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Wolverhampton Legal Companions (WLC)

Find out more about the University of Wolverhampton Legal Companions on our Facebook page. This gives up to date details of the times we will be available at the court and you can also contact us via Facebook Messenger.

University Law School crestWhat is the Legal Companions Scheme?

‌‌WLC is a legal companions scheme that runs in collaboration with Wolverhampton County Court to benefit both members of the public and our students. It is available to people who need help in relation to a family or civil legal matter.

Law, Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy students who volunteer will boost their experience and support members of the public in their dealings with the County Court. Students assist members of the public with information and support and may signpost them to charities or law firms who can offer further assistance. It is a voluntary scheme and students work two to four hours per week on a rota working with other students.

What will students do?

Students will :

  • staff an information desk at Wolverhampton County Court (or may be available at a Charity’s offices)
  • signpost enquirers to appropropriate services
  • assess possibilities for Legal Aid
  • Assist with form-filling
  • take notes
  • accompany Litigant in Person in court as a 'McKenzie Friend'.

Benefits to students

Students gain useful practical experience and skills that will benefit them as they progress their career and will improve their employability.

  • Training in areas such as Legal Aid, Family Law, Child Protection and Welfare Rights
  • Experience of court proceedings
  • Clarification of which areas interest them in their career
  • Satisfaction of improving individuals’ access to justice
  • Networking with local court officials, charities and law firms
  • Improved/additional communication skills
  • Enhancement of CV
  • Partial fulfilment of the Employability Award (WEEA)

Why do the public need this type of support?

  • Confusing/overwhelming environment of the court
  • Difficulties with legal procedure/terminology and impenetrable forms to complete
  • Lack of knowledge of support available from charitable organisations
  • Increased demand
  • Reduced funding for third sector organisations
  • Changes to Legal Aid through LASPO (2012)

Additional benefits for the legal system 

Service users will register for support on a secure website (assisted by students). Their anonymised information will be collated in a database and used to inform and influence government policy on access to justice.

This opportunity is aimed at students of Law, Criminology, Sociology and Social Policy. 

Find out more

For further information contact K.Willets@wlv.ac.uk

Read our press release about the scheme reopening for 2017.