UCL Access to Justice Summer School 2017
16 August 2017
Last week the UCL Centre for Access to Justice (CAJ) welcomed Year 12 students from all across the UK for the UCL Access to Justice Summer School 2017; the fourth summer school in the past five years organised and run by the CAJ.
The UCL Access to Justice Summer School is a residential summer school for 30 students in Year 12 (or equivalent) from under-represented backgrounds who are interested in studying law at university. To ensure that no student is deterred by costs, the UCL CAJ covers the cost of accommodation, food and travel. Additionally, as many universities like UCL are dominated by students from the South East, particular effort is made to recruit students from across the UK (Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the North, Midlands and South West of England) that meet certain widening participation and academic requirements.
Keeping in line with the Centre’s aims and expertise, it focuses on increasing the participants’ understanding of access to justice issues, citizenship , human rights, and related career paths.
During the week, the students gained a deeper understanding of the barriers in accessing justice including changes to legal aid, wider austerity measures and the interlink between all of these topics, applying what they learned in the lectures to case studies and small group workshops. The summer school also aimed to familiarise students with university life and the application process through lectures on the LNAT, writing personal statements, student finance and life in London at UCL.
The summer school culminated in the students giving group presentations on a variety of access to justice and human rights issues, with an award given to the group with the best presentation. This year the presentations were hosted by Clifford Chance with a judging panel that included Amanda Clift-Matthews (UCL Alumna and In House Counsel at the Death Penalty Project), Natasha Fricker (Trainee Solicitor at Clifford Chance), Karen Scott (Director of Undergraduate Programmes at UCL) and Shiva Riahi (Manager at UCL Centre for Access to Justice). While all the students gave brilliant presentations, the award for Best Presentation went to Team Kennedy with a presentation on ‘Do you always need a lawyer to solve a legal problem?’
To introduce students to the practice of law, students visited law firm Hodge Jones & Allen and heard from lawyers working in their criminal, housing, civil liberties and family departments. Later in the week, students spoke with barristers and UCL alumni Masuma Khalique and Aaron Moss about a career at the Bar. The students also had the opportunity to network over lunch with trainees at Clifford Chance before giving their presentations.
It was not all work and no play for the students – social activities were organised every evening of the Summer School and included a trip to the Supreme Court, Twelfth Night at the Globe Theatre, seeing all the best sights London has to offer on a Big Bus Tour, and a farewell dinner at Pizza Express.
‘It was a very enjoyable and worthwhile week which has set me up for university life and study. The team at the CAJ and the mentors were great!’
‘After the summer school I am very excited to start applying to universities! It was an incredible experience and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to come to UCL for the Summer School.’
‘I had an amazing time and learned so much. I am really looking forward to hopefully studying law next year…’
‘Great summer school with a brilliant mix of law related information and casual / evening activities, such as the Globe.’
‘I’d just like to thank Rose, Shiva and the mentors (especially Mikki) for an amazing week and hopefully I’ll see everyone next year at University College London!’
‘Brilliant effort from every mentor. Keep doing what you’re doing. I’ve appreciated your help so much, thank you all.’
‘It was a great week that has definitely made me want to apply to UCL and I will highly recommend it to anyone planning on studying law’
The UCL Access to Justice Summer School has been made possible through generous philanthropic support of many alumni and Faculty friends.
If you are interested in learning more or would like to support the summer school, please contact Shiva Riahi at firstname.lastname@example.org