Undergraduates at the University of Salford will advise the public on employment disputes, housing problems and family matters from this autumn.
A free law clinic run by second and third year law students, supervised by local solicitors and academics, will open its doors in October. The clinic hopes to meet the local need for legal advice following cuts to legal aid provision and scope.
According to the university, students will provide legal advice and deliver some follow-up work. Cases could include disputes about tenancy deposits, unfair dismissal, or divorce and access to children.
Before volunteering at the centre, students will receive compulsory training on client confidentiality, data protection, interviewing skills, and dealing with clients in distress.
The clinic’s co-directors, Dr Michelle Waite and Christine Peacock, are both solicitors and will supervise the students.
Dr Waite said: ‘This could be a good opportunity for any member of the public who has legal issues to get some free advice. At the moment we are covering housing, employment and family law, but that could expand in the future.’
Peacock added: ‘Anything we can do to make a small difference will be welcomed, but it is just a drop in the ocean compared to the need we know is out there for this type of advice.’
Last month, the University of Bolton announced it is also opening a free legal advice centre to combat the ‘huge gap’ in local legal support.