Lib Dem Spring Conference Fringe

Sat March 16th, 6.15pm, York Hilton, Micklegate Room.   
“Public Legal Education empowering citizens, enhancing legal capability”
Organised by James Sandbach, Co-Chair, on behalf of Rights Liberties Justice (Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association)

From Citizenship teaching in schools, to public information and activities aimed at empowering people with confidence and capability to deal with law-related problems and understand their rights; an expert panel will discuss Public Legal Education.

Chair – Graham Colley, Solicitor
* Layla Moran MP, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson
* James Sandbach, Director of Policy and External Affairs, LawWorks
* Michael Olatokun, Research Fellow in Citizenship and The Rule of Law, Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law

Michael and James are both involved in different aspects of public legal education (PLE) provision and research/advocacy, and have been working with the Solicitor-General to support ‘mainstreaming’ of PLE (see attached vision statement), which needs to go beyond the legal sector and connect with a range of education, information and advice provision delivered in a range of settings from schools to communities and online spaces. 

PLE provides people with awareness, knowledge and understanding of rights, legal issues and the justice system, together with the confidence and skills they need to deal with disputes and gain access to justice. Equally important, it helps people recognise when they may need support, what sort of advice is available, and how to go about getting it. Citizenship teaching in schools if done well can be a ‘foundation’ (it is in the curricula but often poorly taught and resourced), however this is also about skills for life, and resources for dealing with ‘the law’ throughout life. 
Other key stakeholders include:-

* Law for Life
* Young Citizens
* Legal professional, educational and advocacy bodies (including regulators)
* Schools and wider voluntary sector and community groups
* Local and national politicians.