Future Lawyer Blog

Discovering law in Scotland with ELSA – Mary Rizk

ELSA Scottish trip

ELSA Scottish trip

Through the City University emails, I was notified about a Law trip to Scotland with ELSA. ELSA London is an inclusive association with many aims.

These include: helping law students in participating in international study visits/exchanges; forming friendly and collaborative relationships with student law societies based in London law schools and organising seminars, panel discussions, legal research groups and other academic activities.

I had never previously visited Scotland, so I was able to persuade my parents to let me go if the trip was ‘Law’ related, which is was, indeed. After I did some research around ELSA, I was immediately intrigued and consequently, I filled in an online application form – where I tried to explain why visiting Scotland would benefit me.

Still reading? Okay, just checking. The programme ran from the 2nd of November until the 6th of November and the group was composed of 30 students. The students were from a number of universities, such as UCL, Queen Mary, King College London and Middlesex University – studying law at either undergraduate or postgraduate level.

On Monday the 3rd we set off to the Scottish Parliament and this included a guided tour for approximately half an hour. The tour was extremely beneficial as it gave us an insight into when the Scottish Parliament was formed. It was formed in September 1997; the 1997 Scottish devolution referendum was put to the Scottish electorate and secured a majority in favour of the establishment of a new devolved Scottish Parliament. We were also told who was responsible of designing it, taking ideas from all over Scotland. It was fascinating to learn about why the structure was a certain way– it is completely different to what England’s parliament looks like. Later on in the day, we visited the University of Edinburgh for an introductory lecture on Scottish Law. Something that might be of particular interest is the fact that in Scotland there are three verdicts: guilty, not guilty and not proven (which is that the person is guilty but the courts do not have enough evidence against him).

Furthermore, on Tuesday the 4th, we were given the opportunity to visit the High Court of the Justiciary (Scottish Supreme Court) and have a Q&A session with the Lord Clerk Justice (equivalent to a Supreme Court judge). We were also given the chance to observe an Appeal at the High Court. Despite such an eventful day, we toured Edinburgh and enjoyed what the city had to offer! It was absolutely amazing…and very, very cold. There were also some activities taking place at the Edinburgh student union, which we were invited to.

Finally, on Wednesday the 5th we embarked on a visit to the Sheriff’s Court, where we were given an introduction to Scotland’s criminal law and observed court business. This was interesting particularly because we observed a trial for attempted murder.

I think that the most exciting moment of this trip was the chance to meet with George Adam, MSP (Scottish National Party) where he informed us about his experience during the Scottish referendum and the impact it had, not only on his town, but the entire Scottish nation.

I did not only enjoy the law side of this trip, but also the social side to it, as we had some free time to discover with the other students – visiting places like the Edinburgh Castle and the Edinburgh Dungeon (it was not too scary, just a lot of laughing!). I was mostly happy with the fact that I was able to get to know people who were at different stages of their studies, who also gave me advice on what to expect, even at the BPTC level. I look forward to going on many more trips through City University London because I definitely enjoyed this one and wished it had lasted for a longer period of time. Now I have to majorly catch up on the reading I have missed out on but I have no regrets, it was definitely worth it!

Many thanks to Mary Rizk, LLB1 student at City University London for writing this great piece for Lawbore. If you attend any events that you’d like to write up please get in touch with Emily.

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