Complementary legal service hits the beach for those feeling the heat

Friday, 20 January 2017

A free and unique legal service aimed at assisting those in need, whilst also providing University of Newcastle (UON) students with real-world experience, is set to hit Newcastle Beach this month.

Now in its 14th year, Law on the Beach, run by UON’s Legal Centre, will hold drop-in consultations at Newcastle Beach Surf Club and the City Campus across January and February in order to increase access to legal services for people in need of guidance.

UON students in their penultimate year in law and social work, alongside experienced lawyers, donate their time and skills to assisting disadvantaged members of the public.

Daniel Richards, a fifth year Bachelor of Laws (Hons)/Diploma of Legal Practice student, will take time out of the university holidays to assist the program. The 22 year old, who is originally from Muswellbrook, said he was keen to advance his skills whilst helping those in need.

“It’s one thing learning theory in the classroom, but it’s completely different applying what we’ve learnt to real-world cases. It’s an invaluable experience that makes a huge difference to both the students and the community.

“Newcastle Beach is such a great setting, as it creates a really relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Everyone is in shorts and t-shirts and the sessions are conversational rather than a formal meeting,” he said.

Director of the UON Legal Centre, Mr Shaun McCarthy, said the students involved were extremely competent and keen to develop their knowledge, whilst displaying understanding and sensitivity to the issues at hand.

“Law on the Beach provides a unique opportunity for the community to access advice and assistance with their legal needs, as well as providing our exceptional students with real-world experience.

“Legal services are often inaccessible and can be confronting for younger members of the community due to their cost. The fact this program is so successful after 14 years is an indication that the service is still a necessary one,” Mr McCarthy said.

Drop-in sessions (no appointment necessary) will run between 9.30am – 2.30pm on:

Tuesday 24 January – Newcastle Beach Surf Life Saving Club

Tuesday 31 January – Newcastle Beach Surf Life Saving Club

Tuesday 07 February – Newcastle Beach Surf Life Saving Club

Tuesday 14 February – Level 2, University House, Cnr King and Auckland Streets

Tuesday 21 February – Newcastle Beach Surf Life Saving Club

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The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.