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 communities facing barriers to access to justice.
Founded 10 years ago, CLOCK began as a research project based upon Dr Jane Krishnadas’ ‘Transformative Methodology’, listening to the voices of survivors in post-disaster situations in India to reconstruct their lives through a range of socio-legal strategies, informed by S.Krishnadas’s Social and Legal Information Centre and Human Rights Law Network which filed the public interest litigation against the Government of Maharashtra, transforming 4,000 lives (See page 107 of this PDF).
Time for Justice | Michael Mansfield KC
Michael Mansfield KC, as the UK's most prominent and long-standing human rights advocate, and Keele's most famous alumni, has celebrated CLOCK in the ILAS Grand Lecture ‘Time for Justice’.
CLOCK is an application of the ‘Transformative Methodology’, 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, to inspiring our ‘Law in Action’ students to become agents of change.
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.
The CLOCK Steering Committee designed and delivered a holistic training programme including academic, legal, mediation, charitable and court based training delivered by academics, 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 to:
- Signpost for legal aid
- Signpost for mediation
- Signpost for charitable services support
- Identify factors for vulnerability and exceptional case funding
And where legal aid and professional service are 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 bound by the CLOCK Code of Conduct and volunteer 2 hours per week to assist at the Stoke on Trent Family Court CLOCK Desk.
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.
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 train and deliver their CLOCK Community Legal Companion service in 8 court centres; Stoke, Brighton, Canterbury, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Oxford, Liverpool and York, in collaboration with their local CLOCK mediation, legal, and charitable partners. CLOCK has since been Highly Commended by the Attorney-General’s Access to Justice Award, 2016, for its outstanding contribution to the promotion of access to justice. See the BBC's coverage of CLOCK here.
Highly Commended for Green Gown Awards 2019
- CLOCK has been Highly Commended by 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.
Walking in a Litigant in Person's Shoes
A snapshot of the experience of the thousands of people seeking legal support