Through our Pro Bono projects we offer our students relevant and rewarding opportunities that will help to equip them with the legal skills they need to succeed and give them experiences to help them stand out from the crowd.
Roehampton Law School Clinic
Our clinic provides third year law students with hands-on legal experience and gives free legal advice to Wandsworth residents, referred by Citizens Advice. Students are trained and supervised by our law lecturer and solicitor Reshma Derasari. All our students are volunteers and their role in the clinic complements the ‘Law in Practice’ ethos of the Roehampton Law School.
A recent case study
A client came to the Law Clinic late on a Monday evening to seek advice about an Order for Possession against his flat, which said that he had to leave his home by Wednesday. The landlord had obtained the order improperly, without having first addressed the client’s previous complaints about the condition and state of disrepair of his property. The law is that, in certain circumstances, damages for disrepair can be a complete defence to a claim for possession.
For the client to be able to stay in his property, he needed to make an emergency application to the court the following day by 2 pm. We drafted an emergency application to stay the re-possession which the client lodged at court the following day. About a week later, the client contacted the clinic to say that he had been given a hearing date at the County Court. He wanted advice and guidance about what to expect at Court and what submissions to make to the Judge. As the matter was time sensitive, the clinic’s supervising solicitor spoke to the client over the phone and advised him about what submissions to make.
The client was successful in getting the order of possession stayed and has been allowed to file a defence and his witness statement. The clinic is now in the process of helping him to prepare these documents. Without help from the student volunteers and staff at the Roehampton Law School Clinic this client and his young family would most likely have lost their home.
We have received feedback from a number of clients who all confirmed they were 'very happy' (the most positive option) with the service they received, that attending the appointment reduced any stress or worry, and that they would recommend the Clinic to family and friends. Some typical comments received were:
- 'I wanted to say thankyou for your help, I know you put a lot of effort into it and I wanted you to know I really appreciate it'
- 'What a lovely experience, my friend and I were made to feel very calm. We have moved out of our house now and are still waiting for the deposit but feel confident it will be returned to us'
- 'The service you provided was of great value and the information you provided very helpful, thankyou for all your help'
The Pro Bono Law in Practice module
Third Year students have the option of working with Citizens Advice Wandsworth during the Autumn semester as part of the Law in Practice module. Students receive training before spending ten weekly sessions working on the telephone Advice Line service. The purpose of this module is to provide an excellent opportunity for students to develop and apply a range of competences associated with employment. The overall aim of the module is to enhance students’ work-related skills by undertaking practical work in a legal work-related environment and critically evaluating and reflecting on their experience. (with Julia’s photo, quote and link to her blog)
Volunteering with Citizens Advice
Thanks to the strong working relationship the Roehampton Law School enjoys with Citizens Advice, the charity will consider volunteering applications from Law School students as and when roles become available.
“As a Law student I was able to choose a Pro Bono initiative with Citizens Advice as one of my modules. As an aspiring solicitor, I was thrilled that I would be able to practice and extend my legal knowledge while helping others.”
Read the full blog article.