Salford residents will be able to access free legal information and advice as the University of Salford launches its new Law Clinic later this year.
Cuts related to austerity have left many people unable to access legal aid, leaving them with no representation or access to justice. Now students and staff from Salford, as well as two law firms, have come together to offer a free service that will be able to meet some of the unmet need for legal advice.
Starting in October second and third year law students will be volunteering at the Law Clinic. Students will be given full supervision and support by University of Salford academics and experienced solicitors from law firms Ward Hadaway and Fieldings Porter. They will be able to advise members of the public on issues such as employment disputes, housing problems and family matters.
Advice and some follow up work will be delivered. The clinic is being established to support members of the Salford community who are struggling with legal problems.
The Law Clinic Co-Directors, Dr Michelle Waite and Christine Peacock, who are both solicitors, will manage and supervise the Clinic. Michelle said: “This could be a good opportunity for any member of the public who has legal issues to get some free advice. At the moment we are covering housing, employment and family law, but that could expand in the future. The Clinic will also give our students valuable experience and help them to progress their careers.”
Christine said: “We wanted to open this up to people in the community of Salford, providing a key service to the community. Cuts to legal aid and austerity have had a huge impact on people’s ability to access the justice system and that has huge knock-on effects and consequences.
“We could be looking at issues such as disputes about tenancy deposits, unfair dismissal, or divorce and access to children. Anything we can do to make a small difference will be welcomed, but it is just a drop in the ocean compared to the need we know is out there for this type of advice.”