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Mental capacity consultation: two important conferences

The Law Centre's Colin Harper, Assistant Director (Community Care and Mental Health Policy), will speak at two conferences focusing on the draft Mental Capacity Bill for Northern Ireland.

The Mental Capacity (Health, Welfare & Finance) Bill which has just been issued for public consultation will break new ground by fusing mental health and mental capacity law into a single piece of legislation. It will introduce a single, statutory framework governing all situations where a decision needs to be made in relation to the care, treatment or personal welfare and finance of persons who lack capacity to make the decision for themselves.

• Mental Capacity in an Ageing Society

Tuesday 1 July 2014, 9.45am, The Duncairn Centre, Belfast

Alzheimer's Society and Stratagem are holding a half day discussion focussing on how the draft bill relates to people with dementia and family carers. An international line-up of experts will present lessons learnt from recent experience outside Northern Ireland and will suggest how the developing legislation has or might benefit from these precedents.

This event is free but requires pre-registration as spaces are limited. Contact Chris McCreery at Stratagem on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 028 90 872800

• A Draft Mental Capacity Bill for NI: reducing stigma, empowering the individual

Thursday 3 July 2014, 9am, The Law Society, Belfast

At an event organised by Chambré Public Affairs, Health Minister Edwin Poots and Justice Minister David Ford will explain their Departments' framework intended to deliver the Bamford vision of reducing the stigma associated with having a separate mental health law.

They will be joined by other speakers discussing how the vision can be implemented, including Professor Roy McClelland, former chair of the Bamford Review.
View the conference programme

Register for the event

For further information contact Gemma or Jenny at Chambré Public Affairs on 028 9026 8600 or visit www.eyeonthehill.com


Refugee Week 2014

Refugee Week

The Law Centre will be contributing to two events for Refugee Week this year.

On Monday 16 June, the Northern Ireland Assembly will hold a debate called by OFDMFM Committee. In preparation for the debate, the Law Centre has put together a briefing paper for MLAs, with information gathered from local organisations highlighting the contribution of asylum seekers and refugees.

The motion to be discussed is:

'That this Assembly notes that 16 -22 June 2014 marks both Refugee Week 2014 and Community Relations Week 2014; further notes the respective themes of 'Shared Future' and 'Building a United Community'; and expresses its support for both Refugee Week and Community Relations Week, particularly in relation to their shared aim of facilitating positive encounters between diverse cultures in order to encourage greater understanding, overcome hostility and build a shared society.'

On Wednesday 18 June, Belfast City Council will launch a new guide for people who are transitioning from the status of asylum seeker to that of refugee, and for their advisers. Refugee Transition has been produced by Law Centre (NI) on behalf of Belfast City Council Community Relations Unit. Translated versions in Somali, Arabic, French and Simplified Chinese will be published soon, with support from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

Programme of Refugee Week events

For more information see: www.nicras.btck.co.uk


Statement of support

The Law Centre is very aware of the public debate that has arisen following the recent sermon from Pastor James McConnell on the Muslim faith.

As an organization that has a number of member organizations who comprise individuals from the Muslim community we are cognisant of how attributing homogenous traits or characteristics to all followers of a religion or a particular community is inappropriate, and counter-productive. We have had to advise significant numbers of people over the years who have been the victims of attacks and discrimination based on their race or religion.

Our own experience of working with individuals and community organizations from the Muslim community is that the people involved have views and opinions which are as diverse as other community organizations, whether secular or faith based.

Our experience is that the groups we work with are committed to improving the lives of people within their community and working with other organizations for positive ends.

We therefore continue to support the organisations affiliated to the Law Centre. 


Modern day slavery short film competition

Unchosen logo

The Law Centre is proud to be involved in the UK-wide Unchosen Modern Day Slavery short film competition 2014.

About the competition

Make a short film, maximum 10 minutes, based on one of the forced labour case studies listed here.

Working closely with leading support charities, academics and government agencies, Unchosen has collated a series of genuine case studies that demonstrate the complex reality of forced labour. We have included cases where the forced labour takes place in the UK & Ireland as well as international cases where individuals are exploited in the supply chain of products and services that end up on UK and Irish High streets.

The case studies look at the multiple and varied reasons why an individual might find themselves in a position of forced labour and also look at what the different exit routes from these exploitative situations might be.

All case studies are based on genuine accounts however some details have been changed to protect confidentiality.

The winning films will be used to:

  • Raise awareness about forced labour in the UK & Ireland, and also internationally so that victims are more easily identified and given access to appropriate support.• Raise awareness about how our consumer choices here in the UK have a direct impact on people all around the world.
  • Engage a wide variety of audiences from politicians and policy makers, the media, schools and universities as well as the general public.
    See films from last year's competition here.

Why enter

Prizes: a cash prize of £300 will be awarded by Marsh Christian Trust to the winners of each subject category, plus an award for best Young Filmmaker. The overall winner will receive an additional £300.

Maximum Exposure: an expert panel will select the winning films which will be screened at a high profile awards ceremony in London. All winning films will embark on a road show tour of the UK & Ireland taking in film festivals and multiple other venues nationwide starting in October 2014.

Human Rights/Social change: your film will be used as a key tool in combatting modern-day slavery that takes place today in UK and Ireland.
For more information, and to enter: www.unchosen.org.uk/film-competition.html

About the project

Unchosen is an anti-trafficking charity that organises film campaigns to raise public awareness and combat all forms of human trafficking, forced labour, sexual exploitation and domestic servitude in the UK and Ireland.
Partners and supporters in the initiative are:

Gangmasters Licensing Authority, Economic Social Research Council, Rowntree Foundation, Behind the Label, Manchester Metropolitan University, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Law Centre (NI), Precarious lives project (University of Leeds), Wai Yin Chinese Women's Society, Human Trafficking Foundation, Stop the Traffik, Kalayan justice for migrant domestic workers, Bright Button Productions, Segura, Into Film and the Marsh Christian Trust.


Policy Impact through Law in Action

Les Allamby, Director, Law Centre (NI)24th June 2014, 16:30-18:30 - University of Ulster, Belfast Campus, Room 82A02

Les Allamby, Director of Law Centre (NI), member of the Social Security Advisory Committee and Visiting Professor at the School of Law will be discussing the lessons learned from the Law Centre's work in influencing policy change.

The lecture will run from 5-6 pm with a drinks reception from 4.30 pm.

Cost: Free

For more information and / or to book a place contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it   (tel: 02890366346)

All are welcome to attend


NICVA conference: working poverty

It has long been arNICVA logogued that work is the best route out of poverty. However for the first time, working households make up the majority of those in poverty. This raises concerns around issues such as low pay, the rise of part-time and temporary working, and the high cost of childcare. The conference will discuss the extent and causes of in-work poverty in Northern Ireland, and what should be done to address the problem.

For more information: www.nicva.org/events/creating-good-economy-life-working-poverty


Legal Support Project wins prestigious award

LSP award 2015

The Law Centre's Legal Support Project picked up the award for best new placement employer at the University of Ulster’s Employer Placement Awards 2014. 


Read more: Legal Support Project wins prestigious award


Supporting victims of trafficking

Trafficking roundtable

Politicians from Northern Ireland and Scotland came together on 29 April to discuss how best to support victims of trafficking to rebuild their lives.


Read more: Supporting victims of trafficking


Welfare rights adviser training

WRAP 2013

Grab one of the few remaining places.


Read more: Welfare rights adviser training


New Policy Bulletin

Law Centre (NI) Policy Bulletin 17 is out now, giving an update on policy issues the Law Centre has been working on in the first quarter of 2014.

Download Policy Bulletin 17 - April 2014


Frontline 91 Spring 2014

Picture of child

Separated children, Modern slavery bill, Welfare reform, Benefit cap, NIASC, Budget 2014, Housing equality, Care homes, Benefit rates 2014-2015


Read more: Frontline 91 Spring 2014


Sneak preview: Law Centre training plans for next quarter


6 May Welfare Rights Advisers Programme - 8 days - Introductory level

20 May Introduction to Mental Health Law - Introductory/Intermediate

23 May Understanding Universal Credit - Introductory/Intermediate

29 May Personal Independence Payment - Introductory

10 June Carers and their Rights - Advanced

12 June Dublin III Regulation - ½ day - Advanced

20 June Social Security Appeals – Identifying Errors in Law and Appeals to the Social Security Commissioner - Advanced


15 May Understanding Universal Credit - Introductory/Intermediate

22 May Personal Independence Payment - Introductory

18 June Carers and their Rights - Advanced

Law Centre training counts towards CAB, Law Society and Bar Council Continuing Professional Development.

All courses are mapped towards National Occupational Standards.

Welfare Rights Adviser Programme is accredited by Open College Network Northern Ireland.

For more information, contact training officer Eamon Doherty on 9024 4401 or administration manager (Western Area Office) Elaine McCorriston on 7126 2433

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Or visit our website: www.lawcentreni.org


Community Care Briefing: Identifying and meeting a carer's needs

Law Centre Community Care Briefing 32: Identifying and meeting a carer's needs is now available. This briefing provides a synopsis of the law and guidance governing the assessment of need process for individuals who provide informal care to adults with social care needs.

It is of use to trust staff required to conduct carers' assessments and also to those carers undertaking an assessment of their needs.

Download Community Care Briefing 32


Apprentice solicitor vacancy

The Law Centre is offering an apprenticeship for law students who have secured a place at either the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queens University Belfast or the University of Ulster Graduate School of Professional Legal Education.

We will be able to offer advice, casework and advocacy experience in one or more of our areas of work, alongside dealing with legal aid applications and an opportunity to gain experience of how the Law Centre’s work contributes to policy development. 

For more information and an application form please visit the Work With Us page.




Community care briefing: Domiciliary care eligibility

The Law Centre has a new community care briefing available on assessing eligibility for domiciliary care services. 

This briefing examines a case taken by Law Centre (NI) in the matter of
an Application by Kathleen McClean for Judicial Review [2011] (McClean’s

The decision in McClean’s Application is of relevance to any health and/
or social care professional required to assess an adult’s eligibility to
access a domiciliary care service from the Trust.

Download Community Care Briefing 31: Domiciliary Care Eligibility


Benefit and Tax Credit rates 2014

The new Benefit and Tax Credit rates for 2014-2015 are now available.

Go to Benefit and Tax Credit rates page at Encyclopedia of Rights

Download Benefit and Tax Credit rates PDF


Vacancy at Children's Law Centre

Recptionist/Admin Assistant (Part time 18 hours per week)

Ref: RAA 03/14   NJC Salary Point 16 - £16,604 per annum pro rata

The Receptionist/Admin. Assistant will have at least 2 years secretarial and word processing experience, RSA Stage II word processing/typing or equivalent, 5 GCSEs at grade C and above to include English and Maths or equivalent.

Experience of Sage Line 50 Accounts, Microsoft Office, databases and file management. A commitment to children’s rights and participation is essential.

Attractive terms and conditions apply including Company Pension and Employers for Childcare Voucher scheme.

This post will initially be for 1 year but has good prospects for renewal.

Application packs can be downloaded from our website:


or apply in writing quoting reference number to:

Helen Rafferty, Head of Administration & Finance Unit, Children’s Law Centre, 3rd Floor, Philip House, 123-137 York Street, Belfast, BT15 1AB or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Closing Date: 12 pm Friday, 28 March 2014

Interviews will be held on: Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Children’s Law Centre is an equal opportunities employer


Casework volunteers

Law Centre volunteer

Law Centre (NI) will accept expressions of interest in short-term (minimum of three months) placements to volunteer in one of the following areas of casework: immigration, social security, employment and community care.


Read more: Casework volunteers


Vacancy - Legal Adviser (Mental Health)

The Law Centre is seeking candidates for the post of Legal Adviser (Mental Health) for maternity leave cover.

Full details and an application form can be found on our Work With Us page.


Migrants and benefits: a new guide

Migrants and Benefits cover

Law Centre (NI) has published an advisers' guide on Migrants and Benefits, on behalf of Belfast Integration and Participation Project.


Read more: Migrants and benefits: a new guide


Page 3 of 18

Information for migrants

Encyclopedia of rights


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