External Independent Objective Evidence
CLOCK National 'Time for Justice' Launch 2015,
"800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta, 1215; 'To No One Deny or Delay Right or Justice',
CLOCK; 'The Right to Assistance and the Public Duty to Assist'"
"The day provided:
- A comprehensive review of the questions relating to litigants in person by those who have a genuine passion for the resolution of the problems that frequently arise.
- A strong inter-disciplinary approach to problem solving and support.
- An impressive use of modern technology and the skills and expertise of academic lawyers and students to provide the structure within which community legal companions can work.
- An impressive achievement and a very worthwhile day".
Rt Hon Lord Justice Ernest Ryder
"The legal world is in a state of unprecedented flux. Cost pressures, liberalization, and new technology are combining to drive great change.
In this shifting landscape, it is inspiring to find an initiative like CLOCK – driven from the academic world, directly engaging young aspiring lawyers, collaborating effectively with relevant stakeholders, and embracing a variety of information technologies.
It was a pleasure to be involved in CLOCK’s launch and to witness at first hand an appetite and enthusiasm for delivering legal services differently".
Prof Richard Susskind,OBE, (author ‘Tomorrow’s Lawyers’)
"Due to the cut back in legal aid, SBS is witness to an unprecedented rise in the numbers of abused women having to represent themselves in legal matters and to the growth of discriminatory religious forums for dispute resolution in minority communities.
Both these developments have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable in our society.
Initiatives like CLOCK are vital because they can help to ensure that the most vulnerable can access justice and assert their human rights".
Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters
"As expected, we are seeing growing numbers of people struggling to navigate the family courts without legal assistance.
The problem for many separating and divorcing couples is knowing what support might be realistically available to them.
CLOCK will help them understand their options, including pointing them to solicitors’ services, where these are a viable option.
But we must still stress that for many people the support of worthwhile initiatives like this will not be enough.
There are still many families who need more legal assistance than is available to achieve the best result for their children".
Richard Miller, Law Society, Head of Legal Aid
"I was recently helped by clock and would just like to email to say how grateful I was to the service!!
I have been through the worst 12-18 months of my life and at first I had no help what so ever!!
I could not afford a solicitor and there was massive safeguarding issues regarding my ex-partner who was fighting in court with full legal representation, for unsupervised contact! CLOCK was really helpful told me how great I had done so far and helped to make me feel calm and got me in touch with a solicitor who tried her best to get me legal aid.
The solicitor tried her hardest to get me the help of legal aid even offering group therapies to help myself come to terms with things but unfortunately legal aid was denied.
Clock never gave up and still persisted in getting me the help I needed and along came the Community Legal Companion.
Without an organisation like clock and a willing student taking her own time to help i would have drowned in all the jargon of massive legal words and the overwhelming time I spent in a court room!".
Academic and Advice Sector Visitors to CLOCK
"Birmingham City School of Law fully supports the CLOCK initiative and is excited by the opportunity to participate collaboratively in introducing a similar service in Birmingham and the West Midlands in the future.
The scheme provides a highly valuable service, endorsed by judges, to help and support litigants in person whilst providing useful and authentic experience for students to enable them prepare for employment, especially for professional practice in the legal profession."
Dr Sue Rivers, Head of the School of Law, Faculty of Education, Law and Social Sciences, Birmingham City University
"I wanted to thank you, colleagues at Keele and Stoke Court Services, and your students for the very informative visit and sharing your experiences of an immensely worth while project.
We look forward to working further with you to establish the project in Wolverhampton"
Prof Mumtaz Hussain, Head of Department for Postgraduate &Professional Legal Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Wolverhampton University
"The Community Legal Companion, CLOCK, is a progressive initiative that the current times demand to be rolled out nationally"
David Roberts, Director of Clinical Studies, Westminster University
"We are looking at ways to mitigate the impact of the legal aid scope cuts and the CLOCK project creates an exciting model for us to adopt locally.
Many thanks for arranging the tour yesterday - it must have taken a huge amount of work and planning. We all found it extremely informative and useful.
I will let you know how our plans develop for a similar scheme in Leicester and look forward to speaking to you again soon."
Glenda Terry, Advice Services Development Officer, Community Advice and Law Service
"To have such a wide range of professionals working collaboratively to support the CLOCK partnership is most impressive.
They clearly see the value of the Legal Companion role and the benefits it brings to the community in these times of reduced public funding.
However, hearing from those with personal acute needs who have benefited directly from the support of the Companions is quite inspirational and reinforces what a valuable service they are providing.
Thank you for sharing your work with us.
It's a great model for what can be achieved and has given us so much useful information for the development of our work in Worcester."
Carol, Worcester University Team Visit
These are very difficult times for those involved in litigation in our courts.
Public funding for legal representation is not so widely available as it was in the past but the cost of engaging solicitors is prohibitive.
In this context the local scheme called 'Community Legal Outreach Collaboration, Keele' is a very welcome development.
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.
H.H. Judge Ross Duggan Designated Family Judge, Stoke-on-Trent Combined Court Centre
I've been passed your details by Louize Cooke at Stoke on Trent Combined Court after she has shared information regarding the 'Clock' scheme that is running in North Staffordshire.
I have spoken to the Designated Family Judge for Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, Her Honour Judge Hindley QC, and she is very interested in adopting this scheme for the Birmingham Family Courts. The Family Courts in Birmingham is one of the largest centres for family work outside of London and cover a wide range of work from the usual cases such as Divorce and Private and Public Law to Court of Protection and International Maintenance matters. As you can appreciate we have a huge amount of litigants in person which has only increased since the legal aid changes.
She has nominated District Judge Stephen Gailey and the Legal Adviser manager Fiona McCourt to start to look at the possibility of adopting your scheme and we would be very grateful for any assistance you can provide whether through yourself or if you know of your opposite number at a local Law School here.
Stephen McAuley Private Law Team Leader, Birmingham Family Courts
"The Manager of the Legal Services Consumer Panel, applauded the CLOCK initiative, and has noted the CLOCK collab-orative delivery of "Community Legal Companion" service as good practice".
Civil Justice Council Member of Working Party to Access to Justice:
Civil Justice Council Working Party for Access to Justice for Litigants in Person, Member Nick Hanning
"The CLOCK "Community Legal Companion" service was an excellent service which epitomises the practical implemen-tation of several of the Working Party's recommendations".
Legal Services Consumer Panel Manager, Steve Brooker
"The cuts to legal aid are sadly inevitable, but the time for reflection on those cuts has passed and we must now look at how to ensure access to justice facilitated for those who need it.
This initiative encapsulates that approach and I hope that it will eventually be replicated in some way in other areas around the country.
The Community Legal Companion idea not only helps to serve those seeking support when encountering the legal system, but it also gives the lawyers of tomorrow vital experience and a deep understanding of the importance of access to justice."
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, President of the National Law Society
"The community legal companion model is a really positive initiative and could provide a model for similar programmes across the country."
Richard Miller, Head of Legal Aid, National Law Society
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 referred clients.
Which may have a mutual benefit both to ensure access to justice, but also from a commercial per-spective for local firms
Andrew Martin, President, North Staffordshire Law Society
"Staffordshire Police look forward to working with the Community Legal Companion Scheme with Keele University.
The judicial system can seem very intimidating for victims and witnesses.
The companions will help to provide a friendly face to people they support and this will help reassure those involved who may be worried about the process.
The companion will also help to provide the partners involved in the process some feedback after the conclusion of the process.
This will help us reflect on the cases they are present in and give us a better understanding of how the system affects those involved.
I am sure the companions will help us work better together and be an active part of our partnership."
Jeff Moore, Chief Insp, Stoke-on-Trent Central, Local Policing Team
CLOCK have been efficient and reliable in organising legal companionship for my service user whose case is unique and complex, as she is a victim of domestic violence yet legally defined as a defendant.
I know how grateful my service user is for having such support, as well as the financial support that has been arranged through CLOCK's support, which has been both generous and vital given her situation.
CLOCK is a necessary service for vulnerable individuals who either cannot afford legal advice or aren't seen as eligible for support due to their unique circumstances.
Meghan Potts, ARCH Social Care Student
"I am really excited about the Clock project.
It seems to me to evidence the best in collaboration and partnership focus on outcomes for children and families.
Children England are always committed to ensuring that the excellent services provided by the voluntary and community sector are appreciated and celebrated and the CLOCK collaboration does enhance the best of all sectors.
In the CLOCK project you have a huge range of provision engaged and of course the call to action by Voices of Experience, a group of parents and supporters who want to make life better for those affected by domestic violence, should be immensely proud of what they have achieved.
Perhaps when you have been running a while, you would consent to joining us at one of our events to showcase what are bound to be your successes.
I have sent the overview to our Policy Officer who passes on some of the best practice to where it can make most difference."
Sue Thomas, Regional Manager (Central England), Children England
"Government cuts to Legal Aid will deny justice and essential services to some of the nation's most vulnerable people.
Here in Stoke we have more than our fair share of people who desperately need legal help to maintain their income, their safety or their homes and to enforce other basic rights.
From April the help which has been available will mostly disappear.
I am delighted that CLOCK will both provide companions to people who suffer from the cuts, but will also act as a monitoring project to tell Government what impact their cuts are having.
I believe it will help individuals who need to access advice and legal help and it will also give us a new breed of lawyer who are trained to understand the issues facing poorer people".
Mike Wolfe, Former Elected Mayor of Stoke on Trent