Law Clinic event to demystify family court proceedings

An event to help demystify and explain family court proceedings for members of the local community unable to afford legal representation will be hosted by Kent Law Clinic on Wednesday 25 January.

The event will be held in a replica court room (pictured) in the new Wigoder Law Building on Kent’s Canterbury campus and offers anyone expecting to be a ‘litigant in person’ an opportunity to experience what it feels like to attend court. It will also help to explain what is likely to happen at a family hearing.

The Clinic’s Family Law Solicitor Philippa Bruce has enlisted the help of a team of local barristers, judges and representatives from the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) to offer general advice on how the court works. Although it won’t be possible to offer individual legal advice on specific cases, the event aims to address a broad spectrum of questions ranging from when to arrive at court and where to sit, to how to prepare, organise and present a case in the family court.

Philippa said: ‘Representing yourself in family court proceedings can be very stressful and the court itself can feel like an intimidating place if you are unsure what to expect. Our aim is to help people gain knowledge and confidence.’

Taking place from 5pm to 6.30pm, the event is open to all. If successful, the Clinic may organise similar events to help explain proceedings in the small claims court.

Kent Law Clinic is a partnership between students, academics and solicitors and barristers in practice locally. It has two objectives: 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 at Kent Law School through direct experience of legal practice.

People in the local community seeking advice on specific cases can book an appointment to attend a Monday evening Clinic Advice Session staffed by volunteer legal advisors. Advisors are mostly solicitors and barristers in practice locally, but some are based in London. Advice sessions are offered between 7pm and 9pm, from October to March, at St Stephens Community Centre in Canterbury, Thanington Neighbourhood Resource Centre in Canterbury and Whitstable Umbrella Centre.  Please contact the Law Clinic on 01227 823311 to find out more or to book an appointment.