School of Law students continue efforts to increase access to justice for global Pro Bono Week 2018

Monday 22 - Saturday 27 October marks global Pro Bono Week 2018, and School of Law students will continue to contribute to efforts to increase access to justice by taking part in numerous activities.

Pro Bono Week sees the launch of the new Welfare Appeals and Tribunals Clinic within the School, with a total of 60 volunteers working alongside a Welfare Rights Appeal Worker from Chapeltown Citizens Advice. Students will be working directly with the Appeal Worker and their Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) clients, learning more about the appeals and tribunal systems and supporting clients throughout the year. There is a resounding buzz amongst the volunteers, who are eager to put their training in to practice.

Other students will start their volunteering on partnerships which are continuing from previous years. 24 students are ready to partake in the award-winning Welfare Rights Project, working with Leeds City Council’s Welfare Rights Unit in Harehills to assist applicants to complete PIP forms on a one-to-one basis, ensuring that clients can submit the best possible case for welfare support. Last year’s student volunteers saw 110 applicants. Of these, 84 have received a decision about their claim so far, 51 of which were successful. This equates to a weekly benefit gain of £4,593.15 or £238,843.80 annually.

A further 11 students will begin their volunteering with the Personal Support Unit, providing practical and emotional support to people representing themselves in civil and family court proceedings, and another group of students will continue to support clients at a Migrant Support Drop-In service run by Leeds St. Vincents Support Centre.

Students volunteering on other projects will be continuing their training programme throughout Pro Bono Week. Volunteers on the Cerebra Pro Bono Research Project, which is an opportunity for students to be involved in research which helps to benefit the lives of disabled children and their families, are being trained to conduct research and to contribute to reports which are used to raise awareness and bring about practical change in the law and public policy and practices; whilst students on a new project with West Yorkshire Police’s Leeds District Crime Team will be trained to promote crime prevention advice to students.

Finally, in order to raise money for LawWorks/Bar Pro Bono Unit, a cake and coffee morning has been organised to bring the Law School community together and raise much needed funds for a worthwhile course.