In this guest post, Louise Taylor argues for a change in the way victims of crime are represented in the justice system. Louise is a full time PhD student with the OU Law school and is researching the development of a coercive control defence for domestically abused defendants. If you are considering studying for a law PhD and would like to contact Louise to discuss her experience of research, you can email her email@example.com
It was a proud moment for me to contribute the very first guest blog on this forum – “Pro bono saved me”. For me it was a sobering reflection on a very stressful, indeed depressing, time of my life when my health did not permit me clarity of thought and the ability to help myself. The fact that a newly-minted lawyer was kind enough – even if it was her job – to go the length she did to help me, and make my life significantly improved, made a very strong impression on me.
Moving into the final year of my law degree at the Open University Law School, I was given the option choose my final module. W360 Justice in Action is a new, practical module offered by the Open University which started in October 2018. I jumped at the opportunity to put the legal skills that I have obtained to practical use, through supervised pro bono work. The Open Justice Project began its development in 2016 and is managed by the Open Justice Team. It provides access to legal support through an online law clinic and provides Public Legal Education sessions.
The most rewarding experience of my LLB has been my involvement with the pro-bono activities. I have always been passionate about access to justice, but being able to be involve myself and to contribute gave me the first hand experience needed to complete my understanding of its complexity and how pro bono work fits into that.
In 1983, as a spotty faced 15-year-old I wrote in the programme for the school play, that I was going work in law. Fast forward 35 years and I finally fulfilled that prophecy thanks to the Open University and Open Justice activities!
In this series of reflections, a number of Open University law students discuss their experiences delivering a legally focused radio programme which will be broadcast at HMP Altcourse. Five students visited the prison in June 2018 along with law lecturer Tamsin Morris.