A project run by law students and academics at Northumbria University to provide free community legal support has reached the finals of a highly prestigious national award.
Judges for the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Awards 2018 have just shortlisted The Family Justice Project at Northumbria Law School in the Best New Pro Bono Activity category. The awards recognise and celebrate outstanding pro bono work undertaken by law schools and students across the UK. They are run by national charity LawWorks with the support of the Attorney General, The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP.
The Family Justice Project was launched in 2017, in response to the drastic surge in demand for pro bono legal advice and representation in family law matters in the North East caused by the introduction of The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).
Led by Ana Speed and Kayliegh Richardson, senior lecturers at Northumbria University and practising solicitors, The Family Justice Project empowers and provides extensive and high-quality free legal support to vulnerable and minority groups.
Professor Michael Stockdale, head of Law at Northumbria, said: “These are important and highly competitive awards in the legal sector, and to be named as a finalist reflects the commitment and expertise of our students and their supervisors.
“We pride ourselves on our pioneering approach to clinic-based learning and the career-enhancing opportunities it can offer our students. Pro bono work is integral to Northumbria Law School, and to the role we can play in the local community. It supports the professional development of our students, and can be incredibly rewarding.”
Commenting on the awards, The Attorney General, The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP, said: “These awards are an opportunity to celebrate the work of students who help increase access to justice in their communities. Early experience of pro bono can instil a passion and commitment that can last a whole career. Pro bono not only has a practical and beneficial impact on people’s lives; it has a positive effect on our legal system as well.”
Northumbria Law School’s clinical learning model is a key aspect of the award-winning Student Law Office, where final-year students provide a range of services including representing clients in court and tribunals, negotiating settlements and winning compensation. Since 2008, the Student Law Office has represented more than 2,300 clients and secured over £1 million on their behalf.