Students from the Teesside Law Clinic have been honoured at the LawWorks and Attorney General’s annual student pro bono awards.
The students provided assistance to former employees of the Redcar steelworks following its closure in 2015.
The plant was one of Teesside’s major employers and its closure hit the region hard, with more than 2,000 jobs lost.
Many of the steelworks’ employees were members of a union and were thus entitled to legal representation.
Working full days in addition to their lectures and seminars, the students advanced claims on behalf of 340 people who were not members of a union and were otherwise without legal advice. They submitted an application to the Employment Tribunal and as a result, each client received an award of £3,600 – a total of over £1.2m.
Third-year University of Leicester student Anna McCormack won the award for best contribution by an individual. She oversaw the development of several new pro bono schemes, including an initiative to support homeless people with both their legal and their medical needs, establishing a pro bono magazine, and organising a networking event as well as a pro bono awards evening.
The other winners at the event were the University of Birmingham, which won the award for best contribution by a law school; the Welfare Rights Project at University of Leeds for ‘best new pro bono project’; and University College London, which was announced as the winner of the Law School Challenge, a law school led initiative to raise funds for LawWorks and the Bar Pro Bono Unit.
Northumbria Law School was presented with the Access to Justice Foundation Award, which recognises the work of individuals and educational bodies in promoting and supporting access to justice and charities which provide pro bono services.