14 May 2014
Queensland’s Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie has officially opened the University of the Sunshine Coast’s new Law clinic in central Maroochydore.
The Law clinic is operated in conjunction with the Suncoast Community Legal Service (Suncoast CLS) and is a centrepiece of the University’s new School of Law, which accepted its first students this year.
The clinic is located in specially refurbished offices and teaching spaces on the ground floor of the Sunshine Coast TAFE building near Sunshine Plaza. Suncoast CLS plans to move its entire Maroochydore operation to the new premises shortly.
Mr Bleijie congratulated USC and Suncoast CLS on this exciting partnership, which will give USC's Law students the opportunity to undertake legal work for clients under the supervision of qualified lawyers throughout their studies.
The Attorney-General declared the centre at 170 Horton Parade open at a ceremony today that was attended by the Speaker of the Queensland Parliament Fiona Simpson, members of the legal profession, USC and TAFE staff and USC's first-year Law students.
USC’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the clinic would provide USC’s new School of Law with a strong presence in Maroochydore, where many of the region’s legal practices are based.
“This is an enormous opportunity for our Law students because they will get to experience legal practice in a way that’s not available at bigger Brisbane law schools,” he said.
“They will benefit from having such expert supervision and an enriched educational experience.”
Suncoast Community Legal Service Principal Solicitor Julian Porter said the arrangement would provide “wins” for the legal service, USC and the Sunshine Coast community.
“The students will receive the sort of hands-on experience they need to complement their classroom training and, at the same time, they’ll be working with real local lawyers developing relationships for the future,” he said.
Mr Porter said the arrangement also would increase the capacity of the legal service – which has operated locally since 1984 – to take on new projects and extend its range of services.
USC’s Professor of Law Neil Rees said this exciting partnership would enable both the University’s School of Law and the legal service to benefit.
“We now have more than 90 student volunteers available to assist the legal service, and our Law students will have access to learning opportunities that most students don’t get,” he said.
“This is great for the education of the next generation of lawyers and for the local community as they will have more access to legal aid services.”
— Terry Walsh