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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University of Strathclyde Law Clinic Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic recently celebrated its 15th year anniversary with an event on 15 November 2018.

From left to right: Student Director of the Law Clinic, Kirstie Webb; President of the Law Society of Scotland, Alison Atack; Student Director of the Law Clinic, James Anderson.

The event featured a variety of speakers, including:

  • Law Clinic Director Kate Laverty;
  • President of the Employment Tribunal (Scotland), Shona Simon;
  • President of the Law Society of Scotland, Alison Atack;
  • Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Strathclyde University, Professor Douglas Brodie; and
  • Trainee Solicitor and Law Clinic Alumni, Andrew Burns.

Speeches were followed by a brief opportunity for questions, before a drinks reception. During the reception interactive stalls displaying the work carried out by the Clinic were available.

These stalls were operated by student volunteers involved within various Law Clinic collaborations and projects, including the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC); The Immigration Unit; Online Advice Project; Initial Advice Centre; Public Legal Education Projects etc. More information regarding each of these projects can be found on the Law Clinic website.

Student Advisors from the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic.

Student Director of the Strathclyde Law Clinic, James Anderson, reflected on the evening saying:

“The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic strives to increase access to justice in Scotland by providing pro bono legal services to those who are unable to access legal advice elsewhere. We are delighted to celebrate a successful 15 years of helping to meet these unmet legal needs, and we look forward with enthusiasm, to the next 15 years.”

Director of the Strathclyde Law Clinic, Kate Laverty, stated:

“We were delighted to be celebrating 15 years of the Law Clinic during which time we have helped almost 4,000 people. Our volunteer law students, past and present, should be proud of what they have achieved in that time. Their dedication, commitment and enthusiasm is inspiring. We hope to continue trying to improve access to justice in our Glasgow community and beyond for the foreseeable future.”

To keep up to date with all future Law Clinic news and updates for the next 15 years and beyond make sure to stay in touch.

Law Clinic Away Day 2018

 

On 10 August 2018 the Law Clinic held its annual away day at our director, Kate Laverty’s, house. The purpose of the away day is to discuss the aims of the clinic for the upcoming year.

All attendees took part in team building exercises, brainstorming ideas, debated how to improve existing processes and made important policy decisions, all aimed at continuing the success of the clinic.

The overall aim of the Law Clinic is to provide access to justice to those who would otherwise go without; with this in mind, we used this as a starting point for our discussions.

We analysed statistics gathered from both client and student feedback, focussing on changes we could make in order to maximise both the client and student experience when using/being involved in, the law clinic.

Following these reports, participants were split into two groups and were given a workshop based on a perennial issue faced by the Law Clinic. These issues encompassed a wide range of areas including: client feedback, external connections, funding and student experience.

Group 1 focussed on these areas in order to create a strategy for tackling any issues that had been raised.  For example, when reporting on client feedback we discussed which aspects of our service are the most important to the client. This raised a variety of answers including ongoing and transparent communication.

While Group 1 discussed the service we provide and the experience of our clients, Group 2 delved into the law clinics relationship with its student volunteers.  Discussion centred on the goal of ensuring that each student who volunteers in the law clinic has the best experience possible, so that when Student Volunteers depart the Law Clinic, they feel they have truly made a difference to the people in our community.

After concluding our group sessions, both groups took it in turns to present their conclusions. From these conclusions all attendees pooled everything together to create 9 key goals for the upcoming clinic year, called our Diamond 9. The Diamond 9 will shape the Law Clinics future direction and will be prevalent at the executive meetings where decisions are made. Decisions should be in keeping with these aims throughout the year ahead. Our nine key goals for 2018/19 are:

 

Law Clinic Success at Evening Times Community Champion Awards

 

 

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic enjoyed a successful night at the 11th edition of the Evening Times North West Community Champion Awards at Partick Burgh Hall. With Strathclyde Law Clinic jointly winning the “Public Services Award” alongside Glasgow Caledonian University Law Clinic.

Held on Tuesday 2nd October 2018, the Awards celebrate ordinary people who do extraordinary work in Glasgow and the surrounding areas.

Also nominated in the Public Services Award category was: Anne Marie Robertson Dryburgh, who has successfully run older people’s social project ‘Alive and Kicking’ for more than 30 years; And: Glasgow Caledonian Law Clinic, who have achieved fantastic success through the provision of access to justice within Glasgow.

This award is a testament to the tireless hard-work and dedication that all our student advisors put into their Law Clinic work. Helping to provide access to justice to members of the community who would otherwise go without.

 

 

 

 

Strathclyde Law Clinic shortlisted for Herald Society Award

We are delighted to announce that The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic has been shortlisted as a finalist in the category: Herald Society Team of the Year – for The Herald Society Awards 2018.

The awards will be presented at a formal awards dinner on the evening of Thursday, November 1, 2018.

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A Day in the Life of a Summer Student – Emma Manson

Over the summer months I have been able to see the full extent of the fantastic work that the Law Clinic does on a daily basis. During term time it is easy to focus only on the cases you are personally involved in, however the summer placement has allowed me to see the full spectrum of cases that the clinic takes on.

Each day in the clinic is different but it is always guaranteed to be busy. The bulk of my day is spent on case work – normally student advisors would have one or two cases, however my case load has risen to nine to ensure cases don’t fall through the cracks during the summer, so there is certainly lots to do. I usually start my day by setting out which tasks I should prioritise for the day ahead, paying special attention to any urgent matters or clients who should be contacted. Even a well-planned day could be turned on its head at the arrival of a letter from a client, respondent or even the Employment Tribunal but this keeps every day interesting!

As this is my first year in the clinic, my summer placement has enabled me to become more familiar with all the clinic staff and dedicated student advisors. Sharing thoughts and opinions on cases has been a great way to improve and refine my work in the Law Clinic, make great friends and improve my ability to provide access to justice.

A Day In The Life Of A Summer Student

Summer Student – Rebecca Farquhar  

Every year the Law Clinic provides a group of students with the opportunity to work during the summer holidays. The Law Clinic supports clients throughout the year and it has been extremely rewarding to be able to ensure that clients continue to receive high quality support during the summer period.

As a summer student I have undertaken a variety of work and it has been an excellent opportunity to not only help clients with their legal concerns but also develop my skills in legal research. As part of the Housing Advice Under One Roof project, I have been one of the students responsible for researching the new Housing and Property Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland and creating accessible resources on how to engage with this new remedies forum. I am also the new Initial Advice Clinic project manager and have spent time over the summer developing a strategy for the year ahead.

Helping to ensure that access to justice is a reality rather than only a theory was the reason that I wanted to pursue a career in the legal sphere and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that I have been given whilst being a member of the Law Clinic.

 

 

 

Strathclyde Law Clinic Selected as Finalist

We are delighted to announce that The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic has been selected as a finalist in the Public Services Award category for the Evening Times Community Champion Awards 2018 – North West.

The winners will be announced at the ceremony which is taking place on October 2, 2018.

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Student Directors Provide Unique Presentation to Thailand Senior Judges

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic was given the unique opportunity to present the Law Clinic to thirty-five senior Judges, including several members of the Supreme Court, from Thailand.

The event, organised by Paul James Cardwell, a Professor in the Law School, was part of a two week trip and aimed to provide the Thai Judges with an insight into the University of Strathclyde Law School and aspects of the Scottish and English Legal and Criminal Justice Systems.

While on a trip to the Sheriff Court, one of the Sheriffs discussed the Law Clinic with the Judges who expressed an interest in learning more about the Law Clinic.

James Anderson and Kirstie Webb, Student Directors of the Strathclyde Law Clinic, volunteered to provide a presentation to the Judges, aimed at describing the work the Law Clinic carries out, how it operates and students involvement in the Clinic.

Both Directors found the experience invaluable with Kirstie Webb stating: “When Kate mentioned that representatives of the Law Clinic had been asked to present the objectives and ideologies of the Law Clinic to thirty-five Supreme Court Judges, I was thrilled to have this rare opportunity. The Judges were extremely interested in the way that the Clinic operates and the work that we do, and I hope that we inspired with our presentation and left a lasting impression of the work we do here at Strathclyde.”

James Anderson recalled: “It was an exceptional experience to address thirty-five Supreme Court Judges from another country. I was immensely proud to relay the work of the Clinic and how it benefits the general public and students alike. During our time with the Judges we learned that Thailand does not currently have anything comparable to a Law Clinic, therefore it was a privilege to convey and hopefully encourage the principle of access to justice through Law Clinics to such an esteemed audience.”

Dr Supakit Yampracha, one of the judges who coordinated the visit and who is a former PhD student at Strathclyde Law School, said, “It was a great opportunity for the visiting judges to hear about the work of the Law Clinic at Strathclyde. We do not have Law Clinics in Thailand, so it was very interesting to hear how the students and staff at Strathclyde have developed their role in helping people in Glasgow”.

To keep up to date with the Law Clinic please follow us on social media and check out our website.

Strathclyde Law Clinic students get first hand experience on Miami Exchange

Four students from the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic have recently returned from an educational exchange with the University of Miami Law Clinic.

Kirstie Webb, Michael Ballantyne, Laura Cheng and Alice Bowman spent four days in May absorbing the work conducted by the students of Miami’s Clinic.

All had different reasons for wanting to participate in the exchange. Kirstie said: “Having researched the Miami Health Rights Clinic I wanted to see how a specialist clinic operated in practice. I also thought that it would be a great opportunity to meet new people and experience a different type of clinic and university life.”

Laura said: “I was really interested in learning about another legal system (especially the mechanics of another Clinic in another jurisdiction worked) and I had never been to America before, so I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to apply for the exchange.”

Michael said: “I had done a research project on the Clinic last year and wanted to develop this by seeing how another Clinic operates. My classes in 4th year also included very ethical and clinical subjects which made me more interested in the Clinic from an ethical perspective.”

Arriving on Sunday 20th May, they were treated to a welcome dinner at Montys Raw Bar then headed to the hotel for the night. The students were introduced to the Health Rights Clinic, which is a specialist clinic, time was then spent on finishing off presentations.

On Tuesday May 22nd, the students got the chance to see client intake at the South Florida Aids Network where they sat in on client meetings. Laura said: “I really enjoyed sitting in on Miami’s Clinic’s equivalent of initial interviews at the hospital; their clinic specialises in health rights, immigration and adjustment issues, social security and benefits, which I thought was really interesting, and something a little different to Strathclyde.” The group had some spare time in the evening to explore the sights and sounds of Miami.

On the last day of the exchange the students experienced the cultural side of Miami. They took in the street art/graffiti on the Wynwood Art Walk. They had a farewell dinner at Tap Tap Restaurant and enjoyed a last night with the students.

All of the students who attended felt that it is vital for Strathclyde Law Clinic to have this connection with their Miami counterparts. With the Miami Clinic dealing with issues that Strathclyde do not. Michael said: “We rarely tackle issues similar to what Miami deal with. Miami clients were HIV positive, had gunshot wounds, no access to healthcare and allows a sharp perspective to be taken when we come back to Strathclyde.”

Kirstie said: “A relationship between the clinics is important to allow students to experience how a different type of clinic works in practice. The two clinics are extremely different and I think it’s a great way to see the benefits of having a specialist law clinic.”

Laura said: “I think it’s important because it really emphasises the importance of Law Clinics all around the world – it’s good to have an awareness of other countries/people who face different problems and how clinics like Miami and Strathclyde’s can help.”

The experience has opened the eyes of the students to what could be incorporated into Clinic life at Strathclyde. Michael said: “The Miami Clinic appears to have a lot more outreach exposure. They physically go out into communities, hospitals, clinics and speak to clients. Whereas at Strathclyde, minus the IAC’s (which now only happen in the Clinic) and other small projects, we do not specifically go out into a community, hospital etc. with a specific aim.”

Kirstie said: “The Miami Clinic operates extremely differently from ours. For starters, the students are only part of the clinic for one semester and get credits for their work. It’s a specialist clinic meaning students participating in the Health Rights Clinic represent multiple clients in different legal matters related to health. This contrasts to the generalist clinic structure that we follow.”