The University has received a £1million donation – one of the biggest single gifts from an individual in its history – as part of its fundraising campaign to build a new home for its award-winning Kent Law Clinic.
Future generations of law students will benefit from the new building at the Canterbury campus when it opens in two years’ time – thanks to this gift from The Hon Charles Wigoder, a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Kent Law Clinic, which is part of the University’s Kent Law School, operates as a partnership between students, academics and practicing solicitors and barristers. It provides a public ‘pro bono’ service for people who need legal advice and representation but cannot afford to pay for it, while at the same time enabling students to gain experience of the law by working under supervision on cases for clients of the clinic.
Work is expected to begin next year on the new building – which will also include a new ‘mooting’ court – with a formal opening due during the University’s 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2015.
Professor John Fitzpatrick, Director of the Kent Law Clinic, said: ‘Everyone connected with the Clinic is hugely grateful for this major donation to our fundraising campaign.
‘This exciting new building for our Law Clinic will enable us to expand significantly our pro bono service to the public, which in turn will mean that more of our students will have the opportunity to learn about law through hands-on case work experience.
‘Our new mooting room will also enable students to hone their advocacy skills in a realistic courtroom environment.’
Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow said: ‘We are delighted that Charles Wigoder has chosen to make this very significant donation to support the University’s award-winning Kent Law Clinic.
‘As a highly successful alumnus of the University, it is very pleasing that Charles has chosen to support a project that will ensure many more of our law students are able to gain first-hand experience of case work, which will provide them with a real advantage when they graduate.’
Law students and alumni have also been raising money – via a series of recent sponsored events – to support the Kent Law Campaign’s target of £5 million for the new building. In June, a team of 16 students, alumni, staff and friends undertook the daunting Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds, while in May law student Hannah Bignell was sponsored to swim the equivalent of the length of the English Channel in a Canterbury leisure centre.