Hundreds receive free legal help during pandemic

Sarah Calder

ARU Law Clinic has assisted over 400 clients since moving online in March

The Law Clinic at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) has helped more than 400 people across the region and beyond since it went online at the start of the pandemic.

COVID-19 restrictions forced the physical closure of clinics in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough in March, but the clinic has continued online, casting its net wider as a result.

Of the 441 people that have sought the clinic’s help during the virtual consultations, 321 were family law clients, 13 required assistance with immigration law, and 85 needed legal advice on employment matters.

The Law Clinic was founded in 2018 and to date has provided more than £200,000 worth of advice free of charge to around 1,800 people who would otherwise have struggled to afford legal help.

The clinic partners with local law firms, whose legal professionals give time on a pro bono basis, to provide free 30-minute sessions. ARU Law students also volunteer in the clinic, gaining valuable experience, with 39 volunteering in the last quarter of 2020.

Sarah Calder, Director of the Law Clinic at ARU, said:

“While the global pandemic has brought challenges for us all, the successful migration of the Law Clinic to an online service has ensured we can still provide legal advice to our local communities, which is needed now more than ever.

“An advantage is that we are no longer geographically limited and we have had people contact us from further afield to take advantage of our service, although our core client base remains from the cities and communities we have served since 2018.

“We will continue to run the Virtual Law Clinic for as long as necessary and we anticipate that, even once the physical Law Clinic is able to reopen, we will retain an element of online advice for those clients and students who feel uncomfortable coming to the Law Clinics in person.”

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