Kent Law Clinic is a partnership between students, academics and solicitors and barristers in practice locally with two primary objectives: to provide a free public service to people in Kent who need legal advice or representation and who cannot afford to pay for it; and to enhance the education of students at Kent Law School through direct experience of legal practice.
Through applying the law to real situations and live problems of our clients, students develop valuable legal skills such as interviewing, negotiating and advocacy. At the same time students are encouraged to step back and reflect on their practical legal work, and evaluate the laws and procedures they encounter in practice. This blog offers a showcase for the reflective work produced by our students (and our solicitors). It also helps offer a meaningful insight into the work of the Clinic and into the way in which the legal system works more broadly.
Read the Law Clinic’s latest Annual Report.
Wigoder Law Building
Kent Law Clinic is based on the ground floor of the Wigoder Law Building on the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus.
- Coordinators: Lisa and Amanda
- Supervisors: Elaine, Graham (also Clinic Director), Philippa, Richard, Sheona, Tony and Vivien
Every Monday evening in term time, the Law Clinic holds advice sessions for members of the public in the Wigoder Law Building. At these sessions, solicitors and barristers in private practice donate their time to advise clients and work with out team. Students help arrange the sessions, observe the volunteer advisers at the interviews and discuss the cases with them. We are indebted to all of our volunteer legal advisors and couldn’t function in the way that we do without them.
The Clinic has received numerous awards recognising and celebrating its work, including:
- 2018 Kent Law Society 200th Anniversary Award for a “significant contribution to the development and practice of law in Kent”
- 2014 The Lawyer Award for ‘Ethical Initiative of the Year’ presented by Joanna Lumley at The Lawyer Awards 2014
- 2012 The LawWorks Attorney General’s Award for the Best New Pro Bono Activity for its ‘Access to Land’ project presented by the Attorney General, the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC, MP at the House of Commons
- 2008 Staff and students from the Clinic were presented with the Queen’s Anniversary Prize by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace, for ‘enriching the academic study of law through a casework service to the community’
- 2007 ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community’ prize at the Times Higher Education Awards
- 1998 The Clinic was joint winner of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Civil Justice’ award in the Times/JUSTICE Awards, and were presented with the award by the Rt Hon Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer in 11 Downing Street.
Participation in the work of the Kent Law Clinic is voluntary and all law students are warmly encouraged to get involved. You can:
- attend the popular weekly Clinic Meeting (held at 2pm, every Tuesday in term time). Involving everyone at the meeting, we discuss new case enquiries that have come in, progression that has been made on cases that student caseworkers have taken on and upcoming Clinic events
- join our rota of Clinic volunteers and volunteer one-and-a-half hours a week to gain enormous insight into the work of the Law Clinic and great experience of law in practice (our volunteers are supported by staff, students are able to take legal instructions, manage office systems and enable the public to access legal advice through appointments and referrals)
- attend weekly Monday evening advice sessions where practising lawyers provide free legal advice to clients – students sit in on the interviews, make notes and come back to discuss the case with one of the Clinic Supervisors
- get involved with the Sierra Leone Project (the Law Clinic has a partnership with a Law Clinic based at the University of Makeni in Sierra Leone)
- work on cases under the supervision of Clinic solicitors – conduct research, client interviews and possibly even represent clients!
- organise debates and getting involved in the Clinic projects addressing current legal issues
Clinical Option Module
As an undergraduate student you can undertake LW543 Clinical Option – students undertake casework in two areas of law with two supervisors, one in each term. These cases can be in any area of law that the Clinic assists clients with (current law students can see the LW543 Clinical Option module guidelines on Moodle for more details.)
As a taught Master’s in Law student you can undertake LW932 EU Citizenship and Resident Rights: Clinical Option. This is a 20 credit module taught in one term only. Law Clinic Director Graham Tegg supervises casework and hosts lectures/seminars focusing on the citizens of the EU and their family members who have chosen to exercise free movement and residence rights and thereby seek to rely on their ‘rights’ as EU citizens in the territory of another Member State.
Ad Hoc Events
Projects in the last few years have included:
- Demystifying the Family Court – an open evening where members of the public were invited to hear from members of the legal profession about how family court proceedings work
- From Arrest to Appeal – a one day event where local organisations and students explored pertinent issues surrounding each stage of the criminal procedure
- Child Refugees Welcome? Working together to meet the challenged of the Immigration Acts 2014 & 2016 – this was a day long conference co-hosted by the Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU) at Islington Law Centre and Kent Law Clinic
People in Kent who cannot afford to pay for legal advice can seek help from the Clinic. Where possible, the Clinic offers individuals a free advice session with a volunteer legal advisor. Members of the public should be aware that law students will attend and observe the advice session. This service is available only during University term time.
The Clinic is committed to further access to justices. The Clinic specialises in what is often referred to as social welfare law. The Clinic has expertise in the following areas: employment; housing; welfare benefits; family; immigration; asylum; criminal justice; access to land; and public law matters generally.
The Clinic is able to take on a limited number of cases which are conducted by student caseworkers under the supervision of the Clinic’s legal practitioners.
Please contact the Clinic on 01227 823311 (October to March inclusive).