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Launch of Free Law Clinic for People Living with HIV – World AIDS Day

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john@tcell.org.uk
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Launch of Free Law Clinic for People Living with HIV – World AIDS Day
Posted on: December 1 2010, 11:33 am

Launch of Free Law Clinic for People Living with HIV – World AIDS Day, 1st December 2010

The launch of a new free law clinic for people living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV) was announced today. The River House Law Clinic is a collaborative venture between The River House Trust, a charity providing services for PLHIV based in Hammersmith, the solicitors' firm H.C.L. Hanne & Co and the School of Law at Birkbeck College, University of London. The River House Law Clinic will provide vitally needed legal advice for PLHIV, many of whom still experience unlawful discrimination in work, housing and other areas.

The service will be provided at the River House Trust premises in Hammersmith.  River House has played an important role in providing medical, therapeutic, practical and nutritional support for men, women and children living with HIV since its inception in the mid 1980s. An important aspect of the ethos of River House is the promotion of partnership working to ensure that a wide range of integrated services are offered to PLHIV. Kathryn Dombrowicz, Director of The River House Trust, said that this new partnership was an exciting and important development, stating “People living with HIV are subjected to a range of medical, psychological and social challenges on a daily basis. The provision of the free law clinic will provide a valuable resource, not only to our clients but also to PLHIV across London who will be able to access the service”.   

Actress Pauline Collins, OBE, who is a Patron of The River House Trust, was delighted to support this new development. “This is a brilliant idea! But no less than I have come to expect from the amazing team at The River House. The River House Law Clinic will offer a vital service to people who are disenfranchised and in need of a quality law service. Free. Bravo!”
 
Legal advice at the Clinic will be provided free of charge by H.C.L. Hanne & Co.  The firm has provided legal services in the areas of family, housing, criminal, probate and employment law since 1898. H.C.L. Hanne & Co's David Taylor said “We are delighted as a firm to involve ourselves in this innovative project. Our firm has been committed to the provision of legal services to the community since our inception over 100 years ago and we look forward to a successful partnership with the River House Trust and Birkbeck College”. Speaking in advance of the launch, James Collier, a former HCL Hanne & Co trainee solicitor involved in setting up and co-ordinating the law clinic, said “With the ever changing picture in social law provision at the moment it is reassuring that the River House Law Clinic will widen access to professional legal advice for this sometimes vulnerable client group. A beacon of innovation and hope.”

One of the most exciting aspects of the River House Free Law Clinic is the involvement of law students from Birkbeck College.  Their role will be to conduct initial fact-finding from clients, to support the solicitors, and to direct them to the appropriate adviser.  The Law School was inundated with requests from students wishing to be involved, says Dr Matthew Weait, Assistant Dean in the School and member of recently established Advisory Group for the Global Commission on HIV and Law.  "Birkbeck has long been dedicated to improving the lives of Londoners", said Dr Weait.  "The River House Law Clinic will provide valuable skills training and the participation of the School of Law demonstrates its particular commitment to the cause of social justice and to supporting those who need, and will benefit from, quality legal advice."


Press and other enquiries should be directed to:
Kathryn Dombrowicz, Director, River House Trust, on 0208 753 5190 and kathryn.dombrowicz@riverhouseuk.org

http://www.riverhouseuk.org
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