Centre for Access to Justice


Rare Dementia Support Advice Service (RDSAS) Student Assistants

Applications for this opportunity open on 25 September 2023.


About the project: 

The UCL Centre for Access to Justice is partnering with the world-leading UCL Dementia Research Centre to offer one-off advice sessions to patients with rare forms of dementia and their carers.

Staffed by UCL students working under the close supervision of qualified lawyers, the RDS Advice Service offers students first-hand experience of advising on a wide range of legal issues, while also providing a valuable and much needed service. The RDS Advice Service is now in its fourth year and works in conjunction with Rare Dementia Support, the support service run by the UCL Dementia Research Centre.

Whilst volunteering at the RDS Advice Service, students will gain valuable hands-on experience of casework research and advising clients, while providing a much-needed service to a unique client group. Applicants with an interest in or experience of community care, employment, mental health or private client law will find the placement particularly rewarding.

We are looking for volunteers who can demonstrate:

  • friendliness and approachability;

  • a commitment to or an awareness of social justice issues;

  • willingness and ability to be flexible, open minded, and non-judgemental regarding clients and their problems;

  • awareness of the potential needs of, and demands placed on, vulnerable clients; 

  • reliability and commitment, good interpersonal and communication skills, including written and oral; 

  • strong research and letter writing skills

  • ability and willingness to work as part of a team

  • commitment to meeting deadlines and good time management skills

  • good administrative and file management skills


The Role: RDS Advice Project Assistant 

  • When working at the RDS Advice Project, assistants will be allocated enquiries and will prepare notes of advice in response to each enquiry. Assistants will be responsible for conducting any research required to complete the note of advice, which will then be checked by a supervising solicitor or adviser.

  • Assistants will attend a Teams appointment with the supervising solicitor to deliver the advice to the client. Client appointments are normally booked on Mondays (although there is some flexibility). Appointments start from the end of November in term 1 until mid-March in term 2, with a break for the Christmas holiday and reading week.

  • Following the Teams appointment, assistants will draft a letter of advice summarising what was discussed in the appointment and suggested next steps for the client. This will be reviewed by a supervising lawyer or adviser before being sent to the client.

  • Assistants will be responsible for ensuring proper file management in accordance with the project’s case management processes.

Assistants will complete training on working with vulnerable clients, the types of dementia the clients may have been diagnosed with, confidentiality, data protection and client management as well as our case management system, letter writing and case file management.

Time commitment and schedule:

We anticipate that the time commitment required from assistants will vary from week to week as you will need to devote more time to the project in periods when you have been allocated an advice session to prepare for. Allocations will be made on a rota basis. However, averaged out across the year, we would anticipate that assistants will need to commit between a half and one full day per fortnight to the Advice Project, which will cover time spent:

  • Researching and drafting advice notes;
  • Attending Teams advice sessions, which will normally be on Mondays;
  • Drafting advice letters;
  • Maintaining case files.
  • Assistants may also be asked to attend support group meetings to triage new clients.

When applying, please let us know any restrictions on your availability, particularly on Mondays.

Please note that to be eligible for this opportunity you must be available for training which will take place in early November.

How to Apply: 

Applications open on 25th September 2023. Please check back then. Applications will be accepted until 5pm on 22nd October 2023.

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact Michael Marshall (michael.marshall@ucl.ac.uk).