The Legal Advice Centre based in the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London has won a Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) in recognition of its outstanding contribution to higher education.
Queen Mary’s Legal Advice Centre (LAC) is a student law clinic that offers free legal advice to the public on general as well as specialist areas. It works across diverse cases ranging from immigration law to pink law, supporting individuals who fall below an income threshold and would not otherwise be able to access legal support.
The LAC also runs street law clinics engaging and educating learners in schools on the illegality of sharing private sexual images and the Equality Act. Run by Queen Mary law students, supervised by qualified solicitors and barristers, the LAC also runs specialist clinics too. It is the first, and to date, only free legal advice centre to provide legal advice on the topic of revenge porn.
The award means that the LAC now joins a highly regarded national group making an outstanding impact on higher education. The Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE) recognises and rewards collaborative work that has had a demonstrable impact on teaching and learning. Introduced in 2016, the scheme highlights the key role of teamwork in higher education.
Queen Mary’s LAC provides a unique opportunity for students to develop their professional skills and experience working alongside practitioners. The volunteering lawyers are also able to build their mentoring skills as well as add to their pro bono activity, which benefits clients who receive legal assistance which would not otherwise be open to them.
Frances Ridout, Director of the LAC at Queen Mary said: “The Legal Advice Centre is a true example of collaboration. If any one of the collaborators (students, volunteer lawyers, clients or staff) were not involved, the Centre would not run. We are so delighted that the teaching collaboration aspect of the LAC’s work has been recognised at a national level with this prestigious award.
“Thank you to everyone involved in the Legal Advice Centre, but especially our brilliant and hardworking undergraduate law students who embrace clinical legal education and use it as a tool for positive change within society.”
Christina Perry, Dean for Education in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences said: "I am delighted to congratulate Frances Ridout and the entire team at the Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre for this award. The Centre is truly an example of collaborative excellence and staff-student co-creation, having been established by students and with the hard work of students, volunteers and staff reflected in its outstanding output.
"We in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences are pleased and proud that Legal Advice Centre's groundbreaking outreach work in the local community and its pioneering clinical legal education work has been recognised with this award."
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic the 2020 awards ceremony has been postponed until October 2021.
In 2019 the LAC was one of the award winners at the annual LawWorks and Attorney General Student Awards held in the House of Commons.