Following 11 years of service to the community, the award-winning University of Strathclyde Law Clinic has dramatically expanded its activities. Collaboration with the Refugee Survival Trust has enabled it to employ Barbara Coll as a part-time supervisor to oversee assistance to asylum seekers. Barbara had years of experience as an immigration solicitor in England before legal aid cuts made the provision of adequate legal services uneconomical, and will now oversee our new unit investigating possible fresh claims for asylum by destitute asylum applicants.
In addition, £175,000 raised through the Campaign for Strathclyde will allow the Clinic to employ additional supervisors and to increase its membership from 180 to 300 students over the next three years. This will almost double the number of clients it can assist and mean that far fewer students will be turned away from Clinic membership every year. This expansion will make the Clinic, one of the largest, if not the largest, clinics in the UK and certainly by far the largest in Scotland.
As a first step towards using this new expanded capacity, the Law Clinic has joined with Rape Crisis Scotland to provide advice to survivors of sexual violence, and has put in a joint bid with the Legal Services Agency to expand this service to representation as well.
And last but by no means least, the Law Clinic has appointed Rachel Blair to replace Annabell Fowles who, as many will know, provided seven years sterling service to the Clinic. Rachel has worked in employment law for the last 13 years, as a solicitor since 2008, and was an advisor during her Diploma year at the University.
All of these developments, along with the recently launched online advice service put the Clinic in an extremely strong position to expand the central role it plays in ensuring access to justice in Scotland. Reacting to these developments, Prof. Donald Nicolson OBE, founding director of the Law Clinic, commented:
“The Law Clinic has, for 11 years, surpassed my every expectation. To see the Clinic work now in conjunction with the Refugee Survival Trust and Rape Crisis Scotland to assist the most vulnerable groups in society, and secure substantial additional investment to expand further yet, fills me with confidence that 2015, as ever, will mark a significant milestone in our history.”