UCL lawyers’ new free advice clinic in Stratford gets Legal Aid agency funding deal

Prof Dame Hazel Genn opening UCL's Centre for Access to Justice in Stratford with her legal team. Pi

Prof Dame Hazel Genn opening UCL's Centre for Access to Justice in Stratford with her legal team. Picture: UCL - Credit: UCL

An advice clinic set up as a temporary free service at Stratford following cuts to legal aid has won a funding contract for a permanent operation.

University College London’s ‘Centre for Access to Justice’ has been awarded the three-year deal by the Legal Aid Agency to give free aid to vulnerable communities.

“Legal aid services are at crisis point,” the university’s Law Practice chief Rachel Knowles said. “But we can provide a service from early advice to being represented in court.”

The clinic gives help on housing, community care, welfare benefits and education law, following changes to legal aid in 2013 which restricted many areas from state funding. It is now aiming to expand legal support to people with early onset dementia on matters such as care, power of attorney and benefit claims.

The centre’s director Prof Dame Hazel Genn, who cut the ribbon to open the permanent clinic last month, said: “We offer much needed legal aid to vulnerable communities at a time when many services have been cut.”

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Two qualified solicitors and two welfare benefits advisers are running the clinic with UCL law students under their supervision who apply their classroom theory to practice with members of the public.

The centre at Solar House, 1-9 Romford Road, Stratford, opens weekdays 10am to 5pm. Phone: 020-3108 8499.

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