University offers free housing law advice to local community
The University of Sussex has launched a free legal clinic to give local people expert housing advice.
Residents will be able to contact the Sussex Law School and receive legal support at no cost on a wide range of housing issues including evictions/possession, disrepair, anti-social behaviour/neighbourhood nuisance, landlord harassment, tenancy deposit and leasehold disputes.
The housing legal clinic, which starts today (Wednesday 1 March), is part of the University’s Sussex Clinical Legal Education (SCLE), which has been helping people with family law and employment law advice over the last 12 months.
Dr Amir Paz-Fuchs, Director of SCLE, said: “For the past year, University of Sussex law students have been helping some of the most vulnerable people in their local community tackle what are often traumatic life circumstances.
“Pro bono legal clinics play a vital role in communities. And from the response we’ve had so far, it’s clear there is a need for the type of help and guidance we can offer.”
The housing clinics, held on the University’s campus, are intended to benefit both the clients, who have no other means of paying for legal advice, and the students, who are learning about the real and practical applications of their studies.
The legal advice is provided by Sussex Law School students in partnership with solicitors with expertise in housing law issues.
The clinics are in addition to two projects, announced last October, which saw the Law School team up with the Brighton Housing Trust and Justlife Brighton to establish two advice projects. The first gives students the opportunity to assist the public with legal, administrative and research tasks, including County Court visits and clerking.
The second project raises awareness of legal rights among people living in temporary accommodation. It involves students attending a drop-in service run by Justlife, and talking to service-users about legal problems they may be experiencing in areas such as housing, welfare benefits and community care.
So far the Law School has helped dozens of people with family and employment legal issues since it started almost a year ago, including 50 in the last four months, with the weekly sessions fully booked.
People can also call 01273 876797 and leave a brief message outlining their situation, plus a name and contact number. A student will then call back to arrange an appointment.
Local people can also make an appointment with the family law and employment law clinics by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the hotline on 01273 876797.