Students studying migration law at the University of Kent at Brussels are helping provide advice for EU citizens at a new EU Rights Clinic.
Working in partnership with qualified citizens’ advice rights lawyers, the Clinic is helping to provide members of the public with free advice on European legislation and other legal issues.
Modelled on the University’s successful Kent Law Clinic, the EU Rights Clinic has been jointly established by its Brussels School of International Studies (BSIS), Kent Law School and the European Citizen Action Service (ECAS).
The University recently received an EU Jean Monnet grant to develop a new module titled Teaching EU Migration Law Through Clinical Legal Education. Students taking this module study EU law in action by working at the new EU Rights Clinic.
Anthony Valcke, module convenor who established the new Clinic, said: ‘The mission of this new EU Rights Clinic is to help EU citizens and their family members resolve any problems they may encounter when moving around the EU and assist them in enforcing their European rights.
‘This assistance is provided by students enrolled on our EU Migration Law course at the University of Kent at Brussels, working in partnership with qualified lawyers and citizens’ rights advisers.
‘Its launch coincides with the European Year of Citizens and the EU Rights Clinic promises to play an important role in providing help to EU citizens in legal need who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer.’
The EU Rights Clinic is currently based at the ECAS office and advice meetings need to be arranged by appointment. It is hoped a public ‘walk-in’ service will be on offer when a suitable new building is ready in January 2016.
The award-winning Kent Law Clinic is a partnership between students, academics and solicitors and barristers in practice in Kent. It has two objects: to provide a public service for local people who need legal advice and representation but cannot afford to pay for it, and to enhance the education of students in the Kent Law School through direct experience of legal practice.
The Kent Law Clinic has received numerous awards recognising and celebrating its work, most recently having been awarded the prestigious LawWorks Attorney General’s Award 2012 for the Best New Pro Bono Activity for its Access to Land project. It was shortlisted for the legal industry leading The Lawyer Awards in 2010 and in 2012, alongside a number of magic circle firms, and in 2007 the Clinic was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize, with staff and students from the Clinic collecting the award from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.