By Sheila Mckenzie-
Bolton University students are opening a free legal advice centre for members of the public in an attempt to fill in a gap in legal support in the area.
Second and third year Law students at the University of Bolton will oversee the operation of the centre, which opens next month. They will use their legal skills and knowledge to provide initial legal advice. They will then signal post some of their clients to solicitors or local organisations, such as the Bolton Law Society or Citizens Advice. The move is being hailed as an advanced move useful for both law students and members of the public who cannot afford legal advice, and may also have no access to legal aid.
The University, ranked among the top 10 in the Uk for Law, is highly research based and seeks to adequately develop the intellectual and practical abilities of students.
Law facilities at the University include a specialist Law library and a state-of-the-art moot courtroom. The moot courtroom allows you to apply your legal knowledge and debating skills in a realistic situation.
Law students will be trained in the first part of the Legal Practice Course (LPC) before working at the centre, according to coordinator Ian Bowden. Extra supervision will also be provided by the university’s law department. The plan is set to present a potentially new practise for law students in universities all lover the Uk to adopt. It will be useful for their CV too and build their legal knowledge base. Many litigants struggle with the fees for legal advice even when the presence of legal aid in some spheres. It gives law students an opportunity to get a hands on practise of engaging with real legal issues and offering their expertise in directing them to the right channels.
Ian Bowden, a law lecturer and a practising solicitor advocate who will co-ordinate much of the activities of the centre said:
‘There are many cases that we know are not being dealt with at the moment and that is where we come in. People often need legal advice but don’t know where to turn. This will give them an option and will be a valued service to the local community. We have already received countless enquiries.’
He added: ‘Members of the public can be assured that our team will be fully trained in the wide range of skills required of a solicitor.’