Celebrating 10 years of pro bono

 Pro Bono 10th Anniversary

On 20th April the School of Law celebrated 10 years of pro bono activity. We were delighted to see many friends of the School of Law, current students, alumni and our pro bono partners at the event.

We were delighted to have His Honour Judge Graham Robinson and District Judge Siobhan Kelly open the event. Siobhan and Graham are fervent supporters and very appreciative of pro bono work.

Since the launch of our first pro bono schemes in 2008 (FreeLaw and the Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre), we have expanded to 10 schemes with over 200 places for student volunteers.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students can volunteer and benefit from improved interpersonal skills, legal research, public speaking and client care skills. Last year, our pro bono services as a whole were shortlisted for the Yorkshire Legal Awards. In total, more than 200 students contribute annually. Find out more about our pro bono schemes and partners.

We would like to give thanks to our alumni for their generosity and in particular, The Millard Trust who were one of the largest charitable donors to the renovation of Bartolome Lodge, in which our internal pro bono clinics are based.

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About FreeLaw & the Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre

FreeLaw was set up in 2008 and initially provided a referral service for those seeking legal advice.
The FreeLaw legal advice clinic involves students undertaking legal research and providing free legal advice to the public and small businesses, under supervision from qualified solicitors, through two drop-in advice sessions each week during term time. The advice predominately focuses on Housing, Family, Employment, Consumer Rights, Contractual Issues, Personal Injury and Probate matters.

In 2012, FreeLaw won the Enterprise Award at the Student’s Union Academic Awards, in recognition of its work in the local community. As well as improving the legal skills and employability of our students, FreeLaw provides an invaluable service to the Sheffield community, particularly in light of recent cuts to legal aid for the most vulnerable in our society.

In 2008, the FreeLaw legal clinic also started investigating claims of innocence, in what is now the Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre

The Miscarriages of Justice Review Centre provides Sheffield law students with a unique opportunity to investigate cases of people convicted of serious crimes who are maintaining their innocence.

Legal aid isn’t available to such people once they have exhausted the initial appeals process, so here’s where our law students really make a difference, by offering their services free of charge.

Our student volunteers aim to find fresh evidence to support our clients’ claims of innocence and use it in making applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission for clients’ cases to be reviewed for referral to the Court of Appeal.