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Law students volunteer with Oxfam’s Junior Lawyers Against Poverty

Law student Rachel Kimberley

Two Law students at Oxford Brookes have been chosen to serve on the steering committee of the recently launched Oxfam’s Junior Lawyers Against Poverty.

The new Junior Lawyers Against Poverty project is a derivative of Oxfam’s Lawyers Against Poverty initiative and is overseen by a total of 14 Law students from eight universities across the UK.

Iulia Mirzac, who graduated in July, and Rachel Kimberley, a second-year undergraduate Law student at Brookes, were nominated to join the committee by one of their lecturers.

On why she chose to get involved in the project, Rachel said: “Sometimes lawyers can get a bad name for being very money orientated and I wanted to help show another side. On my gap year I worked for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and I loved it – I was able to make a real difference to the people whose lives I got to guide and stand up for.

“With Junior Lawyers Against Poverty it’s the same; we’re trying to relieve poverty, give people access to justice and let people know they’ve got legal rights.”

The Lawyers Against Poverty project is based on the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the activities of the Junior Lawyers Against Poverty steering committee will focus on issues in developing countries that are currently affiliated by Oxfam. The main issues the project will work with are relieving poverty, achieving justice, improving recruitment and retention of women in law, and improving access to resources for Law students.

Rachel continued: “My role is sponsorship chair, so it’s up to me to raise the money we need to carry out our various ventures. We’re planning a twinning project with law students from other countries, so we’d like to raise enough money to travel out to Tanzania and visit the students we’re planning to twin with. We’re also planning to send them out some textbooks which they can then donate to libraries that under under-resourced.”

Several Oxford Brookes Law students have been working with Lawyers Against Poverty since late 2015 to conduct research. The School of Law at Oxford Brookes also hosted a breakfast seminar for lawyers involved with the project during Lawyers Against Poverty Week in June. The students, with the backing of the School of Law, are launching a pro bono scheme in September in order to open this to all Law students who wish to be involved.  Students will be able to undertake small research projects and will work towards hosting a pioneering Ted-style conference early in 2017 in conjunction with the School of Law and Oxfam’s Lawyers Against Poverty.

Dr Shirley Shipman, Principal Lecturer in Law, commented: “It is a privilege to be involved from the outset with this exciting Oxfam initiative.  This provides an excellent opportunity for law students to work alongside legal professionals in order to make a difference to people in need due to poverty.”

To find out more about Junior Lawyers Against Poverty visit the Oxfam Lawyer’s Against Poverty website

 

Law graduate joins pro bono collective Oxfam Lawyers Against Poverty

LAP iulia mirzac

Iulia Mirzac, an Oxford Brookes University graduate, has started an internship with Lawyers Against Poverty (LAP). This pro bono initiative launched by Oxfam in June 2015 enables individuals from the legal community to work on legal projects that help fight the injustice of poverty. LAP targets global issues such as legal education, women’s rights to property, legal empowerment, climate litigation and Iulia will be working as a legal research intern for the team with a specific focus legal research on issues related to justice and poverty.

“I often feel honoured and privileged to be part of a team that works so hard to bring justice to those who need it most.”

Iulia Mirzac, School of Law graduate

Iulia, who studied Law with International Relations said “I decided to take the internship because the work Oxfam does globally, and specifically through Lawyers Against Poverty, is very similar to what I have always wanted to do – using my law degree for the good of those who need it the most.”

Since graduating this summer Iulia has been working on a range of projects within Oxfam’s legal team, including coordinating events and a fact-finding trip on migration, as well as drafting documents and using her linguistic skills to translate legal documents from English to French.

“One of the projects I am currently involved with is coordinating efforts across law firms and universities, to provide work experience opportunities for individuals from the refugee communities in the UK. I have also been involved in facilitating Summer Law Schools for young people from the refugee communities, in an effort to help them better integrate into our society and education system.”

“Lawyers Against Poverty Week, which took place from 13 to 20 June 2016, was the highlight of my first month at Oxfam, and I was particularly pleased and grateful that the School of Law at my own University hosted one of the events on June 17.”

Junior Lawyers Against Poverty will be launched at Oxford Brookes University in September 2016, providing research opportunities, a seminar series, a JLAP conference in January 2017, and potentially twinning  law students with law students from African countries.

To find out more about Lawyers Against Poverty please visit their website.

Oxford Brookes Law student to take up overseas pro bono work with the Amicus Death Row Charity

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Chloe Arnold, a first-year Law Student at Oxford Brookes, has been awarded a £1000 Santander grant to take part in the Missouri Capital Sentencing Project.

“I applied because it is quite literally a once in-a-lifetime opportunity and I want to experience the American culture and death row culture first hand.”

Chloe Arnold, first-year Law student

 

This project is organised through the Amicus death penalty charity, which assists in the provision of legal representation for those awaiting capital trial and punishment, as well as raising awareness of potential abuses of defendants’ rights.

Chloe was funded by the Oxford Brookes School of Law to attend Amicus’s death penalty training in October where she learned about the basic history of legal framework, racism and the death penalty in the US. She also heard real-life stories from recently exonerated death row inmates Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle.

Explaining her passion for the project, Chloe said:

“Advocacy particularly interests me and in America, death row inmates are often disadvantaged or have been the victims of abuse as children. What’s more is that often during their trials, defendants of an ethnic minority have faced some form of racism from the police, jurors, prosecutors or even judges. With death penalty cases, many things seem so unjust and ‘old-fashioned’ in such an advanced country – particularly in the South.”

On her initial desire to study Law, Chloe added:

“Law was the only subject I could see myself doing. I find it incredibly interesting how it has such a large role in upholding society.”

She will know spend the Summer on secondment in Missouri, where she will gather and analyse empirical data on capital trial and punishment.

You can find out more about the Capital Sentencing project Chloe will be taking part in here: http://www.phillipsblack.org/

 

Successful training day to launch this year’s Pro bono projects

Training Day Volunteers

The Bail Observation Pro bono Project carried out their training day on November 21 following a call for volunteers.

The BOP was formed in 2009 by members of Campaign to Close Campsfield (closecampsfield.wordpress.com), an immigrant removal (detention) centre in Kiddlington. BOP started because of concerns about immigration bail hearings and the experience of immigration detainees.

This fantastic project helps bring about positive changes to the lack of justice in immigration tribunals and helps make serious improvements to the treatment of vulnerable human beings.

This year the School of Law are also running the Prison Pro bono Project, helping prisoners from HM Prison Spring Hill. Last year Brookes students helped several of the men to access education and employment opportunities, and this year they’re looking to improve on that success.

The School of Law is also looking to continue its work with the Fahamu Refugee Programme (now the Rights in Exile Programme (refugeelegalaidinformation.org) and will be providing interns with the opportunity to focus on the ‘Special Issue’ of ‘Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity’.

For more information on Pro bono opportunities and studying law at Oxford Brookes visit law.brookes.ac.uk.