Success for Aberdeen law students

Success for Aberdeen law students

Pictured (L-R): Steven Pears, Natalia Lastowska, Hannah Bartlett and Aidan Urquhart

Students at the Aberdeen Law Project (ALP) have had a string of successes recently.

In one case, ALP successfully reduced its client’s rent after winning a fair rent dispute case in the First-tier Housing Tribunal for Scotland.

Student Steven Pears and the team at ALP successfully argued that the client’s initial rent was unfair. The initial fair rent assessment raised the client’s rent despite there being no renovations to the property or change in the Aberdeen property market in the three years before. Following an application to the First-tier Housing Tribunal, Steven submitted factors for a reduced rent such as Private Sector Rent Statistics, comparison to neighbouring properties, and a lack of maintenance by the Landlord. After a hearing with the tribunal he secured a 14 per cent rent reduction for the client.

In another case, students successfully disproved all eight allegations of misconduct made against their client in a SSSC hearing. Lead advisor Natalia Lastowska and the team at ALP guided the client through the SSSC fitness to practise process and gave oral submissions at the hearing. Over a period of two weeks, Natalia and the team carried out eight witness cross-examinations and four examinations in-chief to demonstrate the unreliability and contradictory nature of the allegations.

ALP also secured a four-figure sum for a client who had been subjected to disability discrimination. The client had been referred to ALP by the Royal National Institute for the Blind after being denied entry to a restaurant with her registered guide dog.

Lead advisor Hannah Bartlett and the ALP team applied to the Sheriff Court on behalf of the client after all attempts to solve the issue amicably were unsuccessful. They secured a four-figure settlement for the client due to the discrimination she suffered plus court expenses. The restaurant has since amended its website to state that guide dogs are permitted throughout the venue and has trained its staff on the rights under the Equality Act.

Most recently, students from ALP proved their client was fit to practise in the social care sector in a SSSC restoration hearing.

The SSSC is the regulator for social work and care in Scotland. If a worker who has been previously removed from the SSSC register believes they are fit to practise again, they can apply to the SSSC for restoration to the register. Lead advisor Aidan Urquhart and the ALP team guided the client through the SSSC restoration procedure and gave oral submissions regarding evidence, including four examinations-in-chief, at a four-day SSSC hearing. In addition to restoration to the SSSC register, Aidan was also successful in disproving an allegation of misconduct made against the client.

ALP student co-director Jamie Grainger said the recent successes “highlight the tremendous impact the work of student volunteers can have on the community in the North East”.

He added: “The team have been dedicated and determined in their efforts to bridge the access to justice gap. It is fantastic to see that their hard work is helping members of our community, driving change and inspiring others to get involved.”

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