Aberdeen student law clinic to help people on low incomes for free
A student-led law clinic is preparing to launch in Aberdeen that will provide a free legal service to those on low incomes across the city.
Forming part of Robert Gordon University’s Law School, the Grampian Community Law Centre will operate from Torry Medical Practice on Oscar Road and become the first of its kind to be embedded within and working holistically with a medical practice.
The clinic will aim to tackle the root cause of issues which may be contributing to mental and physical health difficulties, something particularly essential during the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Hannah Darnell, Grampian Community Law Centre manager, solicitor and RGU lecturer, said: “We have a moral responsibility to look out for one another and, as legal professionals, we can play our part through using the skills and knowledge that we have gained in our legal education and careers to help those who require legal services which would otherwise be inaccessible to them.
“This service will also provide a powerful boost to legal education through a hands-on approach which will allow students to develop their knowledge, skills and professionalism; all while making a difference. This feels like an incredible opportunity for everyone involved in the Centre.”
An event to launch Grampian Community Law Centre took place at the University on Wednesday with speakers including those involved in driving the project from a university, NHS and community level as well as Lady Carmichael, chair of the Access to Justice Committee at the Scottish Civil Justice Council.
Lady Carmichael said: “I welcome the launch of Grampian Community Law Centre’s innovative new clinic. It will offer RGU law students the opportunity to gain some practical experience in legal work while supporting the local community and I wish all involved in the new venture every success.”
Adrian Crofton, Clinical Lead at Torry Medical Practice, said: “The barriers to health and wellbeing can be many and complex for our patients. Problems with housing, finance and difficulties negotiating the often-perplexing legalities of consumer rights are often barriers to the basic requirements of a healthy life and individual wellbeing.
“The provision of affordable and accessible quality advice on legal matters for our patients is therefore something we are delighted to help facilitate. We are aware of the importance of accessibility in the heart of the community we serve and the Grampian Community Law Clinic could not be better located. We look forward to welcoming the students from RGU to the Torry Neighbourhood Centre.”
The Lord Provost of Aberdeen Dr David Cameron, who was also in attendance, said: “We welcome the launch of Grampian Community Law Centre’s dedicated Community Clinic in Torry and I am sure it will be welcomed in the area and will provide a valuable service to the local community.
“The RGU students are to be thanked for their initiative for this project and Torry Medical Practice too for providing the space in their building.”
The new clinic on Oscar Road is expected to be open to the public later this year, however, the wider Centre is already assisting people on low incomes with free legal advice across the North-East of Scotland.