RGU to host law conference with acclaimed Scottish keynote speaker

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Darren McGarvey
Robert Gordon University (RGU) is to host this year’s Scottish University Law Clinic Network (SULCN) this week with a renowned Orwell Prize winner and social commentator lined up as keynote speaker.

Darren McGarvey, a poet, rapper, and acclaimed author who speaks candidly and passionately on social issues in Scotland, will address members of the network at RGU when the conference takes place on Thursday 25 May.

The SULCN conference brings together student law clinics across Scotland to share best practice, raise awareness, and discuss how they can most effectively utilise their skills across their network to help those in need.

This years’ theme concerns the enduring cost-of-living crisis that is seeing people of all backgrounds struggle to make ends meet thanks to the rising prices of food, rent and all that comes with it.

The Grampian Community Law Centre’s Community Clinic launched in November last year at RGU and has been inundated with cases ever since. Its Director, and also Academic Chair of SULCN, is Hannah Moneagle.

She said: “We are honoured to bring this year’s conference to the North East as it shows our commitment to student engagement, learning, and teaching. Darren is a passionate speaker and we felt that he would offer our student advisors a very honest and practical view of the societal issues affecting our local communities.”

On speaking at the SULCN conference and the need for free, legal advice in Scottish society, Darren McGarvey said: “It’s an unfortunate truth that Scotland has major issues with poverty and the cost-of-living crisis that we’re all currently going through only exasperates that.

“I’m therefore proud of the students and their mentors who are providing a vital service to people all over the country who simply don’t have the money or resources to support themselves in various ways. My recent book launch began in Aberdeen and it’ll be great to return and lend my support to the Scottish University Law Clinic Network.”

The conference will include presentations for attendees to learn more from experts in topics such as mental health, housing law, debt, consumer rights and more. Dr Adrian Crofton of Torry Medical Practice will also be presenting on the connection between underlying legal issues and mental and physical health difficulties. 

Since its launch in 2022, Grampian Community Law Centre has enhanced its offering with the launch of both a Climate Clinic and an Orkney Clinic, providing more services to more clients in need whilst simultaneously helping RGU students grow in their field of study.

Recent cases include taking on Aberdeen City Council over the closure of six city centre libraries and a public swimming pool in Bucksburn, and the battle to save St Fittick's Park in Torry.

The SULCN conference is open to all student advisors and staff that work for a law clinic at a Scottish university.

Image: Darren McGarvey, credit: John Devlin.

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