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‘Beyond the Classroom’ in the School of Culture & Society

In the School of Culture & Society, our Department of Law works closely with the Departments of Politics and International Relations, Sociology, Anthropology, Media, Communication & Cultural Studies, and History. An exciting new cross-School initiative, ‘Beyond the Classroom’, brings together students and academic staff from across these departments, and other parts of Goldsmiths, to immerse them in a range of opportunities, beyond the classroom, beyond the University itself, making the most of what London has to offer, professionally, culturally, institutionally, socially.

“The experience at University should be greater than the sum of its – traditionally conceived, academic – parts, the knowledge communicated through lectures or seminars, and the coursework or examinations that support its delivery. Experiencing the world, connecting with others, developing critical thinking skills, understanding how theory is applied in practice (who facilitates its application, and who is a stumbling block, and how to overcome them), exploring the plethora of interests that will make you a well-rounded individual, and enjoying yourself in the process of doing all that, should matter as much as the more formal aspects of the curriculum. University should be a world where you are continuously meeting inspirational people and going on life-shaping trips, where you are empowered to reflect on the past, engage with the present and be part of the debates that have the capacity to forge the solutions that we need for the future. You should be feeling fulfilled, intellectually and emotionally, by the sheer richness of the opportunity you are exposed to. That’s what ‘Beyond the Classroom’ aims to achieve. We’re setting the bar high, no doubt, but we’re thrilled with the response we’ve had so far” – this is how Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos described the programme. Prof Giannoulopoulos is the Head of the Law Department, who has designed and is leading on Beyond the Classroom (BtC), in his role as Associate Head (Student Experience) in the School of Culture & Society.

So how does BtC work exactly? It is a programme that exposes our students to an array of experiential learning, immersive, student-community-building activities, from visits to legal, political and cultural institutions, to engaging with theatre, cinema, art, architecture, and contributing to Clinic projects or going on study abroad visits, and whose elasticity enables students to switch from attending a formal seminar (at the University of London, with the first female president of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, for instance) to going to a futuristic, dystopian exhibition at 180 Studios or watching the Palme d’Or winner at the Ciné Lumière at the French Institute or Oppenheimer at the BFI IMAX or taking part in debating exercises or exploring Law and social sciences through imagining and performing theatre scenes (things you would not expect to do as a Law student or a student in Sociology or Politics or History or Anthropology for that matter). And to be doing all this alongside a community of students who come from this variety of disciplines, with different backgrounds, often different future career destinations, but who easily merge into one, when we’re out and about in London, opening up and sharing their experiences with each other; studying at University is absolutely the greater than the sum of its parts, when delivered this way.

“One of the things that really drew me to Goldsmiths was its hands-on, immersive learning experiences, both inside and outside of the classroom”, said Sophia, a Year 1 student in Law. “The Beyond the Classroom initiative has far exceeded my expectations and has enabled me to meet people throughout the various year groups of my course, and the university”, she added. “It has already shaped me to become both a stronger academic and a better, more informed, member of society. This ground-breaking initiative is leaving an impact that will remain with me long after the completion of my degree”, she concluded.

Here are some of the Beyond the Classroom highlights since the launch of the programme in April 2023.

April 2023

A visit to the world renowned Cambridge Union, to attend the Cambridge Literary Festival, for Gary Younge’s thought-provoking book talk From Nelson Mandela to Black Lives Matter. We attended with 9 students from Anthropology and Law. Meeting with Gary Younge after his talk, having copies of his book signed by him, then going off to explore picturesque Cambridge, before getting on our train back to London, were some of the highlights. Listening to Law and Anthropology students interrogate each other about their subjects was undoubtedly another.

June 2023

5 students from our Journalism, Media, Politics, Sociology and Anthropology departments joined the Law department’s annual Summer School in Athens in June, on Human Rights, Law, and Policy: Britain, Greece and the EU. All 19 Goldsmiths students were supported by generous student scholarships; widening access and participation for all is a key priority for Beyond the Classroom. Read about the summer school here.

September 2023

We were thrilled to go to the National Theatre, one of the pinnacles of cultural life in the capital and the UK more generally, to attend the explosive play The Effect, with 20 students from our Anthropology, Law, Media, Journalism, and Politics departments. To meet and chat with the lead female actress, Michele Austin, after the play was nothing short of breathtaking. Her understudy, Shereener Browne, a former barrister who has switched to theatre after a successful career at  Garden Court Chambers, and who is a very good friend of Goldsmiths, has made the introductions.

November 2023

Another pinnacle, of the world of art this time, the world-renowned Royal Academy of Arts, was our next destination. With 10 students, from PPE, Law, Anthropology and other departments in our School of Culture & Society, we attended the Architecture Dorfman Awards Prize ceremony, and were fascinated by the breadth of ideas, methodologies and practice, and their pertinence to our study of social sciences.

Ideas discussed included participatory designs (as opposed to the imposition of top down, corporate ideas); exposing patriarchal, colonialist and capitalist ideas; pursuing socio-ecological relationships and emancipatory practice; the democratisation of technical knowledge; searching for equitable ways; synchronising with what surrounds us; adopting Transhistorical approaches where different historical spaces are mixing in the same space and time; utilising the power of communication; understanding the importance of interdisciplinary practice, and doing the less. All ideas and concepts our students in Law,  Media and Social Sciences can take inspiration from and draw upon in their research and work.

Presenting on the novel design of Courts in Mexico

Taller Gabriela Carrillo presenting on innovative designs for Courts of justice in Mexico.

We were invited to attend the drinks reception after the awards ceremony, and were enthused to speak to some of the nominees and the award winner, Taller Gabriela Carrillo. They were impressed that we were attending with non-architecture students.

Next stop, the Royal Society of Arts, where we were privileged to welcome to BtC Dr Susie Alegre, international human rights lawyer and author of the influential Freedom to think book, which identifies huge concerns about the impact of technology on our freedom to think, and advances the latter as the modern extension of the right to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of belief.

Susie was in conversation with Prof Giannoulopoulos, exploring challenging debates in the area, ranging from behavioural micro targeting and drawing inferences from your thoughts in criminal justice to Cambridge Analytica and Brexit, social media and the future of parliamentary democracy in a technology-dominated world.

From discussing parliamentary democracy to visiting Parliament itself: BtC joined forces with the wonderful History student society in the synonymous department, in co-organising the visit to the House of Commons. Students learnt about the history of Westminster palace, and of the institutions it hosts, and have moved like MPs from the main hall in the House of Commons to the ‘Aye and no’ lobbies (where MPs vote); what can be more invigorating and thought-provoking than observing from so close, for students of Politics, International Relations and Law, or the sociologists and media students who study the political phenomena and processes from their distinctive perspectives.

Our attention switched next to war and international law, with our first ‘lunchtime get together’ session in the programme, led by  Media colleague and Airwars director, Emily Tripp, who spoke to us about the NGO’s work on forensically investigating, digitally, Iranian suicide drones in Ukraine and Israeli bombing in Gaza.

These BtC lunchtime sessions allow students and staff to get together – over coffee and a sandwich or cake – and learn about the work, career pathway and destination of leading faculty and our external partners at Goldsmiths as well as share their thoughts and aspirations for the topics in question or the paths they are wishing to follow beyond University.

December 2023

We continued through to December with our digital world theme, thinking about the sea of data surrounding us, how they are captured, processed and analysed. Algorithms. Synchronous movement. Order, disorder, the rise of AI, the fear of a dystopian and futuristic world that is beginning to emerge, now. We became alert to these mind-boggling issues by attending Synchronicity, at 180 Studios.

We then took another 180 degree turn, going from future debates to looking back, through a historic lens. Watching Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, with 20 students from across our different departments, at the stupefying BFI IMAX screen, one of the largest in Europe, then taking 60 students to the astounding Hamilton musical at the West End (a History society activity that BtC was delighted to sponsor and support), offered food for thought, much food for thought; views may have diverged quite considerably, especially about the reliability of the account offered by the former, but both events were hugely entertaining and educational experiences for all our students and staff who attended.

January 2024

Law and film and society, and immersing in a foreign culture (the French one, on this occasion) was a powerful combination! For our first 2024 event, we went to the Ciné Lumière at the iconic Institut Français, with 15 students and colleagues from across Media Studies, Art, Law and other departments, for a screening of the sublime Anatomy of a Fall socio-legal drama which won the Palme d’Or in Cannes this year.

Clive Stafford-Smith demonstrating to students stress positions (the “strappado”) used frequently in counter-terrorist contexts post 9-11.

January also saw the start of our Law & Policy Clinics, on Immigration Law, with Marta Minetti, and Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, with world-renowned lawyer, an anti-death penalty hero at the US, who has also done pioneering work to unearth the brutality of the Guantanamo Bay regime, Clive Stafford-Smith. These Clinics were previously accessible for Law students only, and through BtC students in other parts of the School of Culture & Society and College can now take part in them. More than 60 students, from a range of departments, have signed up with these Clinics.

January ended with an unforgettable encounter with the legendary Lady Hale, the first female President of the UK Supreme Court, aka “Spider Woman“. In conversation with Prof Carl Stychin, Lady Hale reflected on life episodes that made her who she became and offered insights on historic Supreme Court judgments. Zac, a Year 2 Law student at Goldsmiths, asked her to critique the continued pertinence of parliamentary sovereignty in the context of populist attacks upon human rights, such as in the context of the Rwanda policy, and she happily did so, expressing her faith in that bedrock principle of our constitutional system (“when it works, it works well”, and “Parliament, most of the time does not do things that are deeply irresponsible at all”, she exclaimed) while also showing some concern, from a human rights perspective, about some legislation that was recently introduced or legislation that is currently debated in Parliament).

Goldsmiths Law students Josh and Sophia with Lady Hale (from right to left)

February 2024

One of the key ambitions of BtC is to energise students from across different disciplinary areas to work together, to open up new opportunities for them, outside disciplinary boundaries, allowing for the activation of new skills and aptitudes, and building a professional ethos that will be transferable to their future careers.

The Knowing Our Rights “Storytellers” initiative that the Law department developed with EachOther, and that BtC supports, in extending its reach to students across the School of Culture & Society, makes it possible to pursue this objective. This new initiative is a ground-breaking and unique opportunity for students and staff, to produce multi-media work that addresses human rights issues in the UK. Under the Knowing Our Rights: Storytellers programme, students can pitch an idea and are given editorial support in order to see their work be published by an award winning human rights charity. This innovative programme supports individuals and groups to produce thoughtful and dynamic work that addresses and raises awareness for human rights issues in the UK, and that is published in a platform with wide reach across the UK public.

In February, we were thrilled to see the publication of several student-authored news stories under this initiative, on why the UK is facing an increase in prosecutions surrounding abortion, on the importance of public engagement in shaping sentencing policy, on whether the government can really stop homelessness by 2025, and on the financial cost of convicting people by association, including ‘innocent bystanders’.

Returning to BFI IMAX, for a glorious IMAX 70 mm screening of Oppenheimer, was another highlight in February. 13 students from Media and Law watched the Oscar nomination-studded masterpiece by Christopher Nolan. The film was as much about politics and law as it was about the science behind the creation of the nuclear bomb, and it was artistically outstanding, so it could not have been more pertinent to watch it from a social sciences and media perspective.

March 2024 and beyond

There are exciting events, trips and activities ahead of us this month and beyond. From attending a seminar on Hannah Arendt’s work, returning to the Institut Français for another screening of ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ (which is back by popular demand, as we had more than 80 students signing up to come along the first time we went) and a visit to Magic Circle law firm, Linklaters, to a cross-departmental Debating evening (supported by the Politics student society) and engagement in theatre and performance activities in order to interpret everyday events, pieces of news and legal facts, as well as identify forms of oppression and suggest modes of resistance, BtC intends to continue to open new horizons for our students and bring them together, in these unique ways.

Using the power of theatre to interpret phenomena and devise creative solutions as part of Beyond the Classroom.

Events tickets, travel expenses (where possible) and all other expenses related to Beyond the Classroom activity are paid for by the University. We want to ensure that students can join without worrying about bearing the cost, in these challenging times, and that no one is left out.

Nearly 300 students from across our various departments have attended BtC events since the launch of the programme, and we look forward to engaging many more in the months ahead, hoping that every single opportunity to join is an invaluable experience for our students.

For information on BtC and to sign up to relevant activities, email

Goldsmiths Law ranked 1st in the UK for student satisfaction


We are now officially the number 1 ranked Law School in the UK for learning and teaching and the student experience. This is according to The Complete University Guide Law League Table 2024, which ranked our Law Department as number 1 in the UK for student satisfaction.

Published since 2007, The Complete University Guide rates 130 academic institutions in the UK, on account of a range of quality metrics, and is one of the key league tables published annually in the UK.

Our number 1 ranking in the Complete University Guide follows on our outstanding performance in the National Student Survey 2022, where our Law Department was ranked number 1 in the UK for its intellectually stimulating curriculum and programme, and we were rated the best Law department in London for the quality of our teaching. We were, more specifically, ranked the No. 1 Law department in the UK for the organisation and management of our LLB degree (with a 94 per cent satisfaction rate), and the (joint) top Law School in the UK for our ‘intellectually stimulating’ course (with 100 per cent satisfaction rate); we were also rated (joint) No. 4 in the UK, best Law School in London and best Law School in the South of England, for the quality of teaching in our LLB more broadly.

Such UK-leading ratings are hallmarks of an emerging reputation for national teaching excellence, and demonstrate the positive qualitative impact that the pedagogic approach that we have founded our LLB Law programmes upon are having on our student community.


Refugee Law Clinic gets “Best Contribution by Law School” award (LawWorks & Attorney General Awards)

As a founding member of the University of London’s Refugee Law Clinic, we are thrilled to announce that the Clinic was recently awarded Best Contribution by a Law School in the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards.

Goldsmiths Law sends 6 of its students to the Clinic every year. The students are selected through a competitive application process. Students spend a whole year with the Clinic (working part time, from home and in person). They are supervised there by the Clinic’s staff as well as by volunteer lawyers from Magic Circle law firm Clifford Chance LLP and internationally leading corporate law firm Macfarlanes LLP. As the Clinic is open to all University of London students, our students work alongside students from other leading UoL institutions: LSE, UCL, City, QMU, Birkbeck, King’s, Royal Holloway, London Business School and SOAS.

Lily, one of our third year LLB students, who participated in the Clinic’s activities this year, was amongst the students selected by the Clinic to attend the Law Works and Attorney General Awards ceremony. The ceremony took place at the House of Commons on Thursday 27th April and was supported by the Attorney General, the Rt Hon. Victoria Prentis KC MP. The Refugee Law Clinic was one of six shortlisted organisations competing for the award.

This is what Lily said about her her experience of volunteering at the clinic, and Awards night:

I feel very fortunate as the clinic kindly selected myself and one other lovely volunteer to join them at the ceremony in the House of Commons, and there were also many other worthy clinics which had travelled from all around the country, so it was extra special that we went home with something! You can see some coverage of it here.

My experience of volunteering at the UoL Refugee Law Clinic has not only allowed me to develop a strong understanding of refugee and immigration law – which is invaluable given the turbulent legal climate we currently find ourselves in – but it has also been a genuinely enjoyable and rewarding experience. Having such a collaborative environment and being able to work alongside highly experienced solicitors with such passion really transfers onto you, it really is a privilege to be able to learn from their expertise. Finally, I feel grateful to be able to interact directly with clients, particularly being able to meet face-to-face (especially after the last two years during the pandemic) is incredibly insightful, and it seems all too rare to have the chance to listen to their stories while not even having graduated from university yet.

I am currently working on my third case at the clinic, and each time there has been a huge amount of trust instilled between us and the client, allowing us not to merely ‘take over’ clients’ cases, but to work together in order to get them the fairest outcome. I have no doubt that this experience will be invaluable for my future role as a solicitor, and I am grateful both to Goldsmiths and Dr Dagmar Myslinska who recommended me for the role, and to the clinic for allowing me to contribute to championing social justice and human rights.

In terms of the ceremony itself, I am just beyond proud of the Clinic for winning the ‘best contribution by a law school’ as awarded by LawWorks. It is vital work being carried out at a time perhaps that asylum seekers are more under threat than ever. I feel lucky to have been able to contribute to this in some small way and I am sure this is the first of many well deserved awards for their work in assisting those who need it the most.

The Head of the Department, Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, added:

“We are very proud of the time that our students volunteer, and the invaluable contribution they are making, annually, to this critically important Clinic. We were with the Refugee Law Clinic at the very beginning of its journey, and I personally feel very privileged that we were given the opportunity to support it and help build it from scratch. We fully embed it in our LLB and LLM programmes at Goldsmiths, and look forward to continuing to see the fruits of its vital work for years to come”.




“Trial” of Sir Nick Clegg a great success

Participants in the Nick Clegg trial

The trial of Sir Nick Clegg, held in the Council Chamber on March 18th, at the historic Deptford Town Hall “courtroom”, before a jury comprising of Year 12 students, drawn from five Lewisham secondary schools, was a great success.

Clegg was accused of two “moral” crimes, as judged by the “Young Generation”, who “must live with the mistakes made by their elders”, as highlighted by our Visiting Professor Clive Stafford Smith. Clive leads on, and has brought to Goldsmiths Law, his Generation on Trial project; Nigel Farage was found guilty for his role in bringing Brexit to the UK, in the most recent trial in the project, before the Nick Clegg trial at Goldsmiths.

“Nick Clegg” with his “defence team”

In our Clegg trial, Count 1 focused on the deputy PM’s vote for the three-fold rise in student fees after his 2010 election pledge to oppose any such move; Count 2 on whether going into Coalition with the Conservatives betrayed those who voted LibDem.

The trial was intended to challenge and educate young people on the effect that the Coalition government’s choices on student financing has on them (and Universities’ financing). Clive played the role of the judge; under his watchful eye, four Goldsmiths Law students prosecuted Clegg, and four defended him (students were in their majority in Year 1 of the LLB programme!).

Nothing less than life-changing synergies, that’s what we have the power to trigger here (that is indeed what we are determined to achieve) – Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Head of the Department of Law

Actors from the Goldsmiths TaP (Theatre & Performance) Department played the roles of witnesses, while long-term LibDem Sir Philip Colfox testified as himself. Goldsmiths film students ran the four cameras that captured the entire day, which ran from 9am to 5pm.

Prosecution team intensively preparing for the start of the trial

Our Goldsmiths Law students picked the jury, delivered opening statements, presented and examined the witnesses and vigorously argued their respective side in closing. The jury of 12 – with 5 alternates – then deliberated for over an hour, respectfully debating the issues back and forth. In the event, while leaning heavily towards conviction, the jurors respected the views of the minority and agreed that they could not agree. Clegg was therefore not convicted on either count.

Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Head of the Department of Law, said: “At Goldsmiths Law, we are advancing with great passion immersive legal education as the pinnacle of our 21st century LLB law programme. This was immersive (socio) legal education – underpinned by emotional connectedness, based on cross-disciplinary synergies and engagement with high-achieving aspirational young people in our local community – at its very best.”

Closing statement by "Nick Clegg's" defence lawyer

Closing statement by “Nick Clegg’s” defence lawyer

Dimitrios added: “I know how hard our Law students worked with Clive (and how enthusiastically Clive worked with them) to prepare for this trial, in the midst of a very busy period of lectures, assessments and other Law programme activities. I admire our students’ work ethic and watched them, with great pride, throughout the day, perform at a very high level, with real commitment, and a sense of being part of something meaningful and important (very much enjoying every moment too, in the company of their friends, the students from other departments, the local Lewisham school students, their lecturers, the public).”

Visiting Professor in Law, Clive Stafford Smith

Visiting Professor in Law, Clive Stafford Smith

“We are hugely grateful to Clive for his leadership, for immersing our students in human rights law, and rules of evidence and criminal procedure. Our students are very privileged to be learning from one of the leading lawyers of our times, one of the leading trial strategists too, as exemplified in the hundreds of death penalty cases he has done, and won, in the US”. 

Year 12 students from Lewisham schools deliberating as the jury

Year 12 students from Lewisham schools deliberating as the jury

The Department of Law is equally grateful to Sid Hughes, from Lewisham Council, who created these unique connections for us, with the following schools, whose students are participating in our Lewisham Law Challenge programme, and who enriched our trial with their participation, as an active jury, alert to the socio-political issues that were the focus of the ‘charges’ against Nick Clegg:

Christ the King Sixth Form  College  (Lewisham

Haberdashers’ Hatcham Sixth Form (Lewisham)

SFH6 ( Sydenham School and Forest Hill Sixth Forms) (Lewisham)

Prendergast School Sixth Form (Lewisham)

Thomas Tallis School Sixth Form (Greenwich)

Prof Giannoulopoulos concluded:

“This wonderful opportunity offers a first glimpse of what transformational impact we can achieve if we simply create the conditions for young people to work together: students from Law, Film and Theatre, joined by 16-18 year old students studying for a range of subjects, aspiring to go to University. Nothing less than life-changing synergies, that’s what we have the power to trigger here (that is indeed what we are determined to achieve).”

Connecting theory and practice in critical human rights studies (spotlight on Dr Lena Holzer)

We are delighted to announce that Dr Lena Holzer has joined Goldsmiths as a Lecturer in Law.

Lena will be convening the Public Law and the Human Rights Act module (in Year 1 of the LLB), contributing to the Human Rights Law and Clinic module (in Year 3) and injecting specialist human rights law expertise into our programme, particularly through our LLM in International Human Rights (launching in September 2023!).

Lena is bringing to Goldsmiths excellent research capacity in the field of international law, gender justice and sports law.

The Q & A below offers is a first glimpse of Lena’s research, approach to teaching and contributions she is aiming to make to our programme.

Where did you work/study before joining Goldsmiths?

I received my PhD from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. My doctoral studies also included spending one year at King’s College London, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic I passed most of this time remotely. Before arriving at Goldsmiths, I taught in different university programmes in Geneva, Utrecht and Krems and worked for various human rights institutions, such as in Switzerland, Austria and Belgium.

What are your specialist areas in Law?

I focus in my research broadly on international human rights law and specifically on how international law impacts gender relations in society. My PhD thesis examined how international law shapes the existence of the gender binary in law. Another area of my research is sports law and its influences on different structures of inequality, such as sexism, racism and transphobia.

What is your role in Goldsmiths’ Law programme?

I will convene the Public Law and the Human Rights Act module and further contribute to the Human Rights Law and Clinic module. I will also be involved in coordinating the final year dissertation and develop my own research projects, focusing particularly on sports, human rights and gender equality.

What is your approach to teaching? What are your plans for the Public Law and the Human Rights Act module for the next academic year?

I enjoy teaching in an interactive manner that requires students to apply theoretical knowledge to real world issues. Since law often reflects past and current power relations, I usually encourage my students to question why certain laws exist, what they do in practice and how they could be changed to foster equality. Hence, I believe that an important task of a law lecturer is to provide students with the tools to critically assess law, and to show how they can use this knowledge in their future professions or current jobs.

Yet, a critical engagement with laws always entails knowing the technicalities and doctrines of laws and legal systems. This is why I will aim in my course on Public Law and the Human Rights Act to teach students the legalistic aspects of UK public law and human rights system, whilst enhancing their sensibilities to critically interrogate the sources of law discussed. In line with the general approach of Goldsmiths’ Law Department, I will analyse public law in its current socio-political context by examining the impact of recent legal developments, such as Brexit. At times, I will also draw the comparison to foreign legal systems to show the specificities of and controversies around the UK public law and human rights system.

You have experience in teaching in interdisciplinary programmes. How will you draw on this experience for your work at Goldsmiths Law?

I will certainly draw on my experience of studying and teaching in interdisciplinary programmes in my work at Goldsmiths since I believe that this can help to prepare the students for their careers as lawyers. I think that my interdisciplinary academic profile has allowed me to develop the capacity to teach law to a broad audience with different interests and background knowledges. This is crucial for a law programme that aims at making legal education accessible and practice-oriented. I am further convinced that lawyers can more effectively regulate an issue if they understand the subject matter from different angles, which is why I will encourage my students to read broadly and also familiarise themselves with literature from other disciplines. Moreover, as lawyers end up working in all types of professions these days, it becomes even more important to have transversal skills and a grasp of interdisciplinary debates.

What are you looking forward to the most being at Goldsmiths?

I am excited to join a department that strives towards teaching a new generation of lawyers the legal tools for promoting equality, justice and a sustainable future. The educational approach of Goldsmiths will allow me to connect my passion for theoretical engagements with laws with a practice-oriented approach that can help to generate critical human rights lawyers. I am specifically looking forward to working in an environment that fosters creative and critical thinking and to being surrounded by highly motivated colleagues. Not only will I be able to draw inspiration from my colleagues’ teaching methods and research, but I will also learn from my students who will push me to question my own approaches and perspectives.

Our students write: The urgent need to regulate Drone Strikes

In this piece, second year law student Samuel Cardwell draws on the knowledge he gained from participating in Goldsmiths Law’s Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights Law and Policy Clinic to examine the human rights implications of using drone strikes as part of the War on Terror.

Surveying a wide array of sources, Cardwell uses hard-facts and legal analysis to highlight the damage that drone strikes have on not just the victims but the perpetrators too.

‘Drone strikes lower the threshold for violent action and trivialise killing’, writes Cardwell. ‘The operator is distanced from the scene of the violence and only views it through pixels on a screen’, which ‘distance the emotion from them’. ‘International law must apply to drone strikes to prevent global misuse of this technology’, he concludes.

Read the blog here: The urgent need to regulate Drone Strikes.


Climate justice, BLM, human rights: Goldsmiths Law workshops in schools continue apace

Our Department of Law is passionate about connecting with young students in schools across London and the UK, and across a range of educational settings, with a view to engaging them with, and giving them a platform to participate in, contemporary debates through a socio-legal lens.

Our Knowing Our Rights project, which seeks to raise awareness about the impact of the European Convention on Human Rights in the UK, through the Human Rights Act, has provided a great platform for this work, enabling us to connect with approximately 3,000 students, both in person and virtually, since launching the project.

At the end of March, we were delighted to virtually visit St Margaret’s School, an independent co-ed school in Bushey. Our Dr Fatima Ahdash delivered an exciting and highly relevant workshop on human rights, social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The workshop was a great hit: dynamic and highly interactive from the start. St Margaret’s impressively brilliant students were highly engaged. They actively participated in a debate on whether the Human Rights Act 1998 should be repealed and replaced with a British Bill of Rights — a highly controversial political project — and they offered some truly insightful reflections on how, and the extent to which, human rights law can tackle institutional racism in the UK.

Earlier this academic year, on December 10, international human rights day, three students from the Human Rights Law & Clinic module joined our Head of Department, Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, in an in-person visit to Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC), one of the biggest sixth forms in the country, where they delivered the Knowing Our Rights workshop to students in the human rights law A level class there.

Our Knowing Our Rights workshops continue throughout May and June with planned visits to a number of secondary schools, where we will be delivering two different workshops, on climate justice and human rights, and on BLM and human rights.

We are thrilled that there has been such a positive response to this initiative, and are always looking forward to extending the reach of our work to all schools who would be interested in injecting human rights law elements into their curriculum in this way (please email us at if you would like your school to take part in this programme).

Why studying Law at Goldsmiths is unique

Studying Law at Goldsmiths is a distinctive learning experience. It equips you with unique career skills. Just check out our students’ itinerary from the last two weeks and see for yourselves why.

Monday 7 March

10 a.m.: French academic Jérémy Bourgais, from the University of Poitiers, visits the ‘English Legal System in a Global Context’ class to speak about criminal trials in France and Europe. Students are asked to imagine where they would sit, and what roles they would play, in a French courtroom, and identify differences with English courts. Our programme has a strong international focus!

Head of Mishcon Academy, Patrick Connolly, speaking about training contracts to Goldsmiths Law students

4.30 p.m.: Leading law firm Mishcon de Reya visit us on campus. Students are given guidance about when and how to apply for a training contract. In your applications, show how “you are unique” is the key message; talk about all the work you have done in your programme to show how you stand out from other candidates.


Tuesday 8 March, 10 a.m.

Year 1 students visit the highest court in the land, the UK Supreme Court (as part of their Public Law lectures). They take part in a workshop about the history and role of the court, attend a live hearing, visit the Court’s exhibition and discuss their experience over coffee and cake with their lecturers at the end.

Friday March 11, 9 a.m.

It’s Year 1 students again. This time they’re taking part in a Crown Court mock trial, in the Council Chamber at the Deptford Town Hall, in front of barrister, and actor, Ms Shereener Browne, who plays the role of a witness.

Monday March 14, 5 p.m.

Students participate in our Law careers fair, with speakers from leading firms like Macfarlanes and Kingsley Napley to NGOs and charities such as Justice and Lawyers Against Poverty. Students meet senior prosecutors and experts from the Crown Prosecution Service too, and begin to think about careers there; the CPS is the biggest legal employer in the UK.

Wednesday March 16, 10 a.m.

We’re in the heart of legal London, visiting ‘Magic Circle’ law firm Linklaters. Our students meet Competition Law experts and learn about the competitive process of applying there. The term ‘Magic Circle’ describes the five most prestigious, London-headquartered, law firms, which offer lucrative careers to those aspiring to work in areas such as corporate law, commercial law or banking law and intellectual property.

Thursday, March 17

11 a.m.: Year 3 students in the ‘Criminal Evidence’ module do a jury deliberations exercise (The Evidence Chamber) with a former theatre company. The jury of 12 are each given an iPad and have electronic evidence presented to them — e.g. a DNA match, and recordings from the police interrogation of the suspect — before they’re asked to consider their verdict.

6 p.m.: the department organises a night out in London, for the opening night of the Human Rights Watch London film festival, at the Barbican Centre, where we watch Silence Heard Loud and take part in the post-screening Q & A.

An exciting range of activities follow on until the end of term, from a ‘Grenfell tort claims’ exercise to a debating exercise (in International Trade Law ) and theatre trip (in Criminal Law), a mock trial at the Old Bailey (in Criminal Evidence) as well as visits to Mishcon de Reya’s offices and the Van Gogh immersive exhibition in the ‘Art Law’ module.

Studying Law at Goldsmiths is so much more than going to lectures and seminars on campus. We have a Law programme that is uniquely vibrant, professionally empowering and intellectually stimulating.

If you want to find out more about studying Law at Goldsmiths, get in touch via

Visiting Professor Kirsty Brimelow QC appointed a recorder

Kirsty Brimelow QC teaching at Goldsmiths

Our Visiting Professor, Kirsty Brimelow QC, of Doughty Street Chambers, and former Chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights Committee, has been appointed as a Recorder, sitting on the South Eastern Circuit. We would like to express our warmest congratulations to her.

The Queen has appointed 163 Recorders on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, The Right Honourable Dominic Raab MP, and the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, The Right Honourable The Lord Burnett of Maldon. See the full list of deployed Recorders here.

Kirsty has in depth practitioner expertise in criminal law and also in public law and international human rights law, with particular expertise in homicide, fraud, sexual offences, drugs and torture cases, child rights and vulnerable witness cases and the law of peaceful protest. Kirsty is bringing all this to Goldsmiths as well as leading expertise in legal practice, fact finding, mediation and diplomacy, case management, interviewing vulnerable witnesses, and an in depth experience in training lawyers, Judges, magistrates, the police and NGO workers.

LLB Law class visit the home of the EU in the UK

EU Law class visit to Europe House

After a stimulating two-and-a-half hours workshop, time for a group picture, with our students, staff from the EU Delegation and Lord Kirkhope

Learning Law in legal London is a fundamental aspect of the learning experience in our LLB Law programme. All our Law modules, from Criminal Law to Corporate, and Immigration Law to Contract embed a range of study trips and experiential activities, as part of ‘contact time’.

On the 15th of November, it was the EU Law class’s turn to go on a study trip in London. A very enthusiastic group of year 2 students who take the module went to Westminster to visit Europe House, where the EU delegation in the UK (formerly the EU representation in the UK) is based.

The students and their lecturers – Dr Virginie Barral, who convenes the module, and Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, our Head of Department – arrived early, giving everyone sufficient time to grab a ‘cappuccino’, ‘latte’ or soft drink from the local café; always a good starting point with our learning activities in London!

We then entered the impressive Europe House; 27 flags now there in the main meeting room – the UK flag no longer there – a quick and simple visual illustration of the impact of a highly complex process, political and legal, of withdrawing from the EU!

Students then took part in an interactive session on the EU’s history, values and decision-making processes including a quiz on quirky geographical and cultural facts about the 27 member states. Did you know that Ireland is the only country in the EU where you will find no… snakes! The staff teaching the workshop also broke down the inherently complex EU institutions into simplistic elements, that were visually represented as parts of a bike. Something we could use in our EU Law lectures in the future…

We were then joined by Lord Kirkhope, a lawyer and politician, who served as an MEP (Member of European Parliament) between 2003 and 2016. Lord Kirkhope shared with the class his vision of the future relationship between the UK and the EU as a pro European conservative politician. To round-up the visit, it was the students’ turn to pitch to Lord Kirkhope what they felt were the most urgent issues facing the EU.

We could not think of a better way to learn EU Law in action (and the ways in which it will continue to influence the UK in the future), and are very grateful to the EU Delegation for their wonderful hospitality (and would like to make this visit an annual occurrence!).