Name: Elspeth Windsor
College: St Hilda’s College
Scholarship: The Kalisher Trust Studentship
I am the first generation in my family to have attended University. Having secured first-class honours in Law during my undergraduate study at the University of Southampton, I was awarded the Kalisher Trust Studentship to study for the MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Oxford. My research interests include domestic homicide, gendered constructs of criminality and victimology. I have notable experience in the legal voluntary sector and through the Kalisher Trust I am mentee to HHJ Marks Q.C. and Max Hardy Q.C.
What are your career ambitions?
It is my aspiration to practise at the Criminal Bar.
What do you enjoy most about studying law in Oxford?
Undoubtedly the best part of studying at Oxford is being taught by, and spending time with, the exceptional academic community here. I feel incredibly privileged to continuously find myself sat around a table with a vast array of brilliant minds engaged in the most stimulating conversations. A day rarely passes where I do not learn something new, and I am acutely aware of what a privilege that is.
What do you find most challenging about your programme?
The volume of work for my course is quite intensive and this can be challenging. That being said, the comradery amongst my peers and the support I receive from my professors’ mean that I am in a good place to meet this challenge. It is hard not to feel proud when reflecting on how much I can get done in a day- and the familiarity that my course fosters with intensive workloads, I believe, will stand me in good stead for making the transition into legal practise.
What do you find most rewarding about your programme?
The MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice has had a transformative impact on my outlook of both the application/development of the criminal law, and the operation of the criminal justice system itself. To be empowered to think critically about that which we legal scholars often take for granted, and to be well versed in the theoretical and empirical complexities that inform both the principle and practise of the criminal law, mean that I am well armed with a depth as well as breadth of knowledge on core issues that are so pivotal to criminal practise. In this respect, I find the utility of academy to be the most rewarding aspect of my programme.
Are you involved with any projects or societies?
I currently volunteer with the Bonavero Institute of Human Right’s Collaborative Legal Aid Clinic at HMP Huntercomb. This project works with Turpin and Miller LLP to advise and assist prisoners on issues pertaining to immigration, asylum and human rights law. Furthermore, as a Kalisher Trust Scholar, I am mentee to HHJ Richard Marks Q.C. and Max Hardy Q.C. which has meant that I am lucky enough to participate in exciting professional developmental enterprises, like marshalling at the Old Bailey. Myself and my fellow Kalisher Trust Scholar, Anu, are also keen to use our time at Oxford to push for greater diversity and pursue more outreach initiatives, in this vein we are in the process of consulting with our faculty about a number of ideas we have regarding how this might be done.
What advice would you give to a new or prospective student?
My advice would be twofold. Firstly, apply! I very nearly did not submit my application to Oxford as I did not think I had much of a chance of getting in (let alone attaining a scholarship), so I cannot reiterate enough how important it is to at least apply. Do not be lured into the false mindset of ‘Oxford is not for people like me’- Oxford is and has to be for everyone. Secondly, as somebody who had struggled tremendously with ‘imposter syndrome’ (feeling like you should not really ‘be at Oxford’) to begin with, I would emphasise to new/prospective students the unextraordinary side of studying at Oxford which I have found to be a real comfort. Whilst Oxford is a special place, filled with unique opportunities, and quirky traditions, actually studying here is relatively normal. You do not need to be ‘special’ to do well or fit in, a solid work ethic and the drive to apply yourself, I have found, is the unremarkable formula to doing well here.