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Students share expertise with city

Law and accounting students, who run the advice clinics, with Lord Mayor, Councillor Steven Wylie

Law and accounting students, who run the advice clinics, with Lord Mayor, Councillor Steven Wylie

Local residents can receive free legal advice on anything from debt and money problems to employment law, thanks to the re-launch of legal advice clinics at the University of Portsmouth.

The clinics are run by students from the School of Law and overseen by a qualified solicitor and experienced Citizens’ Advice Bureau manager. The clinics were officially opened by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Steven Wylie.

He said: “This is a great service that will support all different people in Portsmouth to get help with legal advice, here within their local community and also a great opportunity for the students to learn and to practice first hand and see the needs of the local community here in Portsmouth.

“This type of advice work is invaluable to our community and can help their peace of mind and their worries in sometimes very complicated matters.  So I have been delighted to visit the students and the team and would encourage anyone within our city to get involved whether that is working with the students or getting involved.”

The clinics are open every Wednesday and cover a variety of common problems including debt and money problems, landlord and tenant, consumer issues, employment law and intellectual property.

Lord Mayor Steven Wylie with Caroline Strevens, head of the School of Law, at the re-launch of the free advice clinics

Lord Mayor Steven Wylie with Caroline Strevens, head of the School of Law, at the re-launch of the free advice clinics

The General Legal Advice clinic is based in the John Pounds Centre in Portsea, and runs on Wednesday afternoons from 1-4pm. Students working at the clinic can advise on a range of issues from how to manage money, advice on faulty goods, issues with mobile phone and broadband contracts and debt issues including pay day loans and even bankruptcy.

All work undertaken in the clinic is overseen by solicitor Gemma Hargrave, who works for the University part-time.

She said: “Over the years we have offered this clinic students have handled a wide variety of legal problems for residents, including unravelling disputes over broadband and mobile phone contracts, landlord and tenant arrears, credit agreement debts and benefits queries.

“The clinic has always been a tremendous success and benefits both students, who grow in confidence and knowledge by helping others, and residents who can get free up to date advice on a host of problems.”

The clinic offers a walk-in service and advice can also be provided by email. In more complex or technical issues, advisers can refer people to free appointments with local solicitors.

An employment law clinic, also run by University law students, is available for those wanting advice on work matters including discrimination to unfair dismissal. This is based at the University’s Anglesea Building on Anglesea Road on Wednesdays from 10am-1pm.

A third clinic – for advice on intellectual property, including copyright and trademarks – runs on Wednesdays from2.30-5.30pm.

To book an appointment at any of the clinics, email advice@port.ac.uk, or telephone 02392 844114. The legal team can also be reached via twitter on @UOP_Advice

 

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