Justice Week is an annual joint awareness campaign of the legal professions across the four jurisdictions (Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, England & Wales). It aims to promote an understanding and awareness of access to justice and the rule of law, particularly among young people.
The 2021 campaign took place from the 1st – 5th March and focussed on the impact that COVID-19 has had on citizens’ rights and the administration of justice, with particular emphasis on the important role which the Rule of Law and the Justice System play in responding effectively to a public health crisis.
The Rule of Law and a robust justice system are vital to ensuring a coordinated and effective society-wide response to a pandemic. One that instils public trust; protects rights; addresses inequities; upholds accountability; and ensures a balanced and proportionate response where citizens’ rights and the public interest are concerned.
Over the course of the week, The Bar of Ireland hosted a series of events and initiatives under the following themes:
- Access to Justice
- Protecting Fundamental Rights
- Access to Education
- Safeguarding Public Health
A round up of activities can be seen in the video below
Justice Week 2020 ran from 24-27th February and aimed to promote an understanding and awareness of access to justice and the rule of law amongst younger citizens.
The focus of the 2020 Justice Week campaign was to engage with our younger citizens (under 25s) to help improve their understanding of the importance of the justice system and to demonstrate the possibilities that the law can provide in protecting their fundamental rights and freedoms.
Students, younger citizens and those organisations working in the justice field were invited to engage on how the law and courts play a role in addressing key challenges, as part of the first Justice Week in the State.
During Justice Week, each day carried a distinct theme:
Mon 24th Protecting Freedom
Tue 25th Fighting for Rights
Wed 26th Defending Democracy
Thu 27th Saving the Planet
Activities across the week incorporated the various themes including:
- a debate between the main Irish university Law Schools,
- a mock trial between the students of St. Audoen’s National School Dublin 7,
- video interviews from those working in the justice field
- as well as highlighting some policy and public interest initiatives – in the context of family law, court resourcing and related matters.
Themes of the week reflected many of the common challenges facing citizens and states across Europe and beyond. Bringing attention to the importance of law and the courts in addressing these challenges is, in our view, an important and continuous exercise.
Join the conversation – policy priorities, research and other initiatives can be promoted using the #justiceweek tag.
2020 was the first year that The Bar of Ireland joined with our colleagues in the UK in the awareness-raising campaign – the Bar Council of England and Wales, Bar of Northern Ireland and the Faculty of Advocates, Scotland. The intention is to build on the week and to involve the many voices in the legal policy and justice sector.