Law Centre NI

Law Centre (NI)

promoting social justice through legal advice,
representation, policy, training and publications

 

Welcome to our June 2012 e-newsletter.  We hope that you find it useful. Please feel free to circulate to interested colleagues.

You can also follow us on Twitter: @LawCentreNI

If this newsletter does not display properly, follow this link to: June 2012 HTML version.

 

Contents

Useful new documents

Migrant workers guides updated

Pro bono work

Summer training

Trafficking

Asylum victory

Tax credit arrears backdated

Useful Law Centre documents

Please click below for:

Law Centre (NI) Business Plan 2012-13

Law Centre (NI) Casework Selection Policy 2012-13

Legal Support Project Strategic Casework Selection Policy 2012-13

 

Migrant workers guides updated

Young woman smiling

The Polish version of ‘Your Rights in Northern Ireland: a Guide for Migrant Workers’ (2011) is now in print.  It is being distributed through Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Polish Association and other voluntary organisations working with migrant workers. 

If you would like to distribute copies in your premises, please contact our publications officer catherine.couvert@lawcentreni.org

The online version is available on www.lawcentreni.org/publications/migrant-workers.html, along with English, Romanian, Lithuanian, Slovak, Bulgarian, Russian, Latvian, Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese versions.

We have produced a multi-lingual poster to advertise the new online versions.  A copy will be sent to all our member organisations.  If you would like extra copies of the poster to distribute from your premises or in your local area, please contact our publications officer: catherine.couvert@lawcentreni.org

We would like to thank the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission who published the guides jointly with the Law Centre.  Special thanks are also due to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership and Belfast City Council who provided funds for the translations and to print the Polish version.

 

 

The role of pro bono work

Justice Stephens at the launch of the Legal Support Project

On 1 March this year, Mr Justice Stephens (above) spoke at the launch of the Law Centre’s Legal Support Project on the importance of pro-bono work.

A summary of his speech can be downloaded below.

Download Mr Justice Stephens' speech (Word)

 

Sign up for summer training

WRAP course 2012

8 June: Immigration Law and Criminal Justice, Belfast

20 June: Financing Residential Care, Belfast

26 June: Financing Residential Care, Derry

27 June: Pregnancy and Benefits, Belfast

29 June: Immigration Law & People Trafficking, Belfast

8 August: WRAP refresher – Disability Related Benefits – Belfast (half day)

15 August: WRAP refresher – Disability Related Benefits – Derry (half day)

All our courses carry CPD points for solicitors, barristers and CAB advisers.

For more details, contact: noreen.hyndman@lawcentreniwest.org, 028 7126 2433 or view our Training Programme

 

Anti-trafficking

The Law Centre responded to a Department of Justice consultation paper on amending the law to introduce new human trafficking offences.

We welcomed this development which implements the UK's obligations under the European Union's Trafficking Convention.

 

Asylum victory

We successfully challenged the refusal of the Secretary of State to allow an Iranian national’s fresh claim for asylum.   The court found that unless the new evidence presented in a fresh claim for asylum is unfounded, it is the role of the immigration judge to determine whether the asylum case has a ‘realistic prospect of success,’ not the Secretary of State.  

This is a victory for ensuring that the highest standards of law are upheld and not subject to the discretionary powers of the Secretary of State. It should have a positive impact on securing the human rights of asylum seekers.

 

Tax credit arrears for self-employed client

We recently obtained more than £10,000 arrears of tax credits for a client who had given up hope of resolving the dispute when she contacted the Law Centre.

Our client phoned Tax Credits Helpline in October 2010 to tell them that she was leaving employment and becoming self employed.  Despite countless phone calls to HMRC over the course of the next year she did not receive any decisions or information from HMRC.

In October 2011 she was informed that the claim had been disallowed after her first call a year before.  She was told that she should make a fresh claim but that this could only be backdated for three months.

We sent a Pre-action Protocol letter to HMRC and asked for an extra statutory payment to compensate our client for her loss due to the Revenue’s failure to comply with statutory decision making procedures.  She was delighted when HMRC settled the case and fully backdated tax credits for the period.