How to get involved

Student Advisers

All Diploma students will be involved as Student Advisers. This role forms part of the assessed course, Professional Skills and Responsibility.

If you are a Diploma student looking for more experience, there may be an opportunity for you to take on another case later in the Diploma year. Please let us know if this is the case by contacting the Centre at freelegaladvice@ed.ac.uk or speaking to the Centre coordinator or administrator.

Committee and Operations Team: Students undertaking the Diploma are encouraged to volunteer for a position on either the Student Committee or the Operations Team. Applications for these roles open near the beginning of each academic year with more information being provided on each role during Foundation Skills week. Positions are awarded following a successful interview.

Testimonials

What people have to say about our Free Legal Advice Centre

I was lucky enough to know of the amazing work of FLAC having studied my diploma at Edinburgh University. So when my partner and I were in need of legal advice I knew where to turn. The support we received from FLAC was incredible. If they had not given us such encouragement I honestly don’t think we would have pursued our discrimination case. We were quickly referred to the Faculty of Advocates’ pro-bono service and FLAC agreed to act as the instructing solicitor. This was crucial to the success of our case. Thanks to the wonderful staff and students who run FLAC my partner and I were able to seek justice for the terrible discrimination that we suffered. Knowing that discrimination law can work, and that there are people there who will support us to enforce it, makes life just that little bit easier.

— Mr N Gale, following success in a recent discrimination case against the owners of Glasgow’s Polo Lounge – read more here.

Can’t speak of the service highly enough. Thank you.

— Mrs T, Edinburgh

No-one could have done better or more. There should be a box to indicate a no. 6 on scale above. You would easily have qualified for 6 x excellent. Thank you.

— Mrs Y, Edinburgh

You were friendly, helpful, reassuring and clear – thank you very much.

— Name and address not supplied.

You are doing a great job and giving a most professional and helpful service.

— Mrs I, Perth

The service was excellent.

— Mr S, Edinburgh

Working in the Free Legal Advice Centre as a student gave me my first experience of working with a real client. It was a fantastic opportunity to experience the whole process, from meeting with the client to looking into the legal position and advising the client on their specific issue.  As well as that, it was great to be part of a service that provides free advice to people who need it.

— Kirsty Miguda

I continued my involvement in the Free Legal Advice Centre after my Diploma finished and have nothing but positive comments, although I am pleased that it now forms a compulsory part of the course.  I hope students use the opportunity to deal directly with clients, and more importantly to help someone who probably cannot afford legal advice with a problem that is weighing on their mind and causing sleepless nights – even if it seems like a simple problem to us.

— Laura MacMillan, DipPLP 2010 (Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP)

The Free Legal Advice Centre has a hugely positive role to play in supporting both students and clients.  Whilst the students are taught invaluable lessons in client care and gain practical experience, the clients benefit from the provision of quality free legal advice under the supervision of a qualified solicitor, which they may not otherwise have had access to.  For supervising solicitors, the experience is hugely enjoyable and rewarding, and I would encourage everyone to get involved.

— Nicola Gotts (Brodies LLP)

Our Services

The Free Legal Advice Centre delivers pro bono legal services to members of the public living in and around the Edinburgh area who, for whatever reason, cannot access legal advice elsewhere. Student advisers, members of staff and qualified solicitors work together to offer advice on legal problems.

The Centre is run by University of Edinburgh law students and University Law School Staff and supported by volunteer solicitors. These volunteer solicitors supervise the student advisers and assist them in their research, but the student advisers are responsible for dealing with individual cases and contacting clients.

 What we can do

We can provide advice and assistance on the following:

  • Company & Commercial
  • Contract
  • Disputes
  • Employment
  • Family
  • Property
  • Intellectual Property
  • Landlord and Tenant
  • Wills and Inheritance
  • Personal Injury

 What we can’t do

  • Criminal Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Representation or advice in tribunals, hearing or the vast majority of court cases

Lay Representation Service

Although we are unable to offer representation in tribunals, hearings and the vast majority of court cases, we are able to offer a limited Lay Representation Service in Simple Procedure (formerly Small Claims) cases up to £3,000 in Edinburgh Sheriff Court. We offer;

  • Advice on whether the Lay Representation Service is an appropriate remedy for your particular problem
  • Advice on initiating a Simple Procedure action
  • Advice on defending a Simple Procedure action
  • Representation throughout the whole process

Any representation in a Simple Procedure action, will be carried out by two Diploma students working in pairs, supervised by a qualified solicitor.

Specialist Law Clinic Evenings

We are currently developing Specialist Law Clinic Evenings on which further details will be published in due course. In the meantime, please contact Rebecca Samaras at rebecca.samaras@ed.ac.uk if you are interested in this service.

Student Committee & Operations Team

Each year student representatives are selected from the Diploma student body to make up the Student Committee and an Operations Team.

Student Committee

The Student Committee perform a number of functions, including:

  • Fundraising for the Centre to make sure the work can continue and new projects can be introduced
  • Helping to decide and implement the direction of the Centre and new projects
  • Working closely with Diploma staff to make sure that the Centre works for the benefit of both clients and all students who are involved
  • Representing FLAC at free legal advice network conferences, award ceremonies and events
  • Raising the profile of pro bono work of the Centre and others like it in our community and beyond

Operations Team

The Operations Team assists with:

  • Administration of the Centre,
  • Smooth running of cases and client appointments
  • Case file management
  • Supporting supervising solicitors and student advisers, ensuring they have everything necessary for interviews and cases.

These will be the individuals you’ll meet on the night of your appointment with your Student Adviser and Supervising Solicitor.  They will make sure everything is in order before you are seen.

Solicitors and Firms we work with

We rely on the support of solicitors and firms who generously donate their time and experience to the centre, supervising students as they interview clients and helping with advice that is sent out following each interview.

We are extremely grateful for the continuing support of the following firms and their solicitors;

burnesspaull

 

 

shepwedd

HBJ Gateley

sko-largeTurcan Connell logo

 

MF Stacked CMYKm-FitPad

MMS_Logo_Long_78x10mm

1920515_10152066490372732_1584983564_nGibson Kerr Logo

About Pro Bono & Clinical Legal Education

The University of Edinburgh Free Legal Advice Centre (or as it is more commonly known, ‘FLAC’) was established by the former University of Edinburgh Diploma Director, the late Elaine Tyre in 2007. Since then, FLAC has continued to grow and we are constantly looking at ways to develop and grow the Centre to achieve our aims.

Our Aims, Values and Mission

FLAC has three aims at its core:

  • To provide excellent legal advice
  • To support our community
  • To enhance the learning experience of law students

Taken together, the first and second aims are the traditional pro bono aims (‘for the public good’). This means we exist in order to increase access to justice. To do this we want to provide a service to those who, for whatever reason, cannot access legal advice elsewhere.

The third aim gives law students at the University of Edinburgh an opportunity to put their legal knowledge and skills into practice. This is also known as clinical legal education. Instead of spending all their time in traditional studies, our Diploma in Professional Legal Practice (the “Diploma”) students are given the opportunity to interact with and help real people from our community, advising on live legal issues under the supervision and guidance of law school staff and colleagues working in practice.

A Student-led Law Clinic

We are extremely proud that FLAC is a student led project. At the start of each academic year, students from the Diploma are selected to sit on the FLAC Committee and Operations Team. The Committee, headed by the Student Director, liaises with the FLAC Coordinator and other members of the law school in how best to continue to meet the aims of the Centre. Together they ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the Centre.

Unlike other law clinics, only graduate students undertaking the Diploma may currently participate in FLAC, although this is something we hope to change.

Each Diploma student is involved as a Student Adviser and is allocated a Monday evening during which they attend the clinic in order to meet a client with a suitable case. This advisory element is an essential requirement of the assessed course, Professional Skills and Responsibility, which all Diploma students must complete