UEL’s Legal Advice Centre is well-established and highly popular. Staffed by volunteer tutors and students, the law clinic provides free legal services and free public lectures to the east London community.
The centre currently operates only during term-time, but money from the University’s Civic Engagement Fund allowed it to stay open throughout the summer of 2015, extending the free legal advice services it provides to the community and offering a helpful presence when other avenues of advice or support were closed. The summer hours also allowed students to focus on their legal work without the demands of academic studies.
The funding meant the centre could turn its attention to three new areas:
● Students undertook research on the male perspective of female genital mutilation, providing factual and legal information to the local community. The work included aiding in the production of a documentary.
● The centre enhanced its capability to assist clients in civil advocacy cases, giving local residents access to justice. With recent heavy cuts to legal aid there has been a large increase in the number of aid applications from people who face going to court alone.
● Final-year students conducted workshops which provided consulting services in intellectual property law to local partners.
Patrick Hassan-Morlai, Director of the Legal Advice Centre, said. “The number of students who volunteered to participate in the summer advice session shows how much they expect to benefit from this experience,
“The students have labelled this as their own summer placement scheme in which they expect to engage with the practical side of the law more intensely while at the same time helping those who cannot pay for legal advice in the open market to get such advice free of charge."