Pro bono services

The Pro Bono Unit offers a variety of legal advice services to the community. Find out about our services and who we can assist.

Start-up businesses, new entrepreneurs and the creative sector

Business Advice Clinic

What we do

The Business Advice Clinic operates with the assistance of local firms of solicitors to offer a range of advice to start-up businesses based in and around Bristol. Students can act for the businesses advising on areas such as company set-ups, intellectual property, contractual terms and conditions, data protection, employment and property matters.

Read about our recent successes

Where we work

We provide advice to business start-ups at the UWE Bristol Enterprise Zone and to those at the Network for Creative Enterprise.

Contact us

If you are a business start-up or enterprise in the Bristol/Bath/North Somerset/South Gloucestershire area and want to see if we can assist you, please contact Marcus Keppel-Palmer at Marcus.Keppel-Palmer@uwe.ac.uk.

Bristol Musicians Advice Service (BMAS)

What we do

Since 2009, Bristol Musicians Advice Service has been providing advice to aspiring local musicians and others in the entertainment, creative, artistic and media world. Students have advised on music industry contracts, film making contracts, issues around sculpture and art, as well on other areas relevant to the creative industries. We have also advised local media on issues surrounding defamation.

The service advises not only local artists, but also advises on matters around the world.

Where we work

BMAS offers drop-in clinics at BIMM, Spike Island Associates and at UWE Bristol’s Bower Ashton Campus. The service also accepts enquiries from around the UK and, if appropriate, worldwide.

Contact us

If you are a musician, work in the media and creative industries and want to see if we can assist you, please contact Marcus Keppel-Palmer at Marcus.Keppel-Palmer@uwe.ac.uk. We are particularly interested in assisting you if you are starting out.

Community Asset Transfers

What we do

Aligned to the property work done in the Business Advice Clinic, students assist charities and community bodies on company and property subjects. In particular, students can work with local community bodies taking over assets previously owned and run by a local authority.

To date, our students have helped:

  • local residents take over the running of their local swimming pool when it was threatened with closure
  • local parish councils accept gifts of land for community purposes
  • residents get a private road repaired
  • turn a library into a community space.

Where we work

The service can work with those seeking asset transfers from local authorities in Bristol/Bath/South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.

Contact us

If you are a charity or community interest group in the Bristol/Bath/North Somerset/South Gloucestershire area looking to acquire community assets from the local authority and want to see if we can assist you, please contact Marcus Keppel-Palmer at Marcus.Keppel-Palmer@uwe.ac.uk.

Private Client Initiative

What we do

Students prepare wills and provide assistance to young entrepreneurs helped by the Business Advice Clinic with setting up a first will.

Where we work

We provide advice to entrepreneurs working in business start-ups at the UWE Bristol Enterprise Zone

Team Entrepreneurship Law

What we do

Students act as legal advisors to teams on UWE Bristol’s Team Entrepreneurship degree on setting up and operating a company, ensuring they comply with all the statutory and regulatory conditions relevant to businesses today. Students also advise businesses set up at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate team entrepreneurship programme.

Where we work

We work at UWE Bristol’s Team Entrepreneur Hub, and at Ashton Gate on the Team Entrepreneur programme run there.

Please note: The service is limited to offering advice and support only to those registered on the Team Entrepreneur degree.

Services for those involved in court proceedings

UWE Bristol Law Court Clinic

What we do

The Law Court Clinic is a unique law assistance clinic that operates at the Civil and Family Justice Centre in Bristol. The clinic is operated by students undertaking professional vocational law courses at UWE Bristol. They are supervised by qualified and experienced lawyers. The Law Court Clinic operates weekly, offering advice and assistance to clients who seek advice during drop-in clinics.

The Law Court Clinic is developing a ‘virtual law clinic’ presence where podcasts and other explanatory information is prepared and produced by students and made available online to help people in need of legal assistance.

Please note:

  • We cannot enter into long-term representation commitments, but we will try to assist at hearings where possible.
  • We cannot complete legal forms for you as this is regarded as us litigating on your behalf, which we are not allowed to do.
  • We cannot assist where there is a monetary claim against the other party.

The areas where we get asked the most for help are in domestic violence issues (Occupation and Non-Molestation Orders), child residence and contact, and housing evictions. We will always try and help but can only help the first party that asks us on the day – we cannot assist both parties in a dispute.

Where we work

We work at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre.

Contact us

We can only be contacted in person at the Civil and Family Justice Centre during our drop-in clinics. We aim to be there on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings but cannot guarantee it, particularly over the main university holiday periods when students go away.

LIP Service (for Litigants in Person)

What we do

We educate people who have to attend court and represent themselves on what they need to expect, and how better to present their case in court.

We work closely with the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre and other universities to provide awareness sessions guiding people through what to expect when presenting their case as a Litigant in Person. 

The project was nominated for and won Team of the Year 2017 award at the Bristol Law Society Awards.

Where we work

We hold regular sessions are held at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre and at the court rooms on UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus.

Contact us

If you are a Litigant in Person with a court date coming up, please contact Ian Thompson at Ian.Thompson@uwe.ac.uk or ask at the Bristol and Family Civil and Family Justice Centre.

Services for local community and social justice

African Prisons Project

What we do

African Prisons Project (APP) is a charity working in prisons in Uganda and Kenya. They seek to bring dignity hope and justice to prison communities in East Africa and work to empower people in prison to drive positive change. APP exists to transform imprisonment across Africa, modelling a human rights, rehabilitative approach and working from the inside of prison out.

UWE Bristol law students work as research assistants on APP’s legal education programme, training prison officers and inmates to become paralegals to support those inmates on remand or seeking an appeal.

Where we work

We are based at UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus. We sometimes communicate via Skype.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about the African Prisons Project, please contact Kathy Brown at Kathy.Brown@uwe.ac.uk.

Anti-Death Penalty Group

What we do

Students work to raise awareness of jurisdictions around the world where the death penalty is yet to be abolished. In particular, students raise awareness of British citizens on death row around the world.

We work with a firm in Washington, DC, in the United States, and have put on a number of events. Members of the group have worked with Amicus and a Reprieve.

Where we work

Our activities and events are held at UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus.

Contact us

If you wish to know more or support the work of the group, please contact Marcus Keppel-Palmer at Marcus.Keppel-Palmer@uwe.ac.uk.

Family Law Clinic

What we do

Students offer advice and assistance to clients who are seeking help over matters relating to marriage breakdown, and domestic violence. We cannot represent you in court, but we can offer you guidance about the law in family disputes.

Where we work

We are based at UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus. We are looking to develop a range of community locations in the South Gloucestershire area to offer a drop-in service near to members of the local community.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss the possibility of offering the clinic at your community centre in the North Bristol/South Gloucestershire area, please contact Marcus Keppel-Palmer at Marcus.Keppel-Palmer@uwe.ac.uk.

Private Client Initiative

What we do

Students prepare wills and provide assistance around aspects of Powers of Attorney. We especially work around Make A Will week, which is an annual week when lawyers offer free legal assistance around will writing. The service offered is only for straightforward wills.

Where we work

We work at UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus. We are looking to assist at care homes and day centres.

Contact us

If you work with the elderly and would like to discuss using the service in the North Bristol/South Gloucestershire area, please contact us at Marcus Keppel-Palmer at Marcus.Keppel-Palmer@uwe.ac.uk.

Welfare Benefits Advice

What we do

Students advise and represent welfare benefit claimants on their appeals. This project is undertaken with our partners, the Avon and Bristol Law Centre (LASP Project), the North Bristol Advice Centre (SHARP Project), and Talking Money to help people appealing against adverse PIP and ESA assessments. Students can appear before the appeal tribunals, but all work is supervised by our partners.

Where we work

We are based at the offices of Avon and Bristol Law Centre, North Bristol Advice Centre, and Talking Money.

Services around Widening Participation

Mentoring

What we do

Students mentor A and AS-Level students at our linked schools and colleges to give them the skills and confidence to study law at university, and the career paths that can follow. Students provide sessions on topics such as social media and the law.

Where we work

We invite partner schools and colleges to visit our UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus for sessions. Occasionally, students can present interactive sessions at schools/colleges.

Contact us

If you are a school or college who would want your students to benefit from our programme, please contact Marcus Keppel-Palmer at Marcus.Keppel-Palmer@uwe.ac.uk. Please note that the programme normally requires three visits across a school year.

Street Law

What we do

Our students work with local schools to raise awareness about law. We run mock trials and other awareness-raising activities. Normally, schools visit UWE Bristol for half a day and engage in interactive activities, including visiting our court rooms.

Where we work

We usually ask schools to visit UWE Bristol’s Frenchay Campus.

Contact us

If you are a school who wishes to find out more about our Street Law service, please contact Susan Heenan at Susan.Heenan@uwe.ac.uk.

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