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Student Staff Update: Paul Shakeshaft

This semester I contributed to a project for Freedom Firm. Freedom Firm represents and defends women and children caught in sex trafficking in India. Our project performed research for Freedom Firm to help the organization advocate to the Child Welfare Committee in India. Specifically, we researched other child welfare systems around the world. For example, we looked at the degree of involvement with social services, the appointment of guardian ad litems, special evidentiary rules, and the special training of judges for cases involving children.

My research focused on England and Wales. I researched the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act of 1999, which established special measures for vulnerable child witnesses. Combing through English and Welsh common law and statutory law, I compiled the various procedures and protections England and Wales have in place for children in cases of abuse or other vulnerable circumstances, as well as those countries’ social welfare services applied to those children.

This project was rewarding in that it will help the vulnerable as well as the underserved. It was exciting because it addressed an international social and court system. In addition, it allowed me to gain a further understanding of English law; a task I value because of English common law’s importance to American law, and because of my career interest in practicing law in England. It was a great opportunity and blessing to work on this project.

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