Need legal advice? Get it free at Lancaster University students’ drop-in clinics

Lancaster University is running a new series of city centre Law Clinics.
Lancaster University is running a new series of city centre Law Clinics.

A new series of city centre Law Clinics for local people, run by Lancaster University, is about to get under way.

The ‘drop in’ clinics (no appointments necessary) will enable local residents to access free legal advice and university students to gain invaluable experience.

The confidential ‘drop-in’ clinics started on Monday October 28 and will run every Monday until December 2 (inclusive) from 10am to 4pm. The ‘drop-in’ clinics will resume after the Christmas break on January 13 and will run every Monday until March 9 (inclusive).

They will take place at The Storey Institute (first floor Reading and Drawing Rooms) in Lancaster with the exception of the November 4 session, which will take place on campus and will be for staff and students.

A new feature will be the addition of a ‘virtual experience’ law clinic for which ‘clients’ will be able to Skype in or telephone with their enquiries. These sessions can be booked by emailing lawclinic@lancaster.ac.uk to secure a slot.

Second and third year law students, supervised by two members of staff, solicitors and lecturers Sadie Whittam and Kathryn Saban, will oversee the service for Lancaster, Morecambe and district residents facing legal problems.

Clients are invited to run through their legal problems. Then, working in teams of two, the student advisors will take details of key issues.

They will then liaise with the clinic leaders, both qualified solicitors, to talk through potential research areas and agree actions.

The students will then provide clients with a letter of advice within 14 days of the initial appointment.

Clinics will cover an array of general legal issues including:

*Consumer rights

*Education law

*Family Law

*Personal legal problems

*Small claims

Drop in clinics will not cover issues linked to crime or challenges against universities or law firms. Drop in clinics will also not advise on any cases where solicitors have already been instructed or court action has started.

Students held four law clinics over the summer and saw 25 clients over four days. Issues included contract disputes, family law including divorce and education.

Third year Law student Becca Jex, said: “The internship over summer working in the Lancaster University Law Clinic was an invaluable experience which has provided me with skills that I can take into my final year.

“Being granted this opportunity made me realise that I would like to specialise in private client work in the future and I cannot wait to put the skills I learnt into practice.”

Head of the Law School, Professor Alisdair Gillespie, said: “Lancaster University is renowned for its academic excellence. The Law Clinic provides much needed assistance to members of the public who might not otherwise be able to access free legal advice. The Law Clinic enables students to apply the law to real life problems, and it is great that clients will receive top notch legal advice at no charge!”

For all enquiries please email lawclinic@lancaster.ac.uk