Social Responsibility in Law

Social Responsibility at the University of Manchester

Social responsibility describes the way we’re making a difference to the social and economic wellbeing of our communities through our teaching, research, knowledge exchange, and public events and activities.

University of Manchester is unique in British higher education in having social responsibility as one of its three core strategic goals sitting equally alongside its commitment to excellence in research and discovery and in teaching and learning. Our future: The University of Manchester’s vision and strategic plan

As the top UK University for two years running for our social and environmental impact (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings), our social responsibility activities capture our unique Manchester spirit, motivating communities to research, teach and share their ideas and students to study with us. More information about social responsibility at the University of Manchester can be found here.

Social Responsibility in Law

The Law Department in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Manchester has an intrinsic connection with the aims of Social Responsibility. Both staff and students in Law are taking great strides in making a difference to the social and economic wellbeing of our communities and to society as a whole.

Justice Hub

Social Responsibility Themes: Social InclusionPublic EngagementCivic Engagement

Through the Justice Hub our students explore various arms of the law to make real change in their community. This includes offering free legal advice to those who are most in need (Legal Advice Centre), our Dementia Law Clinic, and the Manchester Innocence Project which helps the wrongfully convicted and promotes change in the justice system.

More information about the Justice Hub, including details of opportunities for students, can be found here.

In this videoDr Philip Drake (Director of the Justice Hub) speaks about the Justice Hub and its links to Social Responsibility.

Black Lawyers Matter

Social Responsibility Themes: Social Inclusion

  • The Black Lawyers Matter scheme’s primary aim is to work in collaboration with University and external partners to address the under-representation of Black people, particularly men, working in the legal and criminal justice professions, particularly in the Greater Manchester area.
  • The Lemn Sissay Law Bursary is aimed at widening access by removing barriers to Law School undergraduate courses. The bursaries seek to address the under-representation of students of African and African Caribbean heritage in the Law School.
  • The Manchester 10/10 Programme offers bespoke academic and career support for students, along with a range of networking opportunities.

Uncertain Futures

Social Responsibility Themes: Social Inclusion, Better HealthUN’s Sustainable Development Goals, Cultural Engagement, Public Engagement, Civic Engagement

Dr Elaine Dewhurst (Senior Lecturer in Employment Law) is part of the award winning Uncertain Futures Team. This unique art and research project aims to highlight and analyse the intersectional inequalities facing women over 50 around work (whether paid or unpaid). This includes inequalities relating to gender, age, race, disability, migration and other statuses. The project combines art, research and activism through which it aims to achieve social change. The project won a Manchester Culture Award.

In this video Dr Dewhurst outlines the project and it links to Social Responsibility

Right to Clothing Campaign

Social Responsibility Themes: Social InclusionBetter HealthEnvironmental SustainabilityUN’s Sustainable Development GoalsPublic EngagementCivic Engagement

Dr Luke D. Graham (Lecturer in Public law and Human Rights) co-founded the Right to Clothing Campaign. The campaign brings together charities, trade unions, and individuals to address the issues of clothing deprivation, clothing waste, and the rights of workers in the clothing industry.

Past events related to the campaign which have been hosted at the University of Manchester include a Making a Difference Event – Clothing Poverty: Exposed and the Launch of the Right to Clothing Campaign.

In this video, Dr Luke D. Graham speaks about the Right to Clothing Campaign and its links to Social Responsibility.

Justice Gap

Social Responsibility Themes: Social InclusionPublic EngagementCivic Engagement

The Justice Gap is an online magazine about the law and justice and the difference between the two. It is edited by Jon Robins. Some of the best writers and commentators about justice issues have written for the Justice Gap and our print magazine Proof.

The Justice Gap news reporting scheme is run by a collaboration between four universities: Cardiff, Manchester, University College London and Glasgow.

In this video, one of our students Joyce Claudia Choo (class of 2023) speaks about her experience writing for the Justice Gap. A list of Joyce’s articles can be found here.

Public Order and Safety at Football Match Events

Social Responsibility Themes: Social InclusionPublic EngagementCivic Engagement

Professor Geoff Pearson’s research focuses on law, regulation, policing and crowd management with regard to football crowds.

He has used ethnographic observations with both fans and police to help understand how football fans behave, how law and policing affects them, and what the challenges are for safe management of football crowds. Football crowds have a reputation for being disorderly but research suggests that fans are far more likely to be injured by poor crowd management practices than by other fans, as most famously seen at Hillsborough or more recently in Indonesia.

Geoff’s research has therefore focused on (1) encouraging the police to pay greater attention to the human rights of fans, in particular freedom of expression and assembly and (2) campaigning for reform of the law to make laws fairer and more likely to improve safety and order at matches.

As a result, he works with organisations such as the College of Policing, the UK Football Policing Unit, and various police forces home and abroad, football’s governing bodies, and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, to help improve public order and fan safety at and around football match events through research, guidance, and training.

He has contributed to the Law Commission’s Review on Hate Crime, and the Baroness Casey review on the Euro2020 Disorder, co-authored the report that recommended the introduction of safe standing into stadia (and subsequently changed the law to this effect), and has helped to review the national policing guidance on public order policing and the policing of football.

In this video, Prof. Geoff Pearson speaks about his research and and its links to Social Responsibility.

Counter Terrorism and Human Rights Evidence Submission

Social Responsibility Themes: Social InclusionUN’s Sustainable Development GoalsPublic EngagementCivic Engagement

In 2023, a group of students undertaking the Counter Terrorism and Human Rights course submitted evidence to the Independent Counter-Terrorism Commission.

As a result of the submissions – on misogyny as a form of terrorism, the Northern Ireland Troubles Bill and Islamophobia – the Commission is arranged a visit to Manchester where the students presented oral evidence.

The evidence submissions can be accessed at the below links:

In this video, Dr Graham Smith (who oversaw the submissions) and three of the students who contributed to the project (Amber Musgrove-Benford, Christian Adair, Christopher Thirkell - all class of 2023) give an overview of the submissions and their links to social responsibility.