UCL students build rights awareness in Hackney

University College London (UCL) law students have been increasing rights awareness in Hackney by visiting 200 16-18 year old students at the borough’s Mossbourne Academy.

Students from the university’s Access to Justice Centre have joined forces with voluntary community sector support agency Hackney CVS following the latter’s report with Ipsos Mori into the cause of the 2011 London riots.

Jacqueline Kinghan, director of clinical legal education at UCL, called the event, part of an ongoing UCL project with the Hackney Law Centre and online magazine The Justice Gap, a: “powerful dialogue between law students and the wider community”.

As part of the event Labour peer and former parliamentary under secretary of state, Lord Bach helped to conduct a mock court hearing to demonstrate the advocacy process to students.

Commenting on concerns raised by Hackney CVS and Ipsos Mori that police abuse of stop-and-search powers had a hand in last year’s riots, Kinghan said: “Hackney CVS is involved and hopes to get a dialogue with young people – we are trying to make sure they are aware that they have an entitlement to know things like badge numbers and that that sort of respect goes both ways.”

She added: “…in a climate of decreased welfare support, the impending decimation of the legal aid budget and continued restriction in access to justice for the very demographics who need it most, events such as this have a wider role to play”.

The project Mind the Justice Gap will continue throughout this academic year. (25 June 2012)