New initiative unveiled to help youth understand legal rights and get free legal advice

The Youth Community & Legal Clinic will bring together volunteer young lawyers and law students.
The Youth Community & Legal Clinic will bring together volunteer young lawyers and law students.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Young people can better understand their legal rights and get help with legal advice under a new pilot scheme announced on Monday (Sept 28).

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

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

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

The initiative was announced virtually by Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Second Minister for Law Edwin Tong on Monday.

Law Society Pro Bono Services chairman Gregory Vijayendran said the youth are more likely to be receptive to getting advice from a peer who is closer in age and from the same generation.

The young lawyers and law students will also be more empathetic to the needs and aspirations of the youth, and better relate to them and confide in them.

"We hope the pilot clinic will help youths navigate challenges potentially impacting their mental, psycho-social and financial health, relationships and families in a holistic and integrated way," he said.

Mr Tong also announced the renewal of two memoranda of understanding (MOUs).

 
 
 

One 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 other is an MOU among the CDCs, Law Society Pro Bono Services, NUS, SMU, SUSS and the Singapore Corporate Counsel Association to pledge their commitment to providing pro bono services to the community and organising the annual Law Awareness Weeks (LAW) @ CDC event.

On Monday, a discussion session was also held as part of the commencement of LAW @ CDC 2020, themed The Law And Me: Stronger Together.

Mr Tong and Mr Vijayendran were among those who attended the session, which also involved pro bono lawyers and law students.

They addressed topics such as employment, divorce, advance legal planning, as well as new topics not raised previously - family violence, small businesses facing a crisis, dealing with creditors, freelancing in a crisis, working from home, and landlord and tenancy matters.