Q&A with Baroness Scotland QC

Baroness Scotland QC, British barrister and Attorney General for England and Wales 2007-2010, answers questions from

Photo Credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales)

Photo Credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales)

I wanted to be a lawyer. I did a law degree so it was fairly clear. I wasn’t clear as to what sort of lawyer I wanted to be, whether I wanted to go to the bar or be a solicitor. What I did recognise though is that Law had all of the elements that I thought I would most enjoy because it was academically challenging, but it was quite thought provoking and also it could be used for the benefit of others. So it had all the things that I was hoping to develop in myself.

Who would I invite to a dinner party? Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa.

Student politics are extremely important. It’s your opportunity to think critically about some of the most fundamental issues which affect us all in society. It depends on what your idea of what politics is though; I don’t like politics for politics sake, when it’s treated as a game.

The advice I would give to students wanting a career in politics is, ask yourself why? What do you want to do? What do you want to achieve? I feel that people tend to fall into two categories: people who want to be somebody and people who want to do something. People who go into politics to do something, particularly if it’s to help other people and make life better, then they’re the people who tend to be sustainable. Never go into it for politics sake. Find and define what you want to do and don’t worry about what you want to be, because the doing will usually define who you will be.

I’m very proud of what we have done to reduce the level of domestic violence in our country. And also to better protect children from child abuse. I’m proud of introducing the legislation which enabled the Baby P case to be successfully prosecuted, so that the perpetrators of that offence, who would, before I changed the law, got away with both manslaughter and murder because they were acquitted of both those offences were bought to book.

What the Corporate Alliance against Domestic Abuse does is to give to the members of that alliance some practical strategies and implementation tools so that they can better protect employees whilst at work. Bearing in mind 75 per cent of abuse happens whilst people are at work, if they are of working population…helping to better protect their employees is very important.

My faith drives me. It always has. I am a committed Christian, a Catholic and I have been driven and supported by my faith my whole life. And so I believe that what I have been able to achieve is by the grace of God… and hard work.

I love music, modern expression ballet, dancing, walking, and reading. There are so many things I’d love to do if I had the time. And I have my children who I adore.

My advice to students is identify your talents. Don’t be afraid of who you are. Be yourself, hone that talent and use it for the benefit of others and go out and change the world.

Baroness Scotland QC spoke at the York Union on domestic violence in the UK.
With thanks to York Union for arranging this interview

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