The Ulster University Law Clinic benefits many people external partners. Take a look at what our stakeholders have to say.
Justice Minister David Ford MLA
"This is a unique legal course which sees traditional learning enhanced by direct, practical experience of advising and representing clients in two highly specialist areas of law. Under the direction of highly experienced academics and legal practitioners at Ulster University, the students gain invaluable skills, which benefit their career prospects and help those in need of expert legal advice …
[I]t is clear that the work of the Ulster Law Clinic is of significant benefit to students and to the wider public, and I commend the students, staff and the University for the excellent service they are providing."
Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, The Rt Hon Sir Declan Morgan
"This University has provided diversity and challenge in all that it does and law is no exception.
The modes of delivery of legal services to an ever expectant public have developed markedly over the period and the Law School has played its part in responding to that challenge.
The development of the Ulster Law Clinic as part of the clinical law course has been a notable feature recognising the relationships and service that can be established by academic institutions embedded in their community."
Chief Social Security and Child Support Commissioner, Dr Kenneth Mullan
"Ulster University has a first-class reputation for the development and implementation of innovative and original degree courses, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, which respond to and meet academic and professional need and which are rigorous in content and delivery. Against that background, further innovative and creative advances in legal education are always welcome. The new LLM in Clinical Legal Education continues the University’s pioneering and inventive approach to degree development and delivery.
Ulster University has developed and implemented a distinctive postgraduate degree which seeks to achieve two discrete but complementary aims. The first is to equip students with legal advice and advocacy skills to permit them to undertake representation in the administrative justice system. In so doing, students are encouraged to reflect on the critical issue of availability of legal services and how access to justice and dispute resolution might be achieved at a time of financial and other constraint.
The second is to allow the students to address the fundamental requirement to meet societal legal needs in the important fields of social security. Students on this unique degree programme are engaged in the development and management of the Ulster Law Clinic.
Here they are in a position to apply their theoretical knowledge to the practical problems which are everyday life for citizens of Northern Ireland through the provision of guidance, assistance and advocacy to those who seek to challenge adverse decisions and have resolved disputes which are of significance to them.
The present requirement for access to legal services in the field of social security, where decision-making and appeals are the fundamentals of my own jurisdiction, is, at present, described as ‘unmet’. As parallel research by Ulster University has shown, that ‘unmet legal need’ is very likely to increase in the future as fundamentals reforms to the welfare system and the structure of social security benefits are introduced.
The University is to be commended for continuing its strategy of introducing legal education programmes which meet societal need while providing rigorous content, and inventive and applied methods of delivery."
Laura Banks, Citizens Advice Regional Office, Legal Support Officer
"Since June 2013, LLM CLE students have provided Specialist/ Legal Support in Citizens Advice Regional Office, providing invaluable support and assistance in a range of areas. Primarily, they have helped with perusing social security appeal tribunal papers for errors of law and drafting applications and appeals to the Social Security Commissioners. They have also worked on case summaries and conducted research, accompanied me at forums and meetings with advisors, departmental officers and Counsel.
This support has proved invaluable as it has enabled more clients to access justice. When a client has attended a benefits appeal and there has been a potential legal error, they are unlikely to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively instigate an appeal on a point of law. The system is so complex – and many of our clients vulnerable- it is vital that specialist/ legal support is accessible.
I have been so impressed with the calibre of students, their legal knowledge and expertise in the social security system. Most notably, I feel that having advised clients directly in a clinical setting, they have a full appreciation of the profound impact on people’s lives and are able to approach cases in an appropriately sensitive manner.
They have provided meaningful advice and assistance to a number of clients across the province through referrals from our Citizens Advice Bureau network and assisted with a growing caseload of files. The feedback from our advisers and clients has been overwhelmingly positive. Thank you!"
Sinead Mulhern, Project Leader Legal Support Project
"LLM Clinical Legal Education student volunteers have made a very valuable contribution to the work of the Legal Support Project. It is clear from our client feedback that the advice and representation they provide makes a real difference and is greatly appreciated. In addition to the benefit being gained by clients, the Legal Support Project gives student volunteers an important opportunity to develop skills in legal research, drafting, advocacy and client care.
It provides a solid foundation for future legal casework beyond the Legal Support Project. Most importantly, the Legal Support Project’s close and effective partnership working with the Ulster Law Clinic illustrates the contribution of pro bono legal work in securing access to justice for those many people who would otherwise have to navigate complex laws and procedures unassisted."
Paul Gillen, Head of Employment Law (Ireland), Pinsent Masons LLP
"Pinsent Masons LLP is an international law firm covering the full range of commercial legal specialisms, including litigation and employment law. I have worked with Esther McGuinness and Ciarán White on skills development within the LLM Clinical Legal Education.
I see this as a unique course in Northern Ireland in that it is practical in approach and sets students up for the realities of legal practice. The skills that the students learn and actually get to use are vital to their career.
I would recommend this to any person looking to pursue a career in law, especially in areas with a case management and advocacy element. In recruitment this will make these graduates stand out from the rest. I look forward to continuing to see the LLM Clinical Legal Education grow."