Law Clinic wins Best Contribution by a Law School Award

The University of Bristol Law Clinic has been awarded the ‘Best Contribution by a Law School Award’ in the prestigious LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2024. The Awards celebrate the best pro bono activities undertaken by law students and law schools from across the UK, and the positive impact on those assisted.

The award winners were announced at an awards ceremony at the House of Lords on Thursday 9 May, hosted by Alasdair Douglas, Chair of LawWorks, and with the Attorney General Rt Hon Victoria Prentis KC MP presenting the awards to the winners. The awards are sponsored by LexisNexis.

We caught up with Director of the Law Clinic John Peake and some of the students who attended the ceremony last week.

John Peake, Director of the Law Clinic:

“To win this award is a great honour and is recognition of the valuable work carried out by the students and staff within the law clinic and law school.”

The University of Bristol Law Clinic Director John Peake together with Law Clinic student representatives, alongside Chair of LawWorks Alasdair Douglas, and the Attorney General Rt Hon Victoria Prentis KC MP, at the awards ceremony at the House of Lords, May 2024.

Ayesha Memon (Second-year LLB Law student):

“It feels absolutely amazing to see our work with the Law Clinic being recognised and valued on such a platform, and to hear about the difference we’ve made in our clients’ lives and their appreciation of our support is more rewarding than I could have imagined. I’m so proud of everyone and so grateful for the Law Clinic team!”

Lydia Jones (Final-year LLB Law student): 

“I was humbled to be invited to the LawWorks student pro bono awards at the House of Lords. Winning the award for the best contribution by a university law clinic made me feel proud to be a part of BLC, and this recognition reaffirmed the positive impact of the clinic’s work within the community.”  

Yusuf Ghanizadeh (Final-year LLB Law student):

“This award serves to honour the commendable work and effort our students and staff have dedicated to supporting our local community through pro-bono work.

“To be recognised as one of the country’s best contributors will empower us and future generations of the law clinic to continue providing exceptional legal services. 

“A special thank you to John for his commitment to the Clinic, students, staff, and the local community. His tireless effort, determination and experience have inspired the work that led to the fostering of this award.” 

Josephine Leggett (Final-year LLB Law student): 

“Winning this award is a recognition of all the hard, often unseen, work both students and staff put in to providing support to those in the community.”

Izza Majeed (Final-year LLB Law student): 

“It was amazing to be able to go to the House of Lords for the award ceremony, and the entire experience emphasises how important it is that law schools get involved in providing pro-bono opportunities, not just for law students but also by improving access to justice for entire communities.

“This award is a recognition of that: the skills and the education we get from the law school can really help the local community in Bristol, and we can really make a difference in the lives of people who need it most.”

The University of Bristol Law Clinic Director John Peake together with second-year Law Clinic student Izza Majeed, holding the award for best contribution by a Law School, alongside the Attorney General Rt Hon Victoria Prentis KC MP, and Chair of LawWorks Alasdair Douglas, at the awards ceremony at the House of Lords, May 2024.

The LawWorks press release stated in its press release:

A total of 390 law students are involved with one of more activities provided by the University of Bristol Law Clinic.  This year the clinic has taken on approximately 300 enquiries, with students representing people at benefit appeals (in one case securing a back payment of £17,000), employment tribunal hearings and as lay representatives in the county court. 

The clinic has a strong relationship with Inquest and students represent families at preliminary hearings and inquests themselves, as well as attending to advise and support the family. They assisted a community group to successfully apply for a local cinema to be granted community asset status and are now advising on its possible purchase. After being contacted by Bristol City Council, four of our students are now available to help on school exclusion hearings. 

The clinic co-hosts a project with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary in connection with child abuse cases.  Students review recorded interviews with young people, to ensure that officers are complying with best practice, and then cross-examine the officers on how they conducted the interview. 

Other activities include projects to promote the public legal education, working with care leavers, giving general advice to Swindon Advocacy, and a newly launched project to take on Windrush cases. 

Further information

The University of Bristol Law Clinic  provides students with an opportunity to gain a real-life experience of law, offering free legal advice and support to members of the public under the supervision of Law School staff.

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