QMLAC won this top spot from a global association of over 400 universities, in 82 countries, on six continents, all committed to developing student leaders who are actively engaged with society. The award recognised and supported QMLAC’s civic and public engagement work, in particularly the enhancement of student education and the promotion of access to justice in the community, through our free legal advice service and outreach work.
The MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship, launched in 2009, recognizes exemplary university student civic engagement programs around the world. It is a key element in the MacJannet Foundation’s work to build a community of global citizens.
The prize is sponsored jointly by the MacJannet Foundation and the Talloires Network, who said;
“The Selection Committee admired the dedication of your staff and students for the program. They were particularly impressed with the program’s focus on mutual benefits for both students and clients, natural progression in student leadership opportunities, vast reach and impact, strong community partnerships, and very well-documented quantitative evaluations to measure the impact of the program.”
Frances Ridout, Director of the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre (clinical legal education) said:
“We feel so honoured to win such a prestigious award. It is particularly special for us to be recognised for public engagement through such an inspiring global organisation.
Our goal has always been to engage and support student volunteers to provide legal advice to different communities as part of their curriculum. QMLAC provides an opportunity for students to develop civic, values, in addition to professional and ethical awareness, and to instil a lifelong commitment to promoting access to justice for all.
Since QMLAC started in 2006, over 4000 people have been provided with legal advice by student volunteers. We have worked with dozens of primary and secondary schools and thousands of pupils on issues around equality and the law on sharing intimate images. Since 2019 students have provided direct representation in social security appeals and won over £500,000 of disability benefits for vulnerable clients. Students have also led workshops in prisons, to assist prisoners in understanding how they can use the law to get back lost or retained property.
Over 430 students currently volunteer to provide free legal to hundreds of people under the supervision of local lawyers.”
Professor Colin Bailey OBE, Queen Mary's President and Principal, concluded: “Our Legal Advice Centre was the first of its kind in the city, and has been at the forefront of clinical legal education and public engagement on a national level ever since. QMLAC is particularly special because it weaves outstanding student knowledge exchange and education into public engagement, as well as ultimately producing graduates who are more likely to engage in pro bono initiatives on graduation.
“Queen Mary’s proud history of public engagement dates back to our origins as the People’s Palace in 1887, and QMLAC is an incredibly important part of our present and future in this regard. As part of our ongoing commitment to connecting with our local community, we strive to create an environment where our research, teaching and other core business can be shaped, shared, and conducted with the public as partners in the process.”