Queensland University of Technology Access to Justice Clinic

This clinic was run in conjunction with QUT for the first time in 2nd semester 2013. Six students attend for one day a week, and are supervised by a QPILCH solicitor. The clinic focuses on enabling senior QUT law students to work with QPILCH's pro bono Referral Service to achieve our broad goal of helping the most disadvantaged members of the community better access the civil justice system by facilitating pro bono legal assistance and/or giving discrete advice and referral to an appropriate service.

The learning outcomes students are expected to achieve relate to:

  • The practice of law and the role of lawyers within the public, private and community sector environment;
  • The social, professional and ethical issues which arise in the public, private or community sector;
  • Personal learning strategies;
  • Connecting legal theory and its application in the public or community sector; and
  • Developing cross-cultural competence using collaborative strategies to cater for diversity.

Daily program

The students start their day discussing general issues and being allocated files by the supervising solicitor. This is followed by file work which includes:
  • The assessment of applications for pro bono legal assistance in civil law matters including examining potential legal claims and remedies, considering the appropriateness of pro bono assistance and analysing the greater social impacts of a claim.
  • Undertaking legal research and drafting including letters to applicants requesting information, explaining why QPILCH cannot refer a matter for pro bono legal assistance or explaining alternative avenues. Drafting may also include emails requesting members to assist by taking on a referral or letters of referral to barristers, solicitors or mediators.
  • Contacting applicants to obtain information and explain the assessment process.

The students and the supervisor discuss the files throughout and de-brief at the end of the day.

During the semester, students and staff invite a guest speaker to discuss public interest law issues are discussed. The guest speaker is usually a member of the judiciary, barrister or a representative of one of our member firms, Legal Aid Queensland or another community legal service.

Assessment

The students are assessed on the basis of their performance during their placement and a presentation which is prepared by the students.

The students performance is assessed on the basis of a final report prepared by the supervising solicitor. The final report contributes to the student's overall grade for the subject.

The students are also required to prepare a presentation and to participate in a presentation showcase evening. The presentation relates to a topic selected by the student that is relevant to their placement. Students may choose to present their project as a poster, brochure, report, power point or Prezi presentation or a combination of these.

 

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