Guidelines for Article Submission

Ziauddin Law Students Association (ZLSA) is accepting submissions for ZU-BLAWGS. All aspiring writers please submit your article to the email addresses mentioned below.

Submission Guidelines:

  1. Article should contain a proposed paper title
  2. Abstract (250 words maximum), and
  3. Author email and contact information.
  4. The total word limit should be between (1000-1500 words).
  5. We encourage citations and OSCOLA referencing for the authenticity of your article.

What you can Write about:

Topics related to;

  • Contemporary Problems in Legal Philosophy (Parliament Sovereignty, Rule of Law, Separation of Powers)
  • Human Rights Issues (i.e. Kashmir Issue)
  • Environmental Law (i.e. Climate Change)
  • Tort Law (i.e. How to get Compensation?)
  • Socio-Political Issues (with a legal twist)
  • Law and Technology (i.e. Data Protection, Big Data Analytics, Ethics of AI)
  • Digital Technology (i.e. Bitcoin, e-commerce, Digital Intellectual Property)
  • Judgment Analysis or Recent case studies

Submit to:

Assistant Professor, Alexander Lawson ([email protected])

Publishing Secretary, Maheen Ghous ([email protected])

Odysseus tied to the mast – The strangeness of human rights laws

We will begin with an important and I feel neglected question:


Why do governments create new laws?


You can answer this in several ways. Most obviously, if you are an optimist, new laws deal with new social issues that have not been addressed before.  If you are a pessimist, the answer is that governments want more power and control over their populations. The reality probably lies somewhere in the middle. Some governments genuinely believe that government and thus new laws can be a force for public good. Some governments are run by people who are only interested in power. Some governments may genuinely believe they are acting for the public good, but may gradually over time assume that they know what is best for the people and will thus become more authoritarian. This is common in governments that have been in power for long periods of time, around 8 years or more being a good guide. It is part of the reason Tony Blair gave for only serving as British Prime Minister for 10 years and why the US Presidency is term-limited.

Human rights laws are different however, in that they are specifically designed to take power from governments and give them to the people. They are the one set of laws that, if they are effective, actually make the state weaker. Note that I include freedom of information laws in the broad umbrella of human rights law. Of course, the pessimist points out that some human rights laws are simply a sham. Russia and for that matter Ukraine, do not seriously believe in the European Convention on Human Rights. They are parties to this treaty so that they can say they are parties to it. Yet, one cannot dismiss all human rights in this way. The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) has impacted on the freedom of action of the British Government. It has forced them to amend anti-terror laws, to release people detained without charge, extend legal aid, develop a coherent law on privacy, provide greater protection for employees and recognise transgender rights, amongst many other things. Human rights laws sometimes really do what they are intended to.

Human rights laws are designed to set out fundamental principles that the state believes in and to then entrench or protect them from being overturned by subsequent action by the state. To continue using the UK’s Human Rights Act as an example, the Act itself was created in 1998.  In 2001, the UK Parliament created the Ant-Terrorism Crime and Security Act (ATCSA). Sections of the ATCSA conflicted with the HRA. Using the traditional doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty, the ATCSA should have overridden the HRA, but the HRA is designed in such a manner that this is not easily done. Breaking this done into simple terms, the legislative developments look like this:

UK Parliament creates HRA in 1998. This sets out human rights principles, like the right to Liberty. These rights are protected from future repeal;

UK Parliament creates ATCSA in 2001, which tries to override certain human rights, including the right to liberty.

The Courts upheld the principle set out in the HRA, that these rights were designed to be fundamental and to override future attempts to repeal them. A political way of analyzing this is that the 1998 Parliament calmly set out a coherent human rights system. The 2001 Parliament, as part of the general hysteria of a post-9/11 world, sought to override this.

An analogy can be found in the mythical Greek figure, Odysseus:

In Greek mythology, sailors were lured to their deaths by Sirens, creatures who sang a beautiful and irresistible song.  Entranced by the song, these sailors steered toward the call and their ships were destroyed on the rocks.  This, incidentally, is where the modern usage of the word ‘siren’, as a warning noise, originates.

In order to avoid this disaster, Odysseus ordered his crew to plug their ears with beeswax and to tie him firmly to the ship’s mast.  On hearing the Sirens’ song, Odysseus himself could not resist and begged to be untied, but since he had instructed his crew to ignore him, they refused his pleas.  Thus, the ship was safe because Odysseus warned his crew that in the future, he might make bad decisions, and they should ignore him.

Hopefully, the analogy is obvious: governments will legislate in a reasonable way when they have the luxury of time and perspective, but will legislate badly, in violation go human rights, when they are reacting to events. The problem is, that a large chunk of legislative action is responding to crises. Think of the health crisis of the last 24 months and how governments everywhere have given themselves extraordinary powers to regulate their citizens freedom of movement and expression. By definition, this legislation is passed quickly. By definition, it is often disproportionate, since governments would rather be seen to be overreacting than underreacting. The question then becomes, how strong are the bonds that tie Odysseus to the mast? It is reasonable to speculate that if the Human Rights Act was due to be debated by Parliament in 2001-2, rather than 1997-98, it might never have been created. The British Government would have seen the new terrorist threat as a greater priority. Or perhaps they would have created a HRA, but not one that much resembles the one we now have: a watered down and worthless version. Covid has presented another challenge to the supremacy of human rights law. Perhaps it is necessary that human rights give way to legislation on public health, but we should be under no illusion whatsoever that this is what is happening.

The Law of the Sea – under fire?

The law of the sea is one of those aspects of public international law that students tend to learn about in isolation. Many public international law courses address it, but one usually only gets to devote a single week to it. It is often treated as a kind of poor relation to other aspects of international law. This is because it seems to lack the conceptual and intellectual grandeur of other types of international law. The law of the sea just seems to be a series of rules. These rules are highly specific and often dependent on precise technical definitions from other academic disciplines; geography, geology and cartography being the obvious examples.  Approaching the pedagogy of the law of the sea from the opposite perspective can also be illuminating. For some professors, tired of students complaining that international law is imprecise and mired in political controversy, being able to spend a week teaching actual rules can be a welcome break.  Yet it is usually only a week, perhaps two, that are devoted to the subject, before its back to the weightier and more ‘serious’ problems like jurisdiction and international criminal law.

This is a shame, because the law of the sea has many interesting and diverting elements. The law of the sea is a thematic description: it applies to all of the law that regulates the international waterways and resources of the world, as opposed to those which fall into the jurisdiction of states themselves. This means that the law of the sea cuts across many different types of law: it considers territory and title, nationality, criminal law, the law of armed conflict, the law of property and contract law, amongst many others.

In this blog entry, I want to focus on a recent development that was widely reported in the media, to highlight two aspects of the law of the sea:

  1. The law that governs jurisdiction and resource use;
  2. The law of armed conflict.

I will begin by explaining the issue itself, before going into a general discussion about the applicable international law, followed by some conclusions.


The issue

Russia currently has thousands of troops massed on the Ukrainian border, but we are not addressing that here – there are podcasts that do this already.

In this crisis, the EU and NATO have both stood up, in very weak and ineffectual terms, for Ukrainian independence. One of the EU member states is Ireland. It is not a member of NATO. In fact Ireland has almost nothing in the way of a military and has been a neutral and practically unarmed state since its creation in 1921. Yet, as an EU member state, Ireland has followed the EU line on Ukraine, which is to say that it is up to Ukraine itself whether it wishes to lean towards the West, and thus the EU, or the East, and Russia.

On 24 January 2022, the Russian navy announced they would be holding a live-fire exercise 150 miles from the coast or Ireland. A live-fire exercise is pretty much what it sounds like: the testing of real munitions that go bang and can potentially kill lots of people if they are hit by them. This was perceived in Ireland as a form of intimidation by the Russian government, against what is arguably the most militarily weak of all EU member states. The natural question thus posed is whether this is lawful under international law? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is also yes, although with a little more explanation.


The law – the short answer

States exercise jurisdiction over their own territory, with some minor exceptions. Territory is land of some kind, whether its sand, soil, coral or rocks. States exercise jurisdiction over these landmasses, with the exceptions being things like embassies and military bases. You sometimes hear people saying things like ‘the US Embassy in London is considered American soil.’ This is obviously ridiculous when you think about it for more than 5 seconds. How can land in London be American? The answer is that the US Embassy in London is clearly British soil, but that only the American government can exercise jurisdiction over the embassy grounds. The British police cannot enter the US embassy unless:

  • The US Embassy says they can; or
  • The UK government announces that the US Embassy is being closed and the staff ejected. Even then, the international law on diplomatic relations would stop the British authorities from subjecting those ejected members of US Embassy staff to arrest or detention. All the British government could do was make them drive to the airport and catch a flight back to Washington.

Broadly the same reasoning applies to military bases, such as the US air bases in the UK. An example would be RAF Mildenhall. Note that these bases are referred to as ‘RAF’ even though they are completely under American control. This is to take some of the political tension out of the reality that British territory is not necessarily being used in a way that promotes British interests.

Aside from these exceptions however, states exercise jurisdiction over their territory. They also exercise jurisdiction over a coastal range of 12 nautical miles (nm) of Territorial Sea. Every state with a coastline enjoys jurisdiction over this area, with the obvious exception being where the distance between two such states is less than 24nm. In these cases, you simply divide the distance in half to arrive at the territorial jurisdiction. So, if the distance between state A and state B is 20nm, they would each enjoy jurisdiction over just 10nm, unless they agree differently.

States enjoy complete legal jurisdiction over this area. If you murder someone on a ship 11nm from Clifton Beach, then Pakistan law applies. However, there are some specific rules on jurisdiction which reflect the reality of sea transportation. For example, states have a duty to allow vessels from other states to transit through their waters, providing they meet the requirements of ‘innocent passage.’ Innocent passage means that the vessel is not doing anything prejudicial to the interests of the territorial state or the international community. Examples of this would be carrying illegal narcotics, or transporting persons for the purpose of slavery. Warships use this right all the time and merely being an armed vessel of war does not render passage ‘non innocent.’ Armed vessels are allowed to transit through Territorial Sea. Obviously, the Russian live fire exercise would be outside Ireland’s Territorial Sea.


The law – the long answer

Traditionally, the distance beyond the Territorial Sea has been The High Seas. This is sometimes rendered, not quite accurately, as International Waters. For our purposes these terms can be used interchangeably. The High Seas are beyond the jurisdiction or control of any state, and are an example of a Global Commons Space, which is supposed to be used for the benefit of all the peoples of the World.  A problem was identified with this system in the second half of the Twentieth Century, namely that the coastal seas near states tend to be rich in resources. This was particularly associated with the discovery of oil and gas resources, often located close to states coastlines, but beyond 12nm.  Since these were classically considered The High Seas, they could not be appropriated by any single state.  If left as part of The High Seas, it was obvious that richer states would be able to exploit these resources at the expense of poorer states. There was a growing movement in favour of an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for coastal states. This would still be considered The High Seas, but the coastal state would enjoy the right to exploit all the resources within the EEZ. They could either drill or fish in the EEZ themselves, or license companies from their own state or any other state to do so. This idea was finally accepted as law in The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS). UNCLOS set the limit for EEZ’s at 200nm, with the same proviso as for the Territorial Sea, that EEZ’s could not overlap with each other.

Now we see the problem – the proposed Russian exercises were not within the Territorial Sea of Ireland, but they were within the EEZ.  Ireland would be powerless to legally object to the exercises, since they are military in nature and not commercial. Hence, the Irish Government described them as ‘unwelcome.’ It is obvious that Russia deliberately decided to locate the exercises within the EEZ – there is no logical reason why they should be there. Indeed, on 30 January 2022, the Russian Government announced the relocation of the exercises to outside Ireland’s EEZ. This seems to be a political move – the Russian’s may have never intended for the exercises to take place within Ireland’s EEZ and they certainly lose little by moving them. They can use this decision as a way to look reasonable.


Russia was never proposing to do anything illegal. We need to draw a distinction between behaviour that is unlawful, in that it violates legal norms, and that which is merely unpleasant. This is a distinction that is sometimes lost in International Relations. This distinction is also just as frequently lost in the noisy world of international law, where the precise nature of the rules is often harder to determine than in national law.

Is dualism still relevant to the UK Constitution?

The United Kingdom legal system is dualist. Almost every other legal system in the world is monist. Anyone who has studied the UK Constitution is aware of this. They may even be able to explain it a little bit. A monist legal system treats international law and domestic law as in broadly the same category, whereas a dualist system treats them as entirely separate types of law.

This does not get us very far however and is really just an example of the kind of jumbling around with words that bad lawyers often undertake. The real test of whether we understand a legal concept is this:

Could you explain this concept to a layperson, so that they really understood what you meant, as opposed to them simply saying they understand, to shut you up?

Achieving this is avowedly not my purpose in this blog entry. Rather, I want to develop a complex, nuanced and technical understanding of the dualist/monist debate, albeit using simple language. I will leave the tedious business of explaining it to lay people to you.

Monism is the logical place to start, since monist legal systems are by far the most common and the idea of both types of law being unified under one theoretical framework sounds attractively simple. A monist legal system starts from the proposition that all law is law. National law is that developed by the nation state and is reflective of the unique political, historic and cultural circumstances of the state and its people. There are more than 193 legal systems in the world and no two are the same. Precisely how many legal systems there are is open for debate, but I would suggest it is well over 400 – if we consider that there are at least three in the UK, 51 in the USA, etc. We can sweep them up into broad categories, like ‘adversarial’ or ‘civil law’ but these are only useful in a descriptive sense. Monism recognises the particular legal system(s) that apply in the state in question as valid law. It also recognises international law as valid. International law, which is that made by states and international organisations, applies in monist systems just as national law does. This raises an immediate conceptual and practical problem: what happens if national and international law conflict?  The answer did not matter greatly until recently, since international and national law tended to address very different subject areas. However, the recent growth of human rights and international criminal law has meant that the two legal systems increasingly overlap.

The solution adopted depends on the state in question. Some simply place international legal obligations above national legal obligations. This has the attraction of elegant simplicity, yet suffers from the political downside that it appears anti-democratic: the populations of states have no say in the creation of international law, so why should it overrule national law? Other states adopt more nuanced positions, where it depends on the exact nature of the international law. If it is one considered to be jus cogens, that is, of the highest level, then it overrules national law. Mundane rules on things like trading tariffs would not be jus cogens, but the prohibition against torture would be. Still other states adopt the view that international law is applicable alongside national law in their legal system, but it only creates rights and obligations if certain processes like ratification of a relevant treaty have occurred. This has been the position of the US, where the Senate has to ratify treaties. Yet it is possible to circumvent this: when the Senate refused to ratify  The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks II (SALT II) Treaty, President Reagan simply stated that he, as Commander-in-Chief, responsible for the military, would ensure that the terms of the treaty were in fact met. Other states simply rely on the idea that they can always ensure harmonious interpretation of international and national law. This is an exercise in laudable, if somewhat naïve optimism.

The point is that monism is not the monolithic force it is sometimes presented to be. Nor is dualism. Dualism is often described as a legal system where the two types of law have no contact with each other. There are national laws, which the national courts enforce. Then there are international laws which they do not enforce. From this people also make a conceptual leap, one which we must now address before we can finish explaining what dualism really means.

The conceptual leap, is that dualist states are suggesting that international law is not really law. This follows from the bizarre assertion that law is only law if it is enforceable. There are several problems with this:

  1. International law is enforceable – it is clearly enforced in monist systems;
  2. International law is also enforced by international courts and other institutions;
  3. International law is frequently referred to and championed as law by the British Government;
  4. Law does need to be enforceable to be law. This confuses two separate ideas: law as rules and law as process, both of which are equally valid methods of explaining law. Law as rules is heavily dependent on enforcement, but law as process tells us that a law may be followed by the internal self-correcting action of the legal individuals involved, without any need for an enforcing authority. Or more simply, it is self-enforced by the individual actors within the system. This is certainly true of international law – violations are incredibly rare and attendant court cases even more so.

So even dualist states must accept that international law is law. They even accept that it is binding and capable of enforcement. This is the same as in monist states. The difference is that dualist states claim this enforcement and binding quality happens in a different way than in monist states. The way that both the British executive and legislative broadly view international law through their dualist lens is a follows:

  1. International law is binding on the UK itself and can be enforced through international courts and other international legal fora, such as the United Nations;
  2. International law does not create specific rights and obligations for British legal persons before British courts unless it is implemented into UK law via a Statute;
  3. But where there is ambiguity in the interpretation of any UK law, whether Statute or Common Law, it should be interpreted in a way that is consistent with the UK’s international law obligations, as understood under point 5), supra.

It is point 7) that is the one that people seem to forget when discussing dualism. Recent decisions on Brexit by the Supreme Court suggest that the national courts of the UK are embracing the application of international law through an expanded understanding of this interpretive obligation. Far from international law being irrelevant to the UK courts, one could argue that given a sufficiently robust usage of this interpretive obligation, it is only to override UK law if there is a specific UK law obligation that requires international law to be ignored.  I would describe this as a ‘thin’ version of dualism. I would further suggest that if the UK Supreme Court continue to interpret dualism in this thin manner, it may become so thin that it is practically invisible.

Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day – a codified constitution for the United Kingdom?

Oh no! Not this again!


This has been a standard essay question on constitutional law exams for at least 27 years. I can be this specific, because that was when I did my constitutional law final exam at Durham University. Since then I have graded thousands of papers at various institutions and this question returns over and over again. I think there are three reasons for this, of varying significance:

  1. The United Kingdom really should have a codified constitution. It is simply a good idea and would make for better governance;
  2. This question takes absolutely no intellectual effort to write. You can draft a question like this in about nine minutes;
  3. There is at least the suspicion that weaker students, those who do not grasp all the intricacies of the subject of constitutional law, will have a chance at answering this question. The one thing that every law student knows about the UK’s constitution is that it is largely uncodified. In my experience, it is true that anyone can answer this question. However, they mostly answer it very badly. There are no shortcuts to academic success.

Obviously, I propose only to address point 1, leaving points 2 and 3 largely untouched.

The first point to note is that this was a good idea in 1995 and is still a good idea today. It was presumably a good idea before 1995 as well, but I was at school then, studying US history and like my most British Subjects, my knowledge of the UK constitution was something between none and zero. Only three states in the world have uncodified constitutions, these being Israel, New Zealand and the UK. Note that both Israel and New Zealand were part of the British Empire, so largely inherited it and chose not to make any changes. Thus, the burden is really on the United Kingdom to explain its exceptionalism. There are roughly 193 states in the world. One says ‘roughly’ because it is surprisingly hard to be precise on this matter, as statehood is dependent on recognition by other states and this is an intensely political act. Three of those states have uncodified constitutions. Thus, just 1.5% of the states in the world have uncodified constitutions. Approaching  this through aggregate population produces an even lower figure, largely because hardly anyone actually lives in New Zealand and Israel: there are about 8 billion people on Earth now. Just 82 million of those live in the three states with uncodified constitutions, or just over 1.025%. The overall point here is simple – uncodified constitutions are a rare thing. This does not make them bad, but it does mean that those who would endorse them need to be able to explain why. Those who live under a codified constitution can simply say they are the standard.

I will demonstrate that uncodified constitutions are bad however. Rather than go through every single detail of why they are bad, I propose to just look at two broad, thematic reasons. For the sake of simplicity, I will label these the high reason and the low reason. These names will make sense once we get into the discussion.

The high reason is that uncodified constitutions lack the courage of their convictions, for the simple reason that they have no convictions to follow in the first place. I would point to the specific usage of language here: we generally do not talk about constitutions as being ‘not codified‘, because this implies a positive choice, the choice here being not to do something. Rather, we use the term uncodified, which suggests that codification is an event that might happen at some point, but has not happened yet. An uncodified constitution is thus not the  result of a positive choice, but of a simple failure to get around to the task. It results from a form of constitutional apathy. This fits in with my general observation that the British are a lazy people, at least when it comes to intellectual matters. They simply have not been bothered to write the thing down in a coherent form. This also links in with another misunderstood British quality, which I would argue does not exist in the way many outsiders believe it does: tolerance. The British are not really tolerant of differences, because that would imply some form of engagement with different cultures and values. Rather, the British simply do not care about difference. This explains why the UK has not legislated to regulate religious dress, the way some European states have: it is not because the British celebrate religious and cultural difference, but more because telling people what they can and cannot wear seems ridiculous to them.

The low reason is that an uncodified constitution is difficult to love. It is next to impossible to know and understand an uncodified constitution. This is the reason why nobody in the UK has the vaguest idea of what makes up the UK constitution. The ignorance is so deep, that in comparison, British subjects know far more about the US constitution than their own, because they have been able to pick up bits from watching American TV and film dramas. If you ask people in the UK what the Second Amendment to the US Constitution says, a reasonable number will be able to tell you it is the right to bear arms. If you ask them what Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights is (perversely enough, it is the right to life), the successful response rate would be much lower.

Why does this matter? Of course, on a practical level, it does not. Most British subjects will happily get through their lives without ever having to rely on their constitutional rights. But this misses the point: a constitution is not just a tool to be used, it is also a thing to be proud of. It is part of a nations and a peoples identity. It is a good in and of itself, not just in terms of how it is used. A codified constitution is, to use modern vernacular, ‘owned’ by the people. An uncodified one, by definition, is harder to follow and therefore is owned by an intellectual and political elite.

The final question is, why has codification never happened in the UK? The answer is laziness again – there is no need to fix it, because it ‘works’. Yet recently, it has not been working especially well. To use an analogy, if your car keeps starting every time you turn the ignition key, you could make an argument that it ‘works’ and will never break down. Thus, you do not need to get it serviced. Of course it will eventually break down, in the most inconvenient place and you will have no one to blame but yourself when you are stuck in the middle of nowhere at 3am.

Constitutional Law and Geography

With apologies to everyone who studied for a geography degree, it is not the most difficult or stimulating subject. In my time as an undergraduate we derisively referred to it as ‘colouring in.’ As long as you could remember that the land was brown and green and the sea blue, it did not seem that one could go far wrong.

I remain skeptical about the value of geography as an academic subject. Nobody I speak to seems to have much grasp of where anything actually is in the world, and if we really want to find this out, we have phones and Satnav and rolling down the window of your car and asking a stranger.

The above, is of course, written with gentle irony. Geography is presumably as difficult as history. Actually, that may not be a good comparison, as history is itself a subject of doubtful  value –  what exactly is history? A better comparison might be with economics, or even law itself. The value in studying them is not so much that they have practical value, which is questionable, but that they help to shape and discipline the minds of the students. Once you start studying geography seriously, you see the world through the analytical lens that it so requires. This is certainly true of lawyers, who lose some of their basic humanity as they become mired in the complexities of the subject. Right and wrong, which serve us well as moral concepts until we are 18 years old, may not survive the study of a law degree.

My real purpose here is to discuss how geography affects constitutional law, with specific reference to the nature of Capital cities and why they are located where they are.  My motivation for this stems from some recent developments in this area.

Capital cities are usually those where the seat of government is located. We sometimes use terms like ‘cultural capital’ to distinguish the actual capital from a commonly misidentified one. This can sometimes be quite confusing – why is the capital of Australia not simply Sydney? The answer to this lies in the nature of political influence and power itself.

It is common for the governmental capital to be the same as the cultural capital and this is usually the most famous city of the country. London, Paris, Rome and Tokyo fall into this category. However, the capital of the USA is Washington, not New York and the capital of Australia is not Sydney, but Canberra. The reason why these capitals are located in less populous and indeed, in the case of Washington, much less pleasant cities, is that these are federal constitutions. It was felt that locating the capital within an existing federal state would give that state too much influence. So Washington is not in a state, but within the District of Columbia (DC). Canberra is not in a state, but within the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Washington DC is the most interesting historical example. In the early years of the USA, the capital had been Philadelphia. When choosing where to place it permanently, the young Americans chose the place with the worst possible climate, to discourage people from wanting to spend time there. This would lead to a government that was small and only met to do the bare minimum of business. Washington is a former swamp, with terribly hot summers and freezing winters. Unfortunately, the invention of indoor heating and air conditioning has rendered these plans irrelevant.

More recently, in 2005 Myanmar changed its capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw, with the new city lying in Naypyidaw Union Territory, a similar arrangement to the USA and Australia. This move, although involving a large amount of infrastructure and associated investment, was announced very suddenly and with little warning.

Iran is now proposing to move its capital from Tehran to Qom, the religious centre and hotbed of the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The problem the government has with the existing capital is similar to that seen in Myanmar: the population of Tehran are too liberal. This often happens when the administrative or political capital is also the largest city or the most culturally diverse. Imagine if New York was the capital of the USA.

My point here is that, far from being an exercise in colouring in, geography is intensely political and of relevance to constitutional lawyers. In 2009 the UK established its new Supreme Court. In order to ensure judicial independence and separation of powers the new Court had an expensive move to a new facility. Even small-scale geographical movements can have constitutional significance.

In closing out this discussion, we should of course mention the country that has really embraced the constitutional importance of geography, arguably to an excessive degree. The Republic of South Africa has three capitals – one for each branch of government.  The executive capital of South Africa is Pretoria, the legislative Cape Town and the judicial capital Bloemfontein. This may be taking things too far, but probably reflects South Africa’s troubled history.

Protection of Consumer Rights in Pakistan

Consumer Protection and Rights refer to the protection of buyers against a seller’s fraudulent means of selling their goods and services. These laws have been enacted to ensure that sellers do not engage in deceptive practises. The government imposed additional regulations on business firms to disclose more details about their products so that the consumer would be more protected and aware of the commodity that he is willing to purchase.

In 1985, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the following eight fundamental consumer rights for stronger consumer protection policies worldwide for the protection of consumers against dishonesty, fraud, and abuse:

1. The right to safety.
2. The right to choose.
3. The right to be informed.
4. The right to be heard.
5. The right to redress or remedy.
6. The right to service.
7. The right to environmental health.
8. The right to consumer education.

However, if a seller fails to provide the goods or services that were offered to the buyer. He would be liable to indemnify the buyer with certain compensations under the Consumer Protection Act.

Consumers are the most important aspect of every market. The Sindh Consumer Protection Act, 2014 gives out provisions for the consumer protection against the seller’s liability for defective products under Section 4 that states (1) The manufacturer of a product shall be liable to a consumer for damages proximately caused by, a characteristic of the product that renders the product defective when such damage arose from a reasonably anticipated use of the product by a consumer. (2) A product shall be defective only if there is a defect in design, construction because of adequate warning and does not conform to an express warranty. Similarly, Section 10 states that where the consumer has not suffered any damages from the product except the loss of utility, the manufacturer shall not be liable for any damages except a return of the consideration or a part thereof and the costs.

In today’s digital world, many online scams occur every day, but hardly any of them are reported or the victim gets compensated. Previously, in November 2020, a young YouTuber ordered a drone from DARAZ. When he received the package, the seller delivered only waste newspapers in the box; exposing the fraud. The question here arises: who committed the fraud and who was to be blamed? Was it Daraz ? Or was it the vendor who had been selling on Daraz? After that they upload that video on social media and it goes viral. Furthermore, as his video went viral on social media, he did receive compensation from Daraz. They compensated them with proper kits of vlogging and drones.

In today’s digital world, many online scams occur every day, but hardly any of them are reported or the victim gets compensated.  

As another example, big supermarkets have been accused of overpricing and defrauding clients through a Ramzan discount offer. Manipulation of product weight and deception of customers seem, by all accounts, to be really far-reaching nowadays.[1] Corruption is ingrained in all levels of society, from small vendors to big superstores. All they worry about is putting more money in their pockets by raising rates. And, strangely, it is they who are offended when they are recognized.

It’s worth noting that the same superstore has previously been chastised for a variety of reasons. Imtiaz Supermarket had recently been fined by the inspection team for the store’s poor hygienic condition and for selling expired goods and meat. The market was indeed at the center of attention in 2018 for selling expired and counterfeit goods. Last year, regulators shut down many Imtiaz Super Market locations around the country for violating COVID-19 SOPs. Also, it doesn’t create the impression that the situation will change much in the coming years without any strict inspections of products every month.

Procedure for Filing a Consumer Complaint before Consumer Courts:

If you encounter any fraud as mentioned above, then file a complaint with their market and, if they do not respond, then lodge a complaint in consumer court. One might be thinking, what is the procedure for filing a complaint or claim in order to obtain relief or compensation? According to the Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP), a consumer may file a case or claim before the Consumer Court, which is headed by the District and Additional District Session Judge.

Steps for Filing a Consumer Complaint:

1. Legal Notice to Service Provider for 15 Days:
a. Legal notice should be served to the manufacturers/sellers of the product(s) as well as to the service provider about the defective product.
b. There is a 30-day filing deadline (from the emergence of a cause of action) in the consumer court.
c. Serving a 15-day legal notice is a prerequisite for filing a claim in Consumer Court.
2. Complaint from a Consumer.

If the matter is not resolved through legal notice, then the consumer may file a case or claim on plain paper for a redress of his/her grievance before the Consumer Court within the subsequent fifteen days.

It is important to note that there is no court fee for filing a claim in Consumer Court. It’s totally free of charge[3]. The best part is that no lawyer is required to overcome the fraud, meaning thereby, you can file a complaint yourself on plain paper to the service provider.

To sum up, online deception and claims of defective products can be controlled by spreading awareness about consumer rights and the legal remedies provided by law to citizens. In this way, strict regulations will be put into place against fraud, which will help decrease consumer fraud in our country and, ultimately, provide protection to consumer rights.


[1] Zehra Batool. April 13, 2021.


[3] Guidelines for Consumers,

The writers are first-year law students at ZFL.

Email: [email protected] and [email protected]

Published in ZU-BLAWGS, January 9th, 2022


Free and Fair Plebiscite in Kashmir

                     Babar Azam

Human rights are the fundamental rights of every individual, which ensure that a person is able to live a full life. Human rights are protected nationally and internationally by certain institutions. In Pakistan, fundamental rights are protected by the courts, especially the Supreme. Internationally, human rights are protected by the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC). Furthermore, under Article 184 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan, the Supreme Court can be petitioned for any violation of fundamental rights. If a violation occurs, the Supreme Court is capable of taking stern action in order to provide a remedy and prevent further such violations of human rights in Pakistan.

Historically, the Kashmir crisis began in 1846 under the regime of the Hindu ruler, Gulab Singh. 70% of the population of Kashmir were Muslims, so this was always likely to cause problems. Gulab Singh denied rights to the Muslim majority, resulting in distrust between the population and their ruler. Things have only gotten worse over the years. The major denial of human rights and the right of self-determination occurred when Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was used to alter the demography and governance of the region. Kashmir is rich in water resources that originate from mountain glaciers. Approximately 35% of the region is governed by Pakistan, 55% by India, and the rest of the area is Chinese territory. Moreover, three wars have been fought between India and Pakistan over Kashmir territory.

When partition occurred, the British left the people to decide either to live in India or Pakistan according to their religion, culture, and social values. This mass migration itself involved many violations of human rights.

In 2019, the Indian government revoked Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, allowing the Indian-administrated part of Kashmir to make its own laws in all matters except finance, defence, foreign affairs, and communications. Furthermore, it established a separate constitution, a separate flag, and denied property rights in the region to outsiders. This means the residents of the state live under different laws from the rest of the country in matters such as property ownership and citizenship. Moreover, the Indian government also revoked Article 35A of the Constitution of India, which ultimately lifted the prohibition on outsiders from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs, or attaining educational scholarships in the region of Kashmir. The revocation of these two articles from the Kashmir region is a clear violation of human rights. The Indian government is encouraging Indians to settle there to reduce the Muslim overall majority.

This article concludes by reiterate some possible solutions. In 1948, UN Resolution 47 proposed a peaceful restoration process in which both the military forces of Pakistan and India were commanded to withdraw and the population was given the choice of joining either India or Pakistan through a free and fair plebiscite. This would almost certainly result in their vote to join Pakistan. The other option for Kashmir is to become independent. However, this is neither economically nor politically realistic.

The author is of the opinion that the plebiscite option is the only one that offers a solution to the human rights issues of Kashmir.

The writer is a Third-Year Law Student at ZFL

Email: [email protected]

Published in ZU-BLAWGS, November 20th, 2021

Minority Rights

Violation of Minority Rights

Over the past century, there has been a dramatic increase in the victimization of minorities. Though minority rights have been recognized internationally, such as in the United Nations Minority Declaration, they have also been nationally acknowledged in countries like France, India, Pakistan, etc. The implementation of these rights is still a question mark in these countries. It is apparent that we can not ensure all the rights of minorities. However, we can at least eradicate the oppression, injustice, and violence against them.

Human Rights are not a privilege considered by the government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity.”

-Mother Teresa

Normally, everybody, regardless of majority or minority group, has inherent rights because nobody is born a slave to others. Everyone is born free and leaves this world alone. Even animals are not the property of humans. Therefore, how can a human suppress another human when they are all genetically identical? The difference is not in the biological makeup of humans but in their sociological makeup. The structure of society is based on heterogeneity due to the diversity of culture, religion, and different opinions, which definitely leads to chaotic circumstances due to anarchy and self-interest (realistic perspective), because materials are limited and needs are unlimited, and the people who are in the majority are likely to have an advantage because they are in the majority. 

Francesco Capotorti rightly defined the minorities as “A group numerically inferior to the rest of the population of a state, in a non-dominant population”-Article 27 ICCDR (1979). Accordingly, minority rights do not disregard the rights of other individuals, but rather protect them from subjugation, (in the Turkish Constitution, which protects minorities) and guarantee tranquility within the state. This approach can be known as “positive discrimination.” Because “all people are equal in dignity and rights” UDHR Article 1.

Most arguably, the issue with minority rights is that even after being universally recognized, minorities are still suppressed. For instance, the South Sudan Civil War, which broke out right after two years of independence, was provoked by the ethnicity of minorities. Moreover, ethnic issues towards minorities were a major reason for the independence of East Timor from Indonesia. Currently, in America, the ineffectiveness of government led to the infringement of black people’s rights (George Floyd). The union of states got disturbed, and again, minorities were oppressed, due to anarchical order, which is still present because of anomie or normless society, ( Emile Durkheim).

Minorities do not just refer to religious minorities. However, people are also discriminated against due to their disability or sexual orientation, such as gay men, lesbians, transgender people, etc.

In Pakistan, people with physical disabilities have been victimized and neglected for decades. It was a time when transgender people were not entitled to have a NADRA card, which means they were not recognized as Pakistani citizens. Despite the existence of the Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities, this issue is still unresolved completely in our society. As far as the religious minorities are concerned, the 2nd amendment[1], has not only declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims, but also prohibited them from acting like a Muslim. For this, there is punishment for them as per PPC 298[2], which is again a discrimination and violation of their right to profess religion (Article 20 of the Constitution of Pakistan). Recently, on the 3rd of January 2021, 11 people of Hazara Minority Community were killed, and was also condemned by Imran Khan as inhumane act of terrorism.[3] 

It is important to not that not only Constitution but also the state religion Islam indicates about equality (Article 25) and this statement below from the Last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) clearly neglects discrimination, either majority or minority.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) and good action.”

-Last Sermon of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

However, violations of minority rights (ethnicity) are constantly witnessed in Indian Occupied Kashmir, where India has become a colonizer rather than an administrator. Interestingly, countries with a strong economy are actually violating international law and subjugating their minorities, and no one seems to mind since, in the end, self-interest is paramount. It is a fact that violation of minority rights is violation of humanity, because every human right is concerned with minority rights. When a human being is oppressed, it diminished all rights (Holocaust). For instance, in the SAS v France case, where a claim was filed based on a “ban on face covering”, under Article 8 (private life), 9 (religion, thought, conscience), 10 (expression), and 14 (discrimination). However, France used the “living together” argument in its defense. It could be argued that face covering is not a hindrance to living together. Nevertheless, it upholds ethnocentrism, which ultimately leads to the diminishing of cultures in the end. The same oppression of face covering was brought by Berlin and Austria, and even at present time, the Swiss ban on face covering (March-2021). Similarly, the Swiss Minatare banned constructing mosques with minarets in 2009. This idea affects minorities’ identity and creates a sense of xenocentrism in the new generation of minorities.

This classification also generates social stratification, and neglects cultural relativism. It could be argued here that the concept of freewill is only an illusion. Because this right has  thousands of other rights. Apart from that, LGBT rights around the world and international recognition of minority rights are some positive examples of  how minorities are not always oppressed.

The possible solution to this issue is to recognize the minority not only as a minority, but as human beings, because before the minority, they are human and are entitled to human rights. There is domestic protection for HR (Article 25, 33 in Pakistan or the Turkish Constitution), as well as International Protection, International Human Rights Law, International Criminal Law, insurance of peace and stability and cultural heritage. Similarly, the right to self-determination belongs to indigenous peoples (UN declaration). Accordingly, Article 1-2 UDHR, the UN Declarations on Minority Rights, the Human Council, and the ICJ, these are all solutions for minority protection which have been developed with an incremental approach.

In conclusion, minorities still face discrimination, despite the fact that their rights are recognized domestically and internationally. The root cause of this issue is anarchical order, where ruthless power seeking is common, because of self-interest (Machiavelli- realistic perspective). No doubt, no society is perfect, however, people surrender their freedom to the government, so that the government ensures peace in the country, and to avoid sectarian conflicts. Preserving human rights for minorities is not only for them but also for a peaceful world too. Everyone wants to have power and to be dominated over others. In this chaotic situation, it’s the prime responsibility of the state to balance its local masses for the tranquility of the state and its citizens, because Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.


[1] The Second Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, , <accessed on May 05,2021>

[2] Pakistan Penal Code, Section 298, <accessed on May 19,2021>

[3] DW News, Pakistan: Gunmen kill 11 minority Hazara coal miners in Baluchistan,  <accessed on May 20, 2021>

The writer is a Third-Year law student at ZFL

Email: [email protected]

Published in ZU-BLAWGS, October 4, 2021

Peace in South Asia

South Asia can achieve peace and stability

                                                                                     Zaibunnisa Akram

This article intends to explore the solutions for peace and stability for post-colonial South Asia which is located in the southern region of Asia, consisting of eight different countries, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. South Asia today is facing numerous challenges that reduce the growth of these countries that are already in deep water. If we talk about India before the decline of the Mughal Empire, it was contributing 42% to the world’s GDP, but when Britishers left, it decreased to 3%, which was a big drawback. Britishers weakened the GDP to the point where it can never be revived. The World Bank states that South Asia is the world’s least integrated region today; however, South Asia can achieve peace and stability by integrating the part as a powerful block and ending all the borderless problems. This article will discuss South Asia’s challenges and crisis and how to bring an end to these problems, which mainly depends on the collective effort of these countries by reviving SAARC and working together to achieve mutual gains.

South Asia can achieve peace and stability by integrating the region as a powerful block and ending all the borderless problems. If we see the roots back to historic South Asia, a hub of trade, everyone wanted to come and invest in this land of opportunity, such as the Kushans. Aryans, Greek Bactrians, Alexander, and the great Britishers played the leading part in deteriorating south Asia by exploiting South Asia’s rich resources and military.  After world war II, When Britishers broke their promises of giving Self government to Indians and instead imposed brutal laws, it leads to the rise of nationalism that can be observed as regional disintegration and when the Britishers were bankrupt and could not afford to stay long in India, they decided to do a hurried partition that was also poorly practised. They left India with various unsolved problems, including Water distribution, transfer of power, and funds distribution, even thousands of refugees while crossing boundaries died at the border of Pakistan; if the partition would have been performed correctly and divided everything equally between the two nuclear states, today Pakistan and India would not have been at loggers head fighting over Kashmir’s issue that is the main issue connects to all problems in countries of south Asia. It is the primary issue that holds the key to stability in South Asia that doesn’t allow Pakistan and India to sit together on the same table. Even the UN Tried to bury the hatchet of these two states and maintain peace but failed to do so.

Kashmir’s issue is the main issue connects to all problems in countries of south Asia that doesn’t allow Pakistan and India to sit together on the same table. Even the UN Tried to bury the hatchet of these two states and maintain peace but failed to do so.

Today, South Asia is facing many problems, including borderless challenges that need to be solved before it ultimately erodes the countries of South Asia. Issues like poverty disturb the whole system by inducing political and economic turmoil as poverty, and the economy go hand in hand. If we discuss South Asia’s trade potential, currently it is around 67 billion, almost three times the current rate of about 23 billion.[1] If we pay proper attention to our education system to educate the public that can raise employment rates, it will curtail poverty in South Asia and increase the GDP, which can then be spent appropriately on the resources. if we talk about pandemic Coronavirus it is important to shut down everything and impose stringent lockdown. However, South Asian countries are not able to afford this as if they would impose lockdown people will die because of the food scarcity as shutting down will snatch more people’s income. Daily wage workers are affected more. They will not be able to buy even the basic necessities of life; it will just make people’s lives more miserable in this depressing time of pandemic.

Economic Turmoil is another big issue, The WHO has officially started that South Asia has now gone into a global recession. Coronavirus has not just affected South Asia but the whole world all the developed countries like the UK’s and America’s economy is affected but due to south Asia being poorer regions have difficulties encountering problems like coronavirus. Shutting down the business has lessened the economy of the countries which were already dwindling. WHO stated that south Asia will suffer the most during these borderless problems because of its economic instability.

In South Asia, Climate change is another big borderless issue as it is the third most climate stressed region and a water-stressed region. If we pay attention specifically to Pakistan, the UN said if there is no action taken in 2025, Pakistan will dry up. Climate change is essential to control. The government of Pakistan should introduce a law that should lower the duty tax to import electric vehicles abroad and, if manufactured locally, should reduce taxes that will eventually lower the prices of electric vehicles, that will attract buyers in south Asia to buy these vehicles, and overtime majority of the vehicles that are being run on fuel will be replaced with the electric vehicle, this change will help Pakistan reduce the consumption of fuel, with less consumption of the energy the air pollution will decrease drastically and also will help Pakistan economically as the nation will need less energy then they will buy less fuel. Moreover, to tackle water problems, South Asia should store and save the water and aware the people to less consume the water.

According to the constructive debate, we can revive the position of these developing countries back into the way it was seen as a bright land of opportunity. Putting an end to all these problems in south Asia can change the situation and can bring peace. Coronavirus is a wake-up call for the governments—a high alert for regional cooperation.

To bring peace and stability in South Asia, This is the best time for regional collaboration by reviving South Asia Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC) that has been on a ventilator for many years.

South Asian countries should be reunited for mutual gains and work together for the greater good. Establishing economic dependency will also improve the relations of these countries and will make them able to stand on their actual trade potential. Countries like Pakistan and India are agricultural countries and rich in resources; thus, if they all are reunited for a collective interest, these countries can bring stability and thrive.

Moreover, the relationship between Pakistan and India can be solved by putting an end to the Kashmir issue, the bone of concession, which leads to many other problems. Constructivism debate states that if the wall of Berlin can fall, then the Kashmir issue can also be solved. The only good thing in this dark time of pandemic is a rebirth of SAARC; it has been revived because of the coronavirus where now all the south Asia countries are talking about confirmed cases and also helping each other by providing funds under SAARC CORONA EMERGENCY FUND hence, it can make these countries realise that short term collaboration can bring long term benefits. Rich countries like the Maldives, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka can help developing countries like Pakistan, India and can integrate South Asia.

According to the liberalism debate, refusal of power, politics is the only possible solution for international relations. Therefore if India stops trying to be a superpower country by dominating other countries in South Asia, it can then improve ties. If they all look for shared growth, thinking about their state and their regional states can lead to Stability by taking little steps that can bring significant differences. Let’s not forget that there was a time when South Asia was the hub of trade, and everyone wanted to come to South Asia.

Suppose these countries are united again and improve relations by solving problems like the Kashmir issue that is a territorial issue to today’s date.

For that reason, both countries, India and Pakistan spend a significant part of their budget on funding their defences to get stronger and stronger each day that causes significant damage to the nation within itself and in the region, continually disturbing the peace. If this problem is solved, it will be possible for countries to pay attention to other problems of the states except for the defence alone.

Express Tribune article, Facing pandemics in today’s world by Eric Shazar[2] also suggests that the future of global security lies in joint solutions. Borders should be forgotten to fight against disease, and during this pandemic, the entire globe needs to cooperate. For a secure future, combined solutions should be found. Pandemics and problems like it can be dealt with by sharing the information around the globe, and such epidemics occurred in 14th and 21st century as well, even before globalisation, so globalisation is not mainly the reason for the spread; however, organisations like the European Union, WHO and South Asian Association for regional cooperation should function effectively. They are reviving SAARC and regulating it like the EU Organization is the best example of regional cooperation where even passports are not needed to visit the regional country. Reviving SAARC and educating the masses with the current issues and solutions it can bring the differences with this enforcement of fundamental rights proper social order will help to face these challenges and bring peace and stability. In this ever-changing world, the one who can adopt technological progress can only survive. Government should form a perfect union securing the state’s best interest.


[1] Trade (

[2] Shahzar, Eric. “Facing pandemics in today’s world.” [Karachi], 26 march 2020,

The writer is a Third-Year Law Student at ZFL

Email: [email protected]

Published in ZU-BLAWGS, September 20th, 2021

1 2