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RebLaw UK Round-Up

When tickets for RebLaw UK, student-run public interest law conference, went on sale, they were snapped up in under 24 hours.

The conference, recently held at The University of Law in Moorgate, is the British version of RebLaw, which is held at Yale Law School in the USA. The conferences’ shared mission is to build a community of law students, practitioners and activists working together for social change.

Students from The University of Law chaired panels and rubbed shoulders with some of the most famous names in public interest law, including noted barristers Flo Krause and S Chelvan.

If you weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket, don’t worry – we’ll be running a series of blog posts capturing the highlights of the discussions and speeches from the day.

First of all we asked Oliver Persey, a BPTC student at The University of Law who organised the conference, to give us his round-up of the day:

“There’s nothing like RebLaw in the UK. Its purpose is to empower law students to think critically and challenge the pressure to conform.

“The panellists were a dream list of my heroes: people like Flo Krause, who represented Hirst in the European Court of Human Rights; Julian Huppert, who relentlessly stood up for civil liberties in parliament, and S Chelvan, who was Legal Aid Lawyer of the year and does incredible work representing LGBT and asylum seekers. It’s been inspiring that so many leading practitioners and activists have enthusiastically given up their time, completely free of charge.

“It was key to have students chairing the panels, and our student chairs were really fantastic. They worked closely with leading practitioners in their areas of interest and several of those panellists may turn out to be useful mentors or future colleagues.

“Hot topics discussed by the panels included the challenges of protecting rights in an age of austerity, youth rights, and representing mentally ill and vulnerable clients.

“The highlight of RebLawUK for me was Shauneen Lambe, Executive Director of Just For Kids Law. Her keynote speech was truly moving. She discussed how she was inspired to get into public interest law after hearing about an unfair execution in the States and how Just for Kids Law has made a real impact: changing the law to treat 17-year-olds in the criminal justice system as children rather than adults and challenging discriminatory tuition fee rules that blocked young people without Indefinite Leave to Remain from achieving their full potential.

“Shauneen reminded us that the most important quality of a rebellious lawyer is 'dogged determination' – that if you don't give up you can achieve anything.

“Hopefully the first RebLawUK will be the start of a new community of aspiring lawyers and activists who can make a difference.”

We’ll be posting more in-depth content from the speakers and panel discussions over the coming months.

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