Dr Grainne McKeever (Ulster)
The Access to Justice Review (2) is intended to address the challenges faced in ensuring access to justice for citizens at a time of reduced public expenditure, and part of the remit of the Review is to identify additional or alternative forms of legal support for citizens. The Review’s Agenda identifies the potential for university law clinics to provide support to citizens to enhance their legal capability, noting in particular the development of the Ulster University Law Clinic through which graduate law students provide members of the public with free legal advice and representation on social security and employment law problems. Given that citizens often lack awareness of traditional advice sources, it is unclear what awareness citizens have of university law clinics, or of the value that clinics might offer in enhancing legal capability. An externally-funded study by Ulster University’s Law School is examining the role of United Kingdom (UK) university law clinics, to understand their access to justice function and where clinics sit within the existing access to justice landscape. This presentation delivers findings on the research that completed in October 2015, including those of a survey of 64 UK university law clinics, in order to establish the extent to which clinics deliver access to justice, their relationship with existing legal support systems, and whether there is potential to develop a university law clinic model to create an alternative or additional form of legal support in line with the findings of the Access to Justice Review (2).
Date of seminar: 16 March 2016.