Announcing the CCHJR 4th Annual Criminal Law Conference

Accommodating Victims in the Criminal Justice System:
An Inclusionary or Punitive Logic?

Friday, 11th June, University College Cork

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Right at the Faculty of Law at UCC is delighted to host its fourth annual criminal law conference, entitled Accommodating Victims in the Criminal Justice System. The aim of the conference is to update delegates on current debates in criminal justice with particular emphasis on the role of victims of crime. For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the victim in the criminal process was confined largely to a bit-part role of reporting crime and of adducing evidence in court as a witness, if needed. More recently, however, the process is gradually becoming more effective in accommodating the needs and concerns of victims of crime. In the last three decades, in particular, the status of the crime victim has gradually altered from being perceived as a ‘non-entity’ or ‘hidden casualty’ to a stakeholder whose interests and opinions matter. Crime victims are beginning to be anchored as key constituents in the criminal justice landscape and criminal justice agencies will have to rework their relationships with them.

Notwithstanding the increased recognition of victims in the criminal process, some commentators would argue that that many of the needs of victims continue to be unmet. A lack of knowledge among criminal justice agencies about the needs of victims of crime is a key issue. There also remains a problem with the under-reporting of crime. Other issues that cause concern to victims include harassment, intimidation by the process, attrition rates, the lack of private areas in courts, difficulties with procedural rules and legal definitions, delays in the system, and inadequate support services. Other commentators would argue that this shift in the status of the victim will contribute to a reprioritisation of commitments resulting in a recalibration of the scales of justice that further hollow out the rights of those accused of crime. This conference will explore all of these issues with leading experts in the field.

It is anticipated that the conference will act as a forum where legal practitioners, victims’ rights advocacy/support groups, Garda officers, social workers, probation officers, civil servants, judges and academics, can discuss issues of common interest.

For information relating to the conference, please telephone the conference administrator, Ms Noreen Delea, at 021 4902728, or email her at ccjhr@ucc.ie

Changes needed to Mental Health Act 2001

The Mental Health Commission has started work on developing a Code of Practice on the Mental Health Act 2001. The Commission seeks views on which parts of the Act, if any, further guidance should be provided on and the closing date for receipt of feedback is Wednesday 28th April. For further information, see this page.
Meanwhile, papers and videos from the recent Mental Health Law conference at University College Cork are available here. The conference was jointly organised by UCC Faculty of Law and the Irish Mental Health Lawyers Association. Speakers included Mary Forde of Amnesty International Ireland, Patricia Rickard-Clarke of the Law Reform Commission, Michael Lynn, B.L., Diarmaid Ring, Mental Health Service User and Activist, Dr Mary Donnelly of UCC, Áine Hynes, Solicitor, Hugh Kane, CEO of the Mental Health Commission, Mark Felton, Solicitor, and Dr Darius Whelan of UCC. Dr Mary Henry, former independent Senator, spoke at the book launch which followed the conference. Each session was lively and informative, with plenty of genuine engagement between the 120 members of the audience and the speakers. One of the many interesting slides was one from Hugh Kane about the need for reforms of mental health law, which included the following items:
  • Urgent need for Capacity Legislation
  • Review of Section 59(1), Mental Health Act 2001 [This concerns Electro-Convulsive Therapy]
  • Section 23/24, Mental Health Act 2001 [Re-grading of patients from voluntary to involuntary status]
  • Measurement of performance, overall impact of mental health tribunals, Section 49, Mental Health Act 2001
  • Need for automatic independent legal representative for children admitted to approved centres, Section 25(14), Mental Health Act 2001.
  • Definition of ‘best interests’, Section 4, Mental Health Act 2001

CALL FOR PAPERS: POSTGRADUATE AND EARLY CAREER WORKSHOP WITH PROFESSOR LOIS MCNAY

‘Subjects Before the Law: Membership, Recognition and the Religious Dimensions of Women’s Citizenship.’Workshop with Professor Lois McNay.

We invite PhD students and Early Career Researchers (no more than 3 years post-viva) from any discipline to apply to participate in a workshop, to take place on Thursday, September 9, 2010. The workshop is hosted by the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights and the Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century, University College Cork, Ireland. The workshop is organised as part of an IRCHSS Thematic Project on Gender Equality, Religious Diversity and Multiculturalism in Contemporary Ireland.

The workshop organisers are Eoin Daly and Máiréad Enright.

WORKSHOP THEME

Recent years have witnessed a shift by states away from policies and politics of multiculturalism. Against a background of diminishing state sovereignty, matters of affiliation, allegience, membership and belonging have become important projects for government. Across Europe, transnational and sub-national constellations of belonging are viewed as threatening social cohesion, loosening the ties that bind the nation-state. State responses have been marked by an anxious and exclusionary politics of membership, which seek to restore and re-inscribe the state’s role as first or sole sovereign. Religious citizens have appealed to notions of religious rights grounded in law in an effort to bypass or restrict state scrutiny and regulation of group activity.Such attempts can be seen today in debates on the role of Muslim family law, in litigation on the display and wearing of religious symbols and in the regulation of intimate relations and reproductive autonomy. Historically, the demarcation of gender roles has frequently been intertwined with attempts to identify defining attributes of national identity. Thus, new interactions between religious groups and the state in the field of law have particular implications for women, as gender roles and status become intertwined with the boundaries and limits of membership.

The aim of the workshop is to discuss themes and questions such as:

  • What are the implications for women of the shift away from multicultural policies and politics?
  • Can law provide ‘refuge’ for religion from hostile post-secular politics? How should we imagine the new ‘legal turn’ in religious engagement with the state?
  • Who is the religious subject before the law? How does the law construct women’s religious, cultural and political affiliations? How might it do better?
  • What does recognition theory tell us about the possibilities and limits of religious engagements with law?
  • What are the limits and role of rights discourse in responding to deficiencies in how law ‘sees’ religion?
  • What shape does the ‘public’ concept of citizenship take in the regulation of ‘private sphere’ religious activity?
  • What are the implications of integration and citizenship testing for women? What should be the responses of feminist and human rights discourse to such testing?
  • How useful are concepts of ‘multiplicity’, ‘plurality’ and ‘intersectionality’ to a legal analysis of membership conflicts?
  • Where and how do we locate Ireland in current debates on women’s membership, multiculturalism and the law?

PARTICIPATING

If you would like to present a paper, please email corkworkshop2010@gmail.com to express your interest. Your email should cotain:

  • Your position and the name of your university/research centre.
  • A 250 word abstract of the paper you propose to present at the workshop. Your paper should address an aspect of your thesis or other research as it relates to one or more of the questions set out in the workshop theme above.
  • Your CV, including a list of any publications, forthcoming publications and papers presented at other conferences and workshops to date.
  • The title and short description (no more than 250 words) of your current major research topic (PhD candidates should provide details of their thesis)

Participants will commit to:

  • Producing a draft paper (no more than 7,500 words) for circulation to all participants in advance of the workshop.
  • Presenting their paper to the workshop (for 20 – 25 minutes, with time afterwards for questions and discussion)
  • Acting as a discussant for one of the other papers.
  • Reading the other papers in advance of the workshop and participating in the general discussion of other papers.

Deadline for applications: May 1 2010.

Successful applicants notified: May 15 2010.

Deadline for draft papers: July 15 2010.

WORKSHOP FORMAT

The workshop will begin in the morning with a seminar by Professor Lois McNay (Somerville College Oxford), author of Against Recognition, Gender and Agency:Reconfiguring the Subject in Feminist and Social Theory. and Foucault and Feminism: Power, Gender and the Self. We are particularly keen to receive papers which address Professor McNay’s work on agency and recognition in some respect.

The seminar will be followed by two sessions in which the participants will present and discuss one another’s papers. We plan to restrict participation to a small number group; 6 to 8 at most. We are investigating the possibility that some of the papers will be published after the workshop.

We are in a position to offer a modest grant to participants in the workshop which should cover most if not all of the cost to participants of economy transport to Cork from elsewhere in Ireland, the UK or mainland Europe. We will also provide one night’s accommodation in Cork and meals and refreshments on September 9. There is no additional fee for participation.

The workshop is run in conjunction with a one-day international conference ‘Gendering the Boundaries of Membership’, which will take place in University College Cork on September 10. The conference will feature presentations by a number of prominent scholars working in the area of gender and multiculturalism. Confirmed speak
ers include Anne Phillips (LSE), Audrey Macklin (University of Toronto), Betty de Hart (Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen) and Maleiha Malik (King’s College London). Workshop participants will be welcome to attend the conference free of charge (some meals will be provided on the day).

All queries should be addressed to corkworkshop2010@gmail.com