Law Society pilots Scotland’s first Street Law project in schools
The Law Society of Scotland has been working with school pupils as part of an exciting project to bring the law to life in the classroom – without a legal textbook in sight.
Pupils in Glasgow and West Lothian have been the first to take part in the Law Society’s innovative Street Law pilot project, which aims to inform young people about the law and the impact it has on their everyday lives, from examining real life murder trials, looking at how the law can protect the environment or using social media.
Alistair Morris, President of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “Giving young people the opportunity to learn more about the law and to discuss how it works and the impact it has, is incredibly important. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn about the law in their country and how it affects them in everyday life and we hope that this pilot represents the start of a wider rollout of Street Law in schools across Scotland.
Rob Marrs, Senior Policy and Development Manager at the Law Society, has been working on the introduction of Street Law in Scottish schools.
He said: “Street Law is about as far from a traditional law lecture as you can imagine. It is a course in practical law and focuses on how the law affects people in ordinary, everyday situations.
“The pupils taking part are set to learn about how the law impacts upon them as citizens and also how they can shape their society as well as helping them develop their academic, critical thinking and communications skills
“One of the biggest strengths of Street Law is that it really encourages participation and debate and while each lesson is set to introduce some of the fundamental principles and values on which our law is based, they will also reflect the pupils’ own lives and experiences and allow them to consider how the law relates to them as individuals and as a group.
“For example, a lesson might ask the class to become the jury in a murder trial and consider the evidence from historical trials – without knowing the outcome - before deciding on their verdict or a session on social media and the law might ask pupils to think about the competing interests of freedom of speech balanced against the need to protect citizens from obscene or harmful comments.”
The lessons are delivered by university law students and schools taking part will work with the students to design their own Street Law curriculum over the eight classroom sessions to meet the needs and wants of both teachers and pupils taking part.
Councillor Stephen Curran, Executive Member for Education and Young People at Glasgow City Council, is delighted to welcome this new pilot and said: “Our schools pride themselves in the innovative practices delivered as part of the curriculum and I’m delighted that Glasgow has been chosen to pilot Scotland’s Street Law project.
“What I like about this project is the practical nature of the programme and I know that the young people who take part will learn a great deal and make them more responsible citizens.
“I look forward to hearing the feedback on the programme from the schools and young people at the end of the pilot.”
Andrew Sharkey, headteacher at St Kentigern’s in Blackburn, said: “This is a fantastic project. The Street Law sessions have been challenging, but also great fun. We have been working closely with the Law Society and the law students to devise interesting and relevant lessons. The pupils have enjoyed taking part and are learning a huge amount about the role law plays in our lives – and being part of the project has inspired some of our pupils to think about to studying law in the future.”
To watch Street Law in action see the Law Society’s new film about the project on the website: /education-and-careers/schools/street-law/
ENDS 10 DECEMBER 2014
Note to editors
Schools taking part in the Street Law pilot are:
Castlemilk High School
Lochend Community High School
St Paul’s High School
St Roch’s Secondary School
Deans Community High School
James Young High School
The Law Society is the professional body for solicitors in Scotland. It is also involved in a number public education programmes, including its annual schools debating tournament, the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament, lawyer school visits and supports Schools Law Web.
Street Law is a non-profit organisation which creates classroom and community programmes to teach people about law, democracy and human rights worldwide.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Journalists can contact Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884 / 07825 206468. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org