AuthorDavid Gurnham
PositionProfessor of Criminal Law and Interdisciplinary Legal Studies, Director of Research, Deputy Head of School, School of Law
I am very happy to be able to offer a few opening remarks to this latest edition of the
Southampton Student Law Review – which continues its crucial role of providing a
forum for our students and former students to share a wide range of legal scholarship.
As ever, the content of this issue is of a high quality and reflects a number of the most
pressing legal issues at home and abroad. On the domestic front, these include the
UK’s exit from the European Union on a populist wave that will see the restoration of
our beloved ‘sovereignty’ albeit at the expense of more tangible benefits. They
include also a housing crisis driven by government policies that fetishize home
ownership for the wealthier middle classes at the expense of secure rental property
for those unable or unwilling to buy. On the international scene, we see nation states
struggling to emerge from war and internal strife and to come to terms with wrongs
commitment during those times.
This volume begins then in Liberia: a country distinguished in world history by its
foundation by freed African American slaves, and more recently by two bloody and
disastrous civil wars driven by tribal and ethnic division. Jun Wei Quah delivers the
fullest article of this volume with a thoughtful analysis of transitional justice
mechanisms there, and the competing imperatives of restoration and peace on the
one hand and retribution and punishment for past crimes on the other. The author
offers a provocative argument that urges the finding of space for both internationalist
values such as human rights and the rule of law and at the same time also for
traditional restorative and reconciliatory mechanisms that prioritise peace over fault-
finding. Jun Wei Quah’s argument promotes social justice for those most vulnerable
and most marginalised in Liberian society: the horrifically high numbers of victims of
sexual violence in the two civil wars and the reintegration of brutalised former child
Next, Irinna Vavaletskou in a short essay considers the relationship between the
concept of national sovereignty and the supremacy of the European Court of Justice.
Vavaletskou charts the acceptance in a number of European Union states of the
Court’s supremacy on the eve of the UK’s exit from the EU. She suggests that,
contrary to the expressions of resentment by little Britons such as Michael Gove
about the existence of a layer of legal authority higher than Parliament and not
removable by the British voting public, the history of the EU is in fact one in which
satisfactory compromise between national and supra-national authority has largely
been reached.
Thereafter follow three incisive and timely case notes. The first of these, by Markos
Phillips, considers the Supreme Court’s eminently sensible decision that Rangers
Football Club should pay income tax on their players’ earnings even though these
wages were paid first into a trust (a device, as everyone knows, exists primarily to
avoid paying tax). Phillips is not convinced by the Court’s ‘purposive’ approach to
identifying Parliamentary intention in their ruling, nor by the Court’s straying into
the realm of morals when they named Rangers’ scheme pejoratively as ‘tax
avoidance’. For Phillips, the case ‘is not about fairness or harms, [but rather] about

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