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Law Personal Statement - Russell Group/Oxbridge

With a blindfold across her eyes, Lady Justice represents the objectivity of the Justice System. In a generation where the gender pay gap persists and minorities face discrimination decades after the introduction of equalities legislation, I wonder whether perhaps an all-seeing symbol would be more appropriate.

"Eve was Framed" by Helen Kennedy explores the bias against women in our justice system. She discusses the battle to even allow women to be involved in legal processes as senior members of the legal profession in a society where sexism was the norm and the idea of a woman in a court seemed to be at best a gesture of liberalism, but commonly accepted as a radical notion. It allowed me to appreciate how stereotypes are perpetuated by those who seek to exploit the weaknesses in our laws and legal system. Ultimately I began to reflect upon the relationship between the law, liberal ideas and religion. I drew parallels to today's society and the more liberal ideals that are emerging, especially those that contradict major religions, such as laws regarding surrogacy. It is these scenarios which capture my interest in law and how it can reconcile the apparent dichotomy between them, as well as adapt to an ever changing society.

Competing in the Magistrates Mock Trials stimulated my interest in law as I was able to act out a case (albeit as the defendant!) as part of a national winning team of students. I subsequently shadowed barristers at St Ives Chambers, learning how to analyse cases from personal injury claims to family disputes. I found one particular case of stalking eye-opening due to the requirement for harassment to have occurred several times before a prosecution is possible, making me question how our laws could be improved.

In Year 12, I took part in the Bar Mock Trials Competition, this time assuming the role of lawyer for the prosecution. This sharpened my analytical skills to assess a situation quickly and to create an appropriate response when having to cross-examine witnesses. Performing at the Old Bailey and watching other teams gave me an insight into how the same case can result in different outcomes, depending on the performances of the those involved. Though not surprising given the subjective nature of the law and its interpretations and applications, it does make me question its fairness and ability to truly provide justice.

My EPQ investigates the extent to which the Hillsborough inquests have challenged the integrity of the justice system, providing valuable research skills required for any degree. Reading "Hillsborough - The Truth" helped to widen my understanding of the disaster, providing harrowing accounts of the day and subsequent injustices faced by the families. Initially it seemed that this gross miscarriage of justice challenged the very morals justice is built upon, but further research revealed that perhaps its main causes and effects were the inexperience of officers and a lack of planning. Indeed, it seems that the recent verdict of unlawful killing may be an example of justice prevailing. What I found most challenging was differentiating between a negative aspect of the justice system and a problem in legal processes. In this instance it was not the principles of the justice system that led to the initial incorrect verdicts and the long fight for justice, but the faults in other parts of the processes, such as flawed coroner reports and amended statements.

As well as being engrossed in my studies, I participate in Taekwondo and have done for the past ten years, an activity which has taught me discipline and commitment, as well as providing a release from my academic life. Being appointed Deputy Head Girl has developed my public speaking skills with my part time job as a tutor enabling me to hone my communication skills, having to cater for children aged six to sixteen. I believe these skills will be an asset in dealing with the rigours of reading for a degree in Law.

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Author's Comments

University of Birmingham - Unconditional offer
University of Cambridge - Accepted to interview and placed in winter pool
University of Liverpool - Offer and offer lowered to ABB
University of Nottingham - Offer
University of Warwick - Offer

Grades: Biology A, EPQ A*, History A, Psychology A*

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