Four Barristers at St. John’s Chambers are donating their time and expertise to ‘The Bright Outlook’ project to help the young people of Bristol to change their lives.
St. John’s, based in Victoria Street, Bristol, is a premier set in the South West with 80 members including, seven Queens Counsel.Adrian Maxwell, a member of St. John’s Regulatory & Disciplinary team; Ben Handy– Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence team; Adam Boyle, a member of the Commercial & Chancery team and Jack Harris, a member of the Family team, are each contributing towards this worthy project.
The Bright Outlook project is a multi-agency scheme involving local charity Bristol Mediation, Trinity Road, Bristol Neighbourhood team, Safer Bristol and other local agencies and volunteers. The project identifies young people who are on the edge of, or are actively involved in gang crime/other criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.
These young people will experience mock custody and attend simulated trials in order to give them an insight into the consequences of their behaviour, as well as six-week programmes for those with more contact with the criminal justice system.Following these experiences the individuals are given a chance to discuss how they felt and given a five-year plan.Many of them are allocated a mentor who will continue to work with them and direct them in more positive activities, are able to attend a weekly drop in with some also have continued contact with the Bright Outlook programme through schools courses.
Jack Harris – a member of the Family team at St. John’s Chambers said: “This is a unique and inspired opportunity for young people who are perilously close to involvement with the criminal justice system to experience in stark terms what lies ahead if they don’t alter their behaviour. The effectiveness of this project relies on a wide range of professionals bringing with them their respective skills to make the experience as real as possible. I am delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile endeavour, and look forward to some good old fashioned cross examination on the day! “
The Bright Outlook project relies on volunteers to help make the mock experiences as realistic as possible.Ben Handy a member of St. John’s Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence team, became involved after speaking with members of Bristol Mediation. He comments: “It was plain to me just how much care and thought had gone into this programme from the moment I first spoke to its founders. It’s important that those of us within the legal profession take an interest and get directly involved in intelligent and inventive ideas like this.This will make sure the project has the desired effect and helps to change the lives of young people.”
Julie Cox, Service Manager at Bristol Mediation said: “We are extremely grateful for the support of St. John’s Chambers who have helped us at our recent mock court experience as part of the Bright Outlook programme.As a local partnership programme, it is great to have this additional support and having the Barristers’ volunteering their skills and professionalism, helped make it a very realistic for all of the young people that attended.”