Public Engagement

Case closed: Legal Advice Centre and community engagement

With the 2018 Community Engagement Awards ceremony just around the corner, we catch up with Frances Ridout from the Legal Advice Centre about their winning projects from 2017. 

15 October 2018

news image

The The Legal Advice Centre won two awards at the 2017 Community Engagement Awards: Inspiring London Communities and Community Collaboration for Teaching

The Legal Advice Centre (LAC) was delighted to receive two awards at the Community Engagement Awards 2017. 

Firstly, in the category of Community Collaboration for Teaching, for our module The Practice of Law in a Clinical Environment.  The Legal Advice Centre runs this optional undergraduate law module for 24 students each year.  The students on this module run five client cases at the LAC as well as concurrently attending classes where they learn about professional ethics, case management and how to undertake problem based learning on their case work. Problem based learning involves group work to de-construct the problem and find the best research avenues to take to provide the advice.  The clients seen at the LAC are members of the public who come for legal advice on a wide variety of issues.  The students hold a client appointment and then provide legal advice in writing under the supervision of volunteer barristers and solicitors from the City of London. It was an innovative module which was put together after extensive UK and international research into clinical legal education programmes.  The LAC clients are at the very heart of this module and in turn this allows our students to learn by example about the professional ethics of acting in the best interests of the client.

Our SPITE for Schools project won the Inspiring London Communities Outreach Award. SPITE for Schools is a Street Law project which sees teams of three undergraduate law students go into local secondary schools to lead bespoke workshops on the illegality of disclosing private sexual images (aka revenge porn). Our students liaise with schools about their specific needs for a workshop and then design a unique and interactive workshop to teach the subject. There are also reflection, feedback and de-brief processes built into the project.  It is a project which is mutually beneficial. Schools need specialists to teach this subject, and our undergraduate law students get an opportunity to develop their creative skills, confidence and advocacy. With a supervising volunteer barrister present to help if needed.  The project helps students to think on their feet when issues arise and to think about the logistics of running a session in an unfamiliar building.  In the academic year 2017-2018 we reached approximately 2000 school pupils with 17 workshops.  We are really grateful to the Widening Participation Team for helping our students to obtain DBS checks and for running Safeguarding training with them.

It was a really wonderful for the hardworking LAC students and for the LAC staff to have their work recognised in this way.  For the whole week after, our students kept popping into the LAC to see the award.  

 

Winners of this year's Community Engagement Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday 27 November. For more information email publicengagement@qmul.ac.uk