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Lord Speaker visits Portsmouth students

Demystifying law lords work: Baroness D’Souza

The Lord Speaker of the House of Lords, Baroness D’Souza, met students at Portsmouth’s School of Law this month to discuss the work of the House of Lords.

Baroness D’Souza spoke to 130 law students at Portsmouth Business School as part of the House of Lords outreach programme.

Her role includes chairing debates in the House of Lords, advising the Lords on procedural rules and speaking for the Lords on ceremonial occasions.

Senior law lecturer Dr Donal Coffey said her visit gave students greater insight into and helped demystify the work of a high profile lawyer.

He said: “Influential speakers can inspire and motivate those at the beginning of their careers.

“Exposure to speakers who are at the heights of their profession demonstrates the fact that these are, in essence, ordinary people and helps convince students that they, too, can hope to achieve at that level.

“Also, such visits help to practically ground the sometimes abstract notions that we discuss in lectures and seminars. Discussions of Parliament, for instance, often deal with rather dry technical rules and procedure but meeting someone who works in Parliament helps grounds these rules and make them easier to relate to.”

Baroness D’Souza gave her lecture to the Public Law class and afterwards answered students’ questions.

She  said that the legitimacy of the House of Lords as it is presently constituted came not from the fact that members were appointed, but from the value which they added to legislation. She noted, however, that there were areas of expertise which were underrepresented, including  engineering, architecture and the sciences, and expressed her desire that this would be remedied in future appointments.

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