A legal advice centre offering support to members of the community has been launched by the University of Derby.
The Student Legal Advice Centre will be run by LLB (Hons) Law students who will provide members of the public with free legal advice on a range of areas of law.
The Centre, a student-led project instigated by Head of Law, Sue Jennings, has been designed to provide students with clinical legal practice education and deliver free advice to the community. It was launched to legal professionals at an event yesterday (Wednesday, October 24) at the University’s Law School, where the Centre will be based when it officially opens to the public in February 2019.
Kaye Howells, Senior Lecturer in Law and Centre Lead at the University of Derby, said: “The development of the Student Legal Advice Centre will give students access to clinical legal education which, alongside the high quality academic teaching they receive, will prepare them well for the world of work.
“The development of the Centre will enable the students, under close supervision, to provide the community of Derby with free legal advice and assistance on a range of areas of law including family law and immigration law.
“I am humbled and delighted by the high level of student engagement and the support received from the local legal profession and fellow pro bono providers.”
Second-year legal students will have the opportunity to shadow third-year students, who will be supported by certified staff at the University when offering advice. The students will have undertaken a programme of training and will be closely supervised during their work at the Centre. In circumstances where the Centre is unable to take a case on, the Centre will signpost accordingly.
Law student Ami Popkin said: “The Student Legal Advice Centre is a brilliant opportunity for us to build a healthy working relationship with the Derby community. Having the opportunity to really help people with the issues they are facing is an extremely rewarding experience.
“We have all signed up to work in the Legal Centre because we want to help and we want to make a difference.”
Student Matthew Bettany added: “This is an amazing opportunity to develop the real skills required to succeed in the legal profession while still studying at an undergraduate level.
“Not only can it help make our CVs stand out, it can also bring the rest of our studies into focus. The skills and legal knowledge being practised and studied at the University of Derby matter – and being able to give legal advice to someone can really help frame the studies into a broader real-world context.”
Representatives from the Red Cross, Citizens Advice, Derbyshire Housing Association, Derby Contact Centre, and the legal profession, as well as Councillor Mike Carr, Mayor of Derby, attended the launch event.
Professor Kamil Omoteso, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the University of Derby, added: “Law at Derby has excellence in legal practice at its core. It offers an exciting combination of high quality teaching, specialist facilities and real-world learning opportunities as it is important our students gain the skills and hands-on experience they need to take the first steps into a rewarding legal career.
“The Student Legal Advice Centre is a brilliant opportunity for our students to work on real cases and help members of the community and we are delighted to be launching such a facility.”
More information about studying the LLB (Hons) can be found on the course page.