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Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre has beaten the universities of Portsmouth and Cardiff to scoop a prestigious pro bono award from the Attorney General.
The centre won the Best New Pro Bono Activity prize at the Attorney Generals Student and Law School Pro Bono Awards 2008. The Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre was launched in 2006 and was the first in London to open up to the general public.
Meanwhile, University of Kent law student Taymour Keen won the award for Best Contribution by an Individual. Despite only being a fresher Keen has taken on the preparation and representation of cases in the Employment Tribunal and County Court. In the latter he undertook a four hour hearing, including examination of witnesses. Keen has also volunteered at his universitys Criminal Appeals Team and has been elected as a member of Kent Law Clinics management team.
Keen was up against David Barratt (University of Leicester), Abu Bakarr Kamara (Brunel/Free Representation Unit) and Nadia Whittaker (The College of Law/Free Representation Unit).
The College of Law picked up the gong for Best Contribution by a Team of Students for its Chinese Information and Advice Centre. The team provided 3,628 hours of pro bono between October 2006 and October 2007. The other contenders in this category were The University of Bristol Innocence Project, The University of Leicester Pro Bono Committee and the University of Nottingham Pro Bono Society and the Queen Mary, University of London Student Pro Bono Group.
Finally, the University of Northumbria topped the Best Contribution by a Law School category beating off competition from the universities of Manchester, Warwick and the College of Law. The universitys unique Student Law Office, run by all 4th year law students, handled over a 1,000 enquiries in the last year, of which 700 resulted in full blown cases in areas ranging from education to employment, inquests into housing, criminal appeals to small business advice.
The awards were organised by pro bono charity LawWorks and presented at the House of Lords today (24 April).