The Citizens Advice Clinic at Buckingham Law School
The Citizens Advice Clinic module is a partnership between the University of Buckingham Law School and Citizens Advice, Milton Keynes, CA MK.
Law students train as CA volunteer assessors to offer free, confidential consumer advice sessions to clients from the local community during clinic sessions at CA MK.
CA MK offer 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, students undertake clinic sessions at CA MK, Acorn House, Central Milton Keynes. Advice is student led, supervised by CA MK staff. As a qualified solicitor (non-practising), Julie O’Shea, Clinical Legal Education Manager, supports the students in the CA Clinic module.
For more information contact CA MK using the Adviceline on Freephone 0808 278 7991 or Citizens Advice Milton Keynes (miltonkeynescab.org.uk).
Julie O’Shea, Clinical Legal Education Manager, Buckingham Law School
Telephone: 01280 828283
The CA Clinic student experience
Students participating in the CA Clinic module receive training using the CitizensAdvice online platform covering aspects of:
- Citizens Advice aims and principles in practice
- Data Protection (GDPR) training
- Client confidentiality
- Client interviewing
- Conflicts of interest
- Main areas of enquiry
- Research & Campaigns
- Equity Diversity & Inclusion
Frequently asked questions
Eligibility for the CA Clinic Module
The 2nd year option module is open to all full time LLB students, who are invited to attend an information session with CA MK and apply at the end of their first year.
How do you apply?
By CA MK application form.
What is the selection process?
Candidates are shortlisted for interview conducted by the CA MK Training Manager and Clinical Legal Education Manager. Students are selected on merit in academic work, motivation and interview performance.
Do students receive training?
Students accepted onto the module, undertake an induction and online training with CA MK. Students also benefit from interactive lectures at the University, utilising a confidential style to allow experimentation with interview techniques.
CA Clinic sessions at CA MK
Students attend timetabled clinic sessions at CA MK for one day per week in term time.
How are Clinic Sessions organised?
Upon successful completion of all training components, student volunteers, fully supervised by the CA MK Training Supervisor, conduct clinic appointments on site at CA MK via email, telephone or digital drop-in service.
What type of client enquiries are involved?
Student volunteers offer preliminary advice in family matters, consumer queries, contractual disputes, small claims court guidance, social welfare law – benefits advice, and housing (private landlord and tenant only)
How are student assessed?
Student volunteers undertake termly practical assessments involving online training, mock client interviews, observed clinic sessions at CA MK and a professional practice presentation utilising PowerPoint.
Clinic Experience Feedback
Volunteers are invited to share their clinic experience. This assists with post graduate applications and professional development.
What are the benefits from participating in the CA Clinic Module?
An excellent opportunity to learn client interviewing skills, developing the professional capacity to help with real life difficulties, and put into practice skills to enhance future career and life aspirations. The application process incorporates practical learning and experience that equips the student for the work-world outside University, after graduation. It provides an opportunity for students to write-up a curriculum vitae (cv) and career aspiration precise, and participate in a ‘job’ interview on which they receive feedback.
“Volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau in Milton Keynes is an excellent opportunity to build practical skills and experience. It is a chance to step outside of the classroom and experience what it means to be engaged with the client, in doing so, you will come across a wide range of enquiry areas such as housing, debt, consumer issues and benefits; just to name a few.”
– Willin, FT LLB Programme
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.
Citizens Advice student focus on professional development:
“The Citizens Advice Clinic project 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 CA clinic team which is a credit to Dr Scutt and Julie O’Shea. 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 LLB graduate – June 2019
Annual Law Clinic Reception 2022
Each year the Associate Dean of Law invites our dedicated team of CA Clinic students to celebrate their achievements at an awards ceremony at the Vice-Chancellors residence, Oondatje Hall. In May 2022, Professor Paolini, Associate Dean of Law , welcomed former High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire, Debbie Brock, to join in the student celebrations.