SOAS alumnus David Lammy appointed Shadow Justice Secretary

7 April 2020

SOAS law alumnus and MP for Tottenham David Lammy has been appointed shadow justice secretary in Labour leader Keir Starmer's new team this week.

David graduated from the SOAS School of Law in 1993 with an LLB (Hons) degree, and went on to be the first black Briton to attend Harvard Law School. He was called to the bar in 1994 and was a practising barrister until 2000, when he was elected as MP for Tottenham, the most ethnically diverse constituency in Europe. He held a number of Ministerial posts in the Labour government, including Minister for Culture and Minister for Higher Education.

In 2017 he was commissioned by then prime minister David Cameron to lead an independent probe into outcomes for black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals in the criminal justice system. The report detailed that disproportionate representation of BAME people among defendants led to a 'chronic trust deficit’ across the UK legal landscape, and he subsequently made 35 different recommendations, including that suspects in custody have a choice of duty solicitor.

David delivered the first School of Law Annual Inception Lecture at SOAS in 2011.