Reflections on the relationship between the law and disadvantaged sectors of society

By Ayesha Sohanpal

Ayesha is a 2nd year law student on the LLB course at UCL. Here she reflects on her experience of participating in the Homelessness case study as part of Laws Connections, UCL’s 2-week law course aimed at introducing first year undergraduates to the study of law and its role in addressing social challenges. 

Navigating the busy thoroughfares of Euston and central London, where earnest appeals for donations from the city’s many homeless are impossible to ignore, before arriving in the quiet calm of the UCL law faculty’s home is a study in contrasts. Descending the glossy white stairs of Bentham House in anticipation of my first Laws Connections session, I could scarcely perceive the relationship between what appeared to be two discrete worlds, wholly disconnected and unperturbed by one another. Nor could I have realised the urgent relevancy of the ideas I would soon encounter over the next two weeks in potentially transforming the realities of the bustling streets I had just exited.

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The Inhumanity of Homelessness Law

By Laura Beaumont 

“Home is where the heart is” but, if that logic follows, around 320,000 hearts are lost in Britain currently. By bringing this housing crisis to my attention, Laws’ Connections prompted me to look beyond the black letter of the law and to evaluate legislation through human eyes. To exemplify this, the article shall evaluate a real-life problem: The Council’s decision to displace the homeless individuals living in my hometown of Windsor, before the Royal Wedding in May 2018. In doing so, I will draw to your attention the injustice of disregarding a human perspective in favour of a purely legal approach.

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Volunteering: ‘You know your Housing Rights Project’

By Caroline Jixin Gao 

A second year UCL Law student, was one of eight students to volunteer for the pilot project, in partnership with Haringey Citizens and Hodge Jones & Allen. In this blog post, she reflects on her experience delivering public legal education on housing law in Haringey and the wider implications of the housing crisis in London.

“Know Your Housing Rights with Haringey Citizens” is a pilot Pro Bono project, which involved us delivering educational workshops. As the name suggests, these workshops focused on giving Housing-related legal advice for residents. For this initiative, we worked with Citizens UK and solicitors from Hodge Jones & Allen. One of the solicitors remarked to us that they believe that Haringey is an “untapped market” for them to offer Housing-related legal advice, given the demographics of this area. As this is a pilot initiative, the conservative workshop numbers meant that we were able to deliver tight-knit interactive sessions. We were able to keep the workshops informal, and cater to the many specific questions posed by the participants. Hopefully, next iterations of the project will see an increase in turnout numbers, but this will also mean that the structure of the workshop has to adjust accordingly.

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