Competition 2023-2024

ILBF law undergraduate essay competition 2023-24

The ILBF’s law undergraduate essay competition 2023-2024 is now launched. The competition is sponsored by McDermott Will & Emery and is open to all undergraduates studying law at UK universities.

Essay topic:

Should the right to protest be unfettered?

Max word limit: 1000

The Rt. Hon. the Baroness Carr of Walton-on-the-Hill, the Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales, launched the competition on 29th November at McDermott Will & Emery.  

At the launch, Fiona Rutherford, Chief Executive of JUSTICE, addressed the audience on the topic of the essay and provided information about helpful research resources for entrants. Fiona joins Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd and Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill CVO as a judge of the competition.

A link to the video of the launch will be posted to this page shortly.

The ILBF essay competition is an opportunity for all undergraduates currently studying law at university in the UK to think about a key issue. This year we ask law students to consider the right to protest, with the chance to win an exciting prize, as well as an opportunity to research and express their insights and ideas on this fundamental topic.

The competition rules and details of how to enter are on this page.

Follow the ILBF on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and YouTube for regular updates as well as short films to inspire you to take part.

Key dates

  • 29 November 2023: Launch of competition by The Rt. Hon. the Baroness Carr of Walton-on-the-Hill, the Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales
  • January 2024: Online Q&A session with McDermott Will & Emery recruitment team
  • January 2024: Online panel discussion with experts from across the legal profession discussing the rule of law and the right to protest, hosted by LexisNexis
  • 4 pm on 29 February 2024: Deadline for submissions
  • 4 pm on 4 April 204: The winner will be announced by Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, Lord Carnwath CVO and Fiona Rutherford, Chief Executive of JUSTICE



  • A week’s internship in summer 2024 at McDermott Will & Emery
  • Publication of the winning essay in ThoughtLeaders 4 FIRE May 2024 edition
  • Publication of the winning essay on the ILBF’s website

Runner up

  • The runner up essay will be published on the ILBF website

All entries

  • The ideas and insights from all entrants will be compiled into a grand summary to be shared on the ILBF website and with legal media, to help stimulate debate around the essay topic.

Competition judges

  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Patron of and driving force behind the ILBF
  • The Rt. Hon. Lord Carnwath of Notting Hill CVO, former Supreme Court Justice, and founding member of the EU Forum of Judges for the Environment, and of the Global Institute of Judges on the Environment
  • Fiona Rutherford, Chief Executive of JUSTICE and former Director of Policy at the MoJ

Competition Judging Team

  • Jane Colston, Brown Rudnick and ILBF Trustee
  • Mark Stephens CBE, Howard Kennedy, ILBF Trustee
  • Sophia Dirir, Head of Legal Services/General Counsel at Action for Children, ILBF trustee
  • Dr Tawanda Hondora, Head, Rule of Law, Governance and Peace Directorate at the Commonwealth Secretariat, ILBF trustee
  • Maryann McMahon, ILBF Trustee
  • Katrina Crossley, Chief Executive of the ILBF
  • Ellen Lake, Clifford Chance and ILBF Operating Committee
  • Sarah Trotter, Assistant Professor of Law, London School of Economics and Political Science, ILBF Operating Committee
  • Chiara Iorizzo, McDermott Will & Emery
  • Ayuushman Aroraa, Advocate, Supreme Court of India

The ILBF supports the rule of law and access to justice for all through sharing legal knowledge. Since the charity’s foundation in 2005, the ILBF has distributed over 80,000 legal textbooks to more than 250 organisations in 56 countries. Our books support law students, teachers, lawyers and judges across the world.

Watch the ILBF’s 15th anniversary film to hear more about why it makes a difference