Court helpdesk wins Attorney General Pro Bono prize

Exeter University has been awarded Best New Student Pro Bono Activity prize by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC MP for its legal helpdesk that provides assistance to court users.

At the annual Law Works and Attorney General Student Awards yesterday Grieve also presented awards for Best Contribution by an Individual Student; Best Contribution by a Law School; and Best Contribution by a Team of Students.

Exeter’s Community Legal Helpdesk is staffed by a large team of students and offers court users assistance with form filling, court procedures and hearings and signposting.

Sheffield Hallam University beat BPP Leeds, University of Hull, Queen Mary University of London, and University of Strathclyde to win Best Contribution by a Law School in recognition of the encouragement and support from the law school in providing student involvement in pro bono.

The Best Contribution by a Team of Students award was won by Oxford Pro Bono Publico from the University of Oxford that has has been responsible for managing research projects, involving liaising with project partners, recruiting graduate volunteers, overseeing research and compiling the final research reports in addition to the day-to-day running of the organisation.

Best Individual Student was awarded to Hannah Cosgrove from the University of Strathclyde who has “not only worked tirelessly to provide exceptional service in the university’s law clinic but has also strived to improve pro bono services as a whole. Hannah has established an incredible network to support advice services by facilitating cooperation and information sharing and has taken a lead role in developing and expanding pro bono services for the local area.”

In a statement Grieve said: “It’s incredibly important that we recognise and celebrate the fantastic work done by students and law schools in providing pro bono work. It is impressive to see, so early on in their career, the commitment of these students to providing access to justice for all.”

Exeter students marched in support of legal aid earlier this month (11 March 2013).