Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The Value of Cross Institutional Policy Law Clinic Collaboration in the Fight Against Climate Change


  • Lucy Blackburn University of Central Lancashire
  • Sadie Whittam Lancaster University
  • Kathryn Saban Lancaster University



In the spring of 2022, clinicians from the University of Central Lancashire’s Advice and Resolution Centre and Lancaster University’s Law Clinic launched a pilot environmental law policy clinic. A primary motivation for starting the policy clinic was to involve a wider range of students in clinic work, including those who may not have volunteered for the main legal advice clinic due to either a lack of confidence or a lack of desire to enter the legal profession.

Through participation in a CLEO workshop on policy clinics, the writers were introduced to the work of the Environmental Law Foundation (ELF). ELF provides free information and guidance on environmental issues for individuals and communities through a university-based law clinic policy network. The aim of our policy clinic project with ELF was to investigate the extent to which local authorities in a UK region are considering climate emergency declarations in their decision making and are on track to achieve net zero emissions. Participation in the project did not require any previous experience in environmental law or policy work, and the supervisors of the project did not have expertise in this niche area of law.

This paper will reflect on the experiences of running a pilot, cross-institutional environmental law policy clinic and the lessons learned (both good and bad) from the undertaking.