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Exeter Law Projects - Pro Bono

Exeter Law Projects

The Law School is committed to delivering a curriculum that blends doctrine with practice and to give its students opportunities to observe or participate in activities involving the application of the law.  It is with this in mind that the Law School created Exeter Law Projects (ELP). ELP has many streams of pro bono opportunities and a general appeal for interest is circulated to students in September of each academic year.

Want to join a nationwide pro bono initiative? Concerned about poverty and human rights? The JLAP movement is a sub-section of the new Oxfam Lawyers Against Poverty Group and is concerned with international development, poverty and human rights issues. Junior Lawyers network of students (both law and non-law) organise on-campus fundraising events, visiting speaker events, academic articles and on and off-campus training in issues related to international law and development. As part of the project, we are also have a twinning programme to match students in the UK with law students in developing countries.

Open to all years.

Commitment time expected: monthly meetings plus additional hours leading up to events, training, and writing articles.

We are looking for students to help us maintain our clinic during the months of June, July, August, and September. Details of the clinic can be found here. You will be expected to attend clinic sessions and engage in client follow up work. You will be required to attend an intensive training course prior to summer to determine suitability for the clinic.
Open to all years.

Want to network, meet new people, boost your CV and raise money for a good cause? E.L.L.A. is for you! Exeter Loves Legal Aid is tackling the recents cuts to legal aid head on - most individuals are willing to give, they just need an opportunity to do so. With lots of exciting fundraising activities planned throughout the year, ranging from academic and celebrity talks to staff V student sporting events to the humble bake sale, find us on social media to find out what’s happening next! 

Open to all years.

Commitment time expected: monthly meetings plus additional hours leading up to events and event attendance.

Wonder what it is like to be a judge? Go behind the scenes with local judges at the Exeter combined courts. Students spend two days with a district court judge, looking at cases, spending time in court and discussing judicial decisions. 

Open to 2nd and 3rd years.

Commitment time expected: 2 full days in term 2.

Did you know that the police department has their own lawyers and legal services? The police forces are faced with many legal issues on a daily basis. The legal department provides not only an essential advice service to the forces, but also provides crucial services to the public in the form of presentation of applications such as Sexual Harm Prevention orders in hearings.

There are three different opportunities with the police with various times of commitment:

  1. A vacation scheme work experience for a one week period during the term breaks. (total of one week)
  2. Solicitor shadowing during a case hearing. (multiple opportunities throughout the year to go to court)
  3. On call research group to provide research back up for the solicitors. (on call as needed through term time)

Open to all years.

Commitment time expected: See descriptions above.

Concerned about the increased number of Litigants in Person (LIPs)? Wondering how you can help? LIPs find themselves often unaware of their rights or how to proceed through the legal system. Together with Support through Court, students are able to aid LIPs through support in the areas of form filing, hearing preparation, and court room attendance. There are volunteer openings for term time as well as holiday vacation schemes. If you have taken or are taking the family law module, this is particularly suited for you.

Open to all years.

Commitment time expected: 4 hours every two weeks for term time position or 2 continuous weeks for vacation scheme.

Got mad research or organizational skills? Then, this is this is the project for you. Magdalen Chambers is the largest Chambers southwest of Bristol and they are looking for a few good students to provide support to their barristers.

There are three different opportunities with Magdalen with various times of commitment:

  1. Research assistance (civil) (e.g. personal injury, employment, tort, contract, land and property). A group of students will be on call to provide research support to the barristers on case law for appeals, long running hearings etc. This may include researching and providing information for the Chambers website and social media.
  2. Research assistance (family) (e.g. divorce, care). A group of students will be on call to provide research support to the barristers on case law for appeals, long running hearings etc. This may include researching and providing information for the Chambers website and social media.
  3. Practical assistance. Attendance and help at Chambers’ events, opportunities to network and practical opportunities within Chambers (e.g. sorting papers, bundles, taking a note for a barrister’s use only).

Open to all years.

Commitment time expected: independent research time as needed for the research assistance. Time will vary for the practical assistance; larger time commitment leading up to events.

Do you know how to get a divorce? How to start a business? Many people that want to get a divorce or start a business, do not know how or where to start or what services are available to them. Students will be trained to provide public legal education sessions on these types of topics. These sessions will be given at various locations within our community.

Open to all years.

Commitment time expected: attend training (up to a few hours per week) and event sessions (potentially monthly).

Want to see how contracts work in the real world? Signing a contract has important legal consequences. The Advice unit will train students to be contract advisors. As an advisor you will help students by reviewing their tenancy agreements before they sign them.

Open to 1st and 2nd years (2nd years must have received a first in Contracts).

Commitment time expected: a few hours per week during Jan-March, plus training time.

Feeling lost with your legal problem? The University of Exeter Community Law Clinic can help.

In an effort to fill the gap left by legal aid cuts, the Community Law Clinic opened its doors in September 2017.

How does one enforce their rights in an overly complicated and expensive system? With help from those that are trained in such system.

Third year law students, under supervision from the legal community, provide a variety of free legal services to members of the public. These services range from simple form filling/letter writing to legal advice. Having a variety of specialized clinics, allows individuals to obtain focused and personalized attention to their cases. By collaborating with legal professionals, the students gain valuable skills, while at the same time, providing a quality service.

Together as a community, we can make a difference and provide access to justice.

Find out more.


Since significant legal aid cutbacks were made under LASPO the numbers of litigants in person (LIPs) attending civil and family courts have dramatically increased. Many of these people find themselves lost in the system with very little understanding of basic procedure and what is required.

The scheme involves students delivering information sessions to LiPs about the court process. Sessions last approximately 40 minutes. These sessions inform LiPs on what to expect on their day in court, what services may be available to assist them, the meaning of terminology that could be used during their hearing and how best to prepare for their court appearance. Attending court informed can have a significant positive impact on the LiPs experience at court.

Open to all years.

Commitment time expected: a total of five hours, including training, for one session (each student will perform one session).

Devon County Council is the largest local authority in the south west of England with an administrative area covering the county of Devon with the exception of Plymouth and Torbay.

The County Council is subject to hundreds of statutory duties and is responsible for a vast array of functions, including but not limited to:

  • social care (adult and children);
  • highways and the longest road network in England;
  • public health;
  • education and libraries;
  • waste disposal;
  • transport;
  • trading standards.

The local government landscape has been experiencing a sustained period of transformation, with changing legislative requirements and budgetary challenges, as well as new opportunities to innovate and adapt.

Our in-house legal team provides essential support to the County Council in fulfilling its duties to the public and there is certainly no shortage of interesting work and variety!

We are pleased to offer three opportunities:

1. On-call remote research pool – provide research support to solicitors on legal areas such as contracts, employment, childcare, litigation, land/property, and administrative law (open to approximately 10 students during term-time, multiple opportunities, ad hoc).

2. Vacation scheme – a one week work placement to be offered twice a year (open to 2 students – 1 student per placement, either term time or outside of term-time).

3. Ad hoc shadowing opportunities – attend court hearings or spend a day in with a solicitor at County Hall (open to 3 students, anticipated to be 1-2 opportunities per student throughout the year).

Open to all years

Crosse + Crosse Solicitors offers students the opportunity to attend family court hearings with solicitors or Counsel. Students would shadow the advocate at court, including in conference with the client, in out-of-court discussions and negotiations with the opponent and in court for the hearing itself. This would give students a view of family law litigation “at the coal face” and to observe how hearings work, including directions hearings, negotiations and contested final hearings.

The students would receive advance training from a solicitor at Crosse + Crosse about what to expect and thereafter would be expected to take a note of events at court, including a summary of discussions, negotiations and, particularly, a note of oral evidence offered by any witnesses, such records would thereafter be placed on the client’s file.

These are likely to be one-off experiences which will be offered to interested students on a first come, first served basis. There may be opportunities for more prolonged engagement in certain cases.

Open to all years, although likely to be of more interest to students who are taking, have taken or are interested in taking the family law module.

This new option is a research assistant to work with faculty members on their specific research projects. Your name will be entered into a spreadsheet based on your interests. When a faculty member needs help they will email you for further information and see if you are interested in their specific project. This is the general research bank. You will remain in the bank for your duration at Uni. You can take or reject work as it suits you.

Open to all years

Commitment time varies by project, not to exceed 10 hours per week.

Got organisation? We need you.

The Exeter Law Projects has a flourishing programme, with nearly 20 different projects available to students across all years. A small team of students will be responsible for coordinating the different projects. Under the supervision of Tia Matt and Natasha Bellinger, this will entail liaising with all of our external providers and ensuring communication and organization of the programme between students and said providers.

Commitment time expected: 2 hours per week.

Open to all years.


CASSPLUS provides advice and support in the courts to aid resettlement and reintegration with the aim of reducing offending. Teams provide free, impartial and confidential advice and signposting to clients on a wide range of issues, such as; housing, substance misuse, physical/mental health, employment, education & training, benefits and debts. The purpose of the service is to reduce re-offending by increasing access to whatever community services are most appropriate to each offender

The CASSPLUS desk is located within the court building and the service is targeted primarily at, but is not exclusive to, defendants whose offence is not serious enough to warrant a community order. Advice is given in a confidential setting, separated from the waiting area.

Main duties and responsibilities:

  • Identifying clients support needs and providing advice, signposting and referrals as and when necessary.
  • Act as an advocate for clients.
  • Maintaining confidential case records and administrative systems.
  • Being able to work effectively as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Work in adherence to CASSPLUS’ policies and procedures.
  • Respectful of views, values and cultures that are different to their own.

This is currently open for the Newton Abbot branch. ½ day shifts running from 9:15 to 1pm and 1:30pm to 4:30; initially on Wednesdays and Fridays with a potential for Thursday, too. Open to all years

Be a part of one of the largest advice providers in the UK. The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) provides support to some of the most disadvantaged individuals in our community. The CAB will be training students to be assessors.  Initially you will work the reception desk, being the first point of contact, as you gain your training. The assessor role will involve dealing with the public via the Devon Adviceline, taking brief history of the client’s situation, looking at information resources available to them for self-help and if needs be organising an advice appointment in their local office. Most clients have debt and housing issues. Placements will be assigned to the Newton Abbot (CAB). Transportation costs may be provided.

Open to all years.

Commitment time expected: one half day per week plus training time.

The Amicus casework programme provides remote support for capital defenders in the US. Most of our current teams come from law firms or barristers’ chambers in the UK. Working with legal professionals enables us to guarantee the confidentiality of our case materials as well as maintain the highest standards of quality and consistency. We have up to 200 volunteer caseworkers working on up to eight different cases, including Supreme Court, federal and state level cases, at any given time.

Open to 3rd years. More information on the Amicus web pages.

Facing a magistrates’ hearing without representation can be daunting. As a volunteer you will assist clients during hearings as a McKenzie Friend. This may include providing guidance on proceedings, note taking, witness handling, or preparing plea in mitigations.

You must have achieved a first class mark in the Legal Foundations advocacy practical.


Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve, is a charitable legal services organization committed to defending human rights. Their lawyers and investigators fight for the victims of extreme human rights abuses - against the death penalty and in the ‘War on Terror’ - with a combination of public pressure and legal action. Student groups will be involved in conducting research to assist Clive with a highly confidential project concerning the US death penalty. Students will gain insight into using the law to further social justice and prevent human rights abuses of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. The majority of work will be conducted remotely, although meetings in Exeter may be necessary from time to time.

Open to all years but students should have a strong interest in social justice and be considering pursuing a career in public interest law.

Commitment time varies by task, not to exceed ten hours per week.


What is Pro Bono?

Pro bono publico (often shortened to pro bono) is a Latin phrase meaning “for the good of the people.” For lawyers this constitutes giving up time to work for free. However, unlike traditional volunteerism, pro bono services leverage the skills of legal professionals to help those who are unable to afford a lawyer for themselves. Pro bono is a key element of most law firms as it enables them to add value to the firm’s corporate social responsibility, whilst allowing them to give something back to the community. Pro bono is even more important with the legal aid cuts of April 2013: less people have access to legal representation or legal advice.

Why volunteer?


As a student of Law, the pro bono programme will:

  1. Give you a better understanding of the subjects you are learning about which will deepen with knowledge of their practical application.
  2. Help to enhance your CV and your employability skills. You will also experience other ways in which you may wish to develop your career path.
  3. Connect you with the local legal community.


The local community will benefit from your volunteering commitment to the project.  This will generate good relationships between the School of Law, its students and the wider population of the region.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact the ELP pro bono supervisors at


If you have any questions or problems, please contact the ELP pro bono supervisors at