The value of community participation from the perspective of law school undergraduates involved as community legal companions

Waters, B. (2017) The value of community participation from the perspective of law school undergraduates involved as community legal companions. In: International Journal of Clinical Legal Education Conference: Bringing It All Together: Clinical Legal Educators in the 21st Century University, July 3rd-5th 2017, University of Northumbria. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper will consider the current importance of the graduate skills agenda in relation to a UK law degree by using as its focus the CLOCK (Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele) scheme, a collaborative social justice project involving law students, legal services providers, third sector advice agencies and law courts based in Canterbury and Brighton UK. In recent years, the UK Government has significantly cut civil legal aid in areas such as housing, family and welfare benefits, with a view to easing the strain on the deficit. Many, including lawyers, who have raised concerns that these cuts could leave the most vulnerable within our communities unrepresented in court and place an undue burden on our civil justice system, have opposed the cuts.

The CLOCK Community Legal Companion scheme has been introduced to provide an opportunity for those within our communities who are caught in the so-called ‘justice gap’ to gain support and guidance from law students when they attend court unrepresented. The socio-legal experiential learning opportunities presented by such an initiative for undergraduate law students will be evaluated, together with an overview of how the scheme operates in the Canterbury and Brighton County Courts, as well as the benefits it provides for the local community.

The scheme not only helps litigants in person in need, but enables law students at Canterbury Christ Church to use their knowledge for the benefit of their local society. Experiences of setting up a Community Legal Companion scheme and students reflections of participating as Community Legal Companions drawn from empirical qualitative research, will be shared. The way in which this community-based project can provide undergraduate law students with valuable employability skills, through analysis of their own perceptions, will be appraised.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Law, Criminal Justice and Computing
Depositing User: Mr Ben Waters
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2018 11:08
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2018 11:08
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/17032

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00