Contribution to the local community - Kent Law Clinic

November 26, 2007

Kent University. More than 7,000 people, many of whom are unable to afford legal services, have been represented by Kent Law Clinic, a free service run by undergraduates at Kent University.

The 15-year-old project "is deeply rooted in the educational experience of students, has had a positive and growing impact on the community, and widespread professional support," said judge David Watson, professor of higher education management at the Institute of Education, University of London.

The benefits to clients are many: students take personal responsibility for their cases, from interviewing to appearing as advocates in employment and benefits tribunals and county courts, as well as attending courts up to the Court of Appeal. For students, working for the clinic boosts chances of academic success - those who do so are two and a half times more likely to gain first-class degrees.

Last year, the centre fought its biggest case, that of former Tesco employees against the company, and dealt with 936 queries, almost double the average annual number since the clinic began.

There are two clinics: one at the university's main campus in Canterbury and the other at its Medway campus at Chatham Maritime. It also offers new outreach and advice sessions elsewhere and has established a service for unassisted litigants in housing cases, based at the county court.

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