By Taraneh Fathalian
Law students have started offering free legal advice to people in Brighton and Hove who do not qualify for legal aid and cannot afford a lawyer.
The pilot project will run for six weeks. It was started this week by Sussex Clinical Legal Education (SCLE) at Sussex University.
The students interview clients for 30 minutes in the Sussex Law School’s Freeman building each Wednesday.
They then discuss the case with their tutor before providing pro bono advice. Pro bono advice is given free for the public good.
The project focuses on family law matters, such as divorce, separation, co-habitation and children.
Family law clinic leader John Jupp said: “We had a great number of inquiries. We were fully booked last Wednesday and we are already taking clients for the next Wednesday.”
Twenty students have been selected for the pilot through an application process based on their CV, experience and grades. There is a waiting list for other students who applied for the scheme. All the students have been trained in how to interview clients.
Victoria Chan, 25, a third year law student, said: “I am very excited and honoured to be a part of this because we are providing a service to the community.”
Dr Jupp said that the project was a great opportunity for the students to get a taste for law in practice and develop the transactional skills required for their future career.
The pilot, which will run until mid March, is intended to provide benefits for the students and members of the local community. It gives direct legal advice and assistance to the public and help in the county court.
The aim is to run clinics covering more areas of law from September, including housing and welfare, employment, environmental law, creative industries, street law, immigration and asylum.
The project will be embedded in a clinical legal education module from September and second year students can choose it as one of their optional modules for third year.
Clients can click here to book an appointment through the clinic’s website.