Legal Advice Centre opens
Last updated on 10/12/2016 Print this page
19 February 2010
A new, free legal advice service has been officially opened at
the University of Hull.
Staffed by law students, the Legal Advice Centre will offer
guidance to the public on a range of issues including welfare and
benefits, housing, debt advice and consumer rights.
Although the University has a long tradition of law students
gaining legal experience in the community, it is the first time it
has run a service of this kind. The Legal Advice Centre was
officially opened by Home Secretary and Hull West and Hessle MP,
the Rt Hon Alan Johnson.
Unveiling a plaque to declare the Legal Advice Centre open, Mr
Johnson spoke of the inspiration students can draw from the
examples of trawlermen in the city who set up their own
organisation to defend their working rights, and also of Hull
alumnus Lord Ronald Dearing, who encouraged universities to engage
with their communities.
Mr Johnson said: “Law is a great profession for students to be
going into, as there will always be people in our communities who
will need their help. To give people the opportunity to go along
and access free legal advice is a great asset for the University
and the city of Hull.”
Following the opening ceremony, Mr Johnson was given a tour of
the Centre, which is based in the Wilberforce building on the
University’s Hull Campus.
It will open to the public for the first time on 24 February,
with drop-in sessions every Wednesday between 1pm and 5pm
throughout term time.
Frank Dignan of the University’s Law School will oversee the
Legal Advice Centre. He says it will provide benefits to both the
community and the University.
“The Centre will offer students the chance to get hands-on legal
experience, and will strengthen our links with the local
community,” he explained.
“This is the first time the University has offered such a
service and after months of preparation, we are all looking forward
to the clinic opening its doors and welcoming our first
Initially the service will be a voluntary module for current Law
students, but will eventually become an assessed element of the Law
School’s offering. Twenty-four students will form the first
tranche, working in groups to deal with clients’ problems.
Mr Dignan added: “The centre has already been very popular with
students keen to get as much real-life experience of the legal
profession as possible, and we envisage many more students will
sign up when it becomes as assessed part of law courses in the
“Employability is at the forefront of many students’ minds in
these competitive times, so projects such as this which helps boost
their practical skills are welcomed.”
In setting up the project, Mr Dignan has built strong
relationships with legal firms and public sector organisations in
the area. The University’s Legal Advice Centre will work in
partnership with organisations including the Hull Community Legal
Advice Centre, Citizens Advice Bureau and both Hull and East Riding
councils, as well as solicitors firms Hamers and Stamp Jackson
Proctor. It is hoped these relationships will continue into the
future and provide further opportunities for students, such as
training and work placements.