Alex Raikes MBE DL today, 22nd July, launches a pioneering event to help shine a light on the impact of human rights change makers in legal justice and equality
Former President of the Supreme Court, Baroness Hale, and Leroy Logan, one of the UK’s most highly decorated and well-known black police officers, are among those who will be speaking at a pioneering event, which is to be compered by noted TV presenter, Sherrie Eugene-Hart.
The event aims to bring to life the breadth and depth of the criminal and legal justice system for those who may not know much about it, and will also feature stalls from organisations active in this area.
The High Sheriff, Alex Raikes, who is also Strategic Director at Stand Against Racism & Inequality (SARI), hopes to emphasise the importance of the criminal and legal justice system, its power and weaknesses, the passion and commitment of many within it, and why it needs to be made up of the diverse society it serves.
Scheduled to take place on 30 November 2022, the event will be open to a wide range of guests, including:
- Members of the public of all ages, especially younger people from all backgrounds
- Students in secondary, further and higher education
- Local leaders, dignitaries, High Sheriffs past and present, and legal professionals
- University academics and leadership
- Agencies wanting to achieve better representation and reach, including decision makers and influencers
- Business leaders
Ms Raikes said: “I want to look at how I bring my 30 years’ experience of working for SARI so I can utilise the role to promote equality and tackle disproportionality and injustice (including hate crime and discrimination) across the criminal justice system. Each High Sheriff brings their own unique stance and priorities. My aim is about making the role more accessible to those with less means and more relevant to the diverse communities I serve.”
Alex added “Every meaningful step towards a fairer legal system, towards improved Human Rights, has been preempted by ordinary citizens with fire in their bellies. People who have been unwavering and persistent and relentless in their quest for a fairer society. Often fuelled by their own experiences of brutal injustice, these are the people who have pledged their life to justice. They have given a lifetime for justice.”
The University of Bristol Law School is a partner of the event and will be running a session to bring justice to life for students from across the city earlier in the day. Professor Ken Oliphant, Head of the Law School, commented:
“As educators, we are in a privileged position to inspire a new generation of lawmakers and instil a belief within every student that they have the power to shape the future. To make real change happen, to truly strive for a more just society, we need voices from every walk of life, from individuals with real life experiences of the issues we’re trying to overcome.
“We need them in our lecture halls, influencing our research and making noise within the criminal and justice systems and beyond. This is an ambition we are already bringing to life for many young people who previously felt that a university education was an impossible dream. It is an ambition we are proud to share with the High Sheriff.”
First High Sheriff of The County and City of Bristol, George Ferguson CBE, currently Director of People & Cities, the event’s headline sponsor, added, “I have followed the work of SARI over the past 20 years, and was privileged to work with Alex Raikes on some shocking hate crime cases during my time as Mayor of Bristol. I know how much Alex cares about fairness and inclusion and it is a pleasure to be able to support this extremely worthwhile initiative.”
The event will take place at the Wills Memorial Hall on 30 November 2022 from 17:30-21:45. Bookings are now open www.bristolideas.co.uk/attend/lifetime-for-justice, with proceeds from ticket sales going to raise funds for the High Sheriff’s Fund, BYCA (https://quartetcf.org.uk/grants/bycag-holiday-2/).
Organisers have several other thought-provoking, trailblazer, high profile and inspirational speakers, who will be announced in September.
The event is being organised in collaboration with The University of Bristol, Bristol Ideas and People & Cities, supported by UWE Bristol, plus Avon and Somerset Constabulary and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset.
Community Partners for the event include VWV, Clifton College, Burges Salmon and Business West. Also kindly supported by Wessex Water.
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The role of High Sheriff has been around for at least 1,000 years; the individual used to be in charge of law and order. Today it is an independent, non-political, Royal appointment for one year, with the remit of supporting the criminal and legal justice system, police, emergency services, probation and prison services and any agencies focused on crime prevention. It also supports the voluntary and community sector who help keep communities safe. In 1373, Edward III granted Bristol the status of a county and the first “Sheriff of Bristol”, John Viell, was appointed Sheriff. In 1974, 600 years after Edward III’s grant, the County of Bristol was subsumed into the County of Avon. In 1996, when Bristol became a unitary authority, it regained its county status. From that point on the role has been known as the ‘High Sheriff of the County and City of Bristol’.
Bristol Youth and Community Action (BYCA)
The Bristol Youth and Community Action (BYCA) programme supports groups providing physical and creative activities for 8-12 year-olds during school holidays in the communities with greatest need. It is chaired by the High Sheriff of Bristol and funded from the High Sheriff’s Fund, with money raised through an event and an appeal.
BYCA is managed by Quartet Community Foundation (registered charity number: 1080418) and supports young people aged 8-12 years by funding a wide range of activities that offer positive experiences and reduce the risk of involvement in anti-social behaviour. BYCA also provides funding to small projects identified by Police Community Support Officers that would benefit children and young people in their area.
Since its inception, BYCA has raised and distributed over £1m in funding, benefiting around 40 organisations and 5,000 young people each year.
Brenda Marjorie Hale, Baroness Hale of Richmond, DBE, PC, FBA
Baroness Hale is a British judge who served as President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom from 2017 until her retirement in 2020, and serves as a member of the House of Lords as a Lord Temporal.
In 2004, she joined the House of Lords as a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary, the only woman to have been appointed to that position. She served as a Law Lord until 2009 when she, along with the other Law Lords, transferred to the new Supreme Court as a result of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. She served as Deputy President of the Supreme Court from 2013 to 2017.
On 5 September 2017, Hale was appointed under the premiership of Theresa May to serve as President of the Supreme Court, and was sworn in on 2 October 2017. She was the third person and first woman to serve in the role. Hale is one of four women to have been appointed to the Supreme Court (alongside Lady Black, Lady Arden and Lady Rose).
Since 30 July 2018, Hale has been a non-permanent judge of the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong. In June 2021, she announced her decision not to seek reappointment on the Hong Kong court after the end of her term in July while mentioning the impact of the controversial Hong Kong national security law. She will be the first senior British judge to withdraw from Hong Kong’s top court after the enactment of the security law in June 2020.
IMAGE CREDIT MAT SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY
In 2019, Hale was appointed an Honorary Professor of Law at University College London. Hale has also been Honorary President of the Cambridge University Law Society since 2015, and was Chancellor of The University of Bristol from 2004-2016.
Leroy Logan MBE
Leroy Logan MBE is one of the UK’s most highly decorated and well-known black police officers. A highly respected and well-regarded commentator on policing and wider social justice issues, he believes that there is still much work to do in creating a more equitable and fair criminal justice system. Leroy’s early career was recently depicted in Red, White and Blue, the BAFTA and Golden Globe-winning episode of director Sir Steve McQueen’s acclaimed Small Axe series.
Since his retirement, Mr Logan has published his autobiography, Closing Ranks: My Life as a Cop and continues to use his decades of experience to give insightful, critical analysis on current events surrounding the UK justice system. He’s been called upon by the likes of Channel 4, News Night, The Guardian, Sky, BBC Radio 4, HARDTalk and more.
As the founding member and past Chair of both the Met and National Black Police Association (BPA), he also co-founded Voyage Youth, a citizen’s focus of the BPA. As a social justice charity it aims to empower marginalised young black people and provide them with the self-awareness and motivation to transform themselves and their communities. In January 2022 Mr Logan was appointed Chair of Transition to Adulthood (T2A), the justice arm of the Barrow Cadbury Trust’