The Wilberforce Society | michaelcampbell
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Author: michaelcampbell

Twitter: #TWSTunisia

The Wilberforce Society is proud to announce the release of its largest project of 2012, a Comprehensive Proposed Constitutional Framework for the Republic of Tunisia, commissioned by the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly. The Report features a new constitutional framework for Tunisia, supported by in-depth research.

“An impressive Constitution.”
Constitutional Law Professor and Supreme Court advocate, Laurence Tribe of Harvard Law School, on TWS’s project.

 

Media coverage includes article at Tunisia Live.

Press release

Contact: Mr. George Bangham
Telephone: +44(0)7854 392060
Email: chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk

CAMBRIDGE, UK, 26/09/2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY CONSULTANTS AUTHOR PROPOSED TUNISIAN CONSTITUTION
Commissioned Think Tank is the Only U.K. Group to Draft a Comprehensive Anti-Corruption Constitution of Tunisia

The Wilberforce Society (TWS) is pleased to release the product of its largest commissioned project to date. Today, it publishes a comprehensive report, comprising a constitutional framework for Tunisia and in-depth supplementary research.

The report was commissioned by the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly and Office of the General Rapporteur in early 2011. The Wilberforce Society’s proposed Draft and analysis may now be viewed at <http://thewilberforcesociety.co.uk/tws-tunisian-constitution/>.

TWS’s report has been produced by an able team of 26 experts and students, chosen after a rigorous selection process. The Project was led by Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta, TWS’s senior advisor and the chief draftsperson, and Mr. George Bangham, Chairman of the Society. They have received consultation and briefing from lawyers, economists, diplomats and political advisors in Tunisia and around the world.

Dr. Dasgupta and Mr. Bangham jointly issued a statement describing the report as “TWS’s most ambitious project to date, and a rare and fascinating opportunity for scholarship to combine with real-life political change in the aftermath of the Arab Spring”. During their fieldwork in Tunisia, and North Africa generally, the Project utilised influencer analysis, social media analysis, scenario planning, future analysis, and crowdsourcing from Tunisian academics, politicians, NGOs, and citizens.

This Constitutional Draft is set apart from other submissions in three respects. First, it takes a vigorous stance against public as well as private corruption. Second, in Article 18 proposes restrictions on the injection of corporate and foreign funding into Tunisian elections. Third, it promotes a very clear separation of powers and some of the Executive’s non-unilateral powers. The accompanying documents lay out in extensive detail the political and economic choices that confront the Tunisian people as well as the need to balance constitutional permanence and flexibility.

A TEDx event, with the new Constitutional Draft as its centerpiece, will be held in 2013. The event will broadly address the stimulating theme of The Failure Paradox. More information will be released soon.

About The Wilberforce Society
The Wilberforce Society, the first student-run think tank to be established in the UK, is the country’s leading student-run think tank. It has no political affiliation, incorporating the wide range of views of students at the University of Cambridge. TWS links students with policymakers around the UK and beyond, publishing work in the last year on topics as varied as homelessness in Cambridge and the UK National Security Council. Papers have received significant media and political attention. More information can be found on the TWS website, www.thewilberforcesociety.co.uk

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Contact details
For more information on the Tunisia Project, and for general information on TWS or other media enquiries including interviews, please contact:

Mr. George Bangham, Chairman of TWS
(chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk)

Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta, Senior Advisor to the Constitution Project
(rdasgupta@cantab.net)

Mr. Millad Matin, Director for Press
(press@wilberforcesociety.co.uk)

Project history

For the proposed Constitution TWS took special care to consult with lawyers and political experts from Cambridge and around the world. With its members drawn from the very ablest of Cambridge University’s students, this project proved to be TWS’s most ambitious and exciting undertaking to date.

The research involved the drafting of a new constitutional framework, with the accompanying research divided into 5 key themes:

1. Separation of Powers

2. Judicial Independence and Judicial Review

3. Individual Rights and Responsibilities

4. Democracy and Fair Elections

5. Anti-Corruption Laws and Practices

An international consultation

TWS’s involvement in this project was supported by its extensive network of academics, diplomats, politicians and think-tanks, with whom it will share research and findings. It is hoped that the involvement of a student think-tank in the Tunisian Constitutional Framework will help provide new and unexpected insights into the drafting of a 21st-century constitution, and the students involved will aim to apply their academic interests and expertise to the project’s benefit.

Research in Tunis

Representatives of the TWS Panel spent summer 2012 carrying out political research in Tunis. Amongst many meetings with representatives of Tunisian politics and civil society, they consulted the President of the Constituent Assembly, Mr. Mustapha Ben Jafar, the Minister for Culture, Mr. Mehdi Mabrouk, and representatives from the major political parties (including Ennahda and Ettakatol) and the UGTT, Tunisia’s trade union syndicate. Meetings were also held with independent observers including Tunisia Live news, The Carter Center Tunis, and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The TWS Tunisia Constitution Panel submitted its report to the Tunisian Constituent Assembly on Wednesday 26th September 2012. For more information on the project, please contact the Project co-ordinators, Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta (rdasgupta@cantab.net) and George Bangham (chairman@wilberforcesociety.co.uk).

About Dr. Riddhi Dasgupta

Dr. Riddhi Sohan Dasgupta has recently completed a PhD in Expropriation in International Investment Regimes at the University of Cambridge. He studied for a first degree at Columbia University, New York, before completing his MSc at the University of Oxford. His Doctoral dissertation is to be published shortly as a book entitled “International Interplay: Future of Expropriation Across International Dispute Settlement.”

For more information please visit Dr. Dasgupta’s website.

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This paper examines the English legal profession as it stands, as well as assessing the major proposals for reform. The paper also analyses recent changes to the legal profession and their potential impact, including the LSA 2007 and the role of ABS models.

The paper’s proposals include that the legal education system in England and Wales should have a common starting point for both barristers and solicitors, similar to the Hong Kong model; that a merger of the professional regulatory bodies would be unworkable in the short term; and that while the two professions of barrister and solicitor should not be merged forcibly, a gradual movement towards solicitor-advocacy should be encouraged.

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This paper proposes a series of population interventions to improve children’s diet with the aim to both directly reduce the incidence of childhood obesity and to encourage the development of healthy eating behaviours in children. Proposals are split into three population levels at which they can be enacted – industry, schools and parents and carers.

At the industry level, the paper proposes a comprehensive system of Pigouvian taxation on foodstuffs, based on their nutritional content; the introduction of compulsory front-of-pack labelling using a joint GDA and traffic lights system; and the regulation of advertising of unhealthy foods directed at children on the internet or before 9pm on television. At the school level, this paper proposes the provision of free school lunches to all pupils, as well as strict policies on what can be included in packed lunches; Ofsted inspection of whether schools ensure their students eat one healthy meal per day; and the introduction compulsory cookery classes. Finally for parents and carers, this paper proposes providing materials and educational sessions to parents on how to provide a healthy diet and how to recognise when their child is overweight.

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TWS’s first Annual Conference, held in January 2012 on the theme of ‘Public Policy for Cyberspace’, was accompanied by our introduction to the policy debates surrounding this area.

The paper was written by our specially-formed subcommittee on cyberspace, chaired by Albert Beardow.

Please email policy@wilberforcesociety.co.uk for more information.

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A new paper by George Bangham and Sarang Shah, examining the UK’s National Security Council since its formation by David Cameron in 2010.

Locating the NSC’s formation in wider debates on the UK’s constitution, the executive authority of the Prime Minister within Cabinet government, and the role of military intelligence in policymaking, it proposes two major changes to the NSC’s role and its associated regulatory framework.

Firstly, it is proposed that the NSC be placed on a statutory footing as an amendment to current legislation in the Intelligence Services Act (1994). Defining the NSC’s existence and requiring its decision on certain executive powers such as the declaration of war would, in this paper’s estimation, act as a valuable constitutional check on Prime Ministerial power.

Secondly, a strengthened framework is proposed for the regulation of the NSC by Parliament, though the Intelligence & Security Committee. The case is made that, if national security in the 21st century may be defined as a public confidence that normal life may be conducted without personal or national danger, the public interest is served by more open scrutiny of high-level security policy, thereby increasing public confidence and accountability.

The authors are grateful for the help of Lord Wilson of Dinton, Professor Christopher Andrew, The Rt Hon. Jack Straw MP, and the members of the Wilberforce Society in their seminar.

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This paper argues that the UK should state its intention to adopt the Right to Protect as its sole grounds for international intervention, in accordance with the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty’s report, The Responsibility to Protect by G. Evans & M. Sahnoun. This was discussed at a meeting with the counsel of George Grant, Director for Global Security & Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society.

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