Alumni and friends give £28,000 to support the Centre for Access to Justice

12 March 2014

CAJ staff with client

In response to an appeal from a recent UCL Laws graduate, Isabelle Champion UCL alumni and friends have raised an amazing £28,000 for the UCL Centre for Access to Justice.

A unique UCL initiative

The UCL Centre for Access to Justice (CAJ) is a unique UCL initiative. Working with qualified solicitors and local charities, the Centre provides legal advice to those in the community who would otherwise have no legal representation. Due to the recent cuts to legal aid, the demand for the services offered by the Centre is growing and the funds raised by UCL alumni and friends are helping to expand the services offered by the Centre.

How the CAJ can help

A student representative at the CAJ describes how he worked to resolve a claim for a vulnerable client. Without his help, the client would not have had the legal representation that made the difference to his case; the services of the Centre are a lifeline for many clients.

'My client was a 47- year old single man diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which affected his hands and wrists in a destructive manner and caused pain in his joints. He made a claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), which was initially rejected. I arranged a conference with my client and it became clear that we needed to clarify with the tribunal the inaccurate findings made during his medical examination. I prepared brief submissions outlining the relevant facts of the client's medical condition, which assisted the tribunal in asking relevant questions so as to obtain an accurate account of my client's physical abilities. The client responded succinctly and the appeal was successful.'

The Acting Manager of the UCL Centre for the Access to Justice and UCL alumna, Shiva Riahi, comments: ‘I can’t imagine how these individuals would have been able to navigate the often complex tribunal system and effectively access justice without the support of their student representative’

Continuing the good work

Already the Centre has many satisfied clients, over 70% of the appeals made by UCL students on behalf of their clients have been successful and all clients have rated their experience of their student representative as ‘excellent’. With generous donations made by UCL alumni and friends the Centre can continue its good work and reach many more vulnerable people.

Click here to make a gift to support the ongoing work of the Centre for Access to Justice

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