Community Legal Outreach Collaborative Keele
The Community Legal Outreach Collaborative Keele (CLOCK) is a unique transformative mechanism for access to justice. Led by Keele University’s Law School, in collaboration with the local legal profession, court and charitable services, CLOCK supports community legal needs following the significant withdrawal of legal aid in 2013.
The CLOCK steering committee consists of representatives from academia, local solicitors and support workers from domestic and sexual violence support charities, and aims to share good practice and guide a collaborative response at local, national and international level.
CLOCK has led to the creation of a programme designed to train law students in the unique innovative role of ‘Community Legal Companion’, enabling them to assist legal needs in family law, child arrangements, domestic and sexual violence, housing and other welfare matters.
The training programme takes a multi-disciplinary approach, with delivery by local experts from Keele Law School, the legal profession, CAFCASS, local children’s services, charitable services, police and judiciary services. The intense five-day outreach programme helps participants to understand how to signpost vulnerable people to access legal aid, affordable fixed fee and charitable support services and, where these services aren’t available, to assist within the strict remit of the McKenzie Friend Practice Guidance.
Community Legal Companions operate from the local court desk on a rota basis to provide a free service that not only signposts to the above services but also to assist with form completion, case paperwork, accompany in formal proceedings and take notes for the litigant’s personal record.
As of July 2020, CLOCK has now been cascaded to 12 University Law Schools through the country, with each working in collaboration with their local partners. In total, the CLOCK network covers more than 60 organisations in the UK, and has also established an international partnership with National Law Schools in India.
During the recent Covid-19 pandemic, CLOCK continued to ensure that vulnerable people were supported. As well as adapting to social distancing requirements by providing online and telephone signposting services, Keele students involved with the scheme also created a series of short videos to raise awareness of the increased risks brought by lockdown.
For further information about CLOCK, please visit clock.uk.net.