Community Legal Outreach Collaboration Keele

Get Involved

The Community Legal Outreach Collaboration, Keele (CLOCK), a collaborative project of the voluntary, academic, legal profession and court sector to assist the local community access justice.

The CLOCK 'Community Legal Companion’ service is currently administered by the Keele University Law School, and operates within the Stoke-on-Trent Combined Court Centre, local law firms and charitable organisations assisting housing, welfare, family relations and community safety issues.

We are currently cascading the CLOCK service to the North West, West Midlands and South East to deliver the Community Legal Companion Service according to the invitation of their respective court service.

We are inviting Law Firm, Third Sector and HEI participants to develop the local CLOCK legal companion service

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Law Firms

Law Firms is a broad term and welcomes all registered and professionally regulated solicitor, barrister and legal services in agreement with our MoU to:

Contribute to the Community Legal Companion Training

Offer the Community Legal Companion Service according to your standard procedures, AND our CLOCK confidentiality and signposting policy

Third Sector

Third Sector is a broad term and welcomes all charitable advice, mediation and support services committed to our MoU and Terms of Participation to:

Contribute to the Community Legal Companion Training

Offer the Community Legal Companion Service according to your standard procedures, AND our CLOCK confidentiality and signposting policy


Universities may apply to become the CLOCK Allied Project Leads to deliver the community legal companion for their local community as agreed in the MoU and Terms:

Deliver the CLOCK Community Legal Companion Training

Offer the Community Legal Companion Service for your University Students to deliver the Community Legal Companion within your local court, law firm and charitable sector project.

In accordance with our National CLOCK partnership criteria:

The Higher Education Institute provides:

  1. Insurance of students
  2. Administrative support to co-ordinate training of students, timetable for the court rota.
  3. Academic staff oversight and support of students, including in the delivery of training.
  4. Administration of the IT CLOCK signposting system.

Participant Law firms, and third sector agencies provide:

  1. A commitment to train the students and receive signposted applications with the option to offer legal companion assisted/affordable fixed fee services
  2. A commitment to use the CLOCK IT application system to ensure effective signposting of applications and to share data, within the Data Protection Act, 1998, for monitoring unmet legal needs

The Court provides:

  1. Court commitment to support and contribute to the community legal companion training and provide space for legal companions to offer the service in the court.
  2. The local court centre to provide 'in principle’ advance approval of Companion assistance in court in accordance with Judicial discretion, (McKenzie Practice Guidance, 2010)

In September 2012, H.H. Judge Ross Duggan, the Designated Family Judge of Stoke-on-Trent Combined Court Centre, endorsed the CLOCK initiative stating:

"The judges of Stoke-on-Trent County Court have met representatives from CLOCK and we have been very impressed by the scheme. The presence of trained volunteers in our court on a daily basis will provide a valuable source of support for many Court Users facing difficult issues. We feel fortunate that this imaginative scheme is based locally. We look forward to supporting the development of the scheme."

Since 2012, CLOCK has assisted more than 1,500 court users, and currently signposts an average of 12 cases per week for legal aid applications and affordable legal services. In March 2014, Nick Hanning of the Civil Justice Council Working Party for Access to Justice for Litigants in Person, noted that the "The CLOCK 'Community Legal Companion’ service was an excellent service which epitomises the practical implementation of several of the Working Party's recommendations."

Andrew Martin, North Staffordshire Law Society President noted that "The CLOCK scheme may be a means to help plug the gap left by the cuts to Legal Aid. As you will be aware many clients will now not have access to legal assistance, under the new regime. This may also be an opportunity for legal firms to be signposted clients, which may have a mutual benefit both to ensure access to justice, but also from a commercial perspective for local firms."

Richard Miller, as Head of Legal Aid, The Law Society, has recommended that "The Community Legal Companion model is a really positive initiative and could provide a model for similar programmes across the country."

In accordance with our founding principles of assisting access to justice we would like to welcome your respective law school, court service, law firm or charitable organisation within the CLOCK partnership to support your local community access legal services.