‘Teaching law firm’: Nottingham Trent becomes first university to apply for ABS licence

Nottingham Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University, has applied for an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licence with the aim of reforming its new legal advice centre, billed as a ‘teaching law firm’.

It is the first university to apply for an ABS licence, which allows businesses other than traditional law firm partnerships to give legal advice. The licence would allow flexibility in the development of the centre and give students the chance to be more involved in its work.  

The centre is predicted to take on nearly 200 cases in the 2014/15 academic year. Its cases range from employment to IP and it supports community outreach projects and legal education projects.  

Nottingham Law School Legal Advice Centre director Nick Johnson said: “An ABS licence will enable us to expand and further develop the excellent work our students already do.

“Students at all levels of the law school will be able to gain experience of professional practice in the same way that medical students currently do at teaching hospitals. Ultimately, our students will be working in a fully regulated organisation as an integral part of their studies within the law school.”

Universities have a long tradition of providing legal advice. Last December, a group of Cardiff University law students successfully proved the innocence of a man convicted for murder, while in a landmark case Kent’s law clinic secured UK asylum for an Afghan citizen on the grounds of atheism.

See also…