Street Law provides opportunities for OU law students and academics to engage with their communities through providing public legal education opportunities in schools and community groups. In 2023 we were involved in two Street Law projects.
St Giles Trust SOS+
In the first project we teamed up with St Giles Trust's SOS+ project which delivers preventative and early intervention work to children and young people; as well as training for parents and professionals in educational and community settings.
The project included three tasks and involved updating, and producing resources for SOS+ to use when delivering sessions on Joint Enterprise/Conspiracy, Child Sexual Exploitation and Stop and Search.
Student Amy Klosek wrote in her recent blog that her group "were tasked with researching the client, and the law to produce a flyer from scratch to be used to educate secondary school children and their parents about their rights and police powers. We did this by consolidating the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 into something age appropriate and neurodiverse. It’s something that I am so proud to have been part of". You can view the flyer at the link below.
Another group produced a presentation on Joint Enterprise which can be viewed at the link below.
Migrant rights with ATU
Our second Street Law project aimed to raise awareness in relation to migrant rights and was delivered to 150 secondary school pupils in Ireland in collaboration with ATU (Atlantic Technological University).
Amy Klosek on behalf of OU/ Open Justice delivered an online session entitled “Should I stay, or Should I go ( or go to to Rwanda)? which involved using Gary Lineker’s tweet and MOTD theme tune to introduce and debate the Illegal Migration Bill.
This led to a student debate and mini mock trial which was overseen by members of the local intercultural platform. The picture below shows how engaged the pupils were in the workshop which involved music, art, debate and a mini mock trial.
The following comment from Paul Kernan CEO of Donegal Intercultural Platform sums up the value of this street law workshop:
‘The Street Law project makes a valuable contribution to challenges and responses to the greater inclusion of migrants and an understanding of the opportunities afforded by a more diverse population’.
The two-hour session, which was delivered three times over several days, received excellent feedback from the pupils and teachers with expressions such as “understanding”, “empathy” and “interesting” used to describe how the 16-year-old pupils felt about participating in the street law workshop. When asked to note one word which summed up their feelings on asylum seekers and refugees, the word “people” was the most common one used by the pupils at the end of the session. That sums up the essence of the street law workshop.
How to get involved
If your organisation would be interested in working with Open Justice to provide public legal education opportunities on legal topics of importance to your community, please contact us.
The Street Law project offers Public understanding of law (PUL) 'Street Law' workshops in secondary schools and community groups with the aim of promoting a greater understanding of law and legal issues. Through the interactive workshops, audiences engage on legal issues that are of particular relevance to them through a range of activities.
This project could be for you if:
So, if you....
....then we want YOU to apply !
Please let us know via this webform if you would like to apply and/or if you have a school or community group that would like to get involved. Expressions of interest are open to all students, but if there are too many volunteers we will prioritise level three students followed by level two.
If you would like further details please read the student information sheet
We also have an information sheet that can be given to schools and community groups to explain what a Street Law session is. Please note that we cannot guarantee a Street Law session as it will depend on where student volunteers live. If you know a school or a community group which may be interested in hosting a Street Law session, please complete the online webform found above.
Quotes from students and teachers who have been involved in our recent Street Law activities.
My topic was knife crime, I knew children love to sing so I made up a song about knife crime and got the children to sing along, it was a great ice breaker, as it made the children more relaxed and friendly. My best advice is to be yourself, remember the children are just as nervous as you, also try not to use complicated words, speak to the children in their own language, show them that you understand the problems young people go through and get them involved by asking questions. Most of all relax and enjoy yourself, my goal was to stop a child from getting involved in knife crime. Hopefully I succeeded.
The presentations all went really well and the students coped well with a lively audience! The subjects were all relevant and pitched correctly. Huge thanks to them for coming in and for delivering confidently to a tricky audience!
We had a really enjoyable afternoon at the college, the staff were lovely and very helpful and fed and watered us well! The stop and search presentation went fairly smoothly, the students were engaging with us and by the end of the second presentation were more than happy to ‘get involved’. We used some of the PowerPoint presentation for the social media presentation, but mainly we got the group talking about the advantages and disadvantages of social media and touching on the law and relevant cases. The students probably knew more than we did, which was no surprise really, but they were all a very accommodating /forgiving bunch.
I am extremely nervous when it comes to public speaking, however, above all else I wanted to try and make a difference, even if it was a difference to just one person it would have been worth it. I used this to get me through the day, with the level of questions from the students it was clear that we had been able reach them, which was all the reward I needed to help me going forward.