Support Through Court is a charity that assists individuals who are facing court alone by providing a safe space to receive support from trained volunteers and lawyers. This includes explaining legal procedures, filing motions and court forms, preparing statements and providing legal information .This work is critical for those at risk of significant life changes, such as loss of access to children or homelessness, ensuring they do not face court alone in such tough times.
During my six weeks with Support Through Court in the Royal courts of justice, I engaged in two primary activities: the first being fundraising and the second, assisting the legal aid clinic. This experience was further enriched by the practical application of the Laidlaw Scholar Attributes Framework, which emphasizes the importance of leadership abilities, self-knowledge, effective communication, critical thinking, collaboration, social and cultural intelligence, resilience, and project management skills.
The project's goals were multifaceted in nature. In fundraising the aim was to secure financial support from organisations and individuals to ensure the continuity and steady expansion of the charity's services. And at the legal aid clinic, the idea was to provide tangible solutions and options to individuals navigating the court system without adequate legal representation. Stakeholders in this project included the clients and their families, the staff and volunteers, donors, and the broader community affected by this gap justice . My day to day interactions with them were not just informative but also truly transformative. This is because i got a first-hand insight into the practical challenges of clients who are facing legal proceedings alone, the dedication and field expertise of the staff and volunteers and the importance of community support for access to justice by the generous donors.
Assisting at the legal aid clinic of Support Through Court I was given the invaluable opportunity to apply my theoretical knowledge to practical situations. This was a truly enriching experience, which perfectly aligned with my future goals of working in the area of human rights law. Working within the clinic and assisting with legal advice I was able to Horne my ability to translate complex legal jargon into understandable language for our clients, to ensure they are at all times aware of their rights and options ahead of them. This was the practical application of not only my legal knowledge but also of my empathy, patience, and communication skills.
My role in the fundraising department specifically would have a long lasting impact on the working of the organisation, having raised funds for all upcoming events this quarter. Moreover having been closely involved with the social media team I was able to increase engagement on all their platforms, not only increasing their following but also client and donor list. Practically, working with the legal aid clinic directly supported individuals in navigating their legal proceedings, contributing to a more equitable access to justice. This is going to positively impact the lives of several individuals, which makes me truly grateful for this opportunity.
The diverse nature of cases at the clinic from family law to housing and property disputes broadened my understanding of the law's impact on various aspects of one’s life. This underscored the true importance of accessible legal aid and shed light on the gap in the justice system that organizations like Support Through Court strive to fill. This experience has undoubtedly been a cornerstone in my legal education, shaping me into a more compassionate, skilled, and socially conscious legal professional.