Plymouth Law Clinic wins national recognition for boosting access to justice

Law students who give up their time to provide free advice to members of the public have won a national award for the second year running.

Plymouth Law Clinic has won the Access to Justice Foundation Award in the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2019.

The Clinic, members of which travelled to the House of Commons to attend the prestigious awards, was also Highly Commended in the Best Contribution by a Team of Students category for the Refugee Family Reunion Project.

The accolades build on last year’s success, when the Plymouth Law Clinic won the Best Contribution by a Law School category and was shortlisted for the Access to Justice Foundation Award. 2017 also saw the Clinic shortlisted for Best Contribution by a Law School.

Hosted by High Court Judge Sir Robin Knowles CBE, the awards were presented by the Attorney General, the Rt Hon Geoffrey Cox MP QC and the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP.

Coordinated by second and third year students supervised by academic staff and practitioners, the Clinic runs a range of pro bono projects including the Family Law Clinic, the Welfare Clinic and the Street Law initiative. It works with organisations across the city such as British Red Cross, Citizens Advice, Improving Lives, Plymouth Domestic Abuse Service, Shelter and Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council, as well as local schools and businesses.

The Refugee Family Reunion Project is run in partnership with the British Red Cross in Plymouth. It works to reunite refugees who have come to Britain with the families they have left behind, often in difficult and dangerous situations, through pro bono legal and other support.

Associate Professor of Law Rosie Brennan Director of Plymouth Law Clinic said:

“This is a fantastic reward for the commitment and hard work of all the students and staff in the Plymouth Law Clinic.

“It was a privilege to receive the Access to Justice Foundation Award, and to be recognised for our Refugee Family Reunion Project – an enormously important area that we work on in partnership with the British Red Cross in Plymouth. It has been hugely beneficial for students to collaborate with organisations in the city that are dealing with this and other issues on a daily basis.

“The Access to Justice Foundation recognises the need for all in our society including the most vulnerable to be able to participate in our justice system. Receiving the award shows that Plymouth Law Clinic has made a notable contribution to this cause.”

Second year LLB (Hons) Law student Charlotte Bonney was one of those who attended the awards. She said:

“After such an amazing event yesterday I went away feeling so proud and inspired by everything that everyone had done, not just us in Plymouth, but the other institutions that were there as well."

The Rt Hon Geoffrey Cox QC said:

"I am very proud of the Attorney General and LawWorks Student Pro Bono Awards which provide an opportunity to celebrate the pro bono work of students. Pro bono is part of being a lawyer - it not only has a practical and beneficial impact on people’s lives and access to justice, but also supports the rule of law.

“Early experience of pro bono can instill a passion and commitment that can last a whole career. I wholeheartedly congratulate the winners on their achievement."

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