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Pro bono schemes

The Latin term pro bono refers to professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment.

Our pro bono schemes are led by academics who bring their own experience and legal expertise to the projects they oversee, imparting their knowledge with our student volunteers.

Our schemes help a range of people with a variety of legal matters at the same time as equipping our students with transferable experience of real-life casework.

Our undergraduate and postgraduate students can volunteer on our schemes and gain the opportunity to develop their skills in client care, legal research, writing and public speaking.

Age Cymru

Led by Julie Price

Working with Age Cymru and the HOPE partnership(Helping Others Participate and Engage) this scheme provides low-level advocacy support to older people and their carers.

As part of this voluntary role, students support older people or their carers to understand their rights, make informed choices, give them a voice and, ultimately, empower them to advocate for themselves. The charity’s Independent Volunteer Advocates support older people with any range of low-level advocacy issues – from helping them to place formal complaints, to supporting them in finding sheltered accommodation that’s right for them – no two cases are the same. Students are trained in the advocacy role and skills needed and have support from a supervisor throughout their casework. Students build relationships with clients, build action plans collaboratively, record case notes and liaise with third-party organisations.

Bridgend Children Contact Centre

Led by Julie Price

Child Contact Centres exist to provide children with the opportunity to spend time with a non-resident parent following a family breakdown.

By training and volunteering with the Bridgend Children’s Contact Centre, our students provide a listening ear and support to families during contact visits.

Through this scheme, students develop skills such as empathy and the importance of being non-judgemental, while assisting families who are going through difficult times.

CEDR Negotiation Programme

Led by Julie Price

Negotiation is part of our everyday lives, and key skills can be learned, which are useful for any future career.

This programme is linked to the (inter)national Negotiation Competition, which in the UK is sponsored by the Centre for Dispute Resolution (CEDR) in London. We use our training programme to select two teams of students who represent the School of Law and Politics in the regional rounds of the England and Wales competition, potentially progressing to the national final in London.

Child Contact Centres

Led by Julie Price

Child Contact Centres help children and parents by providing a safe, comfortable, neutral environment away from high-conflict situations, so that children can see their parent who does not live with them, or other close family members, such as grandparents.

Child Contact Centres provide our students with the opportunity to volunteer in centres where they can develop understanding and knowledge of Family Law, and the current legal system for families in the UK.

Employment Law Streetlaw

This project is a collaboration between Cardiff University, BPP Law School (Bristol)Swansea University and the University of South Wales.

Volunteers provide guidance to claimants on employment tribunal procedures. In this scheme, our students are trained to run guidance sessions for unrepresented claimants at Cardiff employment tribunals on what to expect at a final employment tribunal hearing.

Mentor Clinic in partnership with Acuity Law

Led by Julie Price

This scheme is a partnership between Acuity Law, the School of Law and Politics and Student Futures at Cardiff University

If you are interested in business, then this might be the scheme for you! This scheme gives law students an opportunity to enhance their commercial and business awareness and to learn about the practical legal issues that face people wanting to start a business in England and Wales. Students provide legal advice to Cardiff University students and recent graduates who wish to start their own businesses. Working in teams, they interview clients and identify their legal issues, conduct legal and practical research to answer their queries and draft a letter of advice.

All work is supervised by an academic member of staff and overseen by lawyers at Acuity Law.

Environmental Law Foundation

Led by Ben Pontin and Environmental Law solicitor Guy Linley Adams

The Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) is one of the world’s oldest pro bono environment Law advice and representation charities. It aims to help give a voice to ordinary people and communities to be heard on matters affecting the environment in which they live. It currently operates through a network of university law clinics. Students work alongside national expert practitioners in the field of environmental Law.

The Cardiff ELF Clinic’s role is to advise on enquiries referred to it via the central ELF hub in London. Students have previously worked on cases that include a public enquiry into the M4 Newport relief road, a proposal for a hydroelectric power station, and National Resources Wales’ alleged failure to regulate waste paint from electricity pylons.

The Environment Project

Led by Guy Linley-Adams

Pro bono environmental law activities have taken several forms over recent years, due to unforeseen circumstances (the Covid pandemic) and in response to world events such as COP 26 in Glasgow.

Dedicated students have looked at the law on climate change and how that impacts on, among other issues, transport, agriculture, waste and biodiversity in Wales. However, the Environment Project is now focusing on the legal right to information on the environment, which is an important tool for holding public bodies to account on protecting the environment.

This project is led by environmental lawyer Guy Linley-Adams, who is an in-house solicitor at Wildfish. Over the years, Guy, who took his LPC at Cardiff, has acted for many different environment and conservation organisations. He has taken many common law and statutory actions against water companies and other polluters, as well as judicial reviews of public bodies. Guy has a special interest in freedom of information law.

FLASH – family law assistance and self-help

Led by Jason Tucker

Legal aid is generally not available for private law cases involving children. This means that, when there is a family breakdown, parents either have to pay for legal advice privately, or represent themselves (as litigants in person).

Navigating the court process can be very daunting, particularly when you have no experience of legal proceedings. The FLASH clinic is a public legal education project, where students provide members of the public with information to enable them to better understand and deal with court proceedings relating to disputes about the arrangements for the care of a child.

Students learn about the Children Act, the Child Arrangements Programme, Enforcement and Appeals and develop writing and practical legal research skills.

Hafal (Appropriate Adults)

Appropriate Adults support vulnerable adults who are detained in custody. Students volunteer with Hafal, the mental health charity, and are trained to become qualified appropriate adults, and to be placed on a rota to be ‘on call’ to attend local police stations if a person is being questioned.

Justice Gap Volunteer Reporter Scheme

Led by Abdallah Barakat

The Justice Gap is an award-winning online magazine about law and justice and the difference between the two.

In collaboration with Cardiff University, Manchester University, University of Glasgow and University College London (UCL), the magazine runs a volunteer reporter scheme open to law students with an interest in journalism and a commitment to human rights.

Following a successful application, students receive training in news writing and journalistic skills and are given the opportunity to contribute to the site as Justice Gap reporters, writing news as well as features and investigations.

The Justice Gap aims to broaden the discussion about law and justice and include voices and perspectives not normally heard.

NHS Continuing Healthcare Scheme

Led by Hannah Marchant 

Our NHS Continuing Healthcare scheme addressed a national problem which affects vulnerable sections of the community: care home fees.

The scheme ran until 2018 and allowed our students to help families of nursing home residents and people suffering from dementia to recover care home fees that arguably should have been paid by the NHS.

In total, we recovered more than £190,000 of wrongly paid care home fees. The largest single amount recovered for a client was more than £31,000.

This scheme has now evolved into a work experience opportunity where students visit the office of law firm, Hugh James, for training on this specialist area of Law and practice.

Speakeasy Employment Law Clinic

We support the Speakeasy Employment Law Clinic, a specialist clinic based in Cardiff.

Our students shadow employment lawyers who provide employment and discrimination legal advice to some of the most vulnerable across the city including:

  • the recently dismissed
  • the unemployed
  • individuals faced with redundancy or disciplinary action/investigation
  • employees discriminated against in their workplaces
  • individuals dealing with non-payment of wages.

Support Through Court (formerly Personal Support Unit)

Led by Julie Price

Every year, thousands of people in the UK face court alone. Without help, they have to represent themselves while they go through court proceedings such as divorce, seek custody of their children, or face eviction from their home. They are forced to navigate a complex legal system alone, often against the professional legal representation of the other party.

Working with Support Through Court, our students are trained to assist litigants in person at the Civil Justice Centre in Cardiff.

Victim Support

Led by Anna Heenan 

Victim Support is a national charity which supports people affected by crime and traumatic incidents in England and Wales.

Our students volunteer at the charity's national inbound call centre. Amongst the services they offer is their national support line which provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Through this scheme, students develop important skills such as empathy, active listening and the importance of being non-judgemental.

Welsh Rugby Union Incorporation Project (formerly the Free Legal Advice for Clubs Project)

Wildlife law research project

Led by Richard Caddell

The Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy is the leading peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the legal issues raised by the conservation and management of biodiversity. The journal is published quarterly by Taylor and Francis and has been based at Cardiff University since 2021, with Richard Caddell as its Editor-in-Chief.

Having been primarily based in the USA for most of its existence, the journal has long provided opportunities for students to participate in its work and is keen for that to continue. Student volunteer tasks include the development of a database of notable days celebrated by UN, mapping of articles by species, reference checks of accepted articles, footnoting and formatting of journal articles, and compilation and maintenance of a database of prospective reviewers from an array of different academic disciplines – law, criminology, natural sciences, international relations, etc.