Payal Agarwal

Matric Year: 2022 - Subject: BCL - Scholarship: Ratanshaw Bomanji Zaiwalla Scholar

As a Civil Judge and Judicial Magistrate in India, I have devoted more than six years to public service. During this period, I presided over both civil and criminal courts. Right before joining Oxford, I presided over a mobile court where I took the court to the doorsteps of the litigants residing in the most interior areas of rural India, thereby making the justice delivery system more cost effective and accessible to all because I believe that no one should be denied an opportunity to secure justice by reason of any social, economic or other disability.

In my tenure as a judge, I focused on quick disposal of old cases, speedy trials where the accused were in judicial custody, inspected prisons, prepared inventory reports of seized drugs, conducted inquiries in custodial deaths, recorded dying declarations, decided civil suits, executed civil decrees and used mediation extensively as a means of alternate dispute resolution.

This is precisely the reason why I chose to study law as I felt that it was one of the most effective ways in which I could touch many lives. The innate passion in me to serve my people led me to graduate from law school as the batch valedictorian and a gold medallist in law along with many other accolades such as the Best All Round Student of the Batch.

The BCL program will be academically enriching and professionally rewarding. A deeper understanding of civil and criminal law will not only enhance the functioning of my judicial mind resulting in better justice dispensation but also provide me with the support I need to achieve my goals – a mix of classroom and peer learning, allowing me to gain international exposure, learn from the brightest legal minds in the world, and gather a diverse perspective empowering me to build the knowledge, skills, and network needed to come up with innovative solutions to tackle the problems in my country. I express my gratitude to Somerville College, Ratanshaw Bomanji Zaiwalla Scholarship and Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development for allowing to move a step closer to the realisation of my dreams.

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