Members of the public seeking legal information and support can now benefit from a service being offered by students from the University of Wolverhampton at the city’s Combined Courts.
Students from the Faculty of Social Sciences are staffing an information desk at Wolverhampton Combined Court Centre, Pipers Row, Monday to Friday in two time slots per day: 9:30 – 11:30am and 1:30 – 3:30pm.
Tony Shannon-Little, Principal Lecturer for Employability, Faculty of Social Sciences - in charge of setting up the scheme - said: “Following a successful pilot programme run last summer, we have recruited students across law, criminology, sociology and social policy to volunteer their help at an information desk at the Court through Wolverhampton Legal Companions (WLC).
“The students will help members of the public in their dealings with the Court, such as the completion of essential forms and putting them in touch with charities and law firms for advice, and to assess the possibility of Legal Aid. The students can also be booked to accompany litigants in person in Court as a McKenzie friend.
“The WLC project enables students to build on legal skills including legal awareness, analysis and communication. It enhances their expertise in providing information and clarification to enquirers within a legal environment, while they also gain experience of liaising with Court staff, solicitors, barristers and judges; law firms and other employers find these skills attractive in graduates.”
The scheme is welcomed by Judge Helen Hughes, who said: “The family and civil judges at Wolverhampton Combined Court Centre welcome the Legal Companions scheme. The presence of trained, volunteer Legal Companions will be a very useful source of support to our many litigants in person and the Companions will acquire useful experience to assist in their future careers. We look forward to supporting the development of the scheme.”
Members of the public who are interested in using the services of the students can register for support online at https://clock.uk.net
The scheme, known under the national title CLOCK (Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele), was developed and launched by The School of Law at Keele University who are running the registration website. University of Wolverhampton has signed up as a participating university.
The voluntary service with WLC, undertaken with the support of Anne-Marie Harrison of the University’s Volunteer Central, is one of three different legal areas that the students can work with whilst at the University; they also have the opportunity to volunteer with the University Legal Advice Centre in the Mander Centre, and the Wolverhampton Law Student Representation Project where they support those appealing welfare decisions via the City of Wolverhampton Welfare Rights Service.
For more information on social sciences courses at the University of Wolverhampton, please visit www.wlv.ac.uk/socialsciences
For more information please contact Claire Tallentire in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736, email: C.Tallentire@wlv.ac.uk