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Our Achievements

For over 40 years, the SBL has been at the forefront of the fight for equality and we are widely regarded as the legal arm of the civil rights movement in the UK.

Key SBL achievements include:

  • Producing the first directory of African, Caribbean and Asian lawyers;
  • Organising the first ever Anglo-USA conference on race hate crimes (2000);
  • Providing oral and written submissions to the MacPherson Inquiry into the police investigation of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence. It was as a direct result of the Society’s submissions to the Inquiry that the then Lord Chancellor asked the Law Commission to review the rules on Double Jeopardy;
  • Supporting the creation of the National Black Crown Prosecution Association (NBCPA);
  • Establishing the National Association of Black Law Students (NABLS);
  • Acting as legal observers during the first democratic elections in South Africa;
  • Organised the first national speaking tour of the late Johnnie L. Cochrane Jr. (the attorney who represented O.J. Simpson) and Milton Grimes (the attorney who represented Rodney King);
  • Spearheading the campaign which led to the introduction of section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991. This section placed a positive duty on the Home Secretary to publish statistics race within the criminal justice system. These statistics have become one of the main sources of information on the experiences of black and ethnic minority groups across the criminal justice system.