Street Law – ‘Cyber Security and Protection in Law for Teenagers’- research reflection by MD & Team Delight

  1. The role of public legal education:

Public legal education creates an interface between those who operate the legal process and those to whom this process is servient. “Recognising when one has a legal problem and then appreciating what can be done about it are fundamental tenets of access to justice.” [1]

Law underlies every aspect of society, largely underappreciated by many people, especially where awareness of its importance is lacking. It sets the boundaries which keep society functioning; regulates the behaviour of individuals, businesses, and governments; protects sections of society and individuals from harm or abuse, and provides recourse against those who cause one harm.

The law is regarded in different ways, depending on one’s engagement in society. Perhaps the police, health inspector, customs officer, Ofsted, or any other arm of the state employed to enforce legal standards. Perhaps the solicitor, accountant, or barrister, is employed to provide advice and support or to represent one in a dispute. Perhaps the magistrates or judges pronounce rulings on those disputes.

The law is all of those things in a sense, but more fundamentally it is the rules which guide, not only all of these operators in their actions but every member of the public, whether a conscientiously law-abiding person or not, in every aspect of life. Every car driver understands speed limits, the breathalyser, and MOT tests. Most shoppers expect when purchasing a box labelled 100 tea bags that that is what it contains. Less familiar circumstances necessitate a more sophisticated understanding of the law; divorces, neighbour disputes, house purchases, medical negligence etc.

Explaining how the law works, and how it serves everyone, benefits those whose understanding is enhanced. Those fearing the law as something to penalise them can understand it as impartial, applying equally to rich and poor, bosses and workers, rulers and subjects, buyers, and sellers etc.

Presenting the role of law in society also benefits the presenters. By appreciating general fears, anxieties, or ignorance within society, useful insights are gained that help to broaden the creativity of thought in those who may become solicitors, barristers, and judges. This helps empathy for those members of the public who find themselves in the unfamiliar environs of the solicitor’s office, police station, or county court.

A 2006 research report, “Facilitating Creativity in Higher Education: the Views of National Teaching Fellows” found that- ‘Most National Teaching Fellows believe that the capacity to be creative helps people to be successful and that developing students’ creativity is important.[2]

  • Practical Delivery of Street Law- Reflections:

Our first practical task was delivering a presentation to a group of school students. We organised our group of three people beforehand, starting with the choice of topic. My proposal ‘Cyber Security and Protection in Law for Teenagers’was agreed.

We planned the lesson together, supported by the tutor, online meetings, and rehearsals, before attending the school in Hexham.

I gave the introduction and encouraging questions. The first presenter discussed ‘Social Media and its Role in Society.’ The next presenter considered ‘Child sexting and Pornography Awareness.’ I concluded, focusing on ‘Cyber Bullying and Harassment’, discussing its manifestations and statistical prevalence, and explaining current laws and actions available to victims.

The students were informal but attentive and particularly engaged with my concluding presentation which asked them to ‘Propose a Law.’ This was a good application of ‘Bloom’s Taxonomy, showing the success of the event by encouraging the creativity inspired by the presentation. The class was divided into five groups, and I offered a box of Celebration sweets to the group proposing the best law. Suggestions included- doxxing, sexting, cyber harassment etc. with a minimum penalty of £10!

I believe that staging such an event could be improved by presenting in a conference room with a bigger group, using interactive tools like story mode and videos, given more time. Creating a youth-friendly website may also encourage proposals for changes to the law, especially if directly connected with lawmakers and the government.

In opening our presentation, we asked the students if anyone was interested in studying law: there was no one. After the presentation, there was much more interest and perhaps future lawyers could come out of it. They showed great interest and engagement with the subject.

In the end, the teacher was very grateful, asking us to come back and present to a larger group in future. It was a hugely enjoyable experience for our group and for the students. When we finished, we left a card for the headmaster thanking him for giving us the opportunity.

Our second task, by the same group of three, required producing an artefact for one of the following topics-

  1. Consumer Law
  2. Criminal Injuries Compensation Applications
  3. Employment Law

We chose topic 2 and I proposed “A Guide to Compensation for Sexual Abuse”, targeting the general public and our student law office.

With the tutor’s agreement, we did the practical legal research, and I designed the poster.

Research covered:

  •    What is injuries compensation?
  •     Eligibility requirements and limitations.
  •     How to apply and the process
  •     Evidence the clients may need
  •     What happens next
  •     Psychological injuries caused by sexual abuse
  •     Accessing the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme Authority.

My role involved how to apply for this scheme, evidence procedures and describing the overall process through to its conclusion. Significantly, I discovered in a National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children survey that around 7.5% of adults between ages 18-74 had suffered sexual abuse before the age of 16. [3]

Many victims are seemingly invisible, possibly through their fears of navigating the system.

This artefact provides simple information to many people about the nature of support and how to make claims. In its delivery, a central purpose of Street Law is fulfilled.

The tasks have shown how valuable Street Law is, not only for the school students, but also in developing legal skills and applying knowledge gained from my studies. This will greatly benefit my legal career, especially in gaining presentational skills and confidence to address an audience.

“Which target group is the true priority, non-lawyers, or young lawyers doing Street Law? The answer to this question differs not only among Street Law programmes, but also within teams. Both alternatives are praiseworthy, but reaching true symbiosis is not as easy as one might think. Either way, as long as the Street Law programme helps increase legal literacy, it is a win/win situation for all.[4]

In conclusion, the voluntary aspect of Street Law allows informality, but is an important aspect of pro bono, grounding students on a level which promotes creative and innovative interactions. Not least, it is satisfying and enjoyable.

See the full presentation

We have also produced guidelines to compensation claim for sexual abuse:

Poster for the students


Secondary Sources:

  1. Grimes R, “Advancing legal education for all – the role of a journal” International journal of Public Legal Education [page 82] <> accessed 06 May 2022.
  • Office for National Statistics UK, Survey for Child sexual abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2019 (January,2020)

[1] Richard Grimes, “Advancing legal education for all – the role of a journal” International journal of Public Legal Education [page 82]

[2] Ruth Pickford, ‘Facilitating Creativity in Higher Education- The Views of National Teaching Fellows’ (2006) ‘Executive Summary’ <> accessed 06 May 2022

[3] Office for National Statistics UK, Survey for Child sexual abuse in England and Wales: year ending March 2019 (January,2020) page 3.

[4]   Michal Urban, ‘Why there is a need for Street Law programmes?’ (University of Charles, Faculty of Law Journal, 2017) <> accessed 08 May 2022.

Leave a Reply