Law students in Manchester are helping convicted criminals who continue to maintain their innocence by helping them make applications to the Court of Appeal.
The Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre was set up last month by Professor Claire McGourlay (pictured right) at Manchester University’s School of Law. Volunteer students interview clients and their families and friends, speak to witnesses, write reports for solicitors and barristers, and meet forensic scientists. The work is supervised by practising lawyers.
The students have no previous knowledge or experience of criminal cases when they join and so need extensive support and guidance, the university said.
McGourlay said: ‘The centre gives our students real experience of working with criminal barristers and solicitors to try and get our clients cases back to the Court of Appeal. It takes students out of the classroom, so they can apply what they have read in their books. Doing this kind of work is so important, as the people we help are at the end of the road and need help to find the evidence that could overturn their convictions.’
The law school also operates a Legal Advice Centre, from which over 300 student volunteers offer free legal advice to members of the public who are not able to access legal advice elsewhere.