A recent event attended by representatives of the Clinic was the annual Scottish University Law Clinic Network Conference (SULCN).
The conference was held in Dundee, and was attended by new Student Director James Anderson, and Director of the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic, Kate Laverty.
The afternoon was filled with passionate speakers who all wanted to share their ideas and promote the general positive progression of law clinics across Scotland. One main theme of this year’s conference was how ever more important technology is becoming. This discussion led to ways to learn from other fields and help law clinics provide even better access to justice.
The opening keynote address was provided by Mike Dailly of Govan Law Centre who talked about how to use new technology and partnership working to find solutions to social problems, and how the law must be used to fight for social change. With a particular emphasis on ‘self-help legal kits’, providing the public with the legal information they need.
Malcolm Combe and Pippa Robertson discussed the Scottish University Land Unit (a partnership with Development Trusts Association Scotland and law students, which is currently running a pilot at the University of Aberdeen). The Scottish University Land Unit or ‘SULU’, aims to support community bodies in exercising their community rights in respect of land.
Sarah Webb informed us of an exciting partnership between University of Abertay students and Police Scotland seeking to resolve cold cases of missing persons; before Malcom Combe returned to discuss the new “pro bono expenses orders” which can be used where someone has been represented in legal proceedings for free.
Alison Atack, the new president of the Law Society of Scotland, delivered the closing address, and the society also generously supported the event. Proceedings on the day were co-ordinated by Liz Comerford of the University of Dundee.
James said: “The most valuable advice I gleaned from the afternoon can be summarised in one word: simplicity. Now, more than ever, the general public is expected to self-represent for parts if not all of the legal process.
In a point stressed eloquently by the new President of the Law Society, Alison Atack, a crucial skill that every student should develop is the ability to explain legal issues and give advice simply and effectively.
I was delighted to share the progress of the Employment Tribunal project currently under development at the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic and felt reassured that the vision behind this style of project is shared with Law Clinics across Scotland.
It was fantastic to make the acquaintance of so many enthusiastic people. I would encourage all students with an interest in access to justice to attend next year.”
SULCN is an annual event which provides Law Clinics across Scotland the opportunity to share experiences, ideas, relevant news and developments and the opportunity to network.