“Happy Planet Index” (HPI): Measuring “What Matters”

The New Economics Foundation (nef) in the UK earlier this summer released:

The Happy Planet Index: 2012 Report — A global index of sustainable well-being

The Happy Planet Index is a new
measure of progress that focuses on
what matters: sustainable well-being for
all. It tells us how well nations are doing
in terms of supporting their inhabitants
to live good lives now, while ensuring
that others can do the same in the future.

In a time of uncertainty, the Index
provides a clear compass pointing
nations in the direction they need to
travel, and helping groups around the
world to advocate for a vision of progress
that is truly about people’s lives.

Hat tip to DocuTicker.com.

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

UK MPs and the Use of Twitter

Microblogging, Constituency Service and Impression Mangaement: UK MPs and the Use of Twitter.

Nigel Jackson and Darren Lilleker

17 Journal of Legislative Studies 86 (March 2011)

Abstract:

Twitter, a microblogging site which allows users to deliver statements, thoughts and links in 140 characters to followers as well as a wider Internet audience, is the latest online communications technology adopted by MPs. Assessing the use of early adopters, this article considers which MPs are most likely to use Twitter (e.g. tweeting), and how. Content analysis of tweeting MPs was conducted, and identified personal and political characteristics which may influence use. The data suggested that of the six characteristics tested, gender, party and seniority had most impact on adoption. Applying Jones and Pittman’s (1982) typology there is clear evidence that MPs use Twitter as a tool of impression management. Constituency service is a secondary function of the use of Twitter by MPs. Where MPs use Twitter as part of their constituency role it is to promote their local activity. We note that a small group of MPs use Twitter as a regular communication channel, but most are only occasionally dipping their toe into the microbloggersphere.

2 Television Documentaries on the UK Supreme Court

Britain’s Supreme Court

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/britains-supreme-court/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1

Description from the Channel 4 /More4 Web site:

This gripping, feature-length documentary charts the first year in the life of Britain’s new Supreme Court – the highest court in the land. With unprecedented access the film meets the judges, lawyers and ordinary people whose cases will have a far-reaching effect on the everyday lives of others across the UK.

For those bringing these high-profile cases to court there is a lot at stake, and the programme reveals their hopes and fears as they and their legal teams come face-to-face with the most powerful judges in the UK.

The judges have allowed proceedings to be filmed and, uniquely, justice is seen unfolding as judges and lawyers – the finest legal minds in the country – debate key contemporary issues. See David and Goliath battles of individuals challenging the state, the outcomes of which help to define the nature of society today.

 

The Highest Court in the Land: Justice Makers (clips only)

BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00xz0s5

Description from the BBC  Web site:

They are the UK’s most powerful arbiters of justice and now, for the first time, four of the Justices of the Supreme Court talk frankly and openly about the nature of justice and how they make their decisions. The film offers a revealing glimpse of the human characters behind the judgments and explores why the Supreme Court and its members are fundamental to our democracy.

The 11 men and one woman who make up the UK Supreme Court have the last say on the most controversial and difficult cases in the land. What they decide binds every citizen. But are their rulings always fair, do their feelings ever get in the way of their judgments and are they always right?

In the first 14 months of the court they have ruled on MPs’ expenses, which led to David Chaytor’s prosecution, changed the status of pre-nuptial agreements and battled with the government over control orders and the Human Rights Act.

They explain what happens when they cannot agree and there is a divided judgment, and how they avoid letting their personal feelings effect their interpretation of the law. And they face up to the difficult issue of diversity; there is only one woman on the court, and she is the only Justice who went to a non-fee-paying school.

 

Other BBC shows on justice and legal issue sare available at:

Justice a Citizen’s Guide

http://www.bbc.co.uk/tv/seasons/justiceseason/

 

 

 

 

UK Judicial Views on Human Rights and Judicial Accountability

The UK Human Rights Blog wrote about two recent speeches by British senior judges, the President of the UK Supreme Court and Master of the Rolls, reflecting on judicial review and the role of the Human Rights Act.  Egypt’s new rulers and opposition leaders may wish to consult these documents as they create new mechanisms for Egyptian courts to check executive and legislative power and protect human rights.

Judicial Independence & Accountability: A View from the Supreme Court

Lord Phillips, President of the UK Supreme Court

8 Feb. 2011

http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/docs/speech_110208.pdf

 

Protecting Human Rights in an Age of Insecurity

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, Master of the Rolls

7 Feb. 2011

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Speeches/mr-speech-cla-07022011.pdf

Description of the speeches from the blog posting

http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2011/02/09/justice-in-the-age-of-insecurity/#more-6838

Two of the UK’s top judges have given fascinating speeches this week on justice in the age of insecurity. One by the head of the supreme court warns that budget cuts will imperil the independence of the judiciary. The other by the head of the court of appeal, argues that despite not being able to tell the government what to do, UK courts can provide effective protection of fundamental rights.

The speeches offer fascinating and sometimes controversial perspectives on our odd but in many ways admirable constitutional system, as well as warnings that strained budgets and political meddling could do it damage.

Hat tip to Adam Wagner of UK Human Rights Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

New Book – Researching Language and the Law: Textual Features and Translation Issues

Davide Simone Giannoni and Celina Frade’s new book “Researching Language and the Law: contains the following chapters that will be of interest to people studying legal translation and interpretation.

Researching Language and the Law: Textual Features and Translation Issues

Davide Simone Giannoni and Celina Frade

Bern: Perter Lang, 2010

Selected Book Chapters:

English Legal Discourse and the French Continuum

Susan Kermas

“What I argue in this chapter is that the unique language contact situation within the EU has triggered another phase of French influence. My examination of English and French legal documents in the Eur-Lex archive … will demonstate not only that many words have been influenced by French, but, more importantly, that efforts to harmonise legal language within the EU may also be creating a further rift between British and American legal discourse and subsequently, ordinary language.”

Axiological Analysis of Entries in a Spanish Law Dictionary and their English Equivalents

Angel M.  Felices Lago

 

Legal Translation and Interpreting in the UK Today

Francisco Vigier

The UK has two main translator and interpeter organizations, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting  and the Charted Institute of Linguists, which are recognised by the government and committed to promote quality in translation and interpreting services. Nonetheless, a translator or interpreter willing to practise in Britain is not bound to belong to any of them. . .”

 

Lord Owen Report on British Policy on Iran 1974-1978

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has released the previously confidently Owen Report on British Policy on Iran 1974-1978.

This report covers the fall of the Shah and the rise of the Islamic Republic.

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/who-we-are/our-history/historical-publications/documents-british-policy/british-policy-on-iran-1974-1978

From the description:

The Islamic Revolution in Iran represented a seismic shift in the internal and geopolitical orientation of a formerly close ally of the United Kingdom.

This document, now released for the first time, was commissioned in 1979 by the then Foreign Secretary, the Rt Hon David (now Lord) Owen, in order to enable a detailed examination of the context of the events leading to the Revolution, and for the FCO to identify any lessons that might be learned from the UK’s reactions to, and analysis of, the events concerned.

The intention, as mentioned by the then Permanent Under-Secretary in his foreword, was not to apportion blame for the fact that the FCO, in common with others, failed to predict the Islamic Revolution. Rather, the intention was to “examine where, if anywhere, we had gone wrong and how we could do better in the future”. In this context Chapter XI, “Conclusion: Lessons for the FCO”, is of particular interest.

As a whole, this document shows the value of analysis and historical perspective in formulating policy not just with regard to the Islamic Republic of Iran, but to other countries and regions which remain of vital interest to the UK.

It is important to bear in mind that this is a historical document and does not necessarily reflect the views of the current UK government. It has been released for publication on the web following the FCO’s standard clearance procedures.

 

Aberdeen Student Law Review

A new student edited legal journal from Scotland:

Aberdeen Student Law Review

http://www.abdn.ac.uk/law/aslr/

Inaugural issue (Vol.1, July 2010)

http://www.abdn.ac.uk/law/documents/Volume_I_ASLR.pdf

From the Web site description:

The Aberdeen Student Law Review is a journal written and edited by the students of the University of Aberdeen’s Law School. Only the second of its kind in Scotland, the ASLR is a platform for students (both at undergraduate and postgraduate level) to submit scholarly essays and case notes on an area of law of their choice.

The purpose of the Review is to showcase the work of the students of Aberdeen, highlighting the many areas of law which are taught and researched at this university. As such, we welcome submissions on any area of Scots law, as well as articles with an international or historical focus.

Bibliography on British and Irish Legal History

Bibliography on British and Irish Legal History

complied by Jacqueline Woolham

40 Cambrian Law Review 107 (2009)

“This bibliography is confined to items of more than a few pages in length relating to British and Irish legal history which hav ebeen published in the last few years.”

New café, jaunty carpet with Supreme Court Attached

Times of London has published its law student winning essay on the new UK Supreme Court and British constitutional law.

New Café, Jaunty Carpet with Supreme Court Attached. Supreme Court UK: radical change or business as usual?

Anita Davies, law student at City University

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/student/article7057610.ece

Excerpts from the article:

H.W.R Wade, in his 1955 article The Basis of Legal Sovereignty, stated that Parliamentary sovereignty based its legitimacy upon political fact and could be changed only by revolution. In his 1996 article Sovereignty — Revolution or Evolution? he argued that such a revolution, albeit a quiet one, had indeed taken place.

In recent years judges have been increasingly assertive in recognising the possibility that there may be times when it is valid for the courts to challenge Parliament. In the 2005 fox hunting case, Jackson v Attorney-General, Lord Steyn referred to the possibility of “constitutional fundamentals”, which even a sovereign parliament could not abolish.

Seen in this light, the opening of the Supreme Court is a symbolic recognition that the framework of constitutional and political debate has already shifted to a considerable extent. There is little doubt that the new name and location will have an effect on the role of the newly appointed judges, it would be extraordinary if it did not.

But the tools they use to fulfil their role, and potentially exercise judicial authority more assertively, have existed for some years. The pleasing new symmetry of Parliament Square has been referenced by a number of commentators; justice on the one side, government on the other and Westminster Abbey facing both. This new layout can also be seen as symbolic of an evolving legal order best described by Dawn Oliver; where Parliament is “no longer at the apex of a simple hierarchy of simple legal norms” but at the centre of a web of developing relationships between different laws and rules from various sources.

Articles on UK Human Rights Act

Today’s Times of London runs two articles focusing on criticisms of UK”s Human Rights Act

Repealing the Human Rights Act May Not Be as Alarming as it Seems 

Prof. Vernon Bogdanor

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article7030952.ece?&EMC-Bltn=PNSCX2F

Businesses are Behind the Big Increases on Human Rights Cases

Frances Gibb

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/columnists/article7031129.ece?&EMC-Bltn=PNSCX2F