Law - Access to Justice
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Ulster University - Belfast

Law - Access to Justice

This course is a unique legal education programme which supplements existing legal service provision by focusing on unmet need in the fields of employment law, social security law, family law and commercial law. There is no other comparable course available on the island of Ireland.

Students are trained in social security law, employment law, alternative dispute resolution, tribunal representation, family law, and commercial law, in preparation for legal drafting and providing advice and advocacy to members of the public in social security or employment tribunals, or to assist clients in family proceedings or general business law issues. This advice and representation will be provided through the Ulster University Law Clinic and/or on placement with the Social Justice Hub or advice sector organisations in semester two and three.

The programme also involves students in the development and management of the law clinic and further reflects on wider issues of access to justice, social justice, legal participation and dispute resolution.

Work placement / study abroad
Student clinicans will have placement with the Ulster Law Clinic. Students will undertake training and will providing specialist legal advice and representation on social security cases employment law cases and family law cases.

Students may also have the opportunity also engage in placement through the Social Justice Hub and/or collaboration with advice giving partners.

For full course details please see "Course Web Page" below.

Subjects taught

Year one
Social Security Law and Policy
This module will provide an insight into how the social security system in the UK is structured and how entitlement to different social security benefits is governed. It will enable students to appreciate the complexity of social security provision, and the impact of policy which drives social security reform.

Employment Law
The importance of the employment relationship between employers, employees, unions and
other statutory bodies and agencies is such that a thorough knowledge of both the context and
the substantive law is necessary for those involved in this area in any capacity. The module
attempts to provide the basis for this knowledge and to put students in the position where they
may not only have an understanding of the law both conceptually and substantively, but also be
in a position to use that knowledge in the solution of problems.

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Methods of ADR are increasingly being used within the legal system and advocated as a means of removing cases from overburdened courts. In appropriate cases they can provide an alternative to legal adjudication and can be used as a means of achieving satisfactory solutions to disputes. The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the processes of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and its relationship to law. The course will cover processes such as arbitration, mediation and conciliation and will provide students with a foundational knowledge of ADR which can then be developed in their professional practice. The module will comprise both theoretical and skills based elements. Students will consider the rationale and ethics of ADR before being introduced to some of the practical skills used in these processes. The study and practice of ADR will be undertaken in the context of a range of legal subject areas, including commercial law, family law and employment law.

Tribunal Representation
This module aims through a combination of lectures and practical exercises to enable trainees to further develop their own professional practice in relation to employment and social security matters. The module aims to develop a student's ability to apply and further develop the knowledge and practical skills gained in prior and concurrent modules. The module will encourage discussion of rationales and consequences of each available course of action in any given scenario, and students will be encouraged to critique solutions to any issues identified as arising from their choice(s). It is anticipated that students will examine the impact of the rules and procedures involved and their tactical application in practice with a view to developing their own individual work practice.

Clinical Legal Practice
Clinical Legal Practice forms the centre-piece module of the LLM Access to Justice programme, being the module during which students develop their clinical legal practical skills. Student clinicians will be required to provide specialist information, advice and advocacy for social security claimants and individuals seeking assistance with employment law disputes, including representation at tribunal where appropriate. The clinical legal experience will be predominantly placement based at the outset, and student clinicians will also work towards establishing, developing and managing an Ulster Law Clinic to provide an in-house, public facing clinic to provide free specialist assistance for members of the public with social security and employment law disputes.

Dissertation
This module allows students to apply the research skills acquired and explore the issues broached in the taught modules, by conducting an effective critical investigation of an area of concern or interest in human rights law and to write a report on that investigation.

Employment Compliance and Development
This module is optional
Whether you are a lawyer, human resources professional, personnel or industrial relations officer, this module will develop a range of skills, which will enable all students to remain fully abreast of the latest legislative and case law developments in employment compliance. It will ensure that all students acquire in-depth knowledge and understanding of how employment compliance issues operates in practice. Students will be provided with assistance enabling them to respond to complex practical, legal and ethical problems. Students will be encouraged to critically analyse the law and important legal issues they face in practice.

Housing Law
This module is optional
This module is concerned with the home, a concept of fundamental importance to everyone. Initially tracing the historical development of housing law within the UK and in a European context, the module examines the scope of the subject and considers the specific legal framework for housing law in Northern Ireland. Outlining the roles of relevant bodies (such as the Northern Ireland Housing Executive) the module considers not only the law of landlord and tenant (in respect of, for example, security of tenure) but also the rights and liabilities of owner occupiers in the event of (for example) mortgage default.

Entry requirements

To apply to our postgraduate taught programmes, you must meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements and any course-specific requirements.

These vary depending on the course and are detailed online.

You must satisfy the General Entry Requirements for admission to a first degree programme, and hold a GCSE pass in English at grade C or above (or equivalent).

Admission Requirements
Applicants must:
(a) have gained (i) a second class honours degree or better in law or law related discipline from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard; or (ii) an equivalent standard (normally 50%) in a Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate, Postgraduate Certificate or Postgraduate Diploma in law or an approved alternative qualification; or (iii) a degree in a relevant discipline with appropriate work/professional experience in the field of access to justice; or (iv) a comparable professional qualification; and

(b) provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE grade C or equivalent); or, as an alternative to (a) (i) or (a) (ii) and/or (b):

(c) In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.

If English is not your first language this course requires a minimum English level of IELTS (academic) 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5, or equivalent.

Visit ulster.ac.uk/englishrequirements for more details.

This course is open to international (non-EU) students (full-time only).

For full entry requirements please see "Course Web Page" below.

Application dates

Your Application
Application is through the University's online application system (see "Application Weblink" below).

Enrolment dates

Start Date: September 2023.

Post Course Info

Career options
You will develop skills highly relevant to legal practice, and to policy, research and advocacy roles in the voluntary, public and private sectors in the UK, Ireland and beyond. Successful completion may also open up a range of further study and research options.

The LLM A2J allows you to develop the analytical skills prized by employers in a wide range of career pathways within the United Kingdom, Ireland and internationally. Students obtain experience in all aspects of legal practice, from client-handling and case-related research, to advocacy and representation, as well as developing and managing a working Law Clinic. The degree is relevant to legal practice and policy, and to research and advocacy roles in the voluntary, public and private sectors. Successful completion also opens up a range of further study and research options.

We are proud to state that all our graduates to date have have transitioned into employment, practice or further academic study. The connections created by the referral network have generated opportunities for our graduates in the form of trainee solicitor positions with members of our referral network and advice organisations. Graduates have also been employed as research interns in the Law Society of Northern Ireland. Other students have taken up funded PhDs examining issues and concepts arising from their LLM studies, and continued working across the legal advice field.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    LLM

  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider