University Of Greenwich Legal Advice Centre

By | 9th June 2017

University Of Greenwich Legal Advice Centre

Sally GillA free legal advice centre run by the University of Greenwich will be able to help more local people after expanding its range of services.

The centre is now able to assist those who need expert help and advice in family law – for instance, regarding contact and residence disputes between parents over child arrangements.

Run by staff and students at the university’s School of Law, within the Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities, initially the centre advised on employment issues, such as unfair dismissal, discrimination, and unpaid wages. This is still a core part of its operation, but now as well as family law, the centre’s legal team can also advise on intellectual property law, including copyright and trademark issues.

University Of Greenwich Legal Advice Centre

In addition, it can give guidance on Personal Independence Payments (PIPs), which cover some of the costs caused by long-term ill-health or a disability, and are replacing the Disability Living Allowance.

The Legal Advice Centre was set up at Greenwich earlier this year to provide a public service for people who may otherwise be unable to afford legal advice and representation. It is a partnership between students, academics and lawyers in practice locally (and wider afield). At the same time, it enhances the education and skills of Greenwich’s Law students through direct experience of legal practice.

Students help work on cases on behalf of clients, under the close supervision of qualified solicitors, and get involved in tasks such as interviewing, legal research, corresponding and drafting statements. Work carried out in the Legal Advice Centre can also count towards a student’s final degree.

University Of Greenwich Legal Advice Centre

The university’s Sally Gill is responsible for training the centre’s student volunteers in her role as Senior Supervising Solicitor. She says: “I’m delighted by the success we’ve had in our first few months, which means we can now offer more services to the community. It seems that everyone is benefitting – clients gain free legal advice, and students can hone their skills. We’ve also had tremendous support from the legal firms we’ve been working with, so this feels like a vital service for the whole community.”

A series of ‘street law’ talks for students on subjects including discrimination and harassment, women’s employment rights, tenancy disputes and ‘stop and search’ has also been organised by the centre.

Professor Sarah Greer, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor at Greenwich, and Head of the School of Law, adds: “There’s been an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the centre in its first few months from those who have come into contact with it and it’s proving to be a great asset to the community. I look forward to its continued success.”

The centre is also part of the Greenwich Community Advice Network, a partnership of organisations in the Royal Borough. In the coming months, it will host a drop-in service in its new premises in the university’s new Stockwell Street building, placing it at the heart of both the academic and local communities.

The Legal Advice Centre can be contacted on 020 8331 9947 or at legaladvicecentre@gre.ac.uk

Lawyers or community groups who are interested in the centre’s work can contact Sally at s.gill@gre.ac.uk