LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards

The annual LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards were celebrated at the House of Lords, on Thursday 9th May.

LawWorks Student Pro Bono Awards 2024 logoSupported by the Attorney General and sponsored by Lexis Nexis, the awards celebrate the best pro bono activities undertaken by law students and law schools and the positive impact on those assisted. The awards were presented byt the Rt Hon Victoria Prentis KC MP, the Attorney General, at a ceremony held in the House of Lords on Thursday 9th May.

The Attorney General, the Rt Hon Victoria Prentis KC MP said:

“Pro bono work is vitally important. It benefits both the people who receive it and the lawyers that donate their valuable time to deliver it. Congratulations to all the nominees who were put forward in some excellent entries – the future of the profession is in safe hands. As you embark on your legal careers, I encourage you to continue your excellent pro bono work and many thanks to LawWorks for their continued efforts in shining a spotlight on the remarkable pro bono work undertaken by law students across the U.K."

The winners of the 2024 awards are:

Best New Pro Bono Activity Reach out to Survivors: Domestic Abuse, University of Chester

Reach out to Survivors is a new, student-led project providing legal support to survivors of domestic abuse in the Chester area. The University based project is overseen by a student project manager and run by a team of 9 student volunteers.

The project has established a partnership with Cheshire West and Cheshire Domestic Abuse Intervention and Prevention Service. There, volunteers attend weekly open access groups for women run by Independent Domestic Violence Advocates, providing on-the-spot legal information, guidance and moral support to individuals who need assistance because of being in an abusive relationship. Working with Tomorrow’s Women, a Chester based charity supporting women who have been in contact with the criminal justice system, volunteers established an appointment-based service, hosted at the charity’s premises, to assist women survivors in completing applications Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders.

In their first year, the team has reached thousands of people online, provided information and guidance to over 200 women and men, and supported eight women with specific legal queries, all of whom have achieved a positive outcome at court.

Liverpool John Moores University’s Exceptional Case Funding Clinic and the Special Educational Needs Judicial Review Project at the University of Liverpool were highly commended by the judges.

Best Contribution by an Individual Student  Jekaterina Bodnarchuk, Hertfordshire Law School

Jekaterina has volunteered as a Student Advisor at Hertfordshire Law Clinic for the last 5 years, taking part in family law and employment law clinics and recently completing training for a new Special Educational Needs Clinic.

She has played a fundamental role in helping members of the public access free legal advice in a timely manner on a wide range of topics. She also volunteered at outreach pop-up clinics through the ‘Justice Bus’. Jekaterina has helped reach vulnerable clients who would otherwise be unaware of the clinic’s service.

Jekaterina supported clients from one of the most deprived parts of Hertfordshire at every stage of their appeals against the refusal of PIP through the Stevenage Welfare Benefits Appeals Project. This included helping complete application forms, gathering evidence, drafting mandatory reconsideration letters and preparing appeal documents. She has been directly responsible for winning several appeals and the awarding of over £12,000 in benefits.

Ella Heilmann, SOAS, University of London and Laurent Sammouri, Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London were highly commended by the judges.

Best Contribution by a Law School University of Bristol Law School, University of Bristol

A total of 390 law students are involved with one of more activities provided by the University of Bristol Law Clinic.  This year the clinic has taken on approximately 300 enquiries, with students representing people at benefit appeals (in one case securing a back payment of £17,000), employment tribunal hearings and as lay representatives in the county court.

The clinic has a strong relationship with Inquest and students represent families at preliminary hearings and inquests themselves, as well as attending to advise and support the family.  They assisted a community group to successfully apply for a local cinema to be granted community asset status and are now advising on its possible purchase. After being contacted by Bristol City Council, four of our students are now available to help on school exclusion hearings.

The clinic co-hosts a project with the Avon and Somerset Constabulary in connection with child abuse cases.  Students review recorded interviews with young people, to ensure that officers are complying with best practice, and then cross-examine the officers on how they conducted the interview.

Other activities include projects to promote the public legal education, working with care leavers, giving general advice to Swindon Advocacy, and a newly launched project to take on Windrush cases.

Law In Real Life, The City Law School, City, University of London and Derby Law School, University of Derby Student Legal Advice Centre were highly commended by the judges.

Best Contribution by a Team of Students Joint winner: Justice Bus Project, University of Hertfordshire

Law student volunteers are at the heart of the “Justice Bus” project, which is a mobile offshoot of University of Hertfordshire Law Clinic. The project was founded in 2022 with the goal of going out into nearby towns and villages to offer free legal advice to individuals in familiar community-based settings and offer students valuable ‘in person’ interactional experiences.  Since launching, the Justice Bus has regularly visit trusted community events and venues, including a local food bank and community café.

This model has been highly effective – both for the clients most in need of legal support, and the students seeking meaningful, experiential learning. There have been at least 30 volunteer Student Advisors working on the Justice Bus project since November 2022. As part of their compulsory training, they are taught about client wellbeing and how to deal with clients sensitively. Some 30 clients have been triaged or given specific advice at these venues, and many more people have been provided with support or signposting. These are mostly individuals who would have otherwise “slipped through the net”.

Best Contribution by a Team of Students Joint winner: Rights of Nature Toolkit: Rivers Project, Human Rights and Environmental Law Clinic, King's College London

In January 2024, a team of students from King’s College Law Clinic launched the Rights of Nature Toolkit: How to Protect Rivers in England and Wales. The toolkit, which represents a year of consultation and research, is a practical legal guide, aimed at other law students, paralegals, and active communities promoting access to justice and clean water.

Understanding the gap in affordable legal support, the toolkit is written specifically for people who want to protect nature, with tips on accessible legal tools like complaints to regulators, information gathering, litigation and campaigning. 

It’s no exaggeration to say the toolkit has taken the environmental law community by storm, with leading environmental lawyers and NGOs commenting on its usefulness. A post sharing the toolkit was seen by 78,800 people on twitter, and has been reposted 726 times, leading to discussions about tackling water quality among campaigners, activists, and people from all walks of life.

The team has disseminated the toolkit to 114 organisations and there are plans for the student team to run training sessions with local river protection groups.

The Streetlaw Team, Sussex Legal Clinics, University of Sussex Law School were highly commended by the judges.

Advocate and LawWorks Law School Challenge: University of Huddersfield

Find out about all the nominees in the PDF icon LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards programme

The LawWorks Student Pro Bono Awards are sponsored by LexisNexis.

The judges for the 2024 Awards are:

  • Nick Emmerson, President, The Law Society of England and Wales
  • Peter Farr, Head of Civil Law Policy, Ministry of Justice
  • James Harper, Executive Sponsor, Rule of Law and CSR for LexisNexis UK & Ireland
  • Olivia Partridge, Content Manager, LawCareers.Net
  • Samantha Singer, Joint Chair of the Bar Council Pro Bono & Social Responsibility Committee
  • Deborah Smith, Executive Director and Senior Counsel, Goldman Sachs and LawWorks Trustee


Need to get in touch?

If you have a question about the awards, please contact:

Peter Jackson, Communications Officer, 07961 522042

The LawWorks and Attorney General's Student Pro Bono Awards are sponsored by:

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