New Supervisor for the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic

This month saw the latest addition to the Law Clinic team as Susan Fallone began her role as one of the Law Clinic’s Supervisors.

Prior to becoming a solicitor, Susan worked in the social security department for nearly thirteen years. During this time she also worked as an advocate for adults with dementia, training as a mediator at that time. She then worked as the In Court Adviser at Edinburgh Sheriff Court for over five years, where she provided legal advice and representation to unrepresented party litigants in a wide range of areas including defending against local authority eviction actions, landlord/tenant disputes, debt actions, and raising/defending small claims and summary cause actions.

Susan also worked for East End and Castlemilk Law Centres (covering criminal, housing, debt, employment, family law and social security tribunals), in private practice (covering criminal and family law) and finally in-house for local authorities (specialising in child law, but also covering other areas of work such as employment, education, housing, clerking committees, and acting as legal adviser to the adoption and fostering panel).

When not working at the Clinic, Susan will split her time between working as a safeguarder for children in Court and Children’s Hearing proceedings and as a Justice of the Peace in the summary criminal courts in Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Commenting on this appointment, Clinic Director Professor Donald Nicolson said:

“Susan will make an excellent addition to our current supervisory team and will help us maintain and enhance our services to the community. Welcome aboard Susan from all of us here at the Law Clinic.”

Resignation of Professor Donald Nicolson OBE

The Law Clinic is sad to announce that its founder and director, Professor Donald Nicolson OBE, will be leaving us in the coming months to take up a role at the University of Essex Law Clinic.

Donald joined Strathclyde in 2000, having previously  taught law at the Universities of Cape Town, Warwick, Reading and Bristol, where he set up the University of Bristol Law Clinic. In 2003, he would set the ball rolling on what would become the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, where over the years he would work tirelessly alongside students and staff to transform a grand ambition conceived of whilst sitting on the grass outside the Lord Hope building into a practical reality that serves hundreds of clients a year.

Over the course of nearly 15 years, Law Clinic students have benefitted from Donald’s faith in student involvement which has allowed remarkable results with a relatively limited budget. Donald leaves the Clinic with a sophisticated infrastructure that will allow it to carry on providing an extraordinary level of service in ever more innovative ways.

Donald remarked:

“I am extremely proud of the Clinic, but also extremely grateful to all the students, staff and supporters whose enthusiasm, initiative and dedication have ensured that the Clinic has been by far the greatest achievement of my professional career. I thank you all and hope that we will keep in touch once I leave Strathclyde in a few months.

Kate Laverty, Deputy Law Clinic Director added:

Donald leaving will be a change that is felt all through the Clinic. His experience in Law Clinics in the UK and in South Africa have made him the driving force behind the Law Clinic. He brings out the best in our student volunteers: entrusting them with positions of responsibility which allow the Clinic to benefit most from their volunteerist spirit. Beyond all else, Donald has been a great friend to many in the Clinic, and we sincerely hope that he will be no stranger!”

Student Advisors to Run for Funds

On 28 May 2017, three Student Advisors and one parent are going to run the Edinburgh Half Marathon to raise funds for the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic.

Student advisors Katrina Durie, Sean Iles and Rurai Peacock will all take part in the half-marathon with Melissa Jack’s father running in her place as she cannot make it. All funds raised will go to the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic.

The Half Marathon starts in London and Regent Road before passing by the Holyrood Palace. It then runs through Holyrood Park and onto Meadowbank Sports Stadium. It then turns north, along Lochend Road and Leith Links before reaching Portobello Promenade. The route then stretches along Musselburgh Road before reaching Musselburgh Racecourse. It goes a couple of miles further up Ravenheugh Road beyond the Prestongrange Mining Museum before looping around and heading back past Musselburgh. It then finishes in the playing fields at Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School.

Fundraising Officer Andrew Harding commented:

“It is great to see such enthusiasm for the Law Clinic from its members. I would like to say thank you to all of the runners for their efforts in this challenge. Any donations would be gratefully received, and will allow us to carry on with the Clinic’s efforts to boost access to justice in the local community and beyond.”

You can show your support for the runners by sponsoring them here:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/katrina-durie-1

Law Clinic Executive Committee 2017/2018

The recruitment of the Law Clinic’s 2017-2018 Executive Committee has now concluded. The Executive Committee is made up of the Student Directors, Fundraising Officer, Communications Officer, Training Officer, Project Managers and Firm Coordinators. The Committee will shape the direction for the Clinic for the year ahead and will begin in their roles on 1st June 2017.

With a vast number of high quality applicants for the different Committee positions, the competition was tough. Applications were received from students of all years, and a process of interviewing made the range and depth of experience students continue to bring to the Clinic very clear.

Commenting on the new Committee, Law Clinic Director Professor Donald Nicolson said:

“Students are a driving force behind everything we do at the Clinic. It is their ideas, hard work and dedication which makes the work of the Clinic possible, and the Executive Committee is at the heart of this. Our new committee will replace a very successful and cohesive team, and will no doubt build on their success. That we had so many applications speaks to the strength of the Clinic.

I look forward to working with the new Committee and I cannot wait to see how they drive the Clinic forward in the year ahead”

The new Executive Committee is made up of the following people:

  • Student Directors: Fergus Lawrie and Jacob Hay
  • Deputy Student Director: Nathan McHardy
  • Fundraising Officer: Gemma Nimmo
  • Communications Officer: Sean Iles
  • Training Officer: Roisin Flatman
  • IAC Coordinators: Laura Cheng and Kirstie Webb
  • Online Project Manager: Ben Brown
  • Deputy Online Project Manager: Hannah Wilson
  • CCU Project Manager: Scott Jenkins
  • Deputy CCU Project Manager: Elspeth Drysdale
  • SBLU Project Manager: Jenna McKinley
  • Deputy SBLU Project Manager: Scott Sharpe
  • Schools Project Manager: Karen Yuill
  • Deputy Schools Project Manager: Aisha Iqbal
  • Prisons Project Manager: Stephanie McCarron
  • Foodbanks and Benefits Project Manager: Sam Daniel
  • Deputy Foodbanks and Benefits Project Manager: Luke Light
  • Immigration Unit Coordinator: Hanan El-Atrash
  • SWRC Coordinator: Alice Bowman
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm A): Hannah Grace
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm B): Andrew Harding
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm C): Liam McKay
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm D): Scott O’Connor
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm E): Monika Koczwara
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm F): Alex Brock
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm G): Ewan Wilson
  • Firm Coordinator (Firm H): Beth Kelly

The Food Bank and Benefits Project

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic’s Food Bank and Benefits Project is a relatively new project which is currently in its pilot phase. The project aims to assist members of the community with benefits-related issues at drop-in sessions held regularly at Lodging House Mission (LHM). One of the project’s regular and dedicated volunteers, Sam Daniel, describes how the project impacts on both the clients it assists and the student advisors that volunteer on it. 

“I never quite know what to expect when I arrive at LHM as every day presents new challenges. On a typical day, the project involves finding accommodation for people that typically lack any official form of it. This is incredibly worthwhile and the difference that you can make to peoples’ lives is plain.

The people I have met on this project are particularly inspiring, somehow managing to persevere with the bravest of faces in times of true and evident hardship. Clients have shared some incredible stories with me, and it is these humbling stories that motivate me to continue this work for them and achieve the best possible outcome. There is not always an easy fix for our clients’ problems, but being able to support them through the process is why I think this project is invaluable. Every time I volunteer I can help towards securing a client a roof to sleep under — something which may not otherwise have happened.”

Special IAC to Mark the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow Library’s Bicentenary

The Law Clinic is delighted to announce that a special additional IAC session will take place on the 14th June 2017 to mark the bicentenary of the RFPG Library in Glasgow.

The Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow is a body which was incorporated prior to 1668 and continues to serve the needs of the legal profession in Glasgow and West Central Scotland. Providing members with access to a large law library with significant holdings, a well regarded CPD education programme, the services of an auditor and a venue in the city centre for a wide variety of events.

The Royal Faculty of Procurators also acts as a representative body for solicitors practicing in the Glasgow area.

To mark the RFPG library’s bicentenary, it will accommodate a special IAC event. Members of public who cannot afford a solicitor but who have a legal problem can attend this event to get some information to help resolve their issue. The event will be staffed by volunteer solicitors and trainee solicitors, and run from 6pm to 7.30pm.

We cannot deal with every legal issue but we do regularly deal with enquiries in the following areas:

  • Consumer Protection (defective goods and services)
  • Housing Issues (relating to tenancy agreements; factors and management companies)
  • Small Claims (pursuing money which is owed to you or defending an action where someone is claiming against you)
  • Employment Issues (claims for unfair/constructive dismissal)

If you are a solicitor and are interested in attending this session, or other IACs, please do get in touch.

Gender Based Violence and the Law in 2017: a Perspective from a Frontline Service

The University of Strathclyde Law Clinic was delighted to be joined by Jennifer Dalziel, a solicitor at the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre, to mark International Women’s Day 2017.

Gender Based Violence and the Law in 2017: a Perspective from a Frontline Service#IWD #BeBoldForChange

Geplaatst door University of Strathclyde Law Clinic op woensdag 8 maart 2017

 

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day was #BeBoldForChange. The SWRC (a partnership project between Rape Crisis Scotland, the University of Strathclyde and the Legal Services Agency) is a bold, innovative and much-needed service ensuring women in Scotland who have or are experiencing gender based violence are able to access timely and appropriate legal advice and information. It was therefore fitting to explore the impact of law on women in 2017 through the SWRC’s perspective.

Jennifer has been employed by the SWRC since its establishment in 2015 and has extensive knowledge on the issues facing women in Scotland who have experienced gender-based violence. Reflecting on her experiences, Jennifer discussed recent developments in case law and legislation relating to gender-based violence, suggesting how this can be used to effect positive change in clients’ lives. Furthermore, Jennifer explored the direction the law should take in order to promote women’s rights in relation to gender-based violence.

Small Business Law Unit: East End Connections Event

On Thursday 16th February 2017, the Small Business Law Unit (SBLU) was invited to attend a local networking event hosted by East End Connections at Drygate Brewery. The event was open to all businesses in the area and organisations associated with providing assistance to local businesses. 

The evening included presentations by Ivan McKee MSP and Anne McLaughlin MP on how they could assist local businesses in the East End of Glasgow in practical ways, such as bringing member’s debates to parliament on specific issues affecting businesses. The event also offered a chance to network with businesses, other organisations and parliamentary representatives in attendance. At this point, SBLU advisors were able to speak individually with businesses and inform them of the services that could be provided to them at the moment and in the future following the conclusion of the pilot stage of the project.

Commenting on the event, Megan McCulloch, SBLU Coordinator said:

“This event was a fantastic opportunity for the SBLU to meet local businesses and promote our services.

Although the project is still in its pilot phase, we are excited to be able to advise three clients in the coming months through our bespoke client services with the ultimate view to launch full services later in the year.

The events that East End Connections have proved an invaluable opportunity to reach out to businesses in the area in order to empower and boost the local community. We hope that through attending these events, we will be able to contribute to this great work and make a positive impact of those who need it most.”

For more information on the work that the SBLU does and the progress on its pilot so far, please click here.

Kate Laverty Appointed Deputy Director of Law Clinic

In recognition of her pivotal role in the Clinic over her eleven years of Law Clinic service, the Law Clinic’s Executive Committee approved the appointment of Kate Laverty as Deputy Director of the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic.
The role of Deputy Director will see Kate support Professor Donald Nicolson in the day-to-day running of the Clinic and with the overall strategic organisation of the Clinic. Kate will be taking up the role with immediate effect.

Kate has been a supervisor at the Clinic for nearly eleven years and last year was acting Director during Professor Nicolson’s sabbatical. Beyond her supervisory responsibilities, Kate plays a key role in a number of Clinic projects, including the establishment and running of the Women’s Right Centre.

Commenting on her appointment, Kate said:

“I am delighted to be appointed the Deputy Director of the Clinic. The Law Clinic provides real access to justice for the local community and I am proud to play a part in it. During my time in the Clinic, I have seen it develop and expand in ways I could never imagine and in my new role, I hope to continue this growth.”

Law Clinic Director Donald Nicolson added:

“I congratulate Kate on her formal appointment to the role of Deputy Director, and in truth it is a role she has being unofficially carrying out for a number of years. I am delighted that her hard work and dedication has been recognised in this way by the Executive Committee. She has played an integral role in the expansion and development of the Clinic and I look forward to continue working closely with Kate to develop the Clinic further.”

A New Home for the Law Clinic

This past week saw the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic pack its bags and wish farewell to its home of seven years as it moved from level 5 of the Graham Hills building to larger premises on level 8 of the building.

With a main reception area where the supervisors and the Clinic administrator are based, as well as two meeting rooms and two working hubs for student advisors our new space is a significant upgrade from our two (small) rooms on level five. Despite some unpacking still do, the Clinic was able to reopen its doors on Friday 27 January.

Commenting after the move, Law Clinic Director Professor Donald Nicolson said:

“With an increasing number of case workers and project workers as well as the ever growing case load, the move to larger premises was long overdue.  The fact that we need more space demonstrates how much the Clinic has grown over the past few years.”

“While we may have changed offices, the hard work and dedication our advisors and staff has not changed and I look forward to the many years of success we will experience in the new offices.”