St Peter's 13-18
A Lower Sixth Form pupil from St Peter’s School, York, has been awarded second place in The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom’s Essay Writing Competition.
Justin submitted his essay in February after seeing the competition advertised on The Supreme Court’s Instagram story.
Of the four questions available, Justin chose to focus on ‘Does the law do enough to balance the right to religious freedom against the possibility of unjustified discrimination?’
Justin developed a clear thesis focused on two relevant Supreme Court cases, Bull v Hall and Lee v Ashers Baking Company, and his essay was judged by the Judicial Assistants who work at the Court.
Justin was commended for his well-structured essay and clear writing style. The judges were impressed by his strong understanding of the Court’s reasoning in both cases, and his explanation of the basis for the two, initially seemingly conflicting, decisions.
Justin, who boards at St Peter’s School, explained how the unexpected lockdown gave him the opportunity to do more research than he could have done in normal school days. Justin spent a month and a half researching his chosen subject, formulating his arguments and writing the essay, alongside his A Level studies
Justin said: “It has honestly been mind-blowing for me since I got my essay back! The Judicial Assistants have given me a lot of valuable feedback, and the whole experience has really deepened my interest in the relationship between law and politics.”
Justin, who is currently studying A Levels in English, Mathematics, Politics and Religious Studies, hopes to read law after Sixth Form. He has had previous experience of mooting (simulated legal procedures) and reads court judgements online in his spare time.
Justin is also an Academic Scholar at St Peter’s School, an honorary scholarship awarded in recognition of his outstanding academic achievements, and he is undertaking the Extended Project Qualification. He will deliver a lecture to his peers next month entitled ‘Challenging the Politics of Law’s Empire: A Reflection on Human Rights’.
“Winning second place in this competition has really boosted my confidence and interest to be part of the legal profession in the future”, Justin said: “I still haven’t quite decided whether I would like to join the Bar or to become a solicitor, but I hope I can specialise in public law.”
A representative from The Supreme Court said: “This year we received more entries than ever before and the standard has been exceptionally high. This is an excellent and well-researched essay, which engages with the issues raised by the question in a coherent and thoughtful way.”
Mr Jeremy Walker, Head Master of St Peter’s School, said: “I am so proud of Justin’s achievement and that he took on this challenge under his own initiative. It is a highly prestigious accolade and bodes well for his future plans."