STUDENTS AND STAFF ATTEND ANNUAL SCOTTISH UNIVERSITIES LAW CLINIC NETWORK CONFERENCE

Student advisors, together with the Director and Director of the Clinical LLB, from the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic recently attended the annual Student Universities Law Clinic Networking Conference (SULCN) on 7 June 2019.

(President of the Law Society of Scotland, John Mulholland delivering a speech at SULCN 2019)

The event, hosted this year by Edinburgh Napier Law Clinic, was established in 2012 with the aim of encouraging Law Clinics across Scotland to share ideas and work together to improve access to justice.

The event opened with a speech from John Mulholland, the recently appointed President of the Law Society of Scotland, following which each clinic gave a brief update on recent developments and operational changes. This opened up discussion on the numerous challenges involved in running a Law Clinic, including access to funding and the challenges faced by students who combine pro bono work with their academic studies.

In the afternoon, attendees enjoyed workshops on interview skills delivered by Barry Nichol and Alun Thomas of Anderson Strathearn; and a workshop on mediation given by Robin Burley and Lindsay Burley of Mediation Scotland.

The conference also saw the current Chair of SULCN, Malcolm Combe of Aberdeen University, hand the reins to Rebecca Samaras of the University of Edinburgh who will now take on the role of Chair.

The day concluded with an inspiring speech by John Sturrock QC who highlighted the opportunities presented by mediation as a dispute resolution method.

Eilidh Campbell, one of the student representatives attending the conference on behalf of the Strathclyde Law Clinic reflected on the event stating:

“The conference was a fantastic learning experience for all students in attendance, as we were provided with a platform to actively engage with contributors from across the Scottish access to justice community. I found the event highly motivating and look forward to using this motivation to assist the Strathclyde Law Clinic over the summer.”

Law Clinic Runner Up at LawWorks and Attorney General Awards 2019

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic was delighted to receive the runner-up position and was awarded Highly Commended in the ‘Best LegalTech Contribution’ category.

(From left to right, Student Director Kirstie Webb, Director Kate Laverty and Communications Officer Jordan Hamlett)

On Wednesday 1 May 2019, Law Clinic Director Kate Laverty, Student Director Kirstie Webb and Communications Officer Jordan Hamlett travelled to London for the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2019. The Law Clinic had been shortlisted in two categories: Best contribution by a team of students and Best LegalTech contribution respectively.

The Awards, run by LawWorks with the support of the Attorney General, the Rt Hon Geoffrey Cox QC MP, recognise and celebrate the outstanding pro bono work undertaken by law schools and law students across the UK.

The event was held at the House of Commons member’s dining room, opening with a speech from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox which focused on the importance of pro bono work, specifically the contribution made by students.

Kirstie Webb reflected on the experience saying:

“It was a privilege to represent the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic at this year’s awards ceremony. To be in the presence of so many Law Clinic’s and organisations providing access to justice throughout the UK was truly inspiring and it was a heartening experience to hear so many success stories.”

Scottish Ministerial visit to the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC) to announce expansion


(From left to right: [1st person], Katy Mathieson,Sarah Crawford, Ash Denford, Kate Laverty and Jen Ang)

The Scottish Women Rights Centre (SWRC); a collaboration between the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, JustRight Scotland and Rape Crisis Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Minister for Community Safety and Affairs, Ash Denham to the offices of JustRight Scotland and their new helpline premises.

The Scottish Government has announced the expansion of the SWRC through funding by The Scottish Legal Aid Board and the Justice Fund. This expansion will allow the SWRC to increase their capacity to provide legal and advocacy support to women who have been affected by gender-based violence. This expansion has allowed for an increase of staff and two legal surgeries to be established in Dundee and Inverness later this year.

(From left to right: Sarah Crawford [SWRC Lead Solicitor] and Ash Denham [Scottish Minister for Community Safety and Affairs])

The Director of the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, Kate Laverty commented on the expansion stating: 

“The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic is very excited about the expansion of the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre. Through their involvement with the Centre, our volunteer law students have gained invaluable experience and developed specialised legal skills and knowledge about the experiences of women who have been affected by gender-based violence and are trying to navigate the legal system.

“Exposure to these issues at this stage in their legal careers will mean they have a much improved awareness of the difficulties faced by women which will inform their practice in future years.”

New College Lanarkshire Students Inspired by Former Student at the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic

Legal Studies students from the Motherwell Campus recently visited Strathclyde University Law Clinic to get a taster of what could be in store for them upon completion of their course.

The Law Clinic, which is run by law student volunteers, provides free legal assistance to people who are unable to get help by any other means. Former NCL Law student, Karen Yuill, is a co-ordinator at the Clinic and in her third year of a law degree at the university. 

Karen met with the group to discuss her journey from college to university and to give them an insight into the work that is carried out by the Clinic. 

The visit was organised by class lecturer, Ciaran O’Neill, who said: “This was a truly fabulous opportunity for our Law students to see, first hand, the wonderful pro bono work that the Law Clinic carry out.

“This kind of opportunity gives our students an excellent insight into how theory is put into practice and the sort of opportunities that await them in the next stage of their educational journey.

“I am extremely grateful to Karen and her team for a very informative and interesting morning.”

For more information about law courses available at New College Lanarkshire, visit: https://www.nclanarkshire.ac.uk/courses/law

For more information about Strathclyde University Law Clinic, visit: https://www.lawclinic.org.uk/ 

The Strathclyde Law Clinic’s Immigration Unit delivers Forum Theatre Sessions at Glasgow Caledonian University

In the run up to Christmas 2018, the Law Clinic’s Immigration Unit (IU) was invited to deliver a forum theatre session on asylum interviews to a group of third year social work students at Glasgow Caledonian University.

 

The IU ran two back-to-back sessions, with each session being delivered to an audience of 25 participants.

The session starts with a fictionalised asylum interview based on real law clinic cases, followed by an examination and deconstruction of the interview through audience participation. 

These interactive sessions aim to highlight the challenges faced by destitute asylum seekers when progressing their cases, and in particular, the credibility issues that hound their cases relentlessly.

The sessions were very well received. The audience quickly got into the spirit of forum theatre by raising their hands and stopping the interview when they saw an issue or problem. The braver amongst them got the chance to ‘jump in’ and re-enact the scene as they thought it ideally should have been acted out.

Law Clinic Attends Student Union Welfare Week

On Wednesday 23 January 2019, representatives from the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic attended the Strathclyde Student Union’s Welfare Week event for Student Services.

The event took place on level four of the Strathclyde Students Union in the Recharge Cafe and provided students with the opportunity to engage with representatives from the various support services available.

Alongside the Law Clinic, the event also featured the Advice Hub, Financial Services, Security, International Student Support Team, Student Accommodation and the Careers Service. The initiative has been developed by John Agbonrofo, the Vice President of Support, in order to promote the support services available to Strathclyde students.

Reflecting on the Welfare Week, John commented:

“Smile Project Strath Union Welfare Week is an outreach that provides opportunities for students to get access to the most up to date and relevant information and training to meet their needs (Personal, Academic, Housing, Employability, Finance, Legal Rights, Wellbeing, Health and, Safety).

In essence the message is, no matter the circumstance you are not alone, there are people and services that are here for you. Always remember, do not let anything take away your smile. Keep smiling 🙂 We are here to help!”

One of the volunteers representing the Law Clinic at the event, Kirstie Webb reflected:

“It was great to be able to represent the Law Clinic at the Strath Union’s inaugural welcome week. This gave us an invaluable opportunity to meet and interact with students who may not know about the Law Clinic’s work and the services we provide. Having a time where all the organisations and services are in one place is a fantastic idea that will hopefully enable students to access any information they may need.”

 

Distributing Access to Justice

A dedicated group of Law Clinic volunteers took to the streets to distribute University of Strathclyde Law Clinic leaflets.

 

At the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic we are always aiming to support the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of society. This includes people who do not have access to the internet. By distributing leaflets to public locations in Glasgow and the surrounding area, we hope to raise awareness of the services the Law Clinic provides in order to help those who need our service the most.

The team targeted local libraries, Councillors offices and Advice Hub’s. The locations included the Mitchell Library, Glasgow City Hall, Townhead Health Centre, the University of Strathclyde’s Advice Hub among other venues.

 

University of Strathclyde Law Clinic Awards Success

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic was shortlisted for three awards over the closing months of 2018 with representatives of the Clinic attending the: Law Awards of Scotland, Evening Times Community Champions Grand Final and the Herald Society Awards.

 

The Herald Society Awards 2018

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic enjoyed a successful night at the tenth annual Herald Society Awards with the Law Clinic winning the “Team of the Year” Award.

(Representatives from the Law Clinic’ Executive Committee (James Anderson, Kirstie Webb, Ben Dickson, Victoria Silver, Kate Laverty and Becky Kane) receiving the Herald Society Team of the Year award)

The event took place on 1 November 2018 and was hosted at the Glasgow Marriot Hotel in Glasgow. Members of the Law Clinics Executive Committee represented the Law Clinic at the event, with Director Kate Laverty accepting the award on the Clinic’s behalf.

Beating out some stiff competition, the Law Clinic won the award for its work over the past year. The Law Clinic is made up of 268 Student volunteer members and over the course of 2017/18, was able to win or save its clients £125,464 assisting over 550 clients in the process.

 

The Law Awards of Scotland

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic received a commendation award in the Pro Bono category, for its provision of access to justice within Glasgow and surrounding areas over the past year.

(Student Director of University of Strathclyde Law Clinic James Anderson and representatives from Edinburgh University Free Legal Advice Service receiving commendation awards)

The awards, which took place on 29 November 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Glasgow, also saw success for other University Law Clinic’s/Projects. With Edinburgh University Free Legal Advice Service also receiving a commendation award in the category of Pro Bono and Glasgow Caledonian University Law Clinic winning the overall Pro Bono Award for 2018.

The event marked a fantastic celebration of Law Clinics from across Scotland, with representatives of each Law Clinic expressing excitement for the upcoming 2019 Scottish Universities Law Clinic Networking (SULCN) event, which will be hosted by Edinburgh Napier University.

 

University of Strathclyde Law Clinic Grand Finalists of the Glasgow Community Champion Awards.

On Tuesday 27 November 2018, a group of students and staff of the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic were invited to represent the clinic at the Glasgow Community Champion Grand Final Awards.

(All the winners from the Community Champion Glasgow Awards Grand Final 2018 gather for a group photograph)

The evening began with a buffet and a drinks reception which swiftly lead to an outstanding performance by Angela McCallum School of Music which opened the evening.

These awards honour members of the public within the Glasgow area that do outstanding work for their community. We would like to congratulate all prize winners for the incredible work they have accomplished within the Glasgow area and the prizes they won are a true reflection of the effort they put in to improving their community. While the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic were joint winners with Caledonian University Law Clinic of the Public Service Award at the North West Division Event, Royston Youth Action Group won the award at the Grand Final.

(Representatives from the University of Strathclyde’s Executive Committee (Jordan Hamlett, Ben Dickson, Gabriella Poli, Karen Yuill, James Anderson, Kirstie Webb, Scott Sharpe, Kieran Crossley) receiving the public service award)

Law Clinic Launches New Partnership

November 2018 marks the birth of a new partnership between the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic’s Welfare Project and St George’s Tron Church of Scotland.

The Clinic’s Welfare Project, reached out to the church’s minister, Alistair Duncan, who has been more than willing to accommodate the project within the church. St George’s church has various partnerships with humanitarian organisations including Glasgow City Mission and Bethany Christian Trust.

The Welfare project has already run two introductory sessions on 21 and 28 November. In January 2019, the project will start running fortnightly triage sessions between 3:30pm and 4:30pm on a Wednesday at St George’s Church, 163 Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1 2JX, for an initial six-month trial period.

Through these sessions, we hope to reach clients who are dealing with welfare benefit appeals. Our project will focus on those clients who are looking to appeal at Tribunal level. We will assist clients with preparation to self-represent at hearing, or in certain cases, we may represent clients.

The Welfare project will also be triaging clients with a range of legal issues and would therefore be able to refer clients to the Law Clinic for further advice and representation where appropriate.

Through this new location, the Welfare project aims to reach clients who would otherwise not know about or be able to access the Law Clinics services.

The Welfare Project Coordinator Kudakwashe Chinyani commented on the new partnership stating:

“All students involved are all excited to be making this step and we are grateful for the support of St George’s Tron Church.”

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