I remember I received a letter from my mother where she said I could bring about more change by becoming a barrister than taking part in demonstrations.1
Although my mother has never quite said as much to me, it has been suggested to me by many other people that the way to make change is by changing the law. I think that for many years I have seen that as being within the political and legislative sphere, however, as I am now a law student, this is beginning to change.
John Beckley‘s interest in the law came from working in an HIV centre. My husband has often suggested to me that at the end of my LLB course – providing I pass it of course – if I end up doing a lot of pro bono work for those who need it rather than making oodles of money, then our investment in my degree course will have been worth it. You see, not all of us that are reading law see it as a way of making money. For some of us, there is a belief in human rights and doing the right thing for people there as well.
Before you can change the law, you do need to know what it is and this is the point of Mark Debenham’s article in Student Law Review. In the not-so-distant past and particularly in law dramas like Kavanagh Q.C., and Rumpole of the Bailey we saw lawyers having offices with shelf upon shelf of books, and friends have talked about heading off to the library to look up one case in one book, photocopy it, and as Beckley says,
you’d look at an authority, which may cite another that you thought would be useful, and you’d then go off round the library to find it. You’d end up spending a lot of time in libraries reading books. Now [with JustCite] you can just click on a link and it’ll take you straight there, which saves a lot of time.2
I hope that when I come to need to find cases and authorities to read in my next law module with The Open University, that online tools such as JustCite will become as useful to me as they are to actual barristers like John Beckley.
1. John Beckley in Mark Debenham, “Tools for change”, Student Law Review 2012, Vol. 67, p.27.
2. ibid., p.28