The University of Law has had an award-winning pro bono service, which runs programmes designed to enhance the employability of our students, since 2001. Here are details of some of the programmes we have run in Exeter:
You will work in small groups to research and prepare interactive workshops, delivered in schools, community groups and partner charities, on a legal topic based on your allocated audience overseen by a Supervising Solicitor. This opportunity will allow you to develop advocacy, presentation, research and time management skills, whilst putting your legal skills into practice.
Legal information leaflets
This opportunity allows you to conduct research and draft legal information leaflets for charity partners that will help to assist their service users and volunteers.
Amnesty International Write for Rights
Students partake in a letter writing scheme on behalf of Amnesty International, culminating on International Human Rights Day in December, when hundreds of thousands of letters and emails are sent worldwide on behalf of perceived injustice. The letters aim to persuade government officials to release people imprisoned for expressing their opinion, stop the use of torture, commute death sentences, and end other human rights abuses. Through this opportunity you will gain an insight into human rights issues and can develop your objective drafting and communication skills.
Personal Support Unit (PSU)
The PSU, based at the Exeter Combined Court, is a small independent charity that offers non-legal support to litigants in person, their family members and other supporters. The PSU's service is free, independent and confidential and the service is offered equally to anyone who asks for support. The overall aim of the charity is to help litigants to better understand the court process.
This opportunity allows you to gain an understanding of the court process and legal issues, and be able to see legal skills come to life in practice. Students will shadow a solicitor or barrister in the Magistrates’ or Crown Court.
Litigants in Person (LiP) Service
This scheme is run in collaboration with students from Exeter University and the Exeter Court. Since significant aid cutbacks were made under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) the numbers of litigants in person (LiPs) attending civil and family courts have dramatically increased. Many of these people find themselves lost in the system with little understanding of basic procedure and what is required.
You could help by delivering information sessions to LiPs about the court process and how to prepare for their court hearing. Sessions run each week at the Exeter Combined Court and last around 40 minutes.
Environmental Law Foundation
In collaboration with the Environmental Law Foundation and Exeter University we run a legal advice clinic that focuses on issues relating to environmental law. The Environmental Law Foundation provides free information and advice to individuals and communities. Our clinic is the first university clinic based in the South West.
You will work in small groups conducting research on an environmental law case and then prepare a letter for the client, supervised by Barristers from Magdalen Chambers in Exeter.
Immigration Law Advice Service
This is an opportunity to work closely with members of the public by providing a free service. Between the flux in law and policy, and a negative image, immigrants find themselves lost in the system. The clinic’s services include signposting and providing limited advice to immigrants to help them move forward. Under the supervision of local barristers and solicitors, you have the opportunity to develop a variety of professional skills, including client interviewing, fact investigation, specialised legal research, and legal writing and drafting.