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The University of Southampton

Solicitor General opens free legal aid clinic in Southampton

Published: 27 February 2024
Solicitor General opens law clinic
Solicitor General with law students and staff

A new legal clinic in Southampton that provides free – or pro-bono – advice for residents has been officially opened by the Solicitor General.

The initiative is led by trainee lawyers from the University of Southampton who are taking on clients in need of legal aid without cost.

The clinic will advise on some of the most pressing issues facing people and businesses in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – from laws around housing, to social justice, animal rights and the environment.

It was unveiled by Robert Courts KC MP who met the student lawyers and said: “I am inspired by their enthusiasm and drive as they begin the first stages of their legal career.

“Pro bono work is so important and allows everyone to access legal support no matter their financial circumstances.

“In my role as Chair of the Attorney’s Pro Bono Committee, I support students volunteering their time for this – it is essential to contribute to the integrity of our justice system.”

Students from the Southampton clinic are offering face-to-face and virtual appointments every week with free legal support.

They will cover several issues including landlord and tenant disputes, consumer rights, family law, civil litigation, together with animal and environmental rights.

Clients are seen by law students with legal advice supervised by clinic director Dr Omar Madhloom.

He said: “Legal information is not always readily available to the community, so we will fill the gaps left by legal aid cuts and help those in most need.

“The clinic will also offer our students hands-on experience and training to prepare them to become lawyers who are able to shape the world around them.”

Student lawyer Sophia Hamdam said the free clinic will help people hit hardest by legal aid cutbacks and the cost of living crisis.

The 19-year-old said: “Anyone can come to us for free legal advice, and we will even go to court to support our clients. It will be an invaluable experience for us all on the degree.”

Nicholas Holt, president of the University of Southampton law society, added: “Legal work experience can be difficult to find for students.

“Many law courses at UK universities are only theory-based so advising on real client cases will be hugely rewarding and will open more doors for the students when they graduate.”

The Attorney General and Solicitor General are the Law Officers who provide legal advice to the government, performing duties in the public interest such as looking at sentences which may be too low.

Robert Courts KC MP added: “Having had years of advocating in the Bar, I know how vital hands-on experience is in legal practice.

“Access to Southampton’s new clinic will provide students with this opportunity to gain a practical experience in advocacy within their university setting. I also encouraged them to consider potential careers in the Government Legal Department.”

As part of the clinic launch, the Solicitor joined a panel to promote government legal careers alongside director Dr Omar Madhloom, Head of Southampton Law school Professor Werner Scholtz and Daniel Denton, partner at Hodges Jones and Allen Solicitors.

Mr Denton said: “One of our ambitions is to pass on the wealth of knowledge to the next generation of lawyers.

“The clinic fits into our ethos of providing access to justice for people who cannot always afford legal advice, and it will offer great experience for the students.”

Book an appointment at the Southampton Legal Clinic here .

Read more about the University of Southampton Law school at .

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