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Addressing contemporary social challenges, joining forces with leading institutions

The Law department is passionate about engaging our students with the major socio-political, cultural and economic questions that we face in the world today, joining forces with leading academic institutions and legal practice.

The murder of George Floyd in the US is a key moment for the pursuit of social justice, equality and the respect of human rights – cardinal values that serve as a foundation for our programme.

On June 25, we hosted a virtual roundtable discussion (via Zoom) on Race and Policing in the US and the UK, with eminent experts, including Leslie Thomas QC, who is currently representing 23 clients – survivors, bereaved family members and loved ones – in the Grenfell Tower inquiry.

The event was organised in collaboration with Garden Court Chambers and Loyola Law School (Los Angeles).


Our academics have similarly tackled, head on, legal issues surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our annual criminal justice symposium, which we had the privilege to co-host with Berkeley Law earlier this month, allowed us to examine the effect of Covid-19 in prisons, police stations and criminal courts in the US, and to draw comparisons with our legal system in the UK.

Similarly, our Head of Department entered in conversation with some of our distinguished Visiting  Professors and other Goldsmiths partners, on Covid-19, criminal law and human rights. They put forward the right to human dignity, asking difficult questions about why the UK government was so delayed in deciding to implement the lockdown; were utilitarian interests foremost in their mind?

They predicted there will be litigation in the future, and an independent inquiry, as a response to how the UK government has failed to provide frontline workers with the right PPE.

At Goldsmiths Law, we continuously expose our students to inspirational academics, legal professionals and human rights experts that bring to life contemporary socio-legal issues. We continuously push them to come up with theory-driven answers and practical solutions.

In recent months, our students heard the director of Liberty speak to them about how we need to keep the Human Rights Act intact. They met one of Britain’s most distinguished lawyers and politicians, Helena Kennedy QC, who powerfully exposed the discrimination women experience in the British ‘justice’ system. They were introduced to the Equality Act, by one of the leading experts in the field in the UK. They engaged with climate justice from the viewpoint of resisting colonial oppression. They went on a journey, from the Nuremberg trials to the creation of the International Criminal Court, with one of our Visiting Professors, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who led on one of the most historic international criminal justice trials of modern times. They also explored the UK Supreme Court’s judgment on Boris Johnson’s suspension of Parliament, with the lawyers who had helped make reality this judgment!



Join us for a debate on “Race and Policing in the US and the UK”

We are delighted to announce a virtual roundtable discussion (via Zoom) on Race and Policing in the US and the UK (June 25, 18:00-19:45 BST; 10:00-11:45 Pacific Time) in collaboration with Garden court Chambers, recognised as one of the leading civil liberties and human rights barristers’ chambers in the UK, and Loyola Law School (Los Angeles), home to world-renowned faculty, with a distinctive pro bono graduation requirement and a strong commitment to ethics, public interest and diversity. You can register with the event here.

The roundtable will offer reflection on how the tragic death of George Floyd has brought to the fore, with unparalleled force, the troubled relationship between race and policing in the US, and how it requires us to continue to ask serious questions, and take urgent action, about racialised police violence in the UK.

Prof Eric Miller (Loyola Law School)

This will be a unique opportunity to hear from leaders in the field: Eric Miller, Professor of Law and Leo J. O’Brien Fellow at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, former Charles Hamilton Houston Fellow at Harvard, and former joint fellow at the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute and the Harvard Civil Rights Project, whose work pays particular attention to the study of policing, race and problem-solving courts. 

Leslie Thomas QC (Garden Court Chambers)

Leslie Thomas QC (Garden Court Chambers), one of the leading authorities in the UK, in claims against the police and other public authorities, and claims against corporate bodies. Leslie is one of the top rated silks in the UK, and an expert in all aspects of inquests and public inquiries, having represented many bereaved families, in particular where there has been abuse of state or corporate power; he is currently representing 23 clients including survivors, bereaved family members and loved ones in the Grenfell Tower inquiry.

Maya Sikand (Garden Court Chambers)

Maya Sikand, the head of Garden Court Chambers’ Civil Liberties and Human Rights Team, who has an almost exclusively public law/civil liberties practice, primarily holding public authorities to account. Maya was shortlisted for Civil Liberties and Human Rights Junior of the Year by Legal 500 UK Awards 2020, and Public Law Junior of the Year by Legal 500 UK Awards 2018.

Goldsmiths’ Inaugural Chair in Law, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, chairing the event.


Goldsmiths Law partners up with new Refugee Law Clinic at the University of London

We are very excited to announce our participation in a new University of London Refugee Law Clinic, which will provide pro bono legal advice for refugee clients.

Delivered in partnership with two law firms, the main legal focus will be on preparing and litigating fresh claims for asylum, an area identified as underserviced in the current legal landscape. A successful fresh claim can lead to a grant of refugee status or humanitarian protection.

The clinic is located in the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies building in Russell Square, London. It is expected that students will work in the clinic for around a half day per week for a period of one year (but also virtually, for as long as required in response to Covid-19).  

Students will work on live cases in small groups, alongside volunteer lawyers from commercial law firms, and under the direct supervision of the supervising lawyer.

Each year, students from Goldsmiths Law will be selected to work for the clinic alongside students from other Law Schools within the University of London. The Clinic is structured as a direct legal service provider and is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC). All work will be supported by a coordinator and advice will be issued on the clinic’s letterhead and under the clinic’s supervising lawyer’s name.

Students will be trained in the relevant law and policy, as well as a range of other areas such as practical skills, ethics and professional responsibilities. They will be involved in working on the various aspects of preparing a fresh claim submission for asylum seekers that will have exhausted their appeal rights.

The students’ work will likely include research, gathering evidence and drafting submissions, as well as interviewing and taking witness statements and reviewing past decision making.

Goldsmiths Law students also have the opportunity to study Immigration Law and participate in the Immigration Law Clinic during their LLB studies, which run in parallel with activities at the Refugee Law Clinic, and will support students preparing to join the latter.

You can read more about the exciting Refugee Law Clinic opportunity here.