The University of Edinburgh Free Legal Advice Centre (or as it is more commonly known, ‘FLAC’) was established by the former University of Edinburgh Diploma Director, the late Elaine Tyre in 2007. Since then, the Centre has continued to grow and we are constantly looking at ways to develop and achieve our aims.
Our Aims, Values and Mission
The Free Legal Advice Centre has three aims at its core:
- To provide excellent free legal advice
- To support the community
- To enhance the learning experience of law students
Taken together, our first and second aims are the traditional pro bono aim (‘for the public good’). This means we exist in order to increase access to justice. To do this we wish to provide a service for those who, for whatever reason, cannot access legal advice elsewhere.
The third aim gives law students at the University of Edinburgh an opportunity to put their legal knowledge and skills into practice. This is also known as clinical legal education. Instead of spending all their time reading books, students are given the opportunity to interact with and help real people from the community.
A Student-led Law Clinic
FLAC is mainly run by students. At the start of each academic year in September, students from the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice are selected to sit on the Free Legal Advice Centre Committee and Operations Team. The Committee, headed by the Student Director, liaises with the FLAC Coordinator and other members of the Law School in order to meet the general aims of the Centre. Our Coordinator, Student Operations Team and Administration Team ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the Centre.
Unlike other law clinics, only graduate students undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Legal Practice may participate in the Free Legal Advice Centre. This is something that we soon hope to change. Students on the Diploma are called Student Advisers and at the start of the academic year are assigned a Monday evening during which they must attend the Edinburgh Centre for Professional Legal Studies in order to meet a client with a suitable case. This advisory element is an essential requirement of the assessed course, Professional Skills and Responsibility, which all Diploma students must complete.