Growing up in a disadvantaged area of London where he attended the local state school, Rabah was drawn to the law.
“I grew up seeing the law as the way otherwise powerless individuals could challenge authority and assert their basic rights and dignity. The rule of law means you can go before a court, tell the government they have obligations to meet, and hold them to account for these. This capacity for empowerment – that can be used to help the most vulnerable in society – is what draws me to the law,” explained Rabah.
Commenting on the difference that his scholarship has meant to him, Rabah said: “To me, this scholarship is a part of Wadham’s wider access work and College ethos which believes in providing opportunities. Without it, I would not have been able to come to Oxford. Whilst here – amongst much more – I have benefited from a highly intellectual environment where views are exchanged and argued with leading academics and remarkable students.”
Rabah emphasises Wadham’s values and its openness, he is proud of the culture here where everyone is welcome and has a right to be heard. “The BCL course participants are a diverse and international group, everyone has something to contribute. And at Wadham, anyone from the Warden to the domestic staff is friendly, approachable, and makes you feel at home” he adds.
This year Rabah is studying criminal justice, security and human rights; international criminal law; international law and armed conflict; and comparative human rights.
When he finishes his course, Rabah starts pupillage at the leading criminal defence chambers 25 Bedford Row. Before that, he will intern at the charity Reprieve over the summer.
This scholarship results from hundreds of Wadham alumni and friends making gifts to endow a BCL scholarship at Wadham in perpetuity, in honour of Jeffrey Hackney, long-standing Law tutor at Wadham and Emeritus Fellow. Through the Oxford Graduate Scholarship Matched Fund, alumni gifts were further extended to create an endowment of close to £1 million, further securing Wadham’s strength in Law.
Rabah Kherbane biography
Rabah Kherbane (BCL) graduated from the City Law School in July 2015, with LLB first-class honours and as class valedictorian. He was awarded a range of prizes for excellent academic performance. He received a Major Scholarship from the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple to then undertake the Bar Professional Training Course at City, and was called to the Bar in 2016. Rabah has secured pupillage to commence in October 2017, at the leading criminal defence chambers 25 Bedford Row.
While at City, Rabah was Senior Editor of the City Law Society Journal, President of the BPTC Student Association, and President of City’s Debating Society. He was also Vice-President of the Inner Temple Debating Society. He has undertaken significant pro bono work as an Appropriate Adult for mentally vulnerable and underage detainees at police stations, and previously worked at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and the Free Representation Unit.
In April of last year, Rabah was part of the Karadzic Appeal Team at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. During the summer, he was one of four Inner Temple scholars to attend the annual Geoffrey Nice Foundation Master Class in Dubrovnik on international criminal law and transitional justice.
Since coming to Oxford, Rabah has been awarded one of Wadham College’s Senior Scholarships, and a Pollard Grant to fund seminars on international criminal law held in The Hague. He is also the BCL Student Representative and has worked with the Faculty of Law’s Oxford Pro Bono Publico on a report for Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights.