NI: Belfast legal academics join Law Centres oral history project

NI: Belfast legal academics join Law Centres oral history project

Professor Kieran McEvoy
and Dr Anna Bryson

Two legal academics from Queen’s University Belfast have joined a ground-breaking four-year oral history project focused on the Law Centres movement.

The Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS) at the University of Oxford has been awarded a £1 million research grant from the AHRC to undertake the project.

It aims to address the dearth of in-depth accounts of radical lawyering in the UK and to consider the ways in which Law Centres have been successful in addressing problems surrounding the UK’s democratic deficit.

The project will be led by CSLS director Professor Linda Mulcahy, joined by Professor Kieran McEvoy and Dr Anna Bryson from Queen’s University Belfast School of Law.

This research will explore four key issues: the new ways of lawyering that they pioneered; the ways in which they developed new types of legal specialism that focused on the needs of the poor; the roles they have played in campaigns for legal reform; and their contribution to strategic litigation.

The project team will be working closely with the UK’s leading oral history fieldwork charity, National Life Stories at the British Library.

In addition to the production of a sound archive, the project team will create a paper archive of Law Centre annual reports which will also be deposited at the British Library.

Julie Bishop, director of the Law Centres Network, which is acting as a project partner, said: “The Law Centres Network is delighted to be a partner on this project which will give much-needed recognition to the work that Law Centres have done in working with communities, enhancing access to justice and challenging unjust laws.”

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