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The Faculty of Law is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to a proactive and inclusive approach to equality, which supports and encourages all underrepresented groups, promotes an inclusive culture, and values diversity.

For many years, the Faculty has engaged in access and widening participation work as we have sought, and continue to seek, to ensure that the opportunity to study Law at Cambridge is not limited by financial means, social or educational background, or by gender, ethnicity or any other protected characteristic. The Faculty is also committed to ensuring that it offers a learning environment to those students who are admitted to study Law at Cambridge, and a working environment to members of staff, that values individuals, respects difference and celebrates diversity in its myriad forms.

The Faculty of Law appointed its inaugural Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI) Committee in the 2020-2021 academic year after receiving its Athena SWAN Bronze Award in May 2020. Chaired by Professor Nicola Padfield, the Committee is made up of academic faculty members, professional services staff, and undergraduate and postgraduate students.

While the Committee was born out of the Faculty’s Athena SWAN activities, the EDI Committee acknowledges the importance of EDI principles beyond gender equality, and is responsible for all matters relating to equality, diversity and inclusivity in the Faculty including (but not limited to):

  • Oversight and co-ordination of Athena SWAN-related matters;
  • Implementation of Athena SWAN action plans;
  • Liaising with the student body about matters concerning EDI;
  • Promotion of matters relating to EDI in the Faculty, including promotion of relevant training opportunities to Faculty members and staff and monitoring take-up of training;
  • Oversight and co-ordination of initiatives relating to EDI.

The Committee encourages the community within the Faculty (and in the wider University) to place EDI matters at the centre of all activities. Professor Padfield has also been appointed to chair the School of Humanities & Social Sciences’ EDI Forum and it is hoped that this will help to co-ordinate best practice across the School.

Placing EDI at the heart of the Faculty’s relationship with its students has resulted in direct student consultation through one-to-one meetings and focus groups. It has also driven the Committee’s engagement with university-wide concerns around best practice for students in multiple areas: in teaching, diversifying curricula and assessment, addressing attainment gaps and increasing representation – both in terms of underrepresented backgrounds and research specialties - in seminars and guest lectures. The Committee is actively considering ways it can better support students from underrepresented backgrounds by fostering community and inclusivity at the Faculty level.

EDI commitments in the Faculty have led to the establishment of six Wellbeing Advocates across the Faculty and the Squire Law Library to better support staff, and will encourage the review of career progression, planning and staff recruitment as part of Athena SWAN calls to action. The Committee plans in the near future to examine use of the David Williams Building to make it more apparently inclusive and to improve access to sources of support, information and training relating to EDI matters across the University for both students and staff.

All members of the Faculty are warmly welcomed to approach the Committee with their ideas and concerns related to EDI. Communications can be directed, in the first instance, to Professor Padfield at nmp21@cam.ac.uk.