The Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele (CLOCK) is an innovative and exciting initiative launched as a critical response to the Legal Aid, Sentencing Punishments and Offenders Act, 2012.
CLOCK was founded by Keele University Law School, and North Staffordshire Law Firms, Housing Associations, Citizen Advice Bureau, Family Relationship Services, Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence Support groups, to contribute their professional expertise from the day to day experience of working with marginalised and vulnerable people to find pathways to justice across complex needs in challenging times.
CLOCK created a partnership model, of the academic, legal, charitable and court sector to collaboratively train law students, in the innovative role of the 'community legal companion' to understand the complex legal needs of their local community and provide assisted access to legal aid, affordable and pro bono services for access to justice.
In 2015, CLOCK has established a national partnership framework, with Higher Education Institutions, Law Firms, and Third sector organisations to offer the Community Legal Companion Service in courts and partner locations across the UK.
CLOCK has pioneered the direct public access to the secure application and assistance IT system, for global access to promote community legal education, services and research, for access to justice, according to the following Memorandum of Understanding:
1. To build innovative and collaborative frameworks of University Law School, Charitable Services, Law Firms and Public Services, within which to provide community legal education to support and promote community access to justice.
CLOCK has initiated community legal education projects in schools, colleges and wider communities on social and legal issues, such as hate crimes, intimate/societal violence, homelessness and citizenship to understand the complexity of community needs and enhance community legal education, awareness-raising and access to justice.
2. To develop, train and support Community Legal Companions to participate responsibly and collaboratively to assist the local community access charitable, legal and court services towards access to justice.
Community Legal Companions are collaboratively trained and supported to assist access to legal aid, affordable and pro bono services to community services in, family law, children's arrangements, children protection, domestic and sexual violence, housing, welfare and asylum through:
- Assistance to fill in court forms
- Arranging papers in formal proceedings
- Note Taking for personal records
- Assistance in legal and formal proceedings
3. To collate information, transfer knowledge and share resources to promote social and legal policy research on legislative reforms, issues of access to justice and disseminate to wider community, academic and professional bodies.
CLOCK pioneers collaborative frameworks to support social and legal policy research to monitor and critically analyse legal issues in the community and establish pathways to impact on social advocacy and policy reforms at local, national and international levels.