Oxford Brookes law students to help people in the community without legal aid

Monday, 10 January 2022

Clock

Oxford Brookes University law students will offer free help and guidance to members of the local community on court matters, as part of a country wide initiative involving university law schools.

The initiative, named CLOCK, provides an opportunity for members of the community - who do not have legal representation - to have assistance, advice and support from law students while attending court. 

Anyone in the local community can apply for assistance, whether they are involved in ongoing civil court proceedings in the County Court or Family Court, or have cases coming up.

There are currently 40 student volunteers on the scheme from Oxford Brookes, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, who have received extensive training provided by local courts, solicitors and barristers, as well as the Citizen’s Advice.

Although they cannot offer legal advice, the volunteers can offer assistance with filling in forms, signposting to legal or other advice, accompanying people into court, and taking notes during proceedings. 

CLOCK - which stands for Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele - was established in 2012 by the School of Law at Keele University.

Flora Galley, a Graduate Diploma in Law student at Oxford Brookes, who volunteers for the CLOCK scheme, said: “I like that the project has a positive impact. It helps those who lack legal representation to manoeuvre through the system and receive support, while also providing students with practical legal experience. 

“I could tell I was helping even from the first call. The client I spoke with was very appreciative and it was satisfying to know I had made the process a little easier for her.

“I look forward to assisting in future cases and becoming more familiar with court documents and proceedings.” 

CLOCK at Oxford Brookes is led by Senior Lecturer in Law, Dr Ellen Gordon-Bouvier and Teaching Fellow in Law Gayle McKemey, both former solicitors.

Dr Gordon-Bouvier said: “As well as developing skills in dealing with clients from a range of backgrounds, this is a fantastic and invaluable opportunity for our law school students to gain work-based experience of legal processes.

“Additionally, if any parties in court are unrepresented, it can increase the time of the proceedings as well as the judge’s workload, so our student volunteers can help to ease those kinds of pressures with their contributions. 

“I would encourage any members of the local community who need to appear in court but may not be able to get legal representation to take advantage of this opportunity. 

“Our volunteers are trained to a high standard, and are all enthusiastic to help out members of the community where and when they can.”

To contact the Oxford Brookes CLOCK team please e-mail clockoxfordbrookes@gmail.com