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Study information

Access to Justice Clinic

Module titleAccess to Justice Clinic
Module codeLAW3167
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Miss Natasha Bellinger (Lecturer)

Mrs Kim McDonald (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

With the decrease in the scope of legal aid provision, there has been an increase in litigants in person (“LIPs”) and vulnerable persons trying to access justice. Navigating the legal system is daunting, even with a lawyer. Many individuals now faced with going it alone find themselves lost and confused and often give up, thus losing their opportunity to access justice. This module is connected to the provision of a pro bono (free) public service to the community in the South West. It gives you the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of providing legal advice to members of the public, as well as valuable research and communication skills.

After successful completion of initial training, you will have the opportunity to provide basic legal information and advice to individuals, in areas such as housing, employment, general civil litigation and welfare law (e.g. benefits). As lawyers, we have a responsibility to those that are in need of the legal system and who would not otherwise be able to effectively access it without support or assistance. This is an opportunity for you, as a potential future lawyer, to be a part of the solution.

Module aims - intentions of the module

In this module, you will develop valuable skills, such as communication, research, client interviewing, drafting legal advice and client record keeping. Through this, you will gain a broader understanding of what access to justice really means. By experiencing the legal system through the eyes of your clients, you will recognise the barriers to justice. In identifying these barriers, you will discuss and develop pathways for individuals to access justice. You will also learn how to explain complex legal information to laypersons in an accessible way.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of the means through which access to justice can be facilitated, and detailed knowledge of a substantial range of major relevant concepts and issues;
  • 2. Demonstrate critical awareness of the social and contextual implications of access to justice;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of legal concepts and their contextual, social and political implications;
  • 4. Demonstrate flexible capacity to define complex legal problems, identify their relative significance and select appropriate methods for investigating and critically evaluating them.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Interact effectively and proactively within a team/learning group, share information and ideas, and manage conflict;
  • 6. Manage relevant learning resources/information/learning strategies and develop your own arguments and opinions with minimal guidance;
  • 7. Plan and undertake tasks, individually and with others, with minimal guidance; and reflect critically on the learning process and make effective use of feedback.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover all or some of the following topics:

  • Access to justice
  • Key issues in a range of areas of law, e.g. housing, employment, general civil litigation and welfare law
  • Equality issues and the law
  • Civil procedure

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity102 x 5 hour training sessions
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity4020 x 2 hour workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity168 x 2 hour clinic sessions
Guided Independent Study134Individual reading, research, and preparation for scheduled activities
Guided Independent Study80Summative assessment preparation
Guided Independent Study20Formative assessment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reflective portfolio activities1,000 words1-7Individual written feedback (with oral feedback upon request)
Case study essay plan500 words1-4, 6-7Oral feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Case study essay502,000 words1-4, 6-7Individual written feedback (with oral feedback upon request)
Reflective portfolio502,000 words1-7Individual written feedback (with oral feedback upon request)

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Case study essayCase study essay (2,000 words)1-4, 6-7August/September reassessment period
Reflective portfolioReflective portfolio (2,000 words)1-7August/September reassessment period

Re-assessment notes



Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:


Bloch F, The Global Clinical Movement: Educating Lawyers for Social Justice (Oxford University Press, 2010)


Finch E & Fafinski S, Legal Skills (Oxford University Press, 2015)


Keats D, Interviewing: A Practical Guide For Students And Professionals (Open University Press, 2001)


Keyzer P, Kenworthy A & Wilson G (eds) Community Engagement in Contemporary Legal Education: Pro

Bono, Clinical Legal Education and Service Learning (Halstead Press, 2007)


Giddings J, Promoting Justice through Clinical Legal Education (Justice Press, 2013)


Griffiths Baker J, ‘Ethical Education through the Student Law Clinic’ 5(1) (2002) Legal Ethics 24


Pleasence P & Balmer NJ, ‘Mental Health and the Experience of Housing Rights Problems’ 2(1) (2007)

People, Place and Policy, pp 4-16.


Pleasence P & Balmer NJ, ‘Mental Health and the Experience of Social Problems Involving Rights: Findings from the United Kingdom and New Zealand’ 16(1) (2009) Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, pp 123-140.


Pleasence P & Balmer NJ, ‘The Audacity of Justice: Recession, Redundancy, Rights and Legal Aid’ 9(4) (2010) Social Policy and Society pp 475-488

Key words search

Justice, Clinic, Housing, Equality, Employment, Welfare

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date