Five Minutes With… I. Stephanie Boyce

Resource type: Podcast

In this episode of Five Minutes With… we are joined by I. Stephanie Boyce. Stephanie was the first person of colour to be President of the Law Society of England and Wales and was highly commended for her leadership of the legal profession through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Episode transcript

00:00:00:00 – 00:00:28:20

Christina Ogwang (CO)

What are the most important conversations we need to be having today? And how can young people contribute to these conversations? These are the questions we ask our guests to answer in Five Minutes With… We sat down with I. Stephanie Boyce, the keynote speaker at our most recent Rule of Law workshop. Stephanie was the first person of colour to be President of the Law Society of England and Wales,

00:00:29:00 – 00:01:04:23


steering the profession through a number of world crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

I. Stephanie Boyce (SB)

I think the most important conversation we should be having today, I mean, there’s several conversations. I think one of the biggest ones is the growing inequalities in our country and our society, and that’s found around lots of things health, education, housing. There’s an intergenerational gap as well, especially in the workforce where we’ve got Gen Z and and of course, the geopolitics of what’s going on around the world at the moment, which is it feels very much like it’s getting closer and closer to home.

00:01:04:23 – 00:01:30:05


And so some of those conversations that we previously haven’t had, certainly not in my lifetime, around whether or not we should be preparing ordinary citizens to go to war. You know, the world seems a bit fractured at the moment. So I think conversations around the what ifs is conversations that we need to have. We are, in my view, seeing a real breakdown globally and domestically around the rule of law.

00:01:30:07 – 00:01:50:01


And at times, I think in this country we have taken… and in other countries actually where we’ve seen the rule of law break down. America perhaps is a very good example of this, where we saw the January 6th riots on Capitol Hill, where I remember looking at that on the television and in just sheer disbelief, I could not believe my very eyes.

00:01:50:01 – 00:02:12:22


And that is America. One holds that up as the epitome of democracy and yet we just had this disorder. So we’ve seen the breakdown of the rule of law globally, and we can all name a number of countries where it really has broken down. We’ve seen the erosion of the rule of law here, which has, unfortunately, through successive governments, has started to erode away, erode away.

00:02:12:24 – 00:02:41:22


So the conversations we should be having is what if we do go to war? What if having gone to war or even the lead up to war, the rule of law breaks down? What will that look like? What will it feel like? So there are some serious conversations for us to have. It’s absolutely important to engage young people in the conversations, just like we’re having to those of us who are leaders are having to change and adapt our management style to deal with the intergenerational mix within the workforce.

00:02:42:03 – 00:03:07:18


There is not one particular style that will work for everyone, so you’ve got to adapt and recognise the different contributions and skillsets that different generations bring to the workforce. So how we engage young people in the conversation for me I think, is that we start in earlies. We have, in my view, a deficiency around the public’s awareness, engagement with our democratic process.

00:03:07:20 – 00:03:38:08


We also have lots of disengagement and awareness, a lack of awareness around the way our justice system works, which is that rule of law peace that we take for granted. So I think we could do better at educating young people starting very early in schools at the earliest opportunity to teach about. But whether you call that citizenship and I know people will say we’ve already got citizenship on the curriculum, but what we do know is it’s not being taught consistently or at all in some schools.

00:03:38:14 – 00:04:07:14


And so I’m talking about political parties of all stripes committing to increasing the public’s awareness around our democratic process and around our justice system. Because without a strong, stable rule of law, we risk our liberty, we risk our rights, our safety, our homes, all those things we take for granted. If we don’t look after them one day, we could wake up and they’re no longer there.

00:04:07:16 – 00:04:28:10


You can keep up to date with all of the work of Cumberland Lodge on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook @CumberlandLodge or on our website Thank you again to Stephanie for joining us and thanks for listening.