Weekly news and case updates

Kent Law Clinic’s weekly Tuesday meeting was led by the Student Committee Chair Emily Ham.

Student Committee updates:

  • 41 new enquiries have been made to the Law Clinic in the past week
  • Interview with Christina Blacklaws, President of the Law Society: Emily Ham’s recent interview with Christina Blacklaws is available to read on Clinical, the Law Clinic blog. In her interview, Emily focuses on Christina’s work towards breaking the glass barriers which women face in the legal industry and her Women in Leadership Programme.
  • New ‘street law’ initiative – Impact of Brexit on EU citizens: Law Clinic Director Graham Tegg has launched a new ‘street law’ initiative that aims to 1) inform members of the Roma community in Kent about their rights as EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit and 2) empower the Roma community with the knowledge to navigate the process of applying for settled status. Law students are being asked to help share this knowledge with the Roma community at various locations around Kent. A meeting with Graham was held at 1pm on Wednesday (6 March) but any interested students who weren’t able to attend can still express their interest in supporting this initiative by signing up on a sheet in the main Law Clinic office.
  • Sign up to be an Advice Session stand-in: If you’d like to be available last minute on a Monday to stand-in for a law student who’s no longer able to attend their scheduled Monday evening Advice Session, then add your name to a list in the main Clinic Office. The Advice Sessions are held every Monday evening in term time for members of the public at three locations in the community (St Stephen’s Community Centre, Thanington Neighbourhood Advice Centre and Whitstable Umbrella Centre). 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.

Case discussions

  • Employment Law case: Law Clinic Solicitor Elaine Sherratt introduced a new case which involves a question about employment status (the three main types are Employee; Worker; and Self-employed – an individual’s employment rights will depend upon whether they are an employee or worker). The Clinic’s new client had been working regularly for her employer for 14 years on a zero hours contract when her employer decided to change the contract. The changes were less favourable to the client and so the client opted not to sign the new contract. Elaine said that, if it’s possible to show that the client was in fact an employee (as opposed to a worker), she might be able to claim unfair dismissal. Students engaged in a detailed discussion about Section 98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the rights of an employee/worker when an employer attempts to force through a variation in terms. Elaine encouraged students who are likely to be on campus over the summer to get in touch if they would like to assist her with the case as it progresses.
  • Family Law case: Law Clinic Solicitor Philippa Bruce spoke about a case from last week’s Monday Night Advice Session involving a child whose parents are separated. The child has become extremely distressed about visiting their father and Social Services are now working with the family. The mother sought legal advice as she was anxious that her child’s feelings should be taken into account in any decision that is made. Students at the Clinic meeting discussed the legal requirements around applying to the Family Court and the role mediation can play. Philippa suggested it might sometimes be necessary to challenge the presumption that involvement of both parents in a child’s life is in their best interests and to what extent the Court might take in to account the child’s views.

To keep up-to-date with all the latest news and events from the Law Clinic, keep an eye on the Clinic noticeboard (in the main office of the Clinic) and/or subscribe to the Clinic mailing list: kls-clinic@kent.ac.uk

All welcome to attend the Law Clinic’s weekly meetings held at 2pm on Tuesdays in term time.