SHU Law will soon launch its ninth department – our Anti Racism Department.
Our work will be aimed at preventing prejudice as well as continuing to assist those that have been a victim of racism. We will achieve this through our programme of public legal education and ongoing case work within our prison law and criminal appeals departments which typically see members of marginalised communities entering the criminal justice system.
We will engage with members of the public, past and present clients and school children across various ages to ensure that we can get the message out about key rights-based legal issues that can help people of all backgrounds advocate their rights and hopefully along the way inspire some people who might otherwise think that they could never access a legal career to challenge these beliefs and to strive to make the profession more diverse and representative of the people we assist.
The origins of the department rest with having met with several representatives of local charities and organisations who have highlighted to us the need for their communities to understand and know their rights more. South Yorkshire has a disproportionate approach in targeting members of the BAME community in its stop and search strategy. Higher numbers of BAME children get suspended from school and then disengage with the education system. Families do not know how to mediate or advocate around controversial issues and underlying prejudices associated with being from a different background or culture or having a different skin colour. Whilst the world has progressed in being more inclusive there is still significant work to be done.
SHU Law is keen to play a role a role in that work and can use its identity as a teaching law firm to help instil knowledge in members of the public and inspire further and more progressive and inclusive attitudes and values in the lawyers that it encourages into the profession.