The Citizens Advice Law Clinic at Buckingham Law School
The Law Clinic project is a partnership between the University of Buckingham Law School and Citizens Advice, Bucks.
The clinic offers free, confidential and independent advice sessions to members of the community in Buckingham and the surrounding areas on a range of consumer issues.
The clinic offers preliminary advice in the following areas:
- Family matters
- Consumer queries
- Contractual disputes
- Small claims court guidance
- Social welfare law – benefits advice
- Housing (private landlord and tenant only)
Under the academic lead of Dr Jocelynne Scutt, the clinic is hosted and administered by the University of Buckingham Law School with all advice being student led, supervised by the Citizens Advice staff. As a non-practising, qualified solicitor Julie O’Shea, Clinical Legal Education Manager, supports the students in the provision of the clinic’s service.
Advice sessions are available every Wednesday afternoon in term time from 14.00 – 17.00 at the University Law School located at the Verney Park campus.
To arrange an appointment with the Law Clinic team contact:
Julie O’Shea, Clinical Legal Education Manager, Buckingham Law School
Telephone: 01280 828283
The Law Clinic student experience
Students participating in the Law Clinic project receive training using the Citizens Advice online platform covering aspects of:
- Citizens Advice aims and principles in practice
- GDPR training
- CABLINK training modules
- Civic engagement
- Case recording introduction
- Main areas of enquiry
- Conflicts of interest
- Information resources
The students training experience is enhanced by individual shadowing visits to the Buckingham Bureau and participation in group workshop sessions with the Citizens Advice Services Manager and University Clinical Legal Education Manager covering:
- The law clinic process
- Role of an Assessor
- Communication and Interview Skills
- Risk Assessment
- Effective evidence collation
- Data management and confidentiality
- Deciding next step
Students’ reflection on the training process:
“The online training process was quite comprehensive, clear, helpful and easy to access. It equipped us with all we need for the performance of our role. The Bureau visit was very useful. It allowed us to observe real client interviews conducted by experienced advisers. It also gave us a chance to learn more about a typical working day in the Bureau.”
Michael Mikhalev, LLB graduate December 2019
A client’s evaluation:
“The University’s Law School and the Citizens Advice have launched a fabulous concept which not only benefits members of the community but provides students with the opportunity to assist with real life difficulties and put into practice academic skills to enhance their future aspirations.”
February 2020: “I just wanted to thank you for setting up my appointment. The Law clinic team were great and the information the students gave me was very helpful”
Shadowing at the Magistrates Court
The Law Clinic also builds in visits to the Magistrates Court to observe Magistrates work and cases in action and where possible to hear from the Magistrates.
LLB undergraduates at Milton Keynes Magistrates Court with Magistrate, Andrew , Dr Jocelynne Scutt and Julie O’Shea – April 2019.
Annual Law Clinic Reception at Ondaatje Hall – March 2020
Each spring term the Dean of Law invites our dedicated team of Law clinic students to celebrate their achievements at a small awards ceremony at the Vice- Chancellor’s residence with local dignitaries. In March 2020 the Dean of Law, Sandra Clarke welcomed Professor Michael Blissenden, Cllr Mark Cole, Mayor of Buckingham 2019/20 and Mr Charles Clay from EMW Law and alumni Aaron Tate to join in the student celebrations!
Furthering aspirations: Charles Hogan LLB 2015
One of our successful Law Clinic participants Charles Hogan LLB 2015, has continued to use his training to further his legal aspirations. Upon graduating from Buckingham Charles became a fully qualified CA advisor with Stratford upon Avon CA and has since qualified as a barrister practising with Northampton Chambers specialising in family law practice.
Part-time law clinic student focus on professional development:
“The Law Clinic has been a great initiative to understand the various aspects the CA help with. Understanding people’s rights and guiding them to the correct advice is an achievement within itself, especially when people do not know what way to turn in their time of need.
Our training sessions were superb! It has been a privilege to be part of the Law clinic team which is a credit to Dr Scutt, Julie O’Shea and Jan Davies. Thank you to the Law School for having this arrangement available for law students, since it is the first experience many students will have with clients which in turn builds confidence and works on their skills and knowledge which they will have for a lifetime.”
Naila Yaqub PT LLB graduate – June 2019