On Legal Assistance Day, law students and teachers from St Petersburg University answered legal questions from residents. 

The residents could contact the Legal Clinic of St Petersburg University either by calling the helpline or via the Internet. Almost 50 people took advantage of this opportunity: elderly people, parents with several children, students, disabled people, and those who could not solve their legal problem on their own or seek legal advice from professional lawyers.

Most of this year's enquiries concerned issues of inheritance, social welfare, protection of property and land rights.

Viacheslav Nizamov, Director of the Legal Clinic at St Petersburg University

People were also interested in how to claim moral damages, to terminate a contract or to file a lawsuit correctly. More than 30 people made in-person appointments, which means that their legal issues required a thoughtful and detailed examination of their case.

'I only realised how exhausted I was after I had finished receiving calls, but this fatigue was compensated for by satisfaction with our mission. We managed to provide assistance to as many people as was possible. It was good practical and human experience for me as a law student, too. It was important to listen to a person, to understand their problem, and try to help,' said Diana Merkitova, a student of St Petersburg University, who worked on the helpline that day.

It is important that everyone, regardless of their social status and income, can apply to the University Clinic on Legal Assistance Day. The Russian Bar Association hosts such events several times a year.

For the rest of the year, the University Legal Clinic provides free legal assistance during the academic semesters: from 1 March to 5 May and from 1 October to 5 December. The only condition is that the applicant's total income should not exceed 2.5 of the minimum subsistence amount (29,000 roubles for St Petersburg in 2019).

'The entire process of providing legal support by our students is carried out under the close supervision of faculty members, who are qualified lawyers with many years of practical work experience,' said the director of the clinic. The Legal Clinic has been working at St Petersburg University for 20 years. Over this time, it has established an efficient system that ensures the highest quality of consulting services.

The clinic's supervisors say that clients who have received legal advice from the University return because they are sure they will be listened to here.