New Initiative to Provide Legal Advice for Youth

Straits Times
Straits Times

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Youths will now be able to better understand their legal rights, and receive legal advice under a new pilot scheme announced by the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong on 28 September. 

The Youth Community and Legal Clinic will bring together young volunteer lawyers and law students to provide free legal online consultation services to youth in need.

The legal clinic for youth will be rolled out in the coming months, and will be administered by the Law Society Pro Bono Services, with support from the five Community Development Councils (CDC), National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Management University (SMU) and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). 

Youth receiving legal services will also be able to tap on the CDCs’ network and resources for social assistance if needed.

Why the need for this initiative?

According to Law Society Pro Bono Services chairman Gregory Vijayendran, the purpose of this legal clinic is to help youths navigate challenges potentially impacting their mental, psychosocial and financial health, relationships and families in a holistic and integrated way.

The young lawyers and law students will be able to grow in their empathy towards the needs and aspirations of the upcoming generation, and better relate to them.

Vijayendran also said that the engagement of young lawyers would help youths be more receptive to getting advice from someone closer in age and from the same generation.

What else is there?

During the virtual announcement, Mr Tong also announced the renewal of two memoranda of understanding (MOUs). 

The first is between the CDCs and the Law Society Pro Bono Services for its Community Legal Pro Bono Services Network to help those who need free legal advice.

The second is an MOU among the CDCs, Law Society Pro Bono Services, NUS, SMU, SUSS and the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association to continue providing pro bono services to the community, and organising the annual Law Awareness Weeks (LAW)@CDC Event.

This year’s [email protected] commenced on Monday, under the theme, The Law & Me: Stronger Together. Topics in discussion this year include employment, family violence, divorce (civil and Syariah), and advance legal planning. There are also webinars focusing on legal matters in response to challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The webinars will be aired ‘live’ from 5 October to 13 November. Interested participants can sign up for free here.

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