Thursday, April 22, 2010

Head of State: Legal Debat About The UK's Election. Legal Research Society. 22 April 2010

Head of State: Legal Discussion About The UK Election. Legal Research Society. 22 April 2010

There is a general feeling that the recent debate in Britain between the main party leaders was rather staid compared to the more theatrical style of the U.S Presidential debate on which it was modelled. Perhaps the British electorate would prefer the plain-spoken, tell-it-like-it-is politics of Chris Rock's prescient spoof of the U.S Presidential election. "Head of State" starts Chris Rock as an unlikely democratic for the presidency of the United State, who goes on to win over the electorate by shunning the political point-scoring and spin employed by other candidates and speaking forthrightly about issues that really concern people. Could such a tactic work for the political underdog in Britain.

The screening of this sassy political satire was followed by a discussion of the recent and the forthcoming political debate in Britain, as well as the General Election that will follow them. in particular we intended to discuss the implications of this on the British Constitutional Law and the increased impetus for reforming our electoral system. Does the increasing influence of the Liberal Democrats herald the end of our first-pass-the-post voting system? We have the debates, would we go so far as to import a written constitution as the Liberal Democrats would like?

After watching this film an open debate began amongst the audience. Questions were raised and answered in a friendly manner. Among the most interesting questions were:

UK has borrowed the presidential debate style from US could Britain borrow more? for example, could UK accept a non-white person as a prime-minster?

An economic student from Ghana commented: if we can't see black people on top of any council in UK, how can we see a prime-minster here. He questioned whether there was any top official who is not white in UK?

Another question was: Can an independent person (not belonging to any of the main parties in UK) become a candidate for the position of prime-minster?

Ahmad, an Iranian Lawyer and a PhD student at the Law school in Aberdeen, pointed out that the last election debate we had in Iran was even more open. A student from China asked:is Iran a democratic country? Ahmad, answered, yes, but in its own way. We do not have the American system. He proceeded, corruption in Iran may be found like in many other countries but we must not exaggerate the situation.

A question followed on the same theme: how can it be democratic in the USA when you have only two candidates from the whole US running for election?

Is UK a democratic country when only the elite can be candidates in election? can we have a non-white candidate in UK?

These questions among many others were discussed in this illuminating session. Please feel free to add a comment.

Best Regards,

L.R.S. Team

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Welcome to L.R.S.

Justice Greanwood the International Court
of Justice judge is third from the left
The Legal Research Society is active at home and abroad. Six of its members travelled to The Hague last summer to visit some of the top international judicial bodies. The study trip included visits to the Peace Palace which houses the Permanent Court of Arbitration and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to the Organisation of the Prevention of Chemical Weapons as well as to The Hague Conference on Private International Law and to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The group met Justice Greenwood, judge on the ICJ, as well as Xavier-Jean Mohamed Keïta, head of the Office of Public Counsel for the Defence at the International Criminal Court. They also had a stopover at Leiden University to speak to peer researchers there. After returning to Aberdeen, they reported back to their colleagues in a feedback meeting at the Law School. The LRS thanks all who helped make this event possible.
In 2008/09 the Society has furthermore been organising various activities ranging from relaxed tea sessions to an Essay Competition, round table discussions and movie screenings. This year too LRS promises more and even better events building on what its team has achieved and learned last year. You can find out more about LRS by emailing .