Friday, August 29, 2014

Explore UK Campus: Legal Scavenger Hunt #1

Mind the pit. Image credit: Ryan Valentin

Anyone finding themselves on the University of Kentucky campus lately will discover construction going on nearly everywhere. New dorms, renovation of existing space, and road closures are all part of campus revitalization. Pair this with thousands of new faces and even more returning students, getting around campus can be quite a challenge.

As a result, construction barricades have even been erected in both likely and unlikely (or perhaps overlooked) areas on campus. For example, the barricade pictured above is haphazardly placed along a relatively deep crevasse. The integrity of the barrier has been compromised and only partially protects against the hazard beyond.

Do you know where this barrier is? This small structure was a graduating class gift to the University. The first person* to solve this Legal Scavenger Hunt problem by sending the correct class year of this structure to will receive a prize and one entry into a drawing at the end of the fall semester.

*Only current University of Kentucky law students are eligible to participate in the Legal Scavenger Hunt.

One more clue. Image credit: Ryan Valentin

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesdays Around the World: How to Declare a State and Mean It

Last week, Boko Haram, the terrorist group most known for large-scale kidnappings in Nigeria, declared the creation of an Islamic State in territory it holds in northern Nigeria. There seems to be a lot of impromptu state declaring going on lately, as earlier this summer ISIS declared themselves a Caliphate (an Islamic concept of state that predates the Western concept), and also some random dude from Virginia declared a kingdom in some unclaimed territory in Africa so that his daughter could be a princess. Sadly, for the various would-be heads of state, none of the claims comport with international law.

The Convention on Rights and Duties of States of 1933 (a.k.a. The Montevideo Convention of 1933) lays out the requirements for statehood in international law in Article 1: a permanent population, a defined territory, government, and the capacity to enter into relations with the other states. The territories of both Boko Haram and ISIS remain undefined/contested by force of arms, and the Virginian's claimed land has no population. The final two requirements may also be problematic for all parties. So, remember, should you be tempted to claim your own state, make sure you check the four bases defined by the Montevideo Convention!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Remember Your Student ID!

This is a quick reminder to our students that most doors to the College of Law building are now Wildcard (UK ID card) access-only after 6:00 p.m. in the evening and on weekends.  While the College of Law doors facing S. Limestone are open the same hours as the Law Library, you will need your Wildcard to access the stacks (i.e. the doors by the reference desk) after 6:00 p.m. in the evening and on weekends.  Otherwise you can ask to be buzzed in at the Circulation Desk.

If you have lost or not yet acquired your Wildcard, please see UK's Student ID site for more information about how to obtain one.

Tenure's Dress Code

Professor Douglas enjoys his new status while researching in the library.

Welcome, 1Ls!

Dear 1Ls:  Welcome to UK Law!  You had a brief introduction to the Law Library and our services at orientation this weekend, but here's a recap of a few things you may need this first week of classes:

Printing:  Can't find the sheet from orientation about how to print in the Law Library?  Check out the online version of that information.

Laptop assistance:  Our fabulous IT department is located in the Law Library lobby (the back left corner when entering through our front doors).  They can help with a range of computer issues; catch them during normal business hours during the week for assistance.  Also, laptops are available for checkout at the Circulation Desk for 4 hours per checkout if you need one in a pinch (they are not available for checkout overnight).

Microsoft Office:  Office 2011 for Mac and 2013 for PC are available to students for free.  IT has written up directions on how to download this software.

Course Reserves:  If your professor has an item on course reserve, you can check out that item at the Law Library Circulation Desk.  Please come armed with the professor's name, course name, and title of the item you want to check out.  Most items are limited to 2 hours checkouts.  To see what your professor has on course reserve, use the course reserve system.

Please ask at the reference desk if you have any other questions; any of the librarians would be happy to help.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wanted: Law Library Student Worker

Students: are you always here in the library anyway? Would you like to get paid for some of that time? We have one remaining position open for a student worker at the Law Library Circulation Desk! The available shifts remaining are:

Mondays: 10 pm - Midnight
Thursdays: 10 am - 12 noon
Sundays: Noon-2 pm

Contact the circulation manager, Michel Thompson ( for more information. Please note: this is a Federal Work Study preferred position.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wednesdays Around the World: How the Modern International Legal System Began with a Bang

This month marks the centennial of the beginning of World War I, dubbed as "The War to End War" by H.G. Wells a century ago. While the cataclysmal conflict did not live up to Wells's sobriquet, the horrors of global trench warfare and modern weaponry, did lead the combatants to take steps to move away from customary international law and gunboat diplomacy to something more formalized in the war's aftermath. Specifically, the League of Nations was created along with the Permanent Court of International Justice. While each institution needed a "redo" a couple of decades later (See the U.N. and the I.C.J.), they did kick off the concept of a collectively-ruled central policing of international law violations. Also, while the U.S. did not join the League (largely leading to its failure), the Americans did make their own efforts to outlaw use of force under international law by initiating the Kellog-Briand Pact.

The administration of international law by a central international organization and the outlawing of war as a general principle are two hallmarks of the modern system of international law. Both were first tried as direct results of the catastrophic Great War that began 100 years ago this month.