Kent Law Clinic is to be recognised for making a “significant contribution to the development and practice of law in Kent” with a special award from Kent Law Society.
Kent Law Society, one of the oldest law societies in England and Wales, has chosen to honour Kent Law Clinic with one of two unique awards as part of its 200th anniversary celebrations. It will be presented to Kent Law Clinic Director Professor John Fitzpatrick at a gala dinner following the Law Society’s AGM on Friday 18 May.
Kent Law Clinic solicitors, staff, students and volunteers provide pro bono legal assistance to members of the local community who could not otherwise afford access to advice and representation. The Law Clinic also seeks to enhance the education of students at Kent Law School through direct experience of legal practice.
Law Clinic students work on live cases, under the supervision of Law Clinic solicitors – recent clinic success stories involving law students include: a successful appeal for a woman penalised for failing to attend an assessment appointment that had been cancelled; a complaint upheld for a family who had been unlawfully evicted; and compensation secured for clients with cases against the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
Scores of students from the Law School have gone on to enter legal practice in Kent after qualifying and, currently, 13 out of 40 local private practitioners who serve as volunteers on Kent Law Clinic’s ‘Advice Session’ rota, are Law School graduates. These volunteer practitioners give advice to members of the public while being observed by Law Clinic students.
Since relocating to the ground floor of the purpose-built Wigoder Law Building in October 2016, the Law Clinic has taken advantage of the new replica court room on the upper floor to hold innovative events for the local community such as an event to help demystify and explain family court proceedings and an event offering an insight into the UK criminal justice process.
Other recent Law Clinic initiatives include a one-day conference to discuss the challenges faced by child refugees seeking international protection in the UK.
The Law Clinic has received numerous awards recognising and celebrating its work, including: The Lawyer Award for Ethical Initiative of the Year 2014; The LawWorks Attorney General’s Award for the Best New Pro Bono Activity for its ‘Access to Land’ project in 2012; the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for ‘enriching the academic study of law through a casework service to the community’ in 2008; the ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community’ prize at the Times Higher Education Awards 2005; and in 1998 the Law Clinic was a joint winner of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Civil Justice’ award in the Times/JUSTICE Awards.