University of Liverpool Law Clinic celebrates success

A picture of the outside of the School of Law and Social Justice

The University of Liverpool Law School is celebrating success from our Law Clinic, a service which provides free and confidential legal advice to members of the public in the Liverpool area.

Run by qualified solicitors assisted by Law students, the clinic has welcomed more than 400 new clients this year and has dealt with family, special educational needs, domestic abuse and immigration cases.

The Clinic provides over 300 Law students each academic year the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in dealing with real cases, which helps to develop their workplace skills. In return, clients receive high-quality legal advice.

Activities undertaken by the students include drafting advice letters, statements and court application forms for clients, as well as attending hearings and the offices of local Members of Parliament to provide their constituents with advice.

Students working at the Clinic are able to draw on the experience of specialist barristers who give up their time on a pro bono basis such as Leon Glenister of Landmark Chambers. This helps ensure clients get the best possible advice at an early stage.

Recently, our Law students, assisted by Solicitor and Lecturer, James Betts helped an eleven-year-old autistic boy, Mason, secure home to school transport from his local council.

Mason’s mum, Kirsty, had been advised that the council’s transport policy meant he couldn’t access home to school transport without an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan, a legal document that children with SEN need if they require more support than is available without one.

Kirsty had applied for an EHC plan for Mason which was refused. She was challenging this decision, but while they were in the process of the challenge, Mason had to take the bus to school, which was extremely difficult for him due to his sensory needs.

Kirsty then consulted the Liverpool Law Clinic. Following law clinic advice, that the law does not require children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) to have an EHC plan, the council agreed to provide Mason with transport.

Going forward, the council also agreed to amend their transport policy so that children with SEN or a disability (who can’t reasonably be expected to walk to school) do not need an EHC plan in order to be eligible for transport.

Kirsty, Mason’s mum, said: “I would like to thank James and the team at Liverpool Law Clinic for all of their help in securing transport to school for my autistic son.

“Not having transport for Mason was having a really bad impact on my family. After a 45-minute bus journey Mason would arrive at school upset and need time to calm down because the noise and busyness of the bus really affected him, because of his autism. Mason having to get the bus also meant that my three other children’s travel plans were affected and so they’d often arrive late for school.

“Thanks to the Law Clinic getting involved the council have now provided a taxi for Mason to get to school. This makes everything much easier for him and the rest of our family in the mornings.”

James Betts, Solicitor and Lecturer in Liverpool Law School said: “I’m really pleased that our intervention with the law clinic managed to secure transport for Mason to make life that bit easier for him and his family.

“Because we wrote to the council on Mason and Kirsty’s behalf, they have now agreed to change their transport to school policy which will hopefully have a positive impact on children with disabilities across the city.

“This is just one example where our Law Clinic can make a difference to people’s lives. I’m really proud of our students who get involved in the Clinic to help others and I look forward to similar future successes.”

The Liverpool Law Clinic has both online and face to face appointments available. If you would like to make an appointment please contact the Law Clinic by email or phone 0151 794 5782. Our phones are not permanently staffed but calls will be returned within 1 working day.