Student volunteers from Canterbury Christ Church University Law School are volunteering their time at the CLOCK project based at the Canterbury Combined Courts, Kent. They are providing civil legal assistance to those whom are no longer eligible for legal aid. CLOCK delivers a comprehensive training course to University Participants to collaboratively train their law students to act as Community Legal Companions (CLCs). CLCs provide support to the litigant, from filling in applications to sorting through papers and note-taking in formal proceedings. The CLC will also help individuals consider the wider range of legal pathways through dispute resolution or within the court room.

The CLOCK Community Legal Companion Service can be directly accessed online or at participating courts, charitable or law practitioner services. Peri, a student at Canterbury Christ Church University Law School and a CLC volunteer explained how they had helped a local family going through court…

“Ms X separated from Mr X after a long-term engagement who had two young children under 10 years. Due to the numerous claims from both sides the Judge made the child arrangement order and stated that both parties would have to wait a year before seeking any further help from the court. In the mean-time, if any further action needed to be taken they would have to ask for permission from the courts first. Ms X attended the CLOCK desk concerned that Mr X had stopped paying the school fees and there had been accusations of parental alienation. CLOCK signposted her to the local NACCC accredited contact centre in her area where contact could be arranged and facilitated, in line with the child arrangement order. This avoided any further court action, she was also referred to a mediation clinic to avoid asking permission from the court to address the matter of school fees. This resulted in the children being given a fair opportunity to see Mr X regularly whilst other family matters could be addressed.”

Help for litigants in person in Keele (Stoke on Trent), Brighton, Canterbury and Salford with more schemes under development

CLOCK is a nationwide initiative currently operating from University Law Schools, in the respective Court Centres from Keele, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire; Brighton, Sussex; Canterbury, Kent; Salford, Greater Manchester and Essex. Birmingham City University, Birmingham University, Leicester University and Liverpool John Moores University may also join the scheme. The scheme has the scope to operate from all University Law Schools to assist access to justice in Court Centres across the UK.

For further information please do check the CLOCK website

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