A top criminal defence lawyer and human rights advocate who has instructed on some of Scotland’s most high profile cases is to become an Associate of the Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ).
Aamer Anwar has dedicated his career to defending the human rights of the most vulnerable in our society, inspired by his personal experiences of racism and police brutality.
His campaign for justice for murdered waiter Surjit Chhokar led to two judicial inquiries, a change in the law and an 18 year campaign which finally helped secure a conviction in October 2016.
A law graduate of the University of Strathclyde, Mr Anwar founded his multi-award winning law firm, Aamer Anwar & Co, in 2007. The former Rector of Glasgow University has acted as a legal adviser to the Scottish Campaign against Criminalising of Communities, the Stop the War Coalition, the Miscarriages of Justice Organisation and is a Trustee of TIE, an LGBT Inclusive Education charity.
Mr Anwar is the solicitor for the Allan and Lindsay families, following the death of Katie Allan and 16 year old William Lindsay at HMYOI Polmont in 2018. He also acts for the family of Sheku Bayoh, who died in police custody in 2015.
Academic Dr Johanne Miller will also join CYCJ as an Associate. As programme leader on the criminology and criminal justice degree at the University of the West of Scotland, Dr Miller has a robust background in youth work. Her research interests are varied and include youth gangs, street cultures and cultural criminology alongside a broad interest in youth justice.
Currently, she is exploring the role of boredom in young people’s lives and is carrying out a longitudinal evaluation of the impact of sports interventions.
As Associates, Mr Anwar and Dr Miller will join an innovative scheme designed to broaden and transform Scotland’s children’s justice knowledge and talent base.
Mr Anwar said: “It’s an honour to become an Associate of CYCJ. I hope that I am able to contribute to and highlight the centre’s ground-breaking work that has placed justice for young people and children at its heart. Sadly far too often our young people’s cries for help go unheard in our criminal justice system. The work that this centre does helps to change young people’s lives for the better.”
Dr Miller said:
“I am honoured to be welcomed as an Associate. As a practitioner, teacher and researcher in the field of youth justice, CYCJ has always been an organisation that has informed my own practice and understanding.”
The CYCJ Associates scheme was created to attract talented individuals who are involved in the field of child friendly justice in a research, practice, policy or lived experience capacity.
As ‘champions’ of CYCJ, Associates contribute to projects, publications, research activity and digital communications, enhancing the work of the centre.
As new Associates, Mr Anwar and Dr Miller will join a team from across the UK that includes Stuart Allardyce (Director, Stop it Now! Scotland), Dr Tim Bateman (Chair of the National Association for Youth Justice) and Rania Hamad (Professional Justice Social Work Advisor for the Scottish Government).
Claire Lightowler, Director of CYCJ, said:
“We are delighted to welcome Mr Anwar and Dr Miller as Associates. Mr Anwar’s focus on and passion for defending human rights aligns with our vision of collaborating to ensure that Scotland’s approach to children and young people in conflict with the law is fundamentally rights-respecting, contributing to better outcomes for our children, young people and communities.
“Dr Miller’s knowledge and experience of youth work and street culture will help us to better understand the children and young people we work with, and how we can best reach out to and work with them to bring about change – an important element of our new participation strategy.
“It is always a pleasure to welcome new Associates to CYCJ. This scheme has proven to be mutually beneficial, through expanding influence and widening expertise, developing and maintaining strong partnerships and improving knowledge of both the Scottish and UK children’s and criminal justice systems. Our Associates have held seminars and webinars, presented at our conferences, produced blogs and collaborated on research. We are grateful for their work and look forward to seeing what they do next!”
If you are interested in joining the scheme or want to find out more, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org