UCLan student selected to the Middle Temple Access to the Bar Awards scheme

3 June 2024

A University of Central Lancashire student, who dreams of working in a fair judicial system after witnessing his home country’s disregard for the law, has landed a place on a much-coveted legal scheme.

Hadi Rachrach, who spent the first 18-years of his life in Lebanon, has been selected to join the highly prestigious Honourable Society of the Middle Temple Access to the Bar Awards scheme, which is designed to provide aspiring barristers with vital experience to assist their future career.

The second-year LLB (Hons) student, who speaks English as his third language, will undertake two weeks of work experience in summer – one week shadowing a judge in court and another week in Chambers with a barrister.

The 21-year-old said: “I feel happy and really proud of myself for securing a place on such a prestigious scheme as I know there were lots of applicants from universities throughout the country.

“I’m really grateful they chose me, the experience will be invaluable and I’ll be able to network with people I’d never get the chance to meet otherwise. I will definitely take every opportunity possible from this placement as this is the chance for me to make my mark.”

Hadi, who beat off stiff competition from hundreds of undergraduate and postgraduate law students from UK universities to secure one of only 30 places, was educated in his homeland and travelled to the UK four-years-ago to live with his father in Bury.

When he started looking to apply for university, he discovered his Lebanese educational qualifications were not accepted in the UK.

The determined student took the knockback in his stride and decided to complete a business A level and an Access to Higher Education course at Bury College, focusing on programmes in psychology, sociology and criminology, to ensure he achieved the grades to study law.

He said: “I’ve always been interested in the law, advocacy and public speaking, to the extent my family and teachers said I was always trying to argue my point of view.

“When living in Lebanon, there were so many times when the justice system was blatantly ignored and it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Laws were never implemented or enforced and I found that frustrating.

“I see injustices and I want to help make a change. I moved to live with my dad in the UK because I wanted to make a better future for myself by studying at an English university and becoming barrister who works in a globally recognised legal system.”

While a student in his homeland, he volunteered with the Lebanese Red Cross. He was on the front-line during the 2020 Beirut Port disaster, when a huge explosion killed more than 200 people and injured around 7,000 others.

“My job was to transfer casualties to medical assistance or retrieve bodies from the blast site,” said Hadi. “I was 18 at the time and it made me realise that if I could survive that, I could survive everything.”

Hadi, who lives in student halls in Preston, now combines his studies with paid work and volunteering. He works 20 hours a week in retail and his languages skills are utilised by a local solicitors’ firm as he can translate documents into Arabic, French or English. He also volunteers in the University’s Law Clinic, offering free legal advice working alongside Citizens Advice and professional solicitors.

It is the third time in five years that a student from the University of Central Lancashire has been successful in landing a place on the Middle Temple Access to the Bar Awards scheme, which is specifically for students who are amongst the first in their families to go to university and are from backgrounds that do not traditionally encourage aspirations for a career at the Bar.

Darran Chapple, Senior Lecturer in Law and Year 1 Course Leader, said: “I am delighted for Hadi. He shows that having a clear goal, commitment, and enthusiasm, are rewarded. He is taking advantage of the academic and many extra curricula opportunities on offer at the University of Central Lancashire. It is a great opportunity for him and I know that he will make the most of it. This is just part of his journey as a lawyer and I look forward to seeing him graduate and, one day, representing his clients in court.”

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