CLOCK research and impact
CLOCK was successfully submitted to the Research Excellence Framework 2021, underpinned by Krishnadas’ Transformative Methodology’ which has had a significant impact on legal policy, contributing to the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Review, which examined the impact of changes to legal aid on those going through the court system.
The CLOCK Community Legal Companion has been endorsed by the President of the Family Court :
"the President is of the view that Clock offers valuable support to litigants in the absence of legally aided representation. He whole heartedly endorses the work of Community Legal Companion and hopes that this will enable you to cascade Clock across the UK court service."
CLOCK developed a national web portal to provide unique direct access to request assistance and signpost to mediation, legal and charitable services to provide a live holistic data site to identify key trends and barriers regarding access to legal aid across private and public family law proceedings. CLOCK Community Legal Research https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmgGWgu97M8
During the Coronavirus Pandemic, CLOCK adapted the service to assist persons in lockdown by training students to provide an online service, using online platforms such as Teams, to contribute to the court online hearings, and creating wider awareness of Covid as a Social Crisis.
CLOCK has submitted evidence for research and policy reform. The clock.uk.net portal monitors and collates anonymised 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'.
From 2020 CLOCK experienced an increasing demand for the service, with cases signposted by Schools, CAFCASS, Health workers, the Police and Children Services.
In 2022 CLOCK submitted evidence to the JUSTICE Report and was cited in the List of Recommendations, pg 151:
“We support the creation of networks and alliances of information and support for separating families, particularly those featuring a multi-agency navigator role, such as CLOCK’s Community Legal Companion"
In March 2023 – The Ministry of Justice has announced key reforms to legal aid which have been informed by CLOCK evidence submission to the LASPO Review
The key reforms are a response to the evidence received and accepted in the LASPO Review 2019, for which Lucy Frazer QC, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice stated: “The CLOCK evidence submission to the LASPO review was hugely helpful and raised particular issues to inform:
i) “a comprehensive review of the legal aid means testing thresholds”
ii) The CLOCK evidence submission also raised particular issues with the eligibility test in family law cases. In this specific area, the Action Plan also announces our intentions to bring forward proposals for extending eligibility for non-means tested legal aid for parents, or those with parental responsibility, who wish to oppose applications for placement orders or adoption orders in public family law proceedings.
iii) “to expand the scope of legal aid to cover special guardianship orders”, extending public funding for private family law.
iv) Beyond legal aid, we have announced a number of policies that build on the evidence received from CLOCK, and other organisations. For instance, the excellent work that CLOCK do in supporting people to resolve their legal problems underlines the value of effective signposting and coordination.
CLOCK continues to have an impact and presents a model for policy interventions as noted by the MoJ Senior Policy Adviser, 2023;
“We want to take this opportunity to thank you for partaking in our meetings discussing proposals that will affect domestic abuse victims, your feedback on our proposals has been invaluable”.
The JUSTICE Report for Improving Access to Justice for Separating Families noted; Local alliances and partnerships go beyond listing services together on a website. They have the potential to cultivate knowledge, trust and referral routes between local services, to ensure families can receive help with their problems as easily as possible. The most developed model of such coordination the Working Party identified was that of CLOCK, which provides service users with a volunteer “Community Legal Companion” to coordinate their multi-agency support, from law firms, mediators, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Domestic and Sexual Abuse survivor support services and others.