This project will develop links between the Law School and community organisations in the West Midlands to facilitate the Public Legal Education Clinical Module and future endeavours in clinical education and student/community engagement in the Law School. The new clinical module will focus on training students to deliver public legal education in our local community. In the context of dramatic reductions to legal aid and the loss of considerable resources in the community advice sector, public legal education has become increasingly important. This module will offer students the opportunity to become the·teachers and to make a concrete and lasting contribution to their local communities by sharing some of the legal knowledge and skills they are gaining, and contributing to the creation of a more empowered citizenry able to navigate and negotiate their own subjection to various aspects of the legal system (particularly social welfare law).
To be successful, the project must genuinely meet the needs of our community. This means developing relationships with local community organisations, and learning about the issues that they and their users and members face. This local knowledge and experience will be integrated into the module through real case studies and narratives collected from local organisations and community members, as a key part of the process through which we engage and develop relationships to support the module.
The overall budget for the project will be £7500. It will engage students in the development process, as well as local community organisation and a national charity, Law for Life: the Foundation for Public Legal Education.