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Erin parishioners benefit from legal aid clinic

A Legal Aid clinic is held at the presbytery of St Francis of Assisi, Erin, on Fridays between 9 a.m. and noon. The clinic began on April 12.

As an attorney, one is always approached by friends, family and general members of the public on matters which, with the correct advice, can spare persons hardship and time-wasting.

I have always felt that there was a need for such a service and that it should be accessible to persons who are in need the most. When I speak of need, I include empowerment through knowledge.

I offered this service a few years ago when I lived elsewhere, but it was not accepted. Last year I took up residence in this parish and contacted the parish priest, Fr Dexter Brereton CSSp on the subject. He was extremely receptive to the idea, and after meetings and discussions, I was granted the opportunity to start the clinic.

The clinic operates with one attorney-at-law, and at present offers consultancy services. To date (September 20) I have advised approximately 40 clients on inter alia, Land, Contract, Family, Succession, and Immigration issues. One family came from as far as Morvant.

The aim is to broaden the services offered to include the preparation of documents, for example wills and letters, and also provide representation in the Magistrates’ Court.

I have already contacted a colleague with the view to obtaining the services of attorneys who in this regard, may be willing to do pro bono work. The hope is that this can be brought to fruition by January 2020 —Jennifer Martin LLB (Hons) University of London