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The most senior judge in England and Wales visited the Jo Richardson Community School in Dagenham on Monday to give pupils the chance to hear about the work of judges, the justice system and the rule of law.
Lord Burnett of Maldon, the Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales visited the school as part of an ongoing schools engagement programme that judges are involved in across the country.
Explaining the role of a modern judge is a priority for the Lord Chief Justice and today’s visit follows his recent announcement that he is launching an online course aimed at young people in the new year. The course will explain the work of the modern judiciary to young people and is being developed in partnership with King’s College London.
He was accompanied by local diversity and community relations judges, His Honour Judge Jaron Lewis (who works with the school on the Limitless London Project giving career guidance to young people) Her Honour Karen Walden-Smith and Tribunal Judge Ita Farrelly
The Lord Chief Justice said: “The rule of law is fundamental to our British way of life. Every day, many thousands of judges make decisions which affect people’s lives, and their livelihoods. But most people have little idea of what goes on unless they find themselves in the system.
“I want to make it easier for schools to help teach pupils about the justice system, and how it really works – I want to invite students to talk to us about our work.
“I want to make this opportunity more widely available to schools by asking them to consider inviting judges to visit and give them access to other resources that support their curriculum, and their careers conversations with students.
“There are judges from all walks of life and at many various levels in courts and tribunals. I also want to send the message to all students, from whatever background, they could be the lawyers and judges of the future.”
The schools engagement programme is backed up by online resources that are available to schools and students on the judiciary’s website https://www.judiciary.uk/schools These include notes for lessons, fact sheets and other resources to help schools facilitate learning about the justice system and rule of law.
The visit comes on the back of the work that scores of Diversity and Community Relations Judges (DCRJs) and magistrates already do in the community; the Lord Chief Justice hopes that their work – often unseen and unsung – will help encourage students from all backgrounds to think about a career in the justice system.