SINCE it opened the Legal Advice Centre has dealt with hundreds of cases, from small claims court, to defamation, family disputes, human rights and domestic cases.

Ian Bowden, a qualified solicitor who lectures in the University of Bolton School of Law, said: “We have become a hub in many ways where people often see us a first point of enquiry. We can resolve a number of matters at that particular stage, others we can refer on to where they need to go, with the client confident that is the next step to take.”

Recently, the centre was faced with an urgent domestic violence case.

“It was urgent to the extent we needed to help them that day,” said Matt Orme-Wilson a final year student who is the practice manager. “We have a massive range of cases which come through the door. I assumed it would mainly be divorces, but we have dealt with a huge amount of different cases. It’s been a huge learning experience.”

Matt has helped a business understand the facilities needed to helping advise on a small claims court matter and more.

Ian said the idea behind the centre was to make it function as a high street practice where there is no way of knowing what case they will be dealing with next.

“We wanted students to be able to react to those circumstances, “ said Ian, who added the centre has received a lot of support from local practices, which have agreed to see referrals for free to assess cases and allowed students to shadow them as they take on the case.

All ages use the centre, from students to the elderly. Many of the students who have “worked” in the centre often come back in their final year to volunteer and provide the much needed additional resources to meet the growing demand for the centre. As well as benefitting the community, the students are developing their skills to use when they leave university.

“The aim has always been to make sure our students have the very best chances when they move on to the next stage,” said Ian,

“When presented with a fictional scenario at an interview many graduates would say this is what ‘I would do’, my students are able to say ‘this is what I did’.”

Emily Stone, second year student, said: “We have a chance to do the work, the research which will be extremely beneficial to somebody. We also have the work experience you need here.”

Ian said: “We have had clients come back.That is because of the work the students do. Without the students this centre would not be success, they work incredibly hard.”