Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)

9 May 2018: Justice – Civil and Criminal Issues of Interest

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1.30pm – RaISe – Welcome and Opening Remarks 

Prof Gráinne McKeever, Dr Lucy Royal-Dawson, Dr John McCord and Dr Eleanor Kirk (Ulster) – Litigants in person in the civil and family courts in Northern Ireland

1.45pm –  This presentation presents findings based on qualitative and quantitative research with personal litigants conducted from September 2016 to September 2017, in civil and family law proceedings in Northern Ireland.  Research provides an evidence-based analysis of the reasons why people self-represent and the characteristics of personal litigants, including their socio-demographic profiles, as well as their self-reported general health status. Such profiling of the characteristics of personal litigants in Northern Ireland has never been conducted before.  The findings are relevant to the work of the proposed Civil Justice Council and Family Justice Board. Recommendations flowing from the research could help to inform Department of Justice policies on how to ensure personal litigants’ court experiences are human rights compliant and provide practical ways in which the Court Service could respond to the recommendations of the 2017 final report of the Civil and Family Justice Review.

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Dr John Topping (QUB) – Police Stop & Search Powers: Understanding Nature & Extent of Adversarial Contact Between PSNI and the Public

2.05pm –  Governed primarily under the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (PACE), the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s (PSNI) use of stop and search powers have remained as a consistent – and growing – power over the past decade.  Analysis of most recent data shows the powers are used 68% more than ten years ago; and at a greater rate than any other police service in the United Kingdom at 18 per 1000 of population, compared to 9 per 1000 in Scotland, and 7 per 1000 in England & Wales.  In this regard, stop and search is the most common form of adversarial contact with the public. PSNI state the powers are ‘an operational tool used to prevent, detect and investigate crime as well as to bring offenders to justice’.  Yet empirical evidence demonstrates stop and search has a minimal – and in some cases negligible – effect on the prevention or detection of crime.  This can be read in conjunction with policy shifts which have resulted in a 70% drop in use of the powers over the past five years in England/Wales – which encompasses a 16% arrest rate.  For PSNI, the average arrest rate sits

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Dr Taiwo Oriola (Ulster) – Criminalising Revenge Porn in Northern Ireland: Laws and Lessons from England and Wales and other Common Law Jurisdictions

2.25pm –  Revenge pornography encapsulates the act of online distribution or publication of sexually explicit private images or films of an ex-girlfriend, boyfriend, or partner, without their consent; with a view to humiliating or causing distress for a perceived wrong or slight. Whilst revenge pornography predates the Internet, the ubiquitous Internet, the social media and the proliferation of mobile digital devices for capturing intimate images, have been previously found to exacerbate the problem. The epidemics of revenge pornography led to its criminalisation in England and Wales in April 2015, via sections 33-35 of the Criminal Justice Act 2015; and subsequently in Northern Ireland in February 2016, via sections 50-53 of the Justice Act, Northern Ireland 2016.  The criminalisation of revenge porn helped highlight the seriousness of the problem, and led to successful prosecution of 206 people in England and Wales within a year of the enactment of the Criminal Justice Act 2015. In Northern Ireland, there is as yet, no reported prosecution for revenge pornography under sections 50-53 of the Justice Act 2016. However, in 2016, two revenge pornography cases were heard by the Queen’s Bench Division of Belfast High Court, in which the plaintiffs sought civil remedies. (AY a

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2.45pm – Discussion  
3.15pm – RaISe – Closing Remarks 
3.20pm – Networking and Refreshments