A Lifetime for Justice: High Sheriff of Bristol’s flagship event announces full speaker line-up

November 4, 2022

The final line-up of speakers has been confirmed for a major event in Bristol that aims to shine a light on the impact of human rights change makers in legal justice and equality.

Joining Baroness Hale, the former president of the Supreme Court, at A Lifetime for Justice will be I. Stephanie Boyce, the sixth female and the first Black president of the Law Society of England and Wales, and Clive Stafford Smith OBE, a British attorney who specialises in the areas of civil rights and campaigning against the death penalty in the US. 

The high-profile event, organised by the High Sheriff of Bristol Alex Raikes MBE DL, will showcase the criminal and legal justice system for those who may not know much about it.

Also included in the line-up will be Dr Leroy Logan MBE, one of the UK’s most highly decorated Black police officers who also set up the Black Police Association, while it will be opened by Prof Evelyn Welch, the recently appointed vice-chancellor and president of the University of Bristol, which is a partner in the event.

Taking place on 30 November in the Wills Memorial Building, A Lifetime for Justice will be compèred by noted TV presenter Sherrie Eugene-Hart. Mayor Marvin Rees and the High Sheriff will close the event.

I. Stephanie Boyce will be interviewed by Anjali Gohil, chair of Bar None and a criminal barrister at Guildhall Chambers, Bristol.

The Bar None initiative, formed to encourage the strongest possible applications from under-represented groups on the Western Circuit with a particular focus upon those from state school and BAME backgrounds.

The event will also feature a marketplace showcasing organisations active in this area.

Alex Raikes, who is also strategic director of Bristol’s Stand Against Racism & Inequality (SARI), hopes to emphasise the importance of the criminal and legal justice system, its power and weaknesses, the passion and commitment of many within it, and why it needs to be made up of the diverse society it serves.

Alex said: “I want to look at how I bring my 31 years’ experience of working for SARI so I can utilise the role to promote equality and tackle disproportionality and injustice – including hate crime and discrimination – across the criminal justice system.

“Each High Sheriff brings their own unique stance and priorities. My aim is about making the role more accessible to those with less means and more relevant to the diverse communities I serve.” She said every meaningful step towards a fairer legal system, towards improved Human Rights, had been pre-empted by ordinary citizens “with fire in their bellies”.

“People who have been unwavering and persistent and relentless in their quest for a fairer society. Often fuelled by their own experiences of brutal injustice, these are the people who have pledged their life to justice. They have given a lifetime for justice,” she added.

The University of Bristol Law School is a partner of the event and will be running a session to bring justice to life for students from across the city earlier in the day.

Law School head Prof Ken Oliphant said: “As educators, we are in a privileged position to inspire a new generation of lawmakers and instil a belief within every student that they have the power to shape the future.

“To make real change happen, to truly strive for a more just society, we need voices from every walk of life, from individuals with real life experiences of the issues we’re trying to overcome.

“We need them in our lecture halls, influencing our research and making noise within the criminal and justice systems and beyond.

“This is an ambition we are already bringing to life for many young people who previously felt that a university education was an impossible dream. It is an ambition we are proud to share with the High Sheriff.”

The headline sponsor of A Lifetime for Justice is People & Cities, whose director is First High Sheriff of The County and City of Bristol and former Mayor George Ferguson CBE.

He said: “I have followed the work of SARI over the past 20 years and was privileged to work with Alex Raikes on some shocking cases of hate crime during my time as Mayor.

“I know how much Alex cares about fairness and inclusion and it is a pleasure to be able to support this extremely worthwhile initiative.”

A Lifetime for Justice is aimed at:

• Members of the public of all ages, especially younger people from all backgrounds

• Students in secondary, further and higher education

• Local leaders, dignitaries, High Sheriffs past and present, and legal professionals

• University academics and leadership

• Agencies wanting to achieve better representation and reach, including decision makers and influencers

• Business leaders

A Lifetime for Justice takes place from 5:30pm to 9:45pm. Tickets are available from www.bristolideas.co.uk/attend/lifetime-for-justice, with proceeds going to the High Sheriff’s Fund, which funds Bristol Youth and Community Action (BYCA), a programme supporting groups that provide physical and creative activities for eight to 12-year-olds during school holidays in the communities with greatest need.

Pictured, clockwise, from top right: Baroness Hale, Leroy Logan, Alex Raikes, Professor Evelyn Welch, I. Stephanie Boyce, Clive Stafford Smith, Mayor Marvin Rees and Sherrie Eugene-Hart. Bottom: Anjali Gohil

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