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Team Cardiff shortlisted for Innocence Project work at Pro Bono Awards

10 May 2021

Innocence Project
Gareth Jones and family pictured outside the Court of Appeal with members of the Cardiff University Innocence Project

The student team behind Cardiff’s Innocence Project has been recognised for their work in the shortlist for this year’s LawWorks Pro Bono Awards.

An innocence project allows law students to work on cases of alleged miscarriages of justice investigating claims of innocence. The Cardiff team, which is currently working on 13 cases, is made up of 13 team leaders and 82 other students and is drawn from the School’s undergraduate, postgraduate and vocational cohorts. It is overseen by academic project leaders, Dr Dennis Eady and Dr Holly Greenwood.

The team has been shortlisted in the LawWorks category ‘Best Contribution by a Team of Students’ and is up against competition from BPP University Law School Pro Bono Centre, University of Law (Nottingham), University of Plymouth Law Clinic and University of Strathclyde Law Clinic.

During the last year, pressure on the team has been magnified due to the pandemic explained Professor Julie Price who is Head of the School’s Pro Bono Unit and who nominated the team, “We have 30+ filing cabinets of client papers in our building, but we quickly had to move towards a paperless system. It meant that students had to scan in files and learn to use the case management system. Without that, our work would have halted but they readily embraced the new technology.”

“Our team leaders have taken on extra responsibilities given that nothing was on campus. Some of the team are international (for example one team member is based in Palestine), so our leaders have had to arrange Zoom meetings in different time zones. They’ve also had to act as trainers and mentors because students could not come to campus to “pop in” and ask our supervisors for advice”.

Cardiff’s Innocence Project is the largest and most active university innocence project and remains the only UK university project to have overturned a conviction at the Court of Appeal – it has had two successes: Dwaine George in 2014, and Gareth Jones in 2018.”

Since it began in 2006, the project has worked on approximately 50 cases and the project’s reputation now means they receive referrals from practising solicitors and barristers.

LawWorks is a charity committed to enabling access to justice through free legal advice. They believe in the power of pro bono legal advice to help improve the lives of people in need. The annual LawWorks Pro Bono Awards will be celebrated at an online awards ceremony on Wednesday 12 May 2021.

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