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Employment law scheme completes first year of online advice

30 July 2021

A Cardiff pro bono scheme has completed its first year of online service after offering valuable support to members of the public throughout the pandemic.

The Employment Law Streetlaw scheme has been part of the School’s pro bono offering since 2017 and involves Law students providing monthly guidance sessions to unrepresented parties at the Cardiff Employment Tribunal.  Their presentations aim to guide claimants through the process and help them know what to expect.

A tribunal can hear a range of disputes between employers and employees which can include unfair dismissal, redundancy payments and employment discrimination.

When the COVID-19 lockdown began, Employment Judges in Cardiff were keen for the service to continue but only within an environment that was safe for all. In-person sessions were postponed, and the HM Courts and Tribunals Service utilised their Cloud Video Platform (CVP) for online hearings. This meant that the Streetlaw student teams could present from home with some even connecting from as far afield as Kenya.

Presenting to claimants develops confidence, communication and team working skills, but adding the online element to the scheme has also meant that our students have gained invaluable digital presentation skills, and problem-solving skills when things go wrong online.

Scheme leader, Sarah Saunders said, “Switching to online delivery this year has been challenging but I’d like to thank the Streetlaw students for their participation and enthusiasm, which ensured the continued delivery of guidance to unrepresented claimants at the Employment Tribunal.  We look forward to continuing to work with our collaborating universities and with the Employment Judges and the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), to assist access to justice both in person and online in the coming year.”

Feedback from members of the public and the Employment Judges has been incredibly positive. Claimants have described the presentations as “thorough and informative” and explained that it made the experience feel a lot less daunting. Employment Judge, Barry Clarke (the President of Employment Tribunals in England and Wales) said, “I am always very appreciative of the work done by students to make justice in the Employment Tribunal more accessible to our users.”

The Employment Law Streetlaw scheme is a collaboration between Cardiff University, Swansea University, the University of South Wales and previously also BPP Bristol. Find out more about our other pro bono schemes on our dedicated website.

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