Chester, Bristol, Hertfordshire and King’s law students triumph at latest Pro Bono Awards

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By Legal Cheek on

Projects include domestic abuse support, environmental law toolkit and a ‘Justice Bus’

Law schools and law students across the country have been recognised for their efforts in promoting access to justice at this year’s LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards.

The winners on the day were the universities of Chester and Bristol, alongside Hertfordshire Law School and King’s College London.

Chester’s student-led project ‘Reach out to Survivors’ landed the gong for ‘Best New Pro Bono Activity’. In this initiative, aspiring lawyers offer on-the-spot legal information, guidance, and moral support to individuals in abusive relationships. In their first year, the team has reached thousands of people online, provided information and guidance to over 200 women and men, and supported eight women with specific legal queries, all of whom have achieved a positive outcome at court.

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Bristol Uni bagged the award for ‘Best Contribution by a Law School’ for its student-staffed law clinic, which handled approximately 300 cases over the past year. Students represented individuals in benefit appeals (securing a back payment of £17,000 in one case), employment tribunal hearings, and served as lay representatives in county court.

Hertfordshire Law School also emerged as a winner of the day, sharing the award for ‘Best Contribution by a Team of Students’ with KCL.

Hertfordshire’s mobile law clinic, dubbed the ‘Justice Bus’, provides free legal advice to individuals in familiar community-based settings and offers students valuable in-person experiences. As part of their mandatory training, students learn about client wellbeing and how to sensitively handle client interactions

Meanwhile, KCL’s ‘Rights of Nature Toolkit’ serves as a practical legal guide for law students, paralegals, and communities advocating for access to justice and clean water. The toolkit, which has already been distributed to 114 organisations, is designed for individuals aiming to protect nature, offering guidance on accessible legal tools such as complaints to regulators, information gathering, litigation, and campaigning..

Elsewhere, Jekaterina Bodnarchuk, a student advisor at Hertfordshire Law Clinic for the past five years, received the award for ‘Best Contribution by an Individual’. The judging panel recognised her key role in helping members of the public access free legal advice in a timely manner on a wide range of topics.

The Attorney General, the Rt Hon Victoria Prentis KC MP, said:

“Pro bono work is vitally important. It benefits both the people who receive it and the lawyers that donate their valuable time to deliver it. Congratulations to all the nominees who were put forward in some excellent entries — the future of the profession is in safe hands. As you embark on your legal careers, I encourage you to continue your excellent pro bono work and many thanks to LawWorks for their continued efforts in shining a spotlight on the remarkable pro bono work undertaken by law students across the UK.”

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