The standard ticket is £10 + VAT and is for anyone providing front line advice, working at charities and NGOs. A limited number of travel bursaries are also available. If for any reason you require a guest place, or wish to access a bursary please contact Amelie Godfrey.

The rate ticket is intended for those in private practice, public bodies and academics not directly involved in legal clinical work.

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PLP is seeking to develop its outreach in the South West. We have a well-developed partnership with the legal clinic at Exeter University, which has helped us understand some of the challenges faced by advice services there and we now wish to develop our work with other organisations in the region. To introduce our organisation and specialist team, and consult with advisers and civil society in the South West, we are running a one-day event in conjunction with Plymouth Citizen’s Advice and Plymouth University on 26 September 2019. The event includes sessions on strategic use of the law, legal aid and Exceptional Case Funding (ECF), the EU Settled Status Scheme and the move to online courts. We are also asking delegates to suggest areas for further discussion.

Access to justice in the South West

Programme of the day

10:30 Introduction
Jo Hickman, Director, Public Law Project.

10:40 – 11:30: Using the law for change
This session will look at how the law can be used to challenge unfair systems or discriminatory policies. Litigation can sometimes be an effective strategic tool in bringing about change. With reference to past examples and their own practice, the speakers will discuss strategic use of the law by NGOs and charities, how to identify issues and the positive and negative aspects of using the law for change.

Sara Lomri, Deputy Legal Director, Public Law Project

Chai Patel, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

Samantha Knights QC, Matrix Chambers

11:30 – 12:00: Refreshment break

12:00 – 13:00: Legal aid
Legal aid is still available in some areas of law, but we know that less is actually being spent on legal aid and the number of providers of legal aid services is dwindling. ‘Advice deserts’ for particular areas of law, such as housing and public law, have developed across geographic areas. This session will look at access to justice in the South West context and explore what strategies might be available for advice services to access legal aid for their clients.

Polly Brendon, Public Law Project

Penny Scott, Partner, Cartridges Law and Chair, Family Committee, The Law Society

Rosie Brennan, Associate Professor of Law / Law Clinic Director, University of Plymouth

13:00 – 14:00: Lunch

14:00 – 15:00: Settled status workshop
PLP is in the process of establishing a public law hub to support frontline organisations in identifying and acting on unlawfulness in the operation of the EU Settlement Scheme. This session will examine the Scheme and consider how public law can be used to help client groups having problems accessing it, or where the operational flaws can impact adversely on people’s lives.
Bijan Hoshi, Public Law Project

Hub organisations TBC

15:00 – 15:30: Refreshment break

15:30 – 16:30: Breakout sessions – choose 1 of 4

A. Legal Aid Exceptional Case Funding

Legal aid Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) Exceptional Case Funding can be applied for in any area of law where neither civil nor criminal legal aid is available, including immigration, family and employment cases. It is intended to be a human rights ‘safety net’ providing funding for legal assistance where someone’s rights will be breached if they do not have access to a lawyer. This session will look both at making applications for ECF, and at the way the scheme is being used by pro bono units as a way of researching and engaging with access to justice issues, often in their local area.

Katy Watts and Emma Marshall, Public Law Project

B. Accessing online justice

Court closures have preceded the wides-scale arrival of digital, or ‘assisted digital’, courts and tribunals. While the potential for a digitally transformed system is undoubtedly vast, questions remain around operation, access and digital exclusion. This session looks at the current state of play with the online courts programme and the issues facing clients and their advisers accessing online justice.

Matt Ahluwalia, Public Law Project

Other speakers TBC

C. Do Know Harm training

The Do Know Harm project has delivered awareness and training sessions to the voluntary sector across Devon and Cornwall on one specific area of the exceptional circumstances legislation within the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) regulations.

The focus has been on the ‘substantial risk’ element of the exceptional circumstances, which are covered under Regulations 29 and 35.

The first year of the project concentrated on laying the foundations by preparing the training syllabus and researching in detail this area of the law. The first year’s training delivery focused on substantial risk.

The ESA is a sickness benefit for people who are ill or disabled and unable to work. Cutbacks to legal aid has made specialist welfare benefits advice difficult to come by and people often have to negotiate the claims process for ESA without support.

Citizens Advice Plymouth received a grant in 2016 to run a training programme for voluntary sector organisations in Devon to help them help their service users navigate the ESA application system.

This breakout is an iteration of that training programme.

Trainer: Adam Levi, Citzens Advice Plymouth

D. You decide!
Is there an issue you think this conference should engage with that is relevant to you or your client group? Please tell us here and we’ll see what we can do to develop a relevant training or workshop session.

16:30: What’s Next?

A summing up from the day and a chance for all those attending to discuss working together.

17:00: Finish

Tickets and pricing: 

Charities, NGOs, adviser tickets: £10 + VAT

Private practice and public bodies (not advisers): £40 + VAT

Prices include materials and lunch.


Book a place

Ticket Type Price Spaces
Rate Ticket
For those in private practice, public bodies, and academics not directly involved in legal clinic work
Standard Ticket
For charities, NGOs and advisers

26 September 2019
10:30 am - 5:00 pm

Drake Circus

Rate Ticket

Price: £40.00
VAT: £8.00
Total: £48.00

Standard Ticket

Price: £10.00
VAT: £2.00
Total: £12.00
Book now