Law students provide court support for divorcing couples

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By Rhys Duncan on

New pro bono scheme

Teesside University law students have been given special permission to attend court to offer support to unrepresented people in family court hearings.

The final year law students will provide free emotional support and procedural advice to parties attending first hearing dispute resolution appointments at Middlesbrough family court.

The students are members of the university’s law clinic and work under the guidance of qualified staff.

Those attending court without access to lawyers will be directed to the law clinic’s students if they wish to use its services.

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The uni says that there is only one other similar scheme in the country, with Hertfordshire University establishing its Support at Court service in 2020

Senior lecturer in legal practice at Teesside, Emma Harbron, said:

“As well as helping those members of the public who are struggling to access justice, this initiative will be invaluable for our students, offering them an opportunity to gain real-world experience of court proceedings, interact with other legal professionals and deal with clients… All of these will be vital skills in their future careers.”

His Honour Judge Harvey Murray, a local family court judge, added: “This is an exciting new service aimed at providing those who are attending before our Family Court with the support and assistance they might need.”

“This collaboration between the university and the court centre will hopefully give members of our community more confidence when attending what could be an emotionally demanding hearing,” Judge Harvey Murray continued.

Earlier this week Young Citizens called on law students and professionals to go into their local schools and run informative sessions on legal rights and the UK legal system to boost understanding amongst pupils.

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