• 13/04/2015


CLOCK is an initiative originally launched in North Staffordshire by the Keele University Law School together with local law firms and third sector organisations. Its aim is to provide assistance to litigants in person, including signposting them to solicitors where that is a viable option, so there are clear opportunities for local firms of solicitors who join CLOCK to gain referred clients either for Legal Aid funded work or to provide affordable legal services.

The CLOCK partnership provides comprehensive training to law students to qualify as Community Legal Companions to provide a free service to support their local community to access Legal Aid and affordable legal services, and to assist litigants in person within McKenzie Friend principles.


The Community Legal Companions are trained to:

1)      Refer litigants to partner organisations for access to
a)      Legal Aid assessment
b)      Mediation assessment
c)      Affordable legal services
d)      Charitable support services, and

2)      Assist litigants in person by
a)      Helping fill in court application forms
b)      Arranging case papers
c)      Accompanying litigants in court and other formal proceedings
d)        Taking notes

The Impact of CLOCK

Since it was established in North Staffordshire in 2012 with the full support of the Stoke-on-Trent Combined Court Centre, CLOCK has assisted more than 1,500 court users, and currently refers an average of 12 cases a week for Legal Aid applications and affordable legal services. Andrew Martin, President of the North Staffordshire Law Society, has noted that:

“The CLOCK scheme may be a means to plug the gap left by the cuts to Legal Aid. As you will be aware, many clients will now not have access to legal assistance under the new regime. This may also be an opportunity for firms to be referred clients, which may have a mutual benefit both to ensure access to justice, but also from a commercial perspective for local firms”

We are now inviting partners to develop CLOCK in the Manchester and Salford areas in accordance with the national CLOCK partnership criteria. For firms and third sector organisations this requires a commitment:

  1. To assist in training the students to become Community Legal Companions,
  2. To receive referrals from CLOCK with the option to provide Legal Companion assisted, Legal Aid funded or affordable fixed fee services, and
  3. A commitment to use the CLOCK IT referral system to ensure effective processing of cases and to share data, within the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, to enable effective monitoring of the extent of unmet legal needs.

For further details, please contact:

Dr Shane Sullivan
Director of Legal Programmes, University of Salford
[email protected]
0161 295 0477