The University of Kent’s Kent Law Clinic, which offers free legal advice to the community, has helped clients obtain a total of £5.6 million pounds since 1992.
Of the total, £1.9 million has been gained since January 2012, most from welfare benefit and employment cases.
During 2016-17, the Clinic received 1,433 enquiries from members of the public, of which 137 new cases were taken on. This involved a Clinic solicitor acting for and representing the client, mostly in the fields of housing, welfare benefits, immigration and asylum, family, employment, criminal justice, prisons and public access to land.
A further 72 cases remained open from the previous year and another 336 enquiries were dealt with by the client receiving significant legal advice.
The Kent Law Clinic, which is part of the University’s Kent Law School, enhances the legal education of students through supervised participation in the provision of a free legal service to those who cannot afford to pay for access to the law.
A total of 271 students participated in the work of the Clinic in 2016-17. They worked on a wide variety of duties, projects and cases, undertaking reception duty, organising the weekly Advice Sessions, attending the weekly case review meetings, working in the Immigration and Asylum Team and Criminal Justice Project, or assisting in the Clinic’s partnership link with Makeni Law Clinic in Sierra Leone.
The Law Clinic holds Monday evening advice sessions at outreach locations in Kent where local solicitors and barristers attend for two hours to provide pro bono legal advice to members of the public.
The outreach centres are at: St Stephen’s Community Centre, Tenterden Drive, Canterbury; Thanington Neighbourhood Resource Centre, Ashford Road, Canterbury; and Whitstable Umbrella Centre, St Mary’s Hall, Oxford Street, Whitstable.
The Clinic has helped clients obtain (or in some cases defend) the total, either by:
- court/tribunal order
- a revised decision, eg by the Department for Work and Pensions, or