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10 November, 2015

We would need far fewer laws if we helped people understand them in the first place, says the Solicitor General

On Thursday, top legal professionals joined us to encourage others to help young people understand the law - for everyone's benefit.

Robert Buckland QC MP talks at Lawyers in Schools Pro Bono event, October 2015
'So much litigation would be unnecessary' with greater public legal education, says the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP.

Robert Buckland QC MP, the Solicitor General, Graham Vinter, Chair of GC100 and various legal counsel - including professionals from BBC Worldwide, JP Morgan, Olswang, Centrica and other FTSE100 companies - discussed the importance of public legal education (PLE) in schools, at our recent event hosted by Weil Gotshal & Manges.

Public legal education gives people the knowledge, skills and confidence to tackle problems they meet in everyday life. 

Lawyers from the largest law firms in the country have been involved in the Citizenship Foundation's Lawyers in Schools programme since it started in 1999. Meanwhile, more than 7,000 secondary school students take part in our mock trial competitions every year, while hundreds of lawyers - barristers, solicitors, magistrates and judges - volunteer to help.

Lawyers in Schools puts legal professionals into school classrooms, where they work with young people to develop their awareness and understanding of the law: what it is, why it’s there, how it gets there, how it affects people and why society criminilises certain behaviours. 

Our mock trial competitions take a different approach. Through these, young people learn about the legal system by preparing cases and presenting them in real court rooms and in front of real judges. 

Public legal education such as this has long term benefits for our society, says Robert Buckland.

'Just think of the benefits that will come from a better prepared society,' he says.

'A society that is more aware of their rights and responsibilities. A society that I believe with effective and efficient public legal education, can most definitely prevent ending up in the circumstances that we see in so much litigation if people were fully aware of what it is that they were doing when they entered into a particular transaction or set of obligations.

'So it’s preventative work that we are talking about here. It’s diversionary work, it’s work that not only enhances understanding of the rule of law, but will have a practical and a beneficial effect upon our legal system in general'.


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