MP and former Northumbria Law School student Catherine McKinnell visited Northumbria University to see the work being undertaken by its award-winning student law office, recently awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
Newcastle North MP McKinnell met students and lecturers from the office and saw examples of the free legal services and advice they provide. As part of their studies, the students undertake supervised work on real legal cases, including areas such as employment, family, crime, housing, civil litigation and business advice.
Since 2008 they have managed more than 3,000 inquiries, represented more than 1,000 clients and secured nearly £1m on their behalf.
Through its casework and partnerships with leading charities and law firms, the ofice aims to improve access to justice for the North East community and at the same time develop students’ professional legal skills.
McKinnell said: “The student law office is clearly excellent preparation for legal practice and career development, and it makes a hugely positive impact for vulnerable people in the region by offering them a free and accessible legal service.”
Kevin Kerrigan, executive dean of the law school at Northumbria, said: “Our Queen’s Anniversary Prize was the only one awarded in relation to law this year and it carries a level of prestige that the whole university is immensely proud of.”
Carol Boothby, director of the student law office, said: “Through this award our Student Law Office has been judged to be of outstanding excellence.”