UofG law clinic to improve justice for victims of sexual assault

By Odhran Gallagher

A new law clinic is set to be opened at Glasgow University which will improve access to legal representation to victims of sexual offences.

A new law clinic has been opened at the University of Glasgow designed to support complainers in sexual violence cases. The Emma Ritch Law Clinic is set to open in September of this year and will offer support for survivors of sexual violence through free representation from practising solicitors. Funding to establish the clinic has been provided by charity donors in conjunction with the Scottish Government.

The clinic is named after Scottish women’s rights campaigner and University of Glasgow alumni, Emma Ritch, who died in July of 2021. She was also executive director of the organisation ‘Engender’, which worked closely with the Scottish government in order to promote women’s rights and champion women’s issues. 

The clinic is based in the University’s School of Law and will also be involved in research into the effect that specialist legal advice, such as the clinic provides, can have on the progress of sexual assault cases in the Scottish criminal justice system as well as the experience of the complainant. Furthermore, the clinic will work with charities such as Rape Crisis Scotland in order to provide different forms of support to victims of sexual offences. 

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, visited the University for the Clinic for its opening event. She said: “The Clinic will be a fitting tribute to Emma Ritch and to her formidable legacy as a fearless advocate of women’s rights. I hope it will make an important and transformative difference to women and girls’ experience of the criminal justice system in years to come.

“The Law School is leading this transformative step forward and this supports one of my last acts as First Minister, which will be a bigger programme of reform of the criminal justice system to meet women’s needs.”

Principal of the University, Anton Muscatelli, said: “The Emma Ritch Law Clinic represents the continued commitment to develop social change legal education at the University of Glasgow. The Clinic joins a series of initiatives designed by the School of Law to support our students and academics to use the law and their legal skills to make a positive difference to society.

“The University of Glasgow is a civically-minded institution, and we are therefore very proud to partner with the Scottish Government, Rape Crisis Scotland and the Sebba Foundation to host this valuable and much needed service. We hope the Clinic will help shape the national development of legal advice for survivors of sexual offences into the future.”


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