The LLM in Access to Justice (A2J) is a distinct and unique clinical legal education course in Northern Ireland and on the island of Ireland, there being no comparable courses at undergraduate or postgraduate level. The course gives students the opportunity to develop legal advice and advocacy skills by allowing them to represent appellants in Industrial and Social Security Tribunals. Students will also have the opportunity to engage their interest in the provision of legal services more generally as they are required to develop and manage the 'Ulster University Law Clinic'.
The function of the course is to supplement the existing range of legal service providers by focusing on, and meeting, 'unmet legal need' in the fields of employment law and social security law. In doing so, students are tasked to analyze 'unmet legal need', the availability and consumption of legal services and reflect on wider issues of access to justice, 'equality of arms', and dispute resolution.
The LLM A2J programme is a distinct and unique contribution to legal education in Northern Irelandand on the island of Ireland, there being no comparable programme at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Its function is to supplement the range of legal service providers by focusing on, and meeting, unmet legal need in the fields of employment law and social security law, whilst giving students the opportunity to develop legal advice and advocacy skills and engaging their interest in the provision of legal services more generally.
To this end, students receive training in social security law, employment law, alternative dispute resolution and tribunal representation in preparation for providing advice and advocacy, to members of the public with appeals before Social Security or Employment Tribunals. This advice and representation will be provided through the 'Ulster Law Clinic' and/or on placement with advice sector organisations in semesters one, two and three. The programme also involves students in the development and management of the 'Ulster Law Clinic'.
Teaching and learning assessment
Professional and practical skills will comprise a significant element of the course, and will be developed through a combination of traditional and innovative teaching and learning methods. The focus of these blended teaching and learning methods will be on encouraging students to be flexible and creative in their approaches to legal problem solving: in practice, on paper and in simulated experiences. The Teaching and learning methods designed to ensure that students will acquire key knowledge and technical understanding of complex information will include traditional lectures and seminars, directed and facilitated by staff members, and designed to encourage high levels of student engagement. These traditional methods of teaching and learning include staff-led lectures; student and tutor-led seminars; group work and student presentations; and problem based scenarios. Within the induction programme students will begin their skills based learning, with an introduction to skills development in interviewing, drafting, negotiation and advocacy. These skills will be further developed through a range of techniques and synergistic emphasis on the development of subject specific and technical knowledge alongside an appreciation and awareness of law in practice. These will include, inter alia, supervision sessions; lectures/workshops by specialist, invited speakers; supervised clinic development/management meetings; mock case discussion and tribunals; and the use of real-life case studies and exemplars.
The assessments methods employed on the LLM are designed to test knowledge, understanding and the professional and practical skills of students. These include, inter alia, written and oral based coursework and case studies of relevant legal issues and client based problems through the use of reflective learning journals; case studies on simulated and real client cases; and advocacy, interviewing and negotiation exercises. Such methods allow for an experimental and positive student learning experience through the use of continuous learning and feedback practices which facilitate students' development as independent learners and allows them to assess, regulate and evaluate their performance and learning into professional practice.
Work placement / study abroad
Student clinicans will have placement as volunteers with our placement partner at the pro-bono Legal Support Project at Law Centre (NI). Students will undertake training and will providing specialist legal advice and representation on social security cases.
Students can also engage in placement through collaboration with the Legal Support Officer at Citizens Advice Regional Office. Students would focus on providing support in Social Security Commissioner's cases.
Students will undertake employment law cases through the Ulster Law Clinic.