DSD calls for evidence on WCA
The Department for Social Development has commissioned Dr Paul Litchfield, a senior occupational physician, to undertake the fourth Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment (WCA), as required by section 10 of the Welfare Reform Act (Northern Ireland) 2007.
As part of the review, the Department has sent out a call for evidence 'aimed at individuals and organisations who have information that is relevant to how the Work Capability Assessment is operating and what further changes, if any, are needed to improve the process.'
For more information or to respond: http://www.dsdni.gov.uk/work-capability-assessment-yr4.htm
Frontline 88 is out
With a focus on mental capacity legislation; articles on welfare reform, gender equality, refugee week events, Northern Ireland Advice Services Consortium's new publication on Why Advice Matters and more.
New courses and publications, Northern Ireland Advice Services Consortium launches 'Why Advice Matters', Refugee Week events at the Law Centre, casework sucess,
Read all about it: July eNewsletter.
Immigration volunteer wanted
The Law Centre is seeking expressions of interest in a volunteer placement within the Immigration unit.
Ideally the volunteer will be a graduate in law, will have excellent research and written communication skills and be able to demonstrate experience in and/ or knowledge of immigration law.
If interested please reply in writing to Buster Cox by 2 August 2013, setting out why you are interested in volunteering with the Law Centre, how you meet the requirements of this placement and indicating clearly the dates of your availability.
Postal address: Buster Cox, Law Centre (NI), 124 Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2GY
Why advice matters
Advice critical to help people cope with welfare changes say leading advice agencies
Immigration Legal Adviser vacancy
Legal Adviser (Immigration) [Secondment cover]
Law Centre (NI) is seeking candidates who are a solicitor or a barrister, with at least one year’s experience of providing legal advice, casework and/or representation in immigration law. This is a temporary post until 31 March 2015 with a possibility of extension for a further temporary period.
Reference number: LA-IMM 04-13, 17.5 hours per week - based in Belfast
Salary: £33,661 - £35,430 NJC Points 40 – 42 pro rata
The salary for the position starts at point 40 pro rata
Closing date for applications is Wednesday 10 July 2013 at 12.00 noon
Interviews will be held on Monday 29 July 2013
For more details and an application form visit the Work With Us page.
Immigration law and people trafficking
A training day with Klara Skrivankova of Anti-Slavery International, 28 June 2013, Law Centre (NI) Belfast.
Training at Advice NI
Advice NI have issued their training calendar for July to December:
Human rights guide launched
Law Centre (NI) has launched the 4th edition of Rights in Progress: A guide to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act.
NIJAC seeks fee paid legal members for social security appeal tribunals
An opportunity to serve as fee paid legal member of the Appeal Tribunals who deal with social security decisions/appeals.
Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission is seeking to recruit up to 30 fee paid legal members (solicitors or barristers, no eligibility restrictions in terms of years of qualification or call).
Deadline for applications is 1 July.
June e-newsletter: read all about it
Our June e-newsletter is now online, with invitations to Law Centre events, new training courses,case details, our Business Plan 2013-2014 and more:
Feedback welcome. To receive our monthly e-newsletter, please email
Training Programme 2013-2014
The new Law Centre Training Programme is now available. Some of our courses can now be booked together to save 20%.
Help us celebrate Refugee Week!
Join Law Centre (NI) as we celebrate Refugee Week 2013 with a discussion of groundbreaking cases in refugee law
All aboard for launch of Rights in Progress
Law Centre (NI) will launch the 4th edition of Rights in Progress: A guide to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act on 14 June.
Apprentice solicitor vacancy
The Law Centre is able to offer 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.
The successful candidate may be based at the Law Centre (NI) Belfast Office at 124 Donegall Street, and/or the Western Area Office at 9 Clarendon Street, Derry.
Closing date for applications is Friday 31 May 2013 at 2.00 pm. Interviews will be held on Tuesday 11 June 2013.
Read all about it: May e-news
Our May e-newsletter is out, with new courses, social security casework updates, our development plan for 2013-2016 and more:
Vacancy at Law Centre (NI): Anti-trafficking Legal and Policy Adviser
Anti-trafficking Legal and Policy Adviser
(Sexually exploited and trafficked young people project)
21 hours per week. Based in Belfast
This is a three year Comic Relief funded project to provide a specialist legal and policy service relating to sexually exploited and trafficked young people. Secondment applications will be considered.
We are seeking candidates who are solicitors or barristers with at least the full time equivalent of one year’s post qualification experience of providing advice, casework and legal representation in the area of immigration law. Policy and lobbying experience is an advantage.
For more details and an application form, see the Work With Us page.
Briefing: implications of JR 47
The implications of JR47 - May 2013
This Law Centre (NI) briefing outlines the key points of a high court judgement on the resettlement of long term patients of Muckamore hospital and its broader implications in the field of health and social care law.
Significant decision on Child Benefit and right to reside
AS v Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (CB) NICom 15 (21 February 2013) - file number C1/10-11 (CB)
In a case taken by the Law Centre on behalf of an EU8 national, Commissioner Mullan found that she should be entitled to Child Benefit and that applying the right to reside rule in her case was unlawful direct discrimination under Article 3 of EC Regulation 1408/71.
A first in the UK, this is a very significant decision on right to reside requirements for benefit entitlement.
Regulation 1408/71 and the right to reside test
The Commissioner held that an EU8 national subject to registration requirements should be entitled to Child Benefit where s/he falls within the scope of EC Regulation 1408/71. EU8 nationals are nationals of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Slovenia.
Our client had worked and paid tax and national insurance in the UK for over twelve months. Although her employer had not registered this employment under the Worker Registration Scheme, it brought her within Regulation 1408/71, which prohibits direct discrimination on grounds of nationality.
Regulation 1408/71 (as well as Reg 883/2004 which has since replaced it) concerns the co-ordination of social security systems. It applies to all EU member state nationals who are or have been covered by the social security system of one of the member states, as well as members of their family and their survivors.
The Commissioner distinguished his decision from the Supreme Court Decision in Partmalniece v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 2011, which considers the habitual residence test.
Child Benefit entitlement is based on an ordinary residence and right to reside test (rather that a habitual residence and right to reside test). Commissioner Mullan held that, unlike the habitual residence test which UK nationals can also fail, the ordinary residence provision is rarely failed by UK nationals, so that, in effect, the only residence test for entitlement to Child Benefit is the right to reside test. As all UK nationals satisfy the right to reside test, in the context of Child Benefit it is directly discriminatory to non UK nationals.
As well as EU8 nationals, this decision may be of assistance to Romanian and Bulgarian nationals who could raise similar arguments. It would also help Croatian and Serbian nationals when their countries join the EU.
Economically inactive EU nationals, such as those not working due to caring responsibilities, may also be able to rely on this decision if they come within the Regulation.
Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit, ESA in youth – among other benefits – also have an ordinary residence and right to reside rule, so the decision may have relevance to similar disputes for entitlement to those benefits.
HMRC has until 21 May to appeal.
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