Category Archives: News

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

By | News | No Comments

“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

By | News | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments

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

By | News | No Comments

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

By | News | One Comment

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!

By | News | One Comment

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

By | News | One Comment

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/

Residence Test Thrown Out by Supreme Court

By | News | No Comments

Last week the Supreme Court, in a unanimous judgment, found against the Ministry of Justice (‘MoJ’) preventing them from introducing the ‘residence test’ scheme this summer.  This is an incredible win for legal aid and social justice and we at ILC could not be more proud of the Public Law Project (‘PLP’)!

What is the ‘residence test’?

In 2013 the MoJ issued a consultation paper, Transforming Legal Aid, proposing that applicants for civil legal aid be

  • lawfully resident in the UK, Crown Dependencies or British Overseas Territories at the time the application is made; and
  • lawfully residing in the UK, Crown Dependencies or British Overseas Territories for 12 months.

The MoJ provided exceptions to this test for armed forces personnel, asylum seekers.

The justification for this test was a concern over individuals with little or no connection to the UK who are able to benefit from the civil legal aid scheme without having contributed themselves (e.g. those who have not had to pay taxes in the UK).

Timeline

2013: Consultation paper by MoJ released.

2014: PLP challenges the proposal in the High Court who rule against the MoJ stating that the justice secretary did not have the powers to introduce the regulation through secondary legislation and that the test was excessively discriminatory.

2015: The Court of Appeal overturns the previous decision stating that the ruling placed an unjustifiable restraint on the government’s ability to control the legal aid budget and that the discrimination based on residence was not a characteristic ‘specially protected’ by law, such as sex or race.

2016: After the first day of a scheduled two-day hearing, the Supreme Court unanimously finds against the MoJ after just a few minutes of deliberation.

What does this mean?

At the outset, the MoJ will not be able to roll out the scheme this summer as intended.  Following the judgment, a MoJ spokesperson said: ‘We are of course very disappointed with this decision. We will now wait for the full written judgment to consider.’

This is a very important decision for the future of legal aid in the UK and could not have been possible without the hard work of PLP, Bindmans LLP, and barristers of Blackstone Chambers and Doughty Street Chambers.

#WhyWeWalk

By | Events, News | No Comments

The 12th  annual London Legal Walk will be taking place this year on 16 May. It is a 10km walk through London and hosted by the London Legal Support Trust.  Last year over £700,000 was raised!  A phenomenal accomplishment.

The Trust has been a long time supporter of the Islington Law Centre and ILC have participated in the London Legal Walk for many years.  As the walk approaches and (we hope) donations are flooding in, we thought it would be a great time to talk about #WhyWeWalk:

We walk:

  • for asylum seekers wanting to be reunited with their families
  • for the single mum who was unfairly dismissed at her job leaving her unable to provide for her family
  • for the job seeker unreasonably sanctioned
  • for the newly landed immigrant who has been taken advantage of by a telecommunication company due to their lack of understanding of English
  • for the man whose relationship breakdown has thrown him into depression, cost him his job and is now in severe debt with no one to support him
  • for the disabled tenant who has been living with damp and mould for 2 years

We walk for those who wouldn’t have a voice if it weren’t for Law Centres.

Update (26/04/16): if you would like to donate to the Islington Law Centre’s Legal Walk team, please visit our justgiving page here – all donations are greatly appreciated!

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