A strong turnout from enthusiastic and committed student volunteers, and encouraging words from the Dean of the Law Faculty, Hon. Justice Kate O’Regan and Professor Sandra Fredman marked the Annual Social Event jointly held by Oxford Pro Bono Publico (OPBP) and Oxford Legal Assistance (OLA) on 18th May, 2011, at the Rector’s Lodgings, Exeter College. It was also an occasion to announce the recipients of the recipients of the inaugural Internship Fund Programme, and the OPBP Chairperson, Laura Hilly, spoke about the varied nature of the work that the awardees would be undertaking over the summer and applauded their passion.
Professor Timothy Endicott congratulated OPBP and OLA for their work, noting that it contributed to the growth of Oxford’s Law Faculty by allowing it to engage both with different sections of society and different parts of the world. Adding to this, Professor Sandra Fredman spoke in particular about the work of OLA and how it simultaneously enabled the Faculty to reach out to the local community and gave students a valuable opportunity to be involved in practical, client-based work. Thanking Turpin & Miller, the law firm that partners with OLA, she also keenly anticipated the next phase of the programme where students would accompany barristers to court.
Hon. Justice Kate O’Regan’s words on the impact of pro bono work in public interest litigation also made an impact on the audience. While warmly acknowledging the utility of research such as that conducted by OPBP when she was a judge on South Africa’s Constitutional Court, she reminded law students to remain alive and sensitive to context when engaging in comparative law work.
Interested students also had the opportunity to go through the most recent project reports prepared by OPBP and volunteer for its upcoming project on the Right to Food for the UN Special Rapporteur.
All in all, this evening of great food, drink and music was the perfect way to thank all the dedicated faculty members and students that drive OPBP and OLA.