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New Service in Orkney Providing Vital Legal Advice

A new student-led community clinic has officially opened in Kirkwall to help provide vital legal services to people living in Orkney.

The Orkney Community Clinic is a partnership between the Grampian Community Law Centre, part of Robert Gordon University’s Law School, and the Orkney Blide Trust, a mental wellbeing charity based in Kirkwall. 

The confidential and independent service will operate virtually and offer legal support and guidance to Orkney residents on low incomes in the areas of social welfare law such as housing, employment, consumer rights, family law, and more. 

The Blide Trust is supplying in-kind, secure and appropriate office space within their Kirkwall centre to allow the virtual clinic to operate. Members of the public will have use of a laptop and a quiet office space to allow the consultation to take place. 

Clients can book appointments by first emailing GCLC@rgu.ac.uk before being given a time to attend at the Blide Trust at 54 Victoria Street, Kirkwall for their consultation. 

The first appointments of the Clinic will take place this week, Thursday 27 April 2023, and will operate every Thursday evening thereafter between 5:00pm – 8:00pm.

The Orkney Community Clinic is the latest outreach service from RGU’s Law School following the recent breakthrough launches of both the Community Clinic and Climate Clinic, both under the umbrella of the Grampian Community Law Centre.

Each of the Clinics are led by Hannah Moneagle, Grampian Community Law Centre Director, Practising Solicitor, and Lecturer at Robert Gordon University, with the help of law students who gain vital experience while also offering an essential service.

She said:

“It has become apparent that there is an access to justice gap in Scotland which affects the most vulnerable, and particularly those living in remote areas.

“When considering the model for the Centre, we felt it was important not to restrict what we could offer and it’s very exciting that we have now been able to create this new Clinic in Orkney. It is, of course, also a fantastic learning opportunity for our Student Advisors at RGU.”

Clare Allison, Service Director at The Orkney Blide Trust, a charitable organisation which offers a range of services to people in Orkney, said:

image of both women at the office where they will offer support
Rebecca Cox, Centre Co-ordinator and Hannah Moneagle, Grampian Community Law Centre Manager, Practicing Solicitor and RGU Lecturer, Community Law Clinic

“Part of the Blide Trust’s remit is to contribute to support structures within Orkney which positively impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

“We know from experience that people who face barriers to accessing legal advice are negatively affected by this so when we heard about the idea for a local community clinic, we were keen to support it by offering our building. We’re therefore very much looking forward to partnering with those at Grampian Community Law Centre and contributing positively and directly towards our local community.”

The Orkney Community Clinic is one of an increasing number of multidisciplinary projects being created by Robert Gordon University to service the Orkney Isles as it continues in its strategy of extending reach and supporting remote communities with the challenges of island life.

Rebecca sitting at her lap top offering advice to clients
Rebecca Cox, Centre Co-ordinator Community Law Clinic

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