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Thursday, June 02, 2022 at 09:16

The Legal Clinic advises 'one on one' to people with disabilities

The Legal Clinic advises 'one on one' to people with disabilities The Legal Clinic advises 'one on one' to people with disabilities

The Rey Juan Carlos University and Líber train 20 law students in disability, legal capacity and easy reading to provide legal advice services, through a joint project.

Raúl García Hémonnet/Editor

The first edition of the Learning and Service project 'De tú a tú' has just finished, in which URJC students have provided legal advice to 10 people with intellectual disabilities who have a judgment of modification of capacity.

This first edition of the project has allowed 20 law students to acquire theoretical knowledge about the legislative reform promoted by Law 8/2021, of June 2, to support these people in the exercise of their legal rights, about the intellectual disability and cognitive accessibility; and put them into practice.

In this sense, they have been able to work directly with 10 members of this group who have sentences of modification of the capacity prior to the reform, and who are supported by the Tutelar Foundation of Madrid FUTUMAD.

At the close of the first edition of the project, a face-to-face conference was held. In it, the students have put their knowledge into practice by providing a service to this group of people with intellectual disabilities who have requested it and who have had the opportunity to access their sentences, previously adapted in Easy Reading. In addition, on this day, they have been able to obtain a detailed explanation, adjusted to their needs and personal characteristics, about their legal situation.

Marta Albert, professor of Philosophy of Law and director of the Legal Clinic, highlights the interest for students in experiences like this. “Students learn that when all these legal issues are conveyed appropriately to people with intellectual or developmental disabilities,” she notes. And she adds that "they internalize its content and that allows them to act as full citizens, they see that they really make a change in the lives of these people."

Both institutions highlight that the Learning and Service project joins other collaborations between Liber and the Rey Juan Carlos University Legal Clinic, which have allowed joint work in various events, such as the II Conference on disability in rural areas and the First State Congress on the right to decide with support, held last November, and the future edition of the Rey Juan Carlos University summer courses, to be held next June.

Law for those who need it most

The Legal Clinic offers URJC Law students contact with legal activity as it is outside the classroom, in favor of the most needy social groups.

As Marta Albert explains, doing the curricular internships at the Legal Clinic is interesting "first because you learn a lot, about real law, about how things are outside the faculty, about problems that the legislator does not even fall into". In addition, she highlights that "our beneficiaries have a significant invisibility bias, and because the law in practice is sometimes far from the image we make of it when we study it theoretically."

In addition, the students are supported by a practicing lawyer, who acts as a mentor in each case. The students will be able to carry out, at the same time that they learn an important social work. It is about, explains Marta Albert, "putting their knowledge at the service of the most fragile in our society, understanding that the law is worth nothing if it does not serve people and respect their dignity and integrity," says Albert.

Present and future full of projects

At this time, the Clinic continues with personalized legal assistance to the inmates of the Ocaña 1 prison.

On the other hand, they are finalizing a 'Guide to return to life in freedom' to help inmates who, after serving their sentence, "face a world that has changed a lot in a short time," says Marta Albert. This guide is produced in collaboration with the Isla Merced Social Reintegration Center.

At the same time, the 'Step-by-step regularization process guide' is being developed, designed for social workers who can guide people in an irregular situation in the regularization processes by rooting and obtaining nationality.

In addition, the Clinic has initiatives in different stages of development. A legal support project for homeless people, the drafting of the Spanish Constitution in Easy Reading, a civil and criminal guide for women in vulnerable situations, another for training trainers in access to justice and even a summer course within the URJC summer program, which will deal with inclusive justice.