A unique drop-in service is set to hit the beach this month, giving community members an opportunity to seek free legal advice on any matter from traffic fines to employment discrimination.
Staffed by law students and social work students at the university, and experienced lawyers from the University of Newcastle Legal Centre, the Law on the Beach service provides an opportunity for the public to benefit from free legal advice and for students to practice real-world skills.
Legal Practitioner with the University’s Newcastle Law School, Sarah Breusch said the service is a win/win for law students and clients in Newcastle.
“The University of Newcastle Legal Centre provides a free legal advice service for one day each week for the next five weeks,” Sarah said.
“What makes this service distinctive is that it takes place at the beach, firstly at Newcastle Beach, and then at Merewether Beach.
“The double benefit is that students have the opportunity to put their interviewing skills into practice by interviewing real clients about their real-life legal problems. The students then consult with legal centre solicitors, they discuss the legal issues arising and then they return to the client to hear the solicitor provide the client with advice.
“There is no cost to the client for this one-off legal advice, but the arrangement benefits both the client and the students. Students who have previously undertaken the program comment that they love the opportunity to put their academic knowledge into practice with real legal problems, and real clients.”
Held at Newcastle Surf Club and Merewether Surf Life Saving Club, all members of the community are welcome to visit the clinic, with no appointment necessary.
Law on the Beach will run weekly from 9.30am to 2.30pm. On 23 January, 30 January and 6 February the clinic will be stationed at Newcastle Surf Club. On 14 February and 21 February the clinic will run from Merewether Surf Life Saving Club.
IMAGE | University’s Newcastle Law School students will be hitting the beach for the free Law on the Beach service in January and February.
The University of Newcastle is ranked in the top 3% of universities in the world according to two global independent ranking systems, and in the top 200 universities in the world for medicine.