Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele (CLOCK)
The Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele (CLOCK) is a unique and innovative project bringing together universities, law firms, barristers chambers, mediation, charitable and court services to educate, assist, monitor and promote access to justice for disadvantaged communities.
Founded 10 years ago, CLOCK began as a research project, listening to 'Voices of Experience'; a group of women from a domestic violence refuge, who shared their fears and proposals for how to support women going to court alone following the significant withdrawal of legal aid under LASPO, the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, 2012. CLOCK has been Highly Commended by the Attorney-General National Access to Justice Award, 2016, and the Green Gown Awards for 'Benefitting Society', 2019.
CLOCK co-created a multi-agency collaboration with the Stoke Family Court, law firms, mediators the Citizens Advice Bureau, Domestic and Sexual Abuse survivor support services, to design the unique and innovative role of the Community Legal Companion to assist litigants in person though the court process.
Community Legal Education
Community Legal Education covers a wide range of activities that promote public knowledge of legal matters and help people to overcome the difficulties they experience dealing with the law in their daily lives. It is fundamentally concerned with educating people about their rights and empowering them in their pursuit of justice. Students participating in CLOCK receive extensive training and work with a range of partner organisations to provide community legal education on social and legal issues such as hate crimes, intimate/societal violence, homelessness, welfare, housing or immigration. Students undertake research on these various topics and subsequently deliver presentations at local High Schools or community engagement events, enhancing peoples legal awareness, legal literacy and legal capacity.
Community Legal Companion
CLOCK has designed the unique role of 'Community Legal Companion' to facilitate access to charitable, law firm and court services, and assist unrepresented litigants according to the McKenzie Friend Principles. Community Legal Companions provide a range of services, including assistance with legal aid funding, court application forms and legal paperwork. They are also trained to accompany litigants-in-person in formal/court proceedings, where they provide moral support and take notes.
- CLOCK is the recipient of an 'Access to Justice Award' by the UK Attorney General, having been highly commended for its outstanding contribution to the promotion of access to justice. The scheme has inspired other universities in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Brighton and Kent to implement CLOCK Community Legal Companion services in partnership with Beetle and local organisations. See the BBC's coverage of CLOCK here.
Shortlisted for Green Gown Awards 2019
- Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele (CLOCK) has been shortlisted for the Green Gown Awards 2019, under the award 'Benefitting Society'. The Green Gown Awards 2019 recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the world. Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. With sustainability moving up the agenda, the Awards have become established as the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the further and higher education sector. The Green Gown Awards are administered by EAUC and each region are governed by a local cross agency steering group. The judging panel are representatives of sector organisations relevant to each region.
Information for Law students
As a law student, you will be trained by court staff, solicitors, barristers, mediators and domestic abuse and sexual abuse support services to understand the complex needs of litigants in person, in a variety of civil legal issues:
- Children Arrangements
- Suspending Evictions
- Non-molestation Order
- Small Claims
Law students will be trained by the partnership as a Community Legal Companion to signpost for legal aid and where not available, assist within the remit of the McKenzie Friend principles to assist:
- Filling in Court Forms
- Arrange court paper work
- Accompany in Court Proceedings
- Note Taking
Community Legal Companions are required to sign a code of conduct and volunteer 2 hours per week to assist at the Stoke on Trent Family Court CLOCK Desk.
The Community Legal Companion role has been endorsed by the President of the Family Court and has been cascaded to 12 University Law Schools to operate in 8 court centres; Stoke, Brighton, Canterbury, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Oxford, Liverpool and York.
The clock.uk.net web portal provides a unique direct public access through a web portal clock.uk.net to provide direct online signposting to law firm and charitable partners, providing national reach.
We have experienced increasing demand for the CLOCK service, with cases signposted by Schools, CAFCASS, Health workers, the Police and Children Services.
CLOCK has adapted the service to respond to the Covid crisis, by training students to provide an online service, using online platforms such as Teams, which are now being adopted by the courts for online hearings.
The clock.uk.net portal monitoring and collating the information to provide a live data base, to submit evidence to inform the Ministry of Justice LASPO Reform, Justice Working Party and wider contributions to social and legal research, based upon the Krishnadas' underpinning research of CLOCK as a 'Transformative Methodology for Access to Justice'.
If you apply to train as a Community Legal Companion, you will be joining the 400 Community Legal Companions to date, many of whom have since become Citizen Advice legal advisers, Domestic Abuse support workers, legal aid solicitors and barristers and UN advocates for access to justice.
Walking in a Litigant in Person's Shoes
A snapshot of the experience of the thousands of people seeking legal support