A law clinic will now have a base at the family court after being granted ‘special permission’.

Teesside University Law Clinic will offer emotional support and procedural advice to people who are not represented in private family law cases.

The initiative, believed to be the only one in the north of England, was given special permission by the court to attend and work with litigants in person at Middlesbrough Family Court.

Final year LLB law students will be supported by law clinic staff, who are all trained legal professionals. The students will offer procedural advice on the hearings, explain the court process and the next stages as well as emotional support.

Emma Habron, senior lecturer in legal practice at Teesside University, who pioneered the new scheme, said the law clinic was ‘delighted to be able to offer the service at Middlesbrough Family Court’.

She said: ‘As well as helping those members of the public who are struggling to access justice, this initiative will be invaluable for our students, offering them an opportunity to gain real-world experience of court proceedings, interact with other legal professionals and deal with clients. All of these will be vital skills in their future careers.’

His Honour Judge Harvey Murray, a family court judge at Teesside, said: ‘This is an exciting new service aimed at providing those who are attending before our family court with the support and assistance they might need.

‘This collaboration between the university and the court centre will hopefully give members of our community more confidence when attending what could be an emotionally demanding hearing.’

As well as the addition of family law, limited to private cases, the Teesside University Law Clinic concentrates on various areas including employment, civil disputes, housing, consumer and wills.

Teesside University Law Clinic

Her Honour Judge Gillian Matthews KC, centre, district judge Sara Keating and His Honour Judge Harvey Murray together with staff and students from Teesside University Law Clinic at Teesside Combined Court Centre

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