CEPLER's Pro Bono Group enables students to get involved in a range of activities that benefit some of the most vulnerable people in the local community. Participation in the Group also allows students to develop their knowledge of how the law operates in the real world and helps them improve their legal research, public speaking and client care skills. The Pro Bono Group was established in 2008 and CEPLER's links to the law and legally-related professions have provided scope for expanding the range of projects available to students and the community.
From October 2014 we will be offering the following services:
Birmingham Free Legal Advice Group
Birmingham FLAG is a free legal advice clinic, providing students with opportunities to work on real cases in areas as diverse as family law, employment, probate, property and general litigation. FLAG in run in collaboration with No5 Chambers and Top 100 law firm Mills & Reeve LLP, which has won national recognition for its commitment to pro bono work.
Students benefit from the help and guidance of experienced solicitors and barristers as they develop their interviewing, client care, research and drafting skills. FLAG also gives our volunteers an active role in responding to legal aid cuts and helping to resolve pressing legal problems.
Click here to visit the FLAG page
The Pro Bono Group's first initiative, this involves student teams presenting to community groups, schools and public sector organisations and agencies on a wide variety of legal education topics.
Click here to find out more.
SIFA Fireside drop-in clinic
This homelessness and alcoholism charity provides support to vulnerable people in the local community through a range of invaluable services, to which CEPLER has added a fortnightly drop-in clinic in partnership with Shakespeares Solicitors.
Students work with a volunteer solicitor to provide responsive, on-the-spot advice to their service users in areas such as welfare and debt.
Personal Support Unit (PSU)
Based in the Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, PSU provides essential emotional and practical support to people going through litigation without legal representation.
Student volunteers contribute through helping indivduals to formulate coherent statement, complete forms and by providing moral support in difficult circumstances. This also gives our volunteers a window into the court process.
Environmental Law Foundation (ELF)
This is a sister-project to FLAG, providing a free advice service by appointment in the specialist areas of Planning and Environmental Law. ELF was established as a national network to provide expert advice and referral to individuals and communities through university law clinics.
Enquiries are processed through Irwin Mitchell LLP and appointments are supervised by barristers from No5 Chambers.
Birmingham Community Law Centre
A new project for 2014-15, students assist solicitors from the local Law Centre as they advise clients on matters of immigration and employment law. This involves interviewing clients and assisting solicitors with case work as they help some of the most vulnerable people in the region.
Student volunteers are based in the BCLC offices, gaining hands-on experience of practice in a busy advice centre.
International Student Advisory Service (ISAS)
ISAS is based on campus and offers advice to international students. ISAS advisors present a series of detailed workshops on aspects of immigration law. They also facilitate a small number of placements, giving students the opportunity to shadow staff and gain practical experience in the complexities of immigration law, dealing with areas such as visas, family and welfare law.
Casework and Research Assistance Group (CRAG)
CRAG undertakes specific casework and research tasks on behalf of external organisations as and when they commission our assistance.
Past projects have included: compiling and revising a signpost list to other pro bono advice agencies in the region on behalf of the Birmingham Law Society; supporting No5 Chambers with case research for publication; and providing assistance for a US lawyer on a death penalty case.
All Pro Bono Group activities generate CEPLER Professional Development credits. CPD is our employability scheme which recognises and rewards commitment to extra curricular endeavour. Click here to find out more.
Students at Birmingham Law School can get involved in all areas of Pro Bono activity. To find out more about these opportunities please visit the student involvement page.