By Chloe Olivia Sladden
The University of Hertfordshire will be opening the family law clinic at Domestic Abuse Charity Future Living Hertford, to extend the Hertfordshire Law Clinic Service, which provides pro-bono legal advice, according to a press release from the University of Hertfordshire.
Free and professional family-law advice will be provided by clinic in a safe space for men and women who have experienced domestic abuse. The clinic will be open 2-4pm on Wednesdays through advanced booked appointments.
Diana Kirsch, Director of Pro-Bono at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “The University’s Family Law Clinic at Hertford Future Living will provide a much-needed service to women and men who have been victims of domestic abuse, offering professional advice in a setting that they know and trust.”
Miss Kirsch added that: “[The] confidential advice will help our clients handle legal issues including the breakdown of their relationship, divorce and child contact disputes.”
Appointments will be provided by two student advisors, overseen by qualified lawyers. The lawyers will also oversee the free written legal advice, which is provided after the appointment within fourteen days.
The Hertfordshire Law Clinic has suggested it can help provide family law advice, especially for lower-income families.
Sandra Conte, Chief Executive at Future Living Hertford, commented: “We are delighted to be able to host this Family Law Clinic at Future Living Hertford – something that is much needed for our clients. There is a big gap in services for clients on low incomes – this clinic will bridge that gap, allowing those who need it most in our community, to get the support that they need.
National cuts, particularly in 2012, meant only limited funding could be given for legal aid, when it comes to family law advice. Some Hertfordshire law firms have needed to end their family law services as a result of the cuts.
Miss Conte reflected on the aid the clinic will bring: “[It] will also consolidate our position in the community as a Health & Wellbeing hub and extend the help and support we can jointly provide to our clients. I am looking forward to a really exciting partnership with the University of Hertfordshire.”
The family law clinic has been praised by members of the local community, such as Robert Voss CBE, who is a University of Hertfordshire Governor and Patron of Future Living Hertford.
Robert Voss CBE, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, has commented: “I am doubly delighted that the Family Law Clinic will be open at Future Living. This will provide a wonderful opportunity for people to obtain legal advice on a pro bono basis to which they otherwise would have no access.
“It will allow those who have suffered domestic abuse the opportunity to establish their rights which I know will be of enormous benefit and even relief to a number of sufferers. I must express my thanks to the Dean of the Law School of the university for agreeing to take this initiative forward and believe there will be mutual benefit for all parties.”