Old Bailey statue of Justice

Pro Bono Matters

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LSE Pro Bono Matters is a postgraduate group that volunteers to work for social justice using the law with the aim of improving access to justice, protecting human rights and furthering public interest causes. The student organisation was founded by Master of Laws (LLM) students in the 2014-15 academic year and is led by an LLM Student Director, a PhD Representative and the LSE Law School's Pro Bono Coordinators.

The LSE Pro Bono Matters group consists of LLM and other LSE Masters students who volunteer to assist internal and external organisations and practitioners on: human rights cases and international strategic litigation; producing legal submissions; writing reports for non-profit organisations; and conducting research in the public interest. In addition to this, LSE Pro Bono Matters also holds events throughout the academic year to raise awareness for particular issues and for careers in human rights and other areas of law.

See also our newsletter for Lent Term 2021.
 

Contact our team

LSE Law School Pro Bono Coordinators
Dr Niamh Dunne (Associate Professor of Law)
Dr Emmanuel Voyiakis (Associate Professor of Law)
Dr Insa Koch (Assistant Professor of Law and Anthropology)

PhD Representative
Shree Agnihotri (PhD Student in Law, s.agnihotri1@lse.ac.uk)

Student Director
Abhaya Ganashree  (LLM in Public International Law and Human Rights,  a.ganashree@lse.ac.uk)

Vice Student Director/Treasurer
Claudia Hyde (LLM in Public International Law and Human Rights, c.e.hyde@lse.ac.uk)

Secretary
Caoimhe Landy (LLM in Public International Law, c.landy@lse.ac.uk)

Events Coordinator
Leanne Ma (Traditional LLM, j.ma22@lse.ac.uk)

Communications and Media Officer
Maria Polycarpou  (LLM in Competition Innovation and Trade, m.polycarpou@lse.ac.uk)

Contact us
law.probonomatters@lse.ac.uk; or email any of the committee members directly.

Or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn 

Meet the Team

Student Director - Abhaya Ganashee

Abhaya is an LLM candidate pursuing a specialism in Public International Law and Human Rights.

“I developed a passion for pro bono work while serving as the Laidlaw Research Scholar with the Leeds Disability Law Clinic. Here, I assisted with group litigation cases, research influencing public policy and Amicus Curiae briefs to the European vCommittee on Social Responsibility. This experience helped me observe the social impact that such pro bono work had and motivated me to work with the LSE Pro Bono Matter Committee.”

Vice Student Director/Treasurer – Claudia Hyde

Claudia an LLM candidate pursuing a specialism in Public International Law and Human Rights.

“I got involved in PBM because I've always been passionate about public service and access to justice. Working with the charities we've partnered with has been a great way to contribute to a range of causes and learn about fascinating issues I didn't have much exposure to before”

Secretary- Caoimhe Landy

Caoimhe is an LLM candidate pursuing a specialism in Public International Law.

“I got involved in Pro Bono Matters as I have been involved in a number of pro bono projects whilst interning in law firms in Dublin and throughout my undergrad degree. I was also keen to take part in the management and facilitation of new pro bono projects with some fantastic organisations across London for this year’s LLM cohort.”

Events Coordinator - Jiayue (Leanne) Ma

Jiayue is pursuing a traditional LLM degree

"I joined PBM because I gained invaluable experience from doing pro bono work, whether it was doing voluntary translation or helping NGO's on their research. Joining the PBM, I hope to help LSE students engage in a wider range of pro bono projects and support the community."

Communications and Media Officer – Maria Polycarpou

Maria is an LLM candidate pursuing a specialism in Competition Innovation and Trade Law

“I recognise the impact that a contribution towards the public interest can make in people's lives and so I wanted to be part of PBM during my LLM at LSE. I enjoy the opportunity of working with amazing organisations and being able to secure volunteering opportunities for LSE students who also want to work towards improving access to justice.”

2020/2021 Research Projects

Below you can find out about some of our research projects from this year

1.  British Institute for Comparative Law (BIICL)

BIICL is one of the leading independent research centres for international and comparative law in the world.

LSE Pro Bono Matters has worked with BIICL on two research projects: one focusing on anti-trafficking law and policy (the JTIP Project) and one focusing on the impact of COVID-19 on international commercial dispute resolution.

2. The Prison Reform Trust and Howard League

The Prison Reform Trust (PRT) an independent UK charity working to create a just, humane and effective penal system. The Howard League for Penal Reform is the oldest penal reform charity in the UK.

LSE Pro Bono Matters volunteers are working with these two charities on casework analyses focusing on decisions of the UK Parole Board and court proceedings relating to prisoners’ rights.

3.  Restorative Justice For All

RJ4ALL an international institute with a mission to advance community cohesion and human Rights.

LSE Pro Bono Matters is working with RJ4All on a rapid evidence review on cyberbullying of LGBTQ+ young people in the UK and the legal response to it.

4. Reprieve

Reprieve is a legal action non-governmental organisation (NGO) which defends marginalised people who are facing human rights abuses, often at the hands of powerful governments.

LSE Pro Bono Matters is assisting on Reprieve’s cutting-edge Stop Aid For Executions project through researching comparative approaches across different jurisdictions towards ensuring that aid does not contribute to the imposition of death penalties overseas.

5.  Somers Town Legal Advice Center (SIAC)

The Somers Town Legal Advice Centre provides free legal advice to residents of Somers Town and St Pancras. LSE Pro Bono Matters helped STLAC recruit two advice volunteers from the LSE student body. The volunteers will assist in casework, drafting, client care and legal administration in support of the STLAC’s vital work in the local community.

6. UKFPC iSea

iSea is the UK's first national support centre for Southeast and East Asian Communities, combatting hate crime, promoting community outreach, elderly care, resource aid & sharing, language support etc.

LSE Pro Bono Matters is helping iSea to recruit two students to participate in the research project on tackling hate crime, particularly it's resurgence in light of the pandemic.

Events

1.   Docu-Screening Event: "The Empire"

  • Featuring a discussion on Imperialism with Dr Taylor Sherman and Professor Thomas Poole
  • We explored the theme of : 'Empire, Colonisation and Globalisation'. Tracing the complex story of the British Empire, our Committee aimed to explore how the impacts of colonisation continue to be felt in the global realpolitik and beyond.
  • To do this, we screened the episode, Doing Good, from the BBC Documentary series 'Empire', providing a space for critical discourse centred around these themes. Addressing how Britain's desire for conquest was cloaked as a mission to improve the rest of mankind, Dr. Taylor Sherman and Professor Tom Poole focused on the history of British imperialism and the popular narrative in Britain surrounding the British Empire as well as the construction of new nation-states in the shadow of Western imperialism. The panelists explored what imperialism looks like in the global realpolitik through a discussion on the white man's burden of "grooming" the colonised. Discussing how imperialism interacted with constitutional development in the past, they addressed the question of whether, and how, it interacts with constitutional orders today.

Panelists:

Dr. Taylor Sherman (Lecturer, International History, LSE): Dr. Sherman's research interest lies broadly within Empire, Colonialism and Globalisation. Dealing with the cultural and political history of countries in transition such as India and Pakistan, Dr. Sherman discussed the impacts of colonisation felt in these countries even in modern times.

Prof. Thomas Poole (Professor of Law, LSE): Professor Poole's research interests lies broadly in the area of UK constitutional and administrative law as well as legal and political theory. Talking about his books Reason of State: Law, Prerogative, Empire and The Double-Facing Constitution, Professor Poole discussed the insights that can be gained on the functioning of imperialism from the history of constitutional thought.

2.  Arendt, Nation Building and Collective Guilt: "The Wave"

  • Featuring a panel discussion with Professor Gerry Simpson and Dr. Ayça Çubukçu.
  • The focus was on the formation of certain types of government, and on the relationship between violence, intimidation and similar forms of violations of human rights and the "exterior", often imperialistic, elements in nation building.
  • Screening 'The Wave', a film that follows a social experiment conducted by a high school teacher where he turns his classroom into a Nazi-style dictatorship, we hope to provide a space for critical discourse centered around these themes.
  • The panelists explored the social and political landscape in which such nation-building is possible and the idea of a manufactured 'enemy' and 'sovereign'. Discussing how these systems once constructed could take their own shape, they answered the question of individual responsibility and collective guilt.

Panelists:

Dr. Ayça Çubukçu (Co-Director of LSE Human Rights, Department of Sociology): Dr. Çubukçu's research interest lies in social, political and legal theory, with a focus on human rights, political violence, postcolonial studies, and transnational social movements. Dealing with the politics of transnational solidarity and the  entanglement of international law and human rights ideals with the ethics and politics of violence, Dr.Çubukçu discussed how these governments are formed and take account of their impact.

Prof. Gerry Simpson (Professor of Public International Law, LSE): Professor Simpson's research interests lies in the area of international law and war crimes. Taking a critical approach to these issues, Professor Simpson discussed nation-building and the creation of an outsider or 'enemy' and an inviolable sovereign. Taking account of the atrocities committed, he addressed the question of responsibility and guilt.