Notes and Changes

This event will run as a Zoom webinar. To attend, register here. Please also note that this event may be recorded, with the exception of any live audience questions.

Section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 provides a defence to adult victims of human trafficking if they can show that: (a) they were compelled to commit the offence; (b) that the compulsion can be attributed to slavery or to relevant exploitation; and (c) that a reasonable person in the same situation and having the accused person’s characteristics would have no realistic alternative to doing that act. In the case of children, it must be established that their action was a direct consequence of their exploitation and that a reasonable person in the same circumstances and with the same characteristics would do this act. 
 
The European Court of Human Rights held that the UK had breached its obligations under articles 4 (prohibition of slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour) and 6 (fair trial rights) of the European Convention on Human Rights V.C.L. & A.N. v. The United Kingdom 77587/12 (16 February 2021). While UK law and policy have moved on since the events took place in 2009, establishing a defence under s45 of the Act has been made very difficult by a recent Court of Appeal decision Brecani v R [2021] EWCA Crim 731 (19 May 2021).
 
In this session, Professor Parosha Chandran and Nic Lobbenberg QC will discuss key aspects (such as Conclusive Grounds, Competent Authority) of these cases, the impact of these decisions on human rights in the UK, their roles as counsel for the survivor/defendants, and the underlying context of the s45 defence including for youths involved ‘County Lines’ drug smuggling, or other gang related offences.
 
Photo of Prof Parosha Chandran.
Parosha Chandran is a human rights barrister at One Pump Court Chambers in London and a world-leading expert on the law relating to human trafficking, including for the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the British Parliament’s work for Commonwealth States. She represents adult and child victims of modern slavery and human trafficking in their court cases and has set critical legal trafficking precedents in the asylum, slavery, criminal non-punishment, civil and public law fields. She has been practicing at the Bar of England and Wales for 24 years and holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of London and specialist qualifications in human rights from the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. She has contributed to numerous international legal guidance texts on all aspects of human trafficking (available on request), provides judicial, prosecutorial and legal training and has advised on domestic and international legislation including provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. She has received many honours for her work including the ‘Trafficking in Persons Hero Award 2015’ which she received from the Obama administration and Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington DC for her work in developing the rule of law on trafficking in the UK and abroad and for her ‘unparalleled achievements in providing legal services to survivors of modern slavery’. She is Senior Legal Advisor to the UK Parliament's Modern Slavery Project, supporting Commonwealth States to improve their trafficking and modern slavery laws and special legal advisor on orphanage trafficking to Lumos, JK Rowling’s children’s foundation. She is also the independent legal advisor to UNICEF UK. She is a published author and the General Editor of the leading textbook, Human Trafficking Handbook: Recognising Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery in the UK (LexisNexis, 2011). In 2018 she received the distinction of being appointed the first Professor of Practice in Modern Slavery Law at King’s College London, where she now teaches her own LLM course. She continues to practice at the Bar and maintains her advisory roles.  
 
A black-and-white photo of Nicholas Lobbenberg QC.
Nicholas Lobbenberg QC is a practising barrister at 4BB Chambers London and at 1 High Pavement Nottingham. He studied law at Magdalen College, Oxford, and was called to the bar in 1987. His areas of expertise include serious fraud, police law, serious sexual and violent crime, homicide, and proceeds of crime. Notably, he was counsel for Mr Brecani in Brecani v R [2021] EWCA Crim 731 (19 May 2021).