The Queen has today presented Northumbria University, Newcastle, with the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for the outstanding community work of its Student Law Office.
The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is the highest form of national recognition for higher and further education open to a UK academic institution, and is given in recognition of work judged to be of outstanding excellence and with positive impact.
Each year around 200 final year students undertake supervised work on real cases in areas such as employment, family, crime, housing, civil litigation and business advice. In partnership with leading charities and law firms, the Student Law Office aims to improve access to justice – often for the most disadvantaged. Since 2008 it has managed over 3,000 enquiries, represented more than 1,000 clients and secured nearly £1 million of compensation on their behalf.
Northumbria University’s Chancellor, Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington, the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor Andrew Wathey, and the Executive Dean of Northumbria Law School, Kevin Kerrigan, attended the ceremony at Buckingham Palace, together with Carol Boothby, Director of the Student Law Office.
They were accompanied by five students, Ben Crystal, Oliver Lovett, Monika Fortuna, Lauren Hayes and Alice Carr, who were selected to attend the ceremony from around 200 students currently working in the Student Law Office.
Professor Andrew Wathey said: “The Queen’s Anniversary Prize marks a real achievement of which the whole university can be proud. It demonstrates the value and excellence of our professionally-based education in Law where students manage real-life situations under the guidance of highly capable tutors with legal practice experience. We know this experiential approach develops students’ professional skills and significantly enhances their career prospects.”
Kevin Kerrigan added: “The social benefits of offering vulnerable people a free and accessible legal service are substantial and compelling, while the student learning experience is authentic, challenging and rewarding. This prize reflects the pioneering work of our Student Law Office and the positive contribution it makes to society.”
Student Oliver Lovett said: “While this was an unforgettable experience for us personally, the award is a measure of the hard work, dedication and commitment from all the students, lecturers and support staff involved in the Student Law Office – past and present. I hope it will raise awareness of the invaluable experience law students can gain through clinical legal education and allow the Student Law Office to continue to provide access to justice to many more clients in the future.”
The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is a biennial award scheme and is part of the UK’s national honours’ system. The assessment and decision process is overseen by the Awards Council of the Royal Anniversary Trust, which submits its final recommendations to the Prime Minister who in turn advises The Queen.
Northumbria is a research-rich, business-focussed, professional university with a global reputation for academic excellence. To find out more about our courses go towww.northumbria.ac.uk