Kent Law Campaign

Educating, innovating Giving access to justice a new home


What clients say about the Kent Law Clinic

Katy UptonAdisham’s ancient footpaths did not need to be trampled on daily to be a channel of the villagers’ rights. But they did use them, when it suited them and as was their right. The challenge to that right – by a newcomer landowner who wanted to do something special in the way of shooting birds – came with power. The power of fences, hostile staff and the assumption that the rights of the ordinary citizen are subject to acquisition and elimination in a market society. A lone rebellious villager – who, to be honest, does not dislike a scrap and is the sort of person communities sometimes need – protested and sought the help of the Law Clinic. Lucky him; lucky us villagers; unlucky landowner. But the 10 year task facing Professor John Fitzpatrick was neither short nor easy. It involved facts difficult to establish through the distant and sometimes vague memories of village schoolmistresses, local thatchers, occasional walkers, riders and many others who had not been notching up their annual usage on an abacus for reference in the public inquiry the landowner eventually brought – upon himself. And it also involved intricate law. John Fitzpatrick and his victorious team showed, from first to last, legal knowledge, persistence, understanding, politeness to the enemy – not necessarily always reciprocated – and the steadfastness of the man beside you whom you want to be there and not in the other trench. Well, not trenches but footpaths, all of which were established as our right, channels through which we can walk and ride and through which we can share a history with those who walked there before us on the territory of successive of landowners who respected the rights of others.

- Sir Geoffrey Nice QC

We are a local unincorporated group, set up ad hoc to campaign for the preservation of this piece of open land. Our members have very little in the way of resources and our opponents, a building development company, have very deep pockets. Although we are passionate and relatively knowledgeable, we were despondent about our chances of representing ourselves at a public inquiry. We found ourselves five or six weeks away from the hearing and resigning ourselves to being slaughtered.

We wrote to the Kent Law Clinic asking for help. Surprisingly, they came on board, even in the middle of the summer vacation, with a small band of enthusiastic students, who took control of our case: gathering evidence, suggesting new lines of enquiry, interviewing witnesses, drafting statements and so on. In summary, the Kent Law Clinic have completely transformed the presentation of our case and our chances of winning it.

Whether or not we win our case, this heart-warmingly reaffirms our confidence in the legal profession and the British legal system, to see lawyers giving so freely of their time for no reward. We cannot speak too highly of the support which we have received, and without which we would have had no chance of pursuing our case.

Without the legal help that Kent Law Clinic offered us, and the introduction to a barrister willing to represent us for an affordable fee, we would not have been able to make our case convincingly. The advice and research done by the law school students was excellent.

Those students who attended the long inquiry on our behalf were thoroughly professional in their approach and their willingness to help in many small ways throughout the case was very much appreciated. Your own personal input was invaluable.

It has been a little over a month since my case settled...

...and in that time I have reflected on just how important this result has been for me.

I feel that I have, with your help stood up against unfair treatment and not been a victim to unfortunate circumstances. I have gained tremendous self esteem through the result and feel that this result may also have some impact for others, especially past colleagues even if indirectly, in a positive way.

I cannot possibly put into words just how grateful I am for all your help and support, your patience and humility through this tough time. I am also unable to express how privileged I am that I was able to work with you, and how I would never have been able to fight against this mistreatment without this service. The Kent Law Clinic has allowed me to gain justice in a world which so often restricts those with out money to do so. Without you I would be jobless, penniless and have never achieved closure on this difficult time.

 

I can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate...

...what you and the Law Clinic have done for us, without you we would never have come this far.

Our lives are totally transformed by this amazing success - Harry with be given every opportunity to reach his potential and never have to go through a system that makes him feel inadequate.

Your support and hard work have meant so much to me over this last year (or more). We want to give just a small donation to the Law Clinic. I know it doesn't touch what you have done for us but I hope it helps.


 

From our very first meeting with one of your colleagues...

...right through to the final outcome, we were always treated with respect, given thorough advice, and kept well informed. At all times we felt we were in good hands.

Our thanks must also go to Joseph who under your expert tutelage and immense knowledge, gave 100% to our case. He was always so polite on the telephone and didn't fail to keep in touch and we wish him all the very best with his future studies and career in law. Please do pass on our appreciation for all his hard work. Without input and advice from The Law Clinic, we couldn't possibly have hoped for such a speedy and efficient outcome to our predicament.

 

Development Office

The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000

Last Updated: 14/04/2014