The Aberdeen Law Project Media Launch

We at The Aberdeen Law Project are delighted with, and thankful for, the media coverage of our launch.  The Press & Journal;  Scottish Legal News; the Firm Magazine and the Journal Online all  kindly carried the story.  Outlined below is the full press release:

Aberdeen students launch community law clinic

A Law Clinic aimed at widening access to advice and representation has been launched by law students at The University of Aberdeen.

The Aberdeen Law Project has grown substantially since the idea originated, and there are now over 120 students involved in assisting local people and organisations.  The Project, operating in partnership with The University of Aberdeen, primarily exists in order to provide legal advice and educational programmes to members of the public who would otherwise not have access to such information.

Ryan Whelan, Founder and Director of the Project said,

The aim of The Project is to secure access to justice for the economically deprived; to provide students with practical experience under the supervision of practitioners; and to increase opportunity by undertaking educational outreach projects.

“Aberdeen is often regarded as a prosperous city, but there is a lack of legal advice available to many people living in communities throughout the North East.  We hope that our Clinic will be able to increase access to justice for such persons – providing legal recourse where there would otherwise be none.

Pro bono is vital and has long been undertaken by the Profession.  It allows the most impoverished in our society to gain access to justice despite their lack of means to pay.  Pro bono, however, also presents an opportunity for those in the legal profession.  In the most obvious sense it enables students to gain practical experience, but more widely, pro bono benefits law firms and the profession by improving the calibre of intrant. 

“As a law clinic founded and operated by students we do rely upon the generosity of our supervising solicitors, sponsors and management board.  Without their support we simply could not exist.  It is to them that we, the students, owe a great deal.”

The law clinic is intended to be complimentary to existing organisations by supplementing their current services.  Students will only act for those who cannot afford professional legal services and who do not qualify for legal aid in the areas of housing, employment and consumer law.  The work will be supervised by practitioners prominent in their field, ensuring the quality and accuracy of the legal advice given.  

Over the past year, the students have been actively researching their chosen areas in preparation for the public launch. They have educated themselves in the law relating to each of The Project’s areas of expertise, and have also refined the practical skills required to provide legal advice. This training has been enhanced by lectures and skills sessions by practitioners including Dr. David Parratt, Advocate, Barrister and International Arbitrator.

Dr. David Parratt stated,

“This is a very worthwhile project and I am very pleased to be involved with it. To date the students have participated in a case analysis workshop, which I think opened their eyes to the application of the theoretical law to a practical situation and made them appreciate that often a case will call on their knowledge across many subject areas. Their involvement in the project requires them to acquire many new skill sets. I have been very impressed with their collective progress so far”.

In addition to preparing themselves, the students have assembled an impressive management board, which comprises: Professor Margaret Ross (Head of the School of Law), Lord Woolman (Senator of the College of Justice), Lady Dorrian (Senator of the College of Justice), Sheriff Cowan (Sheriff, Grampian, Highland and Islands), Professor Ian Diamond (Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Aberdeen), Gary Allan QC (Advocate, Queen’s Counsel), Dr David Parratt (Advocate), Roger Connon (Partner, McGrigors LLP), Professor Roderick Paisley (Professor of Commercial Property) and Mr. Greg Gordon (Lecturer in Law).

Welcoming the initiative, Professor Margaret Ross, Head of the School of Law and Chair of the Clinic’s Management Board, said,

“We have been most impressed by the initiative of the project leaders in setting up the clinic and in ensuring that it has a very strong foundation of training and professional support. We look forward to working in partnership with the clinic, to extend access to advice for those in need of it who cannot secure access by other means. We know that the students who participate in the clinic will extend their skills and knowledge and increase their employment prospects for the future. We commend them for their dedication to this initiative.”

Speaking about the Aberdeen Law Project, Nicol Stephen MSP commented,

“I am delighted that I can lend my support to the Aberdeen Law Project.  I am certain that the project will be of great benefit to people in the North-East.”

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For more information about our management board, please see our Advisory Committee