Legal Aid brought back into scope for separated and unaccompanied children in immigration cases following legal challenge brought by Islington Law Centre

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“Immigration law is complex and fast moving. Combined with the hostile environment which we have seen wreak such havoc on the Windrush generation, the thought of children navigating the system alone was terrifying. Sometimes as a lawyer you start with a gut instinct that something is wrong, and you build a case around it. After 5 years of hard work it is a relief to see that instinct vindicated.”
Roopa Tanna – Solicitor, Islington Law Centre

Islington Law Centre and MiCLU represented The Children’s Society in their 5-year long legal challenge to the government’s 2013 removal of legal aid for children’s immigration cases. In a Ministerial Statement in the House of Commons on 12 July 2018 Lucy Frazer (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Justice) announced that changes will now be made to reinstate legal aid as of right for unaccompanied or separated migrant children requiring legal advice and representation in relation to immigration matters. This is the first time that the Lord Chancellor has exercised his powers to reinstate civil legal aid for a specified group.

In the face of the hostile environment and cut to services this is an important safeguard for children who face complex laws affecting every aspect of their lives. Children without a parent to advocate for them are particularly vulnerable, and, as Windrush has shown us, the effects of being unable to assert rights and entitlements in relation to immigration entitlements can last a lifetime.

“The role of a Law Centre is to ensure equality of access to justice to all members of our community. In the face of cuts to our services we nevertheless decided to run this case because of the fundamental issues of access to justice involved.”
Stuart Hearne – Co-Director, Islington Law Centre

We are immensely proud of our legal team. In particular we would like to thank Paul Bowen QC, Michelle Knorr, Alison Pickup, Oliver Jones, and Zoe Harper. We would also like to thank all those who supported the case by providing evidence of the impact that loss of legal aid has had on separated and unaccompanied migrant children.

“At MiCLU our aim is for every migrant child to have their voice heard in legal proceedings affecting them. We are so proud of our legal team for bringing this case so that unaccompanied and separated migrant children have access to a lawyer to help them to be fully involved in issues so key to their future.”
Anna Skehan – Solicitor, MiCLU

Business Finance Manager

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Islington Law Centre is seeking to recruit a Business Finance Manager, operating as part of the Senior Management Team. Tasked with the management of the Law Centre’s finance function, this is an opportunity for someone with a range of skills, from managing and developing financial systems and processes, to creatively managing the Law Centre’s funds.   This is a new post within the Law Centre and provides an opportunity for someone to shape the future of the Law Centre in these challenging times.

Details and an application pack can be downloaded here.

Job Advert

Covering Letter

Person Specification

Information for Applicants

Application Form

EO Monitoring Form

London Legal Walk

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Islington Law Centre is again taking part in the London Legal Support Trust’s Annual London Legal Walk on 21 May 2018. This year the walk is the biggest ever, with over 12,000 people walking through London to raise much needed funds for legal advice agencies.

Our team includes staff, trustees and volunteers and we are extremely grateful to all of our sponsors. All the money raised by our team goes directly to our work, and we are delighted that 3 corporate firms are also raising money for the Law Centre. If you would like to support us in this way, you can donate online here. Thank you!

New Head of Legal Practice joins Islington Law Centre

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Islington Law Centre is delighted to have appointed Stuart Hearne as the new Head of Legal Practice. Stuart is a solicitor with over 20 years’ experience. He has joined us from Shelter where he was managing and overseeing all the legal aid work across 11 Shelter offices in the south of England including the three London offices. Prior to working at Shelter, Stuart was the Director of Cambridge House Law Centre in Camberwell. Stuart also has a background in private practice having been a partner at Christian Khan solicitors where he was Head of Housing and Immigration. He comes with a wealth of casework experience having run cases at all levels including the Administrative Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. Stuart is also an experienced trainer with particular experience of training around case management.

Head of Legal Practice – Recruitment

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The Law Centre is delighted to be seeking to appoint to a new post, the Head of Legal Practice.  The post holder will be an experienced practitioner, and will play a key role in developing our work over the coming period.  This is an exciting opportunity to join our team.  Full details are available here – the deadline for the receipt of completed applications is  Wednesday 8th November 2017  at 5pm.

ILC Covering Letter October 2017 HOLP

Islington Law Centre HOLP Advert October 2017

ILC Job Description Co Director Head of Legal Practice FINAL

ILC Person Specification Co Director HOLP October 2017

Information for Applicants October 2017 – HOLP

ILC Application Form October 2017 HOLP

Trustees

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The Law Centre is seeking to add to its Board of Directors/Charity Trustees. Ideally we want 3 new members with experience in finance, Legal Aid, and Human Resources, or a combination of skills.   In particular we are seeking people with Not for Profit Board/Trustee experience of Governance of a mid-size organisation with a complex funding base and a large staff team.

If this interests you and you have time to give we would love to hear from you. If you would like more information on the commitment required please contact the Centre Director, Ruth Hayes, ruthh@islingtonlaw.org.uk in the first instance. If you prefer we can send you and Information Pack and Application Form in advance.

Opportunities to join us!

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Islington Law Centre is delighted that our Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU) has been chosen as a host agency for the Justice First Fellowship programme.  This means that we are able to offer a training contract within the team, with the opportunity to qualify as a solicitor, and to specialise in work with children and young people.  This post is funded by the Legal Education Foundation and by BBC Children in Need.

MiCLU is a specialist policy and legal hub committed to promoting and protecting the rights of refugee and migrant children and young people. We achieve this using a unique combination of direct legal representation, strategic litigation, policy and influencing work, advocacy and legal education.

The programme aims to develop a new cohort of social welfare lawyers who have a strong commitment to access to justice, and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on their own project, as well as on our well established programme of activities.

Further details and the online application are available via the Legal Education Foundation website, here:-  Applications are through the Justice First Fellowship: https://jff.thelegaleducationfoundation.org/how-to-apply/application-form/. The deadline for applications is 18 September 2017.

Justice First Fellowship – opportunity to take up a training contract at Islington Law Centre

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Islington Law Centre is delighted to have been chosen as a host agency for the Justice First Fellowship programme.  This means that we are able to offer a training contract at ILC, with the opportunity to work alongside our highly experienced legal teams, and to make a real difference to the local community.

This post is funded by the Legal Education Foundation and by City Bridge Trust.

The programme aims to develop a new cohort of social welfare lawyers who have a strong commitment to access to justice, and the successful candidate will have the opportunity to work on their own project, as well as on our well established programme of activities.

Further details and the online application are available via the Legal Education Foundation website, here:-  https://jff.thelegaleducationfoundation.org/how-to-apply/

Volunteering at ILC [#1]

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Fundamental to the running of the Islington Law Centre is the invaluable help our volunteers provide.  Whether it’s volunteering on reception, helping the admin team, or assisting caseworkers and solicitors, our volunteers help run our Law Centre so that we can continue to provide legal help to the Islington community.

Our volunteers come from a wide range of backgrounds – whether they’re students, career changers or those just looking to give back to the community, each individual brings their own set of skills and personality that develops the Law Centre’s culture.

We have asked some of our volunteers to answer some questions about their experience at the Law Centre, why they decided to volunteer and what they got out of it, and thought we would share their responses here!


Our first volunteer is Nur Hisyam bin Azman who volunteered in our Housing Unit in 2014 for 6 months:

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a law graduate and am working right now while undergoing training to be qualified in Singapore.

Why did you decide to volunteer with ILC?

To gain valuable experience in the legal industry I was getting into, give back to the community as I am intending to be a commercial lawyer thus there might not be many opportunities to do so in future and boost my cv.

What has been/was your favourite part about volunteering with ILC?

My supervising solicitor was a wonderful person to work with. She was willing to teach and very patient. Having the opportunity to work on actual cases and attend court hearings with barristers was also very enlightening at that early stage of my legal career.

What have you gained from volunteering with ILC?

A deeper interest in pro bono work and knowledge of housing law.

Would you recommend volunteering at ILC to others?

Yes, because the chance to work with a solicitor on actual cases is invaluable experience to law students and graduates who are hoping to start their legal careers.


If you are interested in volunteering with us, do visit our Volunteer page to learn more!

For general enquiries or to make an appointment: Call 020 7288 7630