Strathclyde Law Clinic Supervisor Shortlisted for Herald Society Award

We are delighted to announce that Gillian Melville, supervising solicitor at The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic has been shortlisted as a finalist in the category:  Herald Society Worker of the Year – for The Herald Society Awards 2019.

The awards will be presented at a formal dinner on the evening of Wednesday 6 November, 2019.

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Another Successful Street Law Training Session!

The Law Clinic welcomed Professor David McQuoid-Mason, an internationally recognised expert in Street Law from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who conducted a Street Law training session for Law Clinic members.

During the course of the training session, Professor McQuoid-Mason covered a wide range of subject areas with a focus on enabling those in attendance to be able to lead a Street Law training session themselves. Early in the session he made the point that one of the most effective ways of learning is through activities which underpinned his entire approach to the session.

The training session included a variety of activities including a mini-moot, where trainees were presented with a scenario and took on the roles of lawyers for the plaintiff and respondent who presented their arguments to a third trainee who acted as a judge. For instance, there was an exercise in which trainees were asked to argue for or against a proposition e.g. a second Scottish independence referendum.

(From left to right: Victoria Hodges, Carly Morrison, Professor David McQuoid-Mason, Katie Gardner and Anthony Pace)

Training Officer Anthony Pace said; ‘The session was a great success which all of the trainees thoroughly enjoyed. As well as helping the trainees develop new skills and confidence, it has encouraged them to take part in the Clinic’s Street Law programme.’

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A Day in the Life of a Summer Student – Karen Yuill

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.

“Working in the clinic over the summer has been a fantastic opportunity to help those most in need of our services. Access to Justice doesn’t stop for the summer break.

This is a time where my casework increases so that we continue to maintain the level of service that we provide throughout the academic year. Not only do we work on our cases, but we help each other when required, this leads to the sharing of cases, ideas and learnings.

Day to day working is varied as you just never know what will happen on your day, telephone calls from clients, emails from other parties or even having to help another student with their case. This is a great insight into what may await us once our studies are completed.

Cases I have worked on over the summer placement included Employment, Housing and Simple Procedure. I attended the Employment Tribunal to conclude a four day hearing, as well as a Judicial Mediation. Further, a case that has been with me for some time, is now going to Mediation in the hope that we can achieve a resolution for both parties.

I would just like to add that I would highly recommend that any students in the clinic who wish to further enhance their learnings apply for these placements as they are invaluable.”

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Volunteer Solicitors Needed: University of Strathclyde Law Clinic

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic is looking for volunteer solicitors to help with our twice monthly drop-in legal advice surgeries.

Established in 2003, the Law Clinic is a student-run organisation which seeks to provide access to justice in Glasgow and the surrounding areas.

Our Initial Advice Clinics (IACs) operate on the first Wednesday and third Monday of every month from 6pm – 8pm in its office at 40 George Street, University of Strathclyde. Run by student volunteers, these sessions are an important way for individuals to receive free, on-the-spot, initial legal advice.

There is an ever increasing demand for legally trained professionals to provide advice during these surgeries. We are currently looking for both generalist and specialist solicitors who are able to commit to attending one IAC session per month, as a minimum, but to more sessions if willing and able. The subject matter can vary widely but we are particularly looking for solicitors who are able to provide advice on the following areas of law:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Simple Procedure
  • Contract
  • Consumer

For more details on this volunteering opportunity please contact Rebecca Farquhar or Chloe Morgan (student volunteers) at: lawclinic@strath.ac.uk by 30 September 2019.

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A Day in the Life of a Summer Student – Rebecca Dyer

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.

“This year, I was given the opportunity to work in the Law Clinic with a group of fellow students during the summer. The service provided by the Law Clinic to clients runs throughout the whole year, and I can truly say that it is a pleasure to have been part of a team ensuring that this support and assistance is continued over the summer. It has been so rewarding to continue to provide access to justice to those who need it the most.

Throughout my summer working in the Law Clinic, this role allowed me to work on an abundance of different cases, giving me insight of the true scope in which this organisation helps people. There is no day that is the same. I have been able to provide help and assistance to clients as well as progress and develop my own skills. As part of the Asylum Project, I have been one of the students responsible for meeting new referrals in need of support with their asylum claims, creating new resources and improving the administration of the Asylum Project. I am also a Firm Co-ordinator and have spent the summer months organising my firm and strategizing for the academic year ahead.

I have recently taken on more responsibility in the Law Clinic, after taking on a Firm Co-ordinator position. My experience working in the Law Clinic over the summer has allowed me to familiarise myself with this role and has given me the opportunity to discuss and work with my fellow dedicated students and staff. This has been valuable in improving my work in the Law Clinic and provide a high quality service to clients, giving them access to justice.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me as a member of the Law Clinic.”

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Law Clinic Alumni Presents Co-authored Paper in Rome

As part of the Law Clinic’s exchange programme with the University of Miami Health Rights Clinic, one of our former students, Alice Bowman, alongside former Miami University student, K. C. Della Fera, recently presented their co-authored paper at the International Academy of Law and Mental Health in Rome.

(From left to right Alice Bowman and K.C. Della Fera)

This paper focused on vicarious trauma, how this affects law clinic students and what students and clinic directors can do to manage and prevent the burnout and vicarious trauma. Alice said that although lawyers often deal with the same client groups as social workers, counsellors and psychologists, unlike these disciplines, there is little or no focus in legal education on how working with vulnerable groups can impact upon legal practitioners. Rather, legal education is taught in an emotional vacuum. Student lawyers are often taught that only things relevant to their relationship with their client is how well they know the law.

Alice advised that the conference saw lawyers, academics, educators,  social workers, psychiatrists and psychologists come together to discuss hundreds of issues related to mental health and law.

Alice said “This was a fantastic opportunity for us to present our findings on this issue and I would like to thank both Strathclyde and Miami Law Clinics as well as Thompsons Solicitors for all of their support.”

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Student Directors Provide Presentation to Senior Judges from Thailand

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 Legal System.

Last summer both Student Directors delivered a similar presentation to senior Judges from Thailand. After hearing about the Law Clinic from their colleagues, the Senior Judges expressed an interest in learning more about the work we undertake.   

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

Both Student Director’s found the experience invaluable, with Kirstie Webb reflecting:

“It was a privilege to have another opportunity to address the Supreme Court Judges from Thailand and demonstrate the legal services that we offer. The work carried out by our student advisors is truly inspiring, this opportunity to showcase their dedication to access to justice, particularly to such a respected audience, was a memorable experience.”

James Anderson recalled:

“I was extremely proud to have the opportunity to talk about the work conducted by the Law 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.”

Dr. Sutatip Yuthayotin, one of the judges from Thailand, assisted the Student Directors by translating their presentation, reflected on the event saying:

“As legal practitioners, we, the visiting judges from Thailand, have found that the law clinic at Strathclyde University offers important opportunity for young students to learn laws by their own practical experiences. This is a unique form of legal education that will be beneficial not only to individual law students but also to the community and public as a whole.”

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New Project: Disability Discrimination Project

The Law Clinic is delighted to announce its new project on disability discrimination.

(From Left to Right Law Clinic Student Advisors: Zoe Law and Eilidh Campbell)

This timely initiative will start by exploring the wealth of Law Clinic casework in this area. Throughout the summer, this work will be carried out by Law Clinic student advisors, Zoe Law and Eilidh Campbell. This research will be used to identify trends and challenges in discrimination claims, which will help us to devise user-friendly guidance for claimants on how to effectively bring disability discrimination claims to the Employment Tribunal.

The Law Clinic would like to thank the Strathclyde Alumni office for its support of this project, which we hope will help not only existing Law Clinic clients but will increase the public’s knowledge of how they can seek redress for disability discrimination issues.

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Strathclyde Law Clinic Attends Law Society of Scotland Access to Justice Roundtable

Student Director James Anderson from the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic recently attended the Law Society of Scotland’s Access to Justice roundtable event on 24 July 2019.

The event, hosted by the Law Society of Scotland at their offices in Edinburgh, brought together organisations from across Scotland to discuss issues facing alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and pro bono work. The event featured parallel roundtables that gave members and stakeholders an opportunity to share experiences in the sector.

The event opened with a brief address from Jim Stephenson, the Convener of the Law Society of Scotland’s Access to Justice Committee. This was followed by an opportunity for each of the roundtables to discuss a variety of topics related to pro bono or ADR. These topics included: matching services with unmet need; encouraging participation in projects; coordination between advice and legal sectors; regulating Pro bono services; insurance for pro bono services and the role of the law society.

These discussions were followed by a presentation from Gil Long from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) who highlighted lessons that could be learnt from the successful relationship between CAB’s based in Glasgow and Glasgow University.

James Anderson reflected on the event saying:

“The Access to Justice Roundtable event showcased the willingness of the Law Society of Scotland to not only support current pro bono initiatives, but to help remedy the obstacles hindering the progress of pro bono within Scotland. I left the event feeling refreshed and motivated to continue striving towards the goal of providing access to justice.”

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic is proud to be involved in any work that seeks to improve access to justice and looks forward to attending future events from the Law Society of Scotland’s Access to Justice Committee. 

Law Clinic’s Asylum Project Hosts Forum Theatre Event

On 21 June 2019, The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic’s ‘The Asylum Project’ hosted the event: ‘So you say you come from…? Prove it!’ as part of Refugee Festival Scotland. The event highlighted how easy it can be for displaced people to fall through the cracks and end up stateless in a hostile environment.

The event started with interactive sessions aimed at testing memory and credibility, followed by a forum theatre piece based on a fictionalised asylum interview. The session demonstrated how nationality is assessed by the Home Office and gave the audience the chance to think about whether or not they would pass as nationals of their own country. It also showed the difficulties faced by someone whose nationality is disputed by the Home Office, and how difficult it can be to challenge this. 

Kirstie Webb reflected on the event saying:

“It was a pleasure to take part in such an important event, hosted by The Asylum Project (TAP). Participating in the forum theatre provided a small insight into the issues faced by our clients in asylum claims regarding nationality. I believe that exposure to these issues is essential to raise awareness and highlight how easy it can be to end up stateless.”

The T.A.P project will also be performing on 3 August 2019 as part of the JustFestival at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information or to sign up, follow the link.