Disability Legal Information Clinic
The Disability Legal Information Clinic is a joint venture between the Centre for Disability Law and Policy (CDLP) and NUIG Free Legal Advice Centre Society. Since its launch in Autumn 2011, the clinic has provided legal information on a diverse range of disability related issues.
The clinic has two main goals:
- to provide a legal information service on issues related to disability, and
- to serve as a research resource for practitioners and organisations on aspects of disability law
The clinic takes place on the first Wednesday of each month from October to May from 5pm on an appointment basis.
Contact Us: Disability Legal Information Clinic,
Centre for Disability Law and Policy,
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to get an appointment.
Drop-in ClinicThe clinic is staffed by law student volunteers and supervised by legal practitioners and CDLP staff. Sessions are held in the CDLP in the newly established Institute for Lifecourse and Society (ILAS) at NUIG (see the Contact us section). The clinic takes place on the first Wednesday of each month from October to May from 5pm on an appointment basis. A legal practitioner and a CDLP staff member supervise all clinic sessions.
Clinic policy dictates that if a query is being made about or on behalf of a person with disability, the person at the centre of the query should attend the session, so that information can be provided directly to the individual. Those attending the clinic can bring a family member, advocate or support person if they wish. Please email queries in advance to email@example.com so that volunteers can prepare for the session and also let us know if you have any additional accessibility requirements (the ILAS building is fully accessible).
Volunteers at the clinic are students and not legal practitioners, and therefore cannot provide legal advice, simply information on how to address legal issues facing people with disabilities. Anyone requiring legal advice will have to consult a solicitor separately.
For details on who should attend the clinic, confidentiality, accessibility and other information, please see the clinic’s DLIC Clinic Policy.
The clinic's research resource pairs law student volunteers with CDLP PhDs and research staff to prepare pieces of research sought by local organisations, or assemble case law and precedent relating to disability issues for legal practitioners, as part of developing a case or presenting an argument for reform.
Requests for research to be carried out are dealt with on a case by case basis. Priority will be given to issues which can be addressed within the current capacity of the CDLP, which currently carries out research on legal capacity, independent living, mental health law, employment law and inclusive education among other areas (see Research Projects for further information).
Volunteers for the research resource aspect of the clinic also receive training on research methods, sources, and presenting legal research in accessible easy-to-read formats for organisations, or in the form of a briefing note for legal practitioners, as necessary. In addition to this training, research volunteers will be mentored by CDLP staff and CDLP PhD students, who will quality-assure the research produced by the clinic.
- In 2012, the volunteers completed a research project on voting rights for those with visual impairments. The completed projected is available here to download: Report on the Voting Rights for Blind and Visually Impaired People in Ireland
- Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Oversight & Petitions hearing on the medical criteria of disabled drivers and passengers (Tax Concessions) Regulations 1994 SI 353 or 1994 available here to download: Hearing on the medical criteria of disabled drivers and passengers
All volunteers receive comprehensive training during September and October prior to the clinic commencing in October of each year. Training sessions are organised and provided by the CDLP and are open to members of the public, as well as student volunteers, although only law student volunteers can be included on the clinic rota. Training is facilitated by experienced academics, researchers and legal professionals in the field of disability law and policy. Training is offered on discrete areas of law which are the main focus of clinic queries e.g. employment, housing, education, social welfare and non-discrimination. In addition, disability equality and awareness training is provided along with the skills volunteers will need in order to listen effectively at clinics, communicate with users, and keep relevant data on queries presented. Completion of all training will be a pre-condition for inclusion on the clinic rota.
Training sessions are provided on Wednesday evenings in September and October and topics covered include:
- Session 1: Introduction to clinics – how they work, general policy, etc.
- Session 2: Disability Services in Ireland
- Session 3: Employment and Equality Law
- Session 4: Independent Living and Deinstitutionalisation
Full details of upcoming training session dates and topics may be obtained by contacting the clinic (firstname.lastname@example.org). PowerPoint presentations of training sessions are available on request.