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Lawyers Without Borders

367. Charlotte Bates

A legal assistant working with Kent County Council Legal Services has encouraged thousands of law students to take on pro bono work in deprived places across the world through her ‘Lawyers Without Borders’ student network.

10 Downing Street

Charlotte Bates, 27, started volunteering with Lawyers Without Borders as a student intern while studying at Oxford. She saw some of the organisation’s successes and the difference it had made to the quality of justice through its work in Africa and the Caribbean. She recognised the role she could play in exposing law students to opportunities to get involved in meaningful projects and ways in which their legal skills could be used to empower communities to access justice.

Charlotte has been managing the UK Student Divisions (STUDIV) at Lawyers Without Borders UK since her graduation in 2010. She was formally appointed as Director of the STUDIV Network at Lawyers Without Borders UK in January 2014. The network now runs across 15 UK and 3 US universities and consists of more than 2000 current students in the UK alone. Charlotte travels throughout the UK, strengthening the network by running training workshops and motivational speaking engagements, encouraging students to participate in pro bono undertakings. In the past year, students have contributed to projects ranging from human trafficking and wildlife crime, as well as country-based projects involving analysis of human rights and the application of international laws and mechanisms.

Charlotte also attends and assists with coordinating the network’s inter-university activities, including the annual Oxford Lawyers Without Borders Conference, which attracts a range of eminent legal and human rights professionals from across the world. She describes attending these events, which draw law students from across the country together to share ideas, as one of the most rewarding aspects of her role.  

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Charlotte has shown incredible dedication to improving justice around the world. By harnessing the time and skills of law students to for Lawyers Without Borders, she has enabled them to make sure many more people in across the globe receive legal representation. Her work has had a very real impact on people’s lives, and I’m delighted to recognise Charlotte as the UK’s 367th Point of Light.”

Charlotte said:

“Encouraging pro bono within the legal profession is an important aspect of Lawyers Without Borders’ mission, and I feel very privileged to work with such a motivated and committed movement of students, that are together making a significant contribution to the ability of communities at home and abroad to understand their rights and access justice.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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