If you're an Essex Law student, you can apply to volunteer in the Essex Law Clinic and have the opportunity to build on your legal skills outside of your normal uni lectures, putting them into practice working with real clients in the community. There are lots of opportunities you will benefit from by volunteering to work in the clinic, from working alongside local businesses and lawyers throughout Essex, to gaining advice and practical experience across lots of areas of law including housing, family, immigration and consumer law to name just a few. You'll also provide legal advice and knowledge to charities, individuals, and social groups by educating them on how to take action, and campaigning for changes to the law.
When you first join the Law Clinic, you join as a bronze member. Bronze members work on projects which are clinical activities and don't involve giving advice and assistance to individual clients. Alternativley, bronze members provide other legal services, such as providing the general public or certain social groups with information about their legal rights or duties which serve the needs of the community, such as through work on reforming the law or researching the extent of or solution to particular legal needs.
If you're a first year law student, you can apply at the very start of term. For second year students, you can register for the Legal Advice Casework module, where you'll be contacted directly with application details.
Want to know more? Find out how it works,
Applications for 2023-24 are now closed, so let's take a look at the exciting projects that our students are going to be working on this year.
This years projects include:
Community 360 is an independent charity which aims to improve people’s lives by bringing people together whilst working in partnerships to enable people to thrive. The charity has a meeting space called the ‘Hub’ in the centre of Colchester where social groups meet and services are available. Groups range from friendship groups, men’s and women’s groups, textile activities and more. The Law Clinic is delighted to be partnering with the charity on a new Outreach enabling students to meet with the public and to provide volunteer help for staff and the services based in the Hub. Sessions will take place from 12-2 on a Thursday at the Hub and a Clinic staff member will be present to support students. Trained students, under supervision, can also provide casework services at the Hub ensuring another way of members of the public accessing legal advice and information. Students will also be engaged in the evolution of this outreach pilot.
Staff Co-ordinator: Liz Fisher-Frank
This project seeks to address the lack of legal advice on eviction, homelessness and poor housing conditions in Essex and across East Anglia by taking legal advice into the community and areas of most need. The focus involves providing an information and advice service to users of Beacon House in Colchester. Beacon House is a day support centre for homeless people and those in precarious housing, which provides medical, practical and pastoral support to anyone struggling with housing issues. Law Clinic volunteers run a regular legal information session at Beacon House, with advice appointments mainly on housing and family law issues. Students are provided with intensive training in housing law and issues arising from working in complex environments with clients who have multiple clustered legal and non-legal needs. They also shadow supervisors giving urgent advice on the spot in family and housing cases.
In previous years, students on this project have provided tailored trainings and workshops to organisations and other community groups working with those who are homeless or face housing problems including domestic abuse and HIV charities. Last year, students undertook original research and supported a collaborative workshop between the Local Authority and Beacon House and presented their findings at a regional conference. For 2023-24, the team have been asked to contribute to an innovative start-up project between local authorities, domestic abuse charities and the police on housing issues following domestic abuse.
Staff Coordinator: Lucy Davies
This project, which was introduced in November 2021, is designed to provide assistance given to those in the local community facing issues involving immigration law in all its aspects including the right to enter and remain in the UK, nationality and asylum. Students are first trained in various aspects of immigration law and procedure and then engage in one of a possible number of activities such as exploring links with other organisations working with immigrants, preparing information leaflets on various aspects of immigration law, creating awareness and rights and obligations of visa holders, preparing and possibly also delivering presentations on immigration law to particular groups of people facing immigration issues (such as survivors of domestic violence and asylum seekers without recourse to public funds) and possibly shadowing real life immigration cases.
Staff Coordinator: Yinka Lewis
TThis project involves the investigation of cases of those who have been convicted of crimes for which they claim to be innocent or where there is a lack of sufficient evidence to support the conviction or the conviction is based on breaches of the law. Students are trained in how to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice and work under supervision in “firms” on various research tasks on an actual alleged miscarriage of justice being investigated by Sequentus, an organisation which provides students with pro bono opportunities to engage in a range of justice activities.
Staff Coordinator: Donald Nicolson
Students who join this project will receive training in policy and law reform practice. They will work with Clinic members and the local community to identify areas of law in need of reform. We will pursue an integrated law reform practice which is informed by the direct casework undertaken by clinic members. Particular opportunities to contribute to law reform inquiries or consultations will be identified.
Students will then complete the projects under the supervision of the Staff Co-ordinator. Alternatively. students may provide support to academics or external organisations on their law reform work.
Staff Coordinators: Lee Hansen
The Law Clinic works in collaboration with OutHouse East, based in Colchester, to provide an avenue to free legal advice to the LGBT+ community. The project extends to public legal education activities such as the production of a podcast and the development of factsheets, and students also undertake service promotion such as attendance at various Pride events. Volunteers work with the staff and student co-ordinator on the public legal education sessions, promotional activities and look to further expand the LGBT+ unit and its contribution to the community. The Law Clinic is also working in partnership with a local charity, Metro, which supports people living with HIV. The Clinic provides public legal education sessions to attendees of the charity’s peer support sessions. These cover topics about legal rights in areas including confidentiality, disclosure and equality. Students are working on developing and delivering public legal education sessions on HIV & the Law and on developing the range of services available to the charity and its stakeholders.
Staff Coordinators: Lee Hansen
This project provides generic and bespoke assistance to those protecting the natural world. Students are given materials, reading and workshops on aspects of earth law and other areas of law that are currently being used to progress the protection of nature. Once trained, they prepare guides that enable earth activists to protect their environment, such as protest law guides, tree protection guides and river pollution data collection guides. These will be published on sites such as Lawyers for Nature and Environmental Law Foundation. Students are also be encouraged to write blogs (and assisted in doing so) for publication on various earth law sites. They also have the opportunity to shadow cases on climate justice where possible.
Staff Coordinator: Brontie Ansell
Essex Law Clinic
28 June 2023
Essex Law Clinic
26 October 2022
Categories: Life at Essex