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University launches five student legal clinics for the local community

The University of Sussex launched five law clinics run by third year students offering legal advice to the local community on 5 October.

Sussex will offer the most comprehensive service of its kind to local residents and businesses with five separate schemes county-wide. The clinics demonstrate the University’s commitment to communities across Sussex with the launch of the clinics:

  • The Family Law Clinic offers free legal advice to clients, with the assistance of an in-house solicitor, on a range of issues including divorce, separation, child arrangements, co-habitation, civil partnership and financial matters.
  • The Citizens Advice Project is a new collaboration with Central and South Sussex Citizens Advice (CaSSCA), with centres in seven locations across Sussex. Students will deliver advice to clients face to face and by telephone, email and webchat.
  • The CLOCK project allows students to become legal companions and assist litigants in person (who either do not have access to legal aid or are not aware that legal aid may be available for them).
  • The Employment Law clinic will see students provide legal assistance to potential litigants and community institutions with help from experienced employment law solicitors. The clinic will host weekly drop in sessions on campus, in which clients will be able to receive free legal advice on matters such as unfair dismissal, discrimination, illegal deduction of wages, maternity pay and leave.
  • The Housing and welfare project consists of two projects. Brighton Housing Trust (BHT) Pro Bono will see the university collaborate with Brighton Housing Trust Advice Centre, giving students the opportunity to assist with legal, administrative and research tasks, in addition to County Court visits and clerking. The Justlife Project aims to raise awareness of legal rights among people who are living in temporary accommodation. It involves students attending a drop-in service run by the charity Justlife, and talking to service-users about legal problems that they may be experiencing in areas such as housing, welfare benefits and community care.

All the clinics will be provided by third year law students and will be overseen by tutors. From a student’s perspective, it will provide them with the opportunity to get involved in their community while increasing their employability through valuable work experience.

Vice-Chancellor, Adam Tickell, said: “We know that our students relish getting closer to their community – and this is a brilliant opportunity to give back. We are committed to looking at more opportunities for the University to help local residents in a genuinely meaningful way.”

Amir Paz-Fuchs, Director of Sussex Clinical Legal Education, said: “This is a very exciting moment for Sussex Law School – staff, students and the community in which we are immersed. Clinical legal education provides a unique perspective on the role of law and society, and enriches the student experience immensely.

“It also allows us to reach into the community and to assist those in need through the help of enthusiastic students, dedicated staff and exceptional lawyers who are our crucial partners in this project. We are confident that, as ambitious as this launch is for Sussex Clinical Legal Education, it is an important project which will allow the University to connect with the local community.”

People can make an appointment with the Family Law and Employment Law clinics now by emailing lawclinic@sussex.ac.uk or calling the hotline on 01273 876797.

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Posted on behalf of: School of Law, Politics and Sociology
Last updated: Tuesday, 11 October 2016