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Ulster University’s Access to Justice Initiative Nominated for Major UK Legal Award

Ulster University Law Works Ulster University students at The LawWorks Attorney General Student Awards 2016, held at the House of Commons

Ulster University's Law Clinic is one of just five UK law schools to be recognised for its outstanding contribution to access to justice and the provision of free legal advice and representation to the public.

The University was nominated for The LawWorks Attorney General Student Awards 2016, held at the House of Commons. The annual awards recognise the very best of pro-bono work carried out by law students and law schools in the UK. 

Ulster University's Law Clinic, the only public facing University law clinic in Ireland, was nominated for the contribution and positive impact it has by providing access to free legal advice. The highly unique service was established in 2013, after Ulster University and the Law Centre (NI) identified high levels of unmet legal need for employment and social security tribunal users.

Since then, Ulster University's Law Clinic has rapidly grown a global reputation for excellence in the provision of free legal advice and representation, and its innovative hands on learning approach which sees postgraduate law students represent clients at tribunals. 

Last year alone, the students closed 25 social security and 18 employment cases, providing support on a pro bono basis to people who would otherwise not have had access to legal advice.

The students spend a year studying towards an LLM in Clinical Legal Education, the only course of it type in the UK and Ireland, which trains students in employment and social security law, tribunal representation and alternative dispute resolution.

Commenting on the nomination, Dr Gráinne McKeever, Director, Ulster University Law Clinic said: "This prestigious nomination is yet another major boost for our Law Clinic, Ulster University's Law School and our world-leading reputation for teaching, research and legal excellence.

"Working under the supervision of experienced Law School staff who run the Law Clinic, our students have provided over 1,000 hours of free legal activity since 2013, covering 72 cases which have come directly from members of the public, as well as referrals from statutory bodies and advice agencies.

"We competed in the awards against some of the most respected and long established law schools in the UK but that only serves to underline the quality of the advice and representation provided by Ulster University's Law Clinic.

"I am extremely proud of the students and the teaching staff who, through their commitment and knowledge, are having a positive impact on society by providing much needed access to justice."

Students are supported financially on the LLM through a generous package of scholarship provided by the Department of Justice and international law firm Allen & Overy, allowing them to focus on delivering access to justice for Clinic clients.