Students and staff on the Kingston Hill campus have been among the first to benefit from the launch of the Law School’s Legal Information Point. The service is the brainchild of Director of Clinical Legal Studies Lancelot Robson who decided to set it up to help counter the shortage of advice available in the local area.
Housed within the Law School and established with the assistance of student volunteers, the information point consists of a carousel stocked with leaflets on such topics as debt, human rights, tenancy and immigration. The information can be accessed at any time, while there are also slots when students are on hand to offer guidance on specific issues or point inquirers in the direction of further help. Take-up had exceeded all expectations, Mr Robson said. “Most of the leaflets disappear at night which gives an interesting perspective on how people feel about asking openly for help,” he added.
Mr Robson was also responsible for establishing the School’s Legal Advice Clinic which has operated since 1998 with the blessing of the Law Society. It is run in a similar way to a Citizens Advice Bureau, with students working in pairs to take a brief from a client, research the problem and provide appropriate advice by letter. The clinic had been inundated with cases, including some from residents in the area, Mr Robson said. “The response is another clear indication of the lack of legal advice open to local people,” he said. “It’s fantastic that we are able to use the service to educate our students at the same time as fulfilling an important community need.”