Our A-level law students were treated to an inspirational talk from Shahzad Aziz, a judge of the first-tier tribunal, who hears life-changing human rights, asylum and immigration appeal cases.
Judge Aziz’s insights and experiences offered the class a different view to the law in a specialist area, away from the criminal law our students have been studying.
“I did an A-level in law and really enjoyed it,” he said. “Whilst I was at college, I also got a summer job working as an office junior for a law firm. It was primarily these two experiences that inspired me to apply to study law at university.
“I had always wanted to specialise in human rights law and developing a practice at the Bar in immigration and asylum law allowed me to pursue this goal.
“One evening, when I was preparing for a case, I accidently came across an advertisement for a judicial competition to recruit judges to sit in the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, as it was then known. I applied and the rest is history as they say.”
As part of the talk, Judge Aziz set students a unique task to look at a fictitious case study and a piece of law, and they had to use the law and apply it to the case. He added: “The students have been fantastic; they’ve been really engaged with the task I set them and I think they’ve been really impressive.”
Sarah Merrick, law teacher at Telford College said: “Judges are highly regarded in the legal system and for the students to experience meeting and interacting with a judge was invaluable.
“We contacted the courts and tribunals judiciary on their website, where we can request a visit from a judge and when Judge Aziz responded with his background, I thought it would be something different as the students have not had the chance to explore immigration before.
“Judge Aziz talked to them about how to become a judge and he spoke about barriers that he encountered along the way. He circulated the room whilst they were completing the activity and discussed the task and gave one-to-one feedback.
“At the end they had an opportunity to ask questions and he commented particularly on how good the questions were that they asked and on their excellent application skills and how they were able to justify their decision.
“Our students said they found the experience enjoyable and interesting, specifically the opportunity to explore a different area of the law and hearing about the pathway to becoming a judge.”