Distinguished Human Rights Lawyer Gives High Sheriff’s Lecture at the University of Worcester

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L to R: Speaker Mark Stephens, High Sheriff of Worcestershire, Louise Hewett, and University of Worcester Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green

Mark Stephens, who has undertaken some of the highest profile cases in the UK and abroad, delivered the annual High Sheriff of Worcestershire’s lecture at the University.

Mr Stephens is a regular commentator on radio and television and chairs a number of bodies, including the Global Network Initiative and has been appointed by the Foreign Secretary to the FCO Free Expression advisory board.

Mr Stephens spoke about the situation in Israel and Gaza and his geo-political analysis and concerns. He also touched on aspects of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and international law.

Asked what advice he would give the students of today looking to work in international humanitarian, diplomatic or media law, he suggested work opportunities at the international criminal court or The Hague, taking up roles with the United Nations or for NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) like Global Witness or Human Rights Watch. He said this could open students’ eyes to a broader way in which they could influence the world.

Mr Stephens said he had done a lot of pro bono work in his early career motivated by specific injustices. However, he said more recently he had focused on issues that could have an impact beyond the case itself. He said: “Think about how you want to change the world, how you want to see justice exercised and then see how you can contribute and be part of the building blocks for change and justice.”

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High Sheriff of Worcestershire, Louise Hewett, said: “It was a fascinating talk. I hope that it was useful to the University students who attended - some of our budding lawyers of the future – in inspiring them with the sort of work they might be able to undertake to make a difference in the future and their next steps.”

First year Law student, Samuel Poole, who attended the talk, said: “It was interesting and a good insight into the conflict and generally just thought-provoking. International law is definitely an interesting aspect of the profession and it was useful to hear what sorts of areas of international law one may choose to pursue.”

University of Worcester students with Mark Stephens (centre), along with University staff and High Sheriff of Worcestershire, Louise Hewett