This would particularly benefit female inmates due to their generally shorter sentences but highly consequential on children (29:12).

Then Vicki will talk about her association with Human rights Pulse (29:12), her own podcast, the passion factor (29:59), and her passion for mentoring young HR lawyers (31:10).

We will talk about self-care in relation to her emotionally draining roles (33:51) and how to cope (35.20). Finally, she’ll reveal what attributes human rights lawyers should have (37:01).


You can reach Vicki Prais on:




An Insight into Domestic Abuse and Related Laws

An Insight into Domestic Abuse and Related Laws

January 27, 2021

This edition of A Question of Law will focus on the crucial subject of domestic abuse. Our guest, Gemma Lindfield, Barrister at 5 St Andrew's Hill, will provide a comprehensive explanation of this dreadful problem and share her opinion on the Domestic Abuse Bill currently discussed in parliament.  

Gemma will first define domestic abuse (4:41) and offer her preferred definition (5:50). Drawing from her professional experience, she will explain how domestic abuse creeps in relationships ( 7:24). She’ll describe the manipulation used by perpetrators to exploit victims' vulnerabilities from love bombing to bullying, threatening, gaslighting (10:07) and controlling the narrative (12:02).

Then, she will discuss whether there is a category of people more likely to fall victim of domestic abuse (12:27) and conclude with a negative answer (12:57). However, she’ll underline that some specific factors can play a critical role (13:09) and explain that education is vital to fight domestic abuse (13:52). She’ll then reveal her personal ordeal (16:05).

Talking about why victims stay in abusive relationships, she’ll describe the danger they face when they leave (19:07), and will confirm that the pandemic has put victims at heightened risks (20:49). We will also talk about how domestic violence impacts children (21:27).

Then she’ll examine the Domestic Abuse Bill (24:11), underlining the positive improvements (27:00) before addressing the shortcomings, particularly regarding the issue of non-fatal strangulation ( 30:27).

Finally, we will talk about her career, job (33:42) and clients. She will share why she decided to become a barrister with her father’s instrumental role (35:37), before talking about her greatest success (38;17) and the hurdles that she had to push through (38:33). Utterly proud to be a barrister, she will provide inspiring advice to aspiring barristers (41:08).


Referenced books:

Pat Craven: Living with the Dominator

            Lundy Bancroft: Why Does He Do That?


National Domestic Abuse Helpline (Women only): 0808 200 0247


Men's Advice Line ( Men only): 0808 801 0327


National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0800 999 5428


National Stalking Helpline:  0808 802 0300



Spotlight on the life of an Intl Criminal Law Barrister

Spotlight on the life of an Intl Criminal Law Barrister

January 13, 2021

This special edition will be focusing on the life of our returning guest, Toby Cadman. Toby is a lucky man with a rich professional life that he is passionate about and a beloved family who has influenced the course of his life in enthralling ways.

So we will start by exploring Toby’s career, his field of expertise, the Barrister Chamber he has created with his partner and the non-profit branch affiliated to it. (2:55)

He will reveal why he has created the Guernica Accountability Podcast and the subjects he has addressed so far (4:15). A little return to international criminal law will help us discover the IIIM, a newly created UN institution, expedient when no other avenues are open. (6:20)

After discussing lay clients' instructions of barristers (8:30), Toby will reveal exciting and surprising facts about his career before turning to law and how he later developed an interest in humanitarian law (11:45). He will explain how much he values his professional team and the role they play in Guernica 37's success (12:30) and will unveil how influential his wife has been in the unfolding of his career (14:30) as well as the quandary he faced early in his career (16:15).

At times, his role and convictions exposed him to dangerous situations (17:30), and despite developing innovative media-based strategies to defend his clients (21:00), he has not always been able to obtain justice for them.

Then he will discuss the highlights of his career (22:00) particularly concerning Syria (22:50) before providing us with priceless advice regarding the hurdles young barristers face (23:15) and how to overcome them (24:15).

Resilient about the sacrifices required by a demanding career (26:10), he has nonetheless learned some great lessons during the pandemic. He will also reveal how the Cadman family unites around a shared passion for Kung Fu (28:00).

Finally, he will leave us with pragmatic and positive advice for aspiring Barristers.    

Insightful and at times personal, this episode is a great listen for whoever wants to learn more about the multifaceted life of a successful Barrister! 

Websites:        www.guernica37.com


Email:              tobyc@guernica37.com

Twitter:           @tobycadman

Fighting Impunity with International Justice

Fighting Impunity with International Justice

December 16, 2020

Since the end of the Second World War, the world has been ravaged by conflicts.

 On this episode, our guest, Toby Cadman, Barrister-at-Law, will provide a truly informative assessment of the institution entrusted with the fight against impunity.

Toby will first describe, International Criminal Law (5:29), the body of law developed to prosecute individuals who have committed the gravest atrocity crimes (6.06).  He will explain that this living instrument (6:38) has been codified in the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) but continues to evolve (8:50)(15:59).

Toby will identify the crimes (11:04) and the people (12:32) over which the Court has jurisdiction, before explaining the principle of complementarity (14:37).  He will also explain the limits of the Court jurisdiction and the potential recourse to the UN Security Council referral system (17:48), a procedure not without its own flaws (19:21). Fortunately, resourcefulness around the law has allowed presumed untouchable criminals to face justice (20:15).    

He will give his opinion on what needs to be put in place to enhance the efficiency of the Court (23:13). Skilfully refuting the criticisms of biased and partiality that the Court has been accused of (30:45), he acknowledges the politicised environment in which it operates, taken the US and the Middle East as examples (32:50).

Toby will reiterate his faith in the ICC (35:49) and derived institutions ( 37:21). He will then give his opinion on whether insisting on bringing criminals to justice could hinder any chance of negotiating peace in ongoing conflicts (38:57).

Finally, he will provide a comprehensive answer to a question he usually asks himself (41.08)!


Websites:        www.guernica37.com


Email:              tobyc@guernica37.com

Twitter            @tobycadman


Brexit: What does it mean for UK Law?

Brexit: What does it mean for UK Law?

December 2, 2020

On this episode, our guest, Marcus Cleaver, will explain in very approachable terms, the implications of Brexit on UK Law.

Reviewing at first the historical context of the European Community's genesis (4:35), he will then talk about its expansion (5:40) and gradual evolution towards a federation (6:22).

A review of the role of European institutions (7:21) and the legal instruments (8:13), differentiating those with direct effect (8:17) from those that set standards (8:41), will provide us with a good understanding of the EU law-making process.  

Then, we will address the question of the Withdrawal Agreement (9:38) and the transitional period (10:58) and what comes next; possibly still, a no-deal Brexit (10:58). In legal terms, we will discuss what will happen to the EU legal instruments entwined with the British legal system (12:22) and their future evolution (13:20). Moving on, we will explore more precisely,  the consequences of Brexit on EU and British citizens (14:55), the trade of goods and services (18.10) and the financial sector (18:47).

We will also discuss the issues with the Northern Ireland protocol (20:40) with a brief review of the Good Friday agreement (21:17) and the economic and political implications of Brexit for that particular region (21:44). We will also talk about the Internal Market Bill and its attempt to amend the NI protocol (22:53). (This contentious part of the bill has since this recording been rejected by the House of Lord).

We will then raise the question of the Charter of Fundamental Rights which, despite its questionable usefulness (25:05) remains a standard of rights from which new rights have flourished (26:32).

Finally, Marcus will share his opinion on the UK sovereignty that will be restored (28:28), an issue so crucial to Brexiters, and he will evaluate its worth (28:55).

Lastly, we will get to know Marcus a little better, by discovering what his current role entails (30:29) before talking about his podcast and his YouTube channel (32:16), his successes (34:20), proudest moments (35:08) future projects (36:4) and insights for aspiring lawyers (37:02).

You can get in touch with Marcus on:

Email: uklawweekly@substack.com

Website and podcast: http://uklawweekly.com/

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/marcuscleaver

Twitter: @uklawweekly

The Human Rights dimension of Covid-19

The Human Rights dimension of Covid-19

November 18, 2020

This podcast will explore the human rights dimension of Covid-19. Our guest, Vicki Prais, will define what human rights are (5:45) detailing their characteristics (6:00) and the framework of International Human rights law (7:10) including soft law (7:55).

She will cover the grounds on which Governments can derogate from Human rights (8:36) and will identify those from which a derogation is never permitted (9:00). Using Lawless v Ireland (App 332/57, 1 July 1961) will define what a public emergency is (10:30) and will detail the conditions to be met for derogations to remain lawful (11:50). We will then explore the impact of Covid-19 on Medical staff in Russia (14.04) and in the UK (15:20), we will also examine the plight of the elderly (17:10) and people in detention (20:14). We will raise the question of access to justice (23:03) before reviewing the sad predicament of women (24:14) and children (25:31). Then, she will assess the implications of C-19 measures on the freedom of movement (27.50), of expression (28:26) and assembly (29:18). Lastly, she will assess the long term consequences of the C-19 response on our fundamental freedoms (30:51).

Finally, she will talk about her job (32:34), her career path (33.14), her greatest successes (34:25) and the hurdles she has had to push through ( 35:04) before revealing the proudest moment (36:16) of her legal career. A mentor herself, she will also share highly inspiring advice for aspiring lawyers (37:46). 

You can reach Vicki here:





Leasehold home ownership: A new perspective

Leasehold home ownership: A new perspective

November 4, 2020

Leasehold home ownership has been a source of tension between landlords and tenants for many years.

Our guest Ezania Bennett will shed some light on the reasons why those contracts generate so much disgruntlement. Having years of experience in litigation and enforcement in the housing sector, she will share her views on the issues linked to leasehold home ownership and assess the Law commission’s proposals to upgrade the system.

So Ezania will start by explaining to us the right to buy scheme (4:30) before precisely defining what services charges payable to public landlords include (6:05) before explaining why in her opinion, they generate so many disputes (8:55). She’ll explain how the notion of reasonableness has developed (9:30) through statutes and via two case laws [Forcelux Ltd v Sweetman [2001]2 E.G.L.R. 173 LT and Waaler v Hounslow LBC EWCA Civ 45 [2017] 1 W.L.R. 2817] (12:40) and explain some of the difficulties associated with it (14:50). She’ll share her view on the system as a whole (16:00) and will clarify why it needs updating (17:40). She will cover what the Law commission proposals offer to improve (21:20) and assess the value of these proposals (26:10). We will then talk about her current role (28:35), and she will recount how she fortuitously entered the legal profession (30:10) then we’ll uncover some of her most significant successes (33:30) and hurdles (34.40) that followed and her ambitions for the future (35:55). She will finally grant us thoughtful insights for aspiring lawyers (37:15).

I hope this episode will give the law enthusiasts out there, the opportunity to feed their curiosity, enrich their knowledge and get inspired!

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