Social Responsibility

The Legal Advice Centre

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:06:00 BST

The University's Legal Advice Centre (LAC) is run by School of Law to give free legal advice to members of the public who are not able to access legal advice elsewhere and to provide real world experience to law students.

Most of the clients are not eligible for legal aid and cannot afford a solicitor. Professional advice service is provided through student-led advice clinics supervised by external specialist lawyers. Access to justice for members of the public is combined with hands-on experience of legal issues for students and the opportunity for them to develop key legal skills.

The LAC began seeing clients again from Monday 25 September. A rota of appointments has been put together. The practice areas are family, employment, housing, mental incapacity, small business advice, consumer/contract and wills and probate law. These appointments consist of students interviewing the client and then preparing a follow up letter of advice, supervised by a volunteer lawyer.

Manchester Free Legal Help (MFLH) has continued to offer services to clients (mainly on a drop-in basis) over the summer, with advice provided by volunteer lawyers, but without undergraduates in attendance. However MFLH ran a summer placement opportunity for Pathways to Law students to attend MFLH clinics and gain other experience of the legal world while clinics were operating without our students. A full programme of clinics will continue to be offered at the Civil Justice Centre, with undergraduates students getting involved from the first week of teaching.

The LAC’s long-established link with the East Manchester Settlement has been on hold over the past year, for a variety of reasons. As a result of a recent joint meeting between the LAC, the University of Law and LawWorks, it is hope that a limited number of planned sessions will be offered at EMLAC over the coming semester, using in-house lawyers and possibly exploring the use of Skype. This model will be evaluated and other options will continue to investigate, in order to try to extend the LAC’s client base and its reach outside of the University.

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