Pro Bono

We work in partnership with lawyers, charities and voluntary organisations to give students the opportunity to practise and extend their skills through a variety of pro bono schemes.

We are committed to extending extracurricular opportunities to our students, helping to enhance their CVs in a competitive graduate job market while also assisting members of the community and vulnerable groups with matters for which there is in reality no legal aid.

History

The Cardiff Law School Pro Bono Scheme was set up in the academic year 2005/6 and officially launched on 5 April 2006 by Michael Napier QC at the twelfth annual Ewan Davies lecture, while the Cardiff Law School Innocence Project was launched on 16th February 2006 by Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty.

Student training took place with a series of workshops and talks delivered by high profile victims of miscarriages of justice including Mike O’Brien of the 'Cardiff Newsagent Three', their families, the Criminal Cases Review Commission, the Crown Prosecution Service and South Wales Liberty.

Case work started in late February, with cases primarily selected from a central case bank administered by the Bristol project in conjunction with the national network. In addition, we chose to take on, under the guidance of his Cardiff appeal solicitor, a Swansea prisoner who claims he is innocent of a high profile local murder where the body has never been found.

Pro bono schemes

Law in Healthcare

Under this scheme, we address the issue of NHS Continuing Health Care (NHSCHC) funding. This is an increasing problem nationwide which affects a vulnerable section of the community, predominantly those suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. Such individuals may find themselves in nursing homes, paying their fees privately, where arguably they are entitled to have the cost of their care met in full by the NHS.

Law in Justice

The Cardiff Law School Innocence Project was set up following significant interest from students in the area of criminal law and, in particular, miscarriages of justice. Students work under the supervision of practising solicitors and barristers on cases of long-term prisoners maintaining their innocence of serious crimes for which they have been convicted.

Law in Sport

Working in partnership with the Welsh Rugby Union, our students provide a free legal advice service to Welsh rugby clubs, in English or in Welsh. The Scheme is supported by the law firm Hugh James, and by Civitas barristers' chambers and was launched in November 2012.

Law in Court

The Personal Support Unit, a national charity, trains students to assist litigants in person at the Civil Justice Centre in Cardiff. It provides free, confidential, independent, nonlegal support to clients, to help them through the court process. Our students work with PSU volunteers to offer practical support and assistance (but not legal advice) to people at the Cardiff court who are generally unrepresented by lawyers.

Law in Mental Health

Through our Hafal "Appropriate Adult" Scheme, Wales’ leading mental health charity trains students to work as Appropriate Adults, to support vulnerable adults being interviewed after being arrested. Once trained, our students volunteer to be on a call-rota that covers a range of police stations in South Wales.