Strategic Legal Fund - July 2015
Esmee Fairbairn Migration Work CIC Trust for London
Paul Hamlyn Foundation Unbound Philanthropy Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust


Right of young people with discretionary or limited leave to remain to access student loans restored

The Supreme Court ruled today (29 July 2015) in Tigere that a ban on student loans for anyone who doesn’t have either indefinite leave to remain or citizenship, regardless of their length of residence or strength of their ties to the country, was disproportionate and could not be justified.

Hundreds of young people who have been blocked from taking up university places will benefit from the ruling. Among them is the appellant in the case, 20-year-old Zambian-born Beaurish Tigere, a former head girl who is lawfully resident in the UK and has been here since age 6, has achieved strong A-level grades, and has had five unconditional university offers.

The decision means she now has the right to apply for a student loan to allow her to take up a university place to study international business management. Until now she would have been treated as an overseas student, ineligible for a student loan and subject to overseas tuition fees. Beaurish was represented in the case by Public Interest Lawyers.

The SLF funded Just for Kids Law to intervene in the case. Together with the Let Us Learn campaign, JFKL provided the court with examples of dozens of young people who are also blocked from university education because of restrictions on student finance.

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Challenge to Detained Fast Track upheld by Court of Appeal

Also today, the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court order from June quashing the procedural rules governing the Detained Fast Track asylum appeals process. Under these rules, asylum appeals are processed according to severely truncated timescales while the asylum-seeker is in detention.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the Lord Chancellor’s appeal against the earlier High Court decision that the Detained Fast Track appeals process is unlawfully unfair to asylum-seekers.

The government suspended the Fast Track on 2 July in response to the court’s decision, but had hoped to lift the suspension fairly quickly. That now seems unlikely. According to government figures, 323 asylum-seekers have been released from the Fast Track since the suspension of the appeals process.

The SLF funded Migrants Law Project, who acted for Detention Action, to research and prepare the case challenging the Detained Fast Track system.

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Congratulations to our recent successful grantees

The AIRE Centre will carry out pre-litigation research on Operation Nexus, a joint initiative between the Metropolitan Police and Home Office which targets foreign nationals. It will research the policy behind Operation Nexus and consider whether young EEA nationals are being unfairly targeted by the initiative and whether this is impacting on their right to live and work in the UK.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre will gather further evidence to support their intervention in the Court of Appeal in two cases relating to the level of support provided by local authorities to destitute migrant families with children under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.

Child Poverty Action Group will carry out re-litigation research regarding the DWP’s Genuine Prospects of Work Test. The test restricts access to benefits for EU nationals, who are jobseekers or who are become unemployed in the UK, if they are considered as having failed to provide compelling proof that they can find employment.

Information on current and past grants here:

Strategic Legal Fund Archive

The SLF Archive provides a rich resource of legal documents and evidence produced by past grantees.

Hosted by Coram Children's Legal Centre, the archive is a valuable resource for migrant organisations, solicitors, researchers, funders, NGOs, and others interested in issues relating to young migrants.

Resources in the archive are organised thematically:

Visit the archive here: Strategic Legal Fund Archive

SLF grantees and expert panel member recognised at Legal Aid awards

We’re delighted to announce that two of our current grantees and a member of our expert panel were among those honoured at the 2015 Legal Aid Lawyer of the year awards.

Public Law Project received the evening's top award for Outstanding Achievement, for its role in fighting legal aid cuts with a series of successful judicial reviews. The SLF funded PLP last year to research the lawfulness of changes introduced under the Immigration Act 2014.

Noel Arnold, Director of Legal Practice at Coram Children's Legal Centre, was given an award in recognition of the work he undertakes on children rights. The SLF recently funded CCLC for work relating to the level of support provided by local authorities to destitute migrant families with children.

Alison Pickup, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers won legal aid barrister of the year. Alison is also a member of the SLF Expert Panel which makes recommendations to funders on grant applications and advises on strategic direction.

Details on previous SLF grants here:

Next deadline

The next application deadline is Monday 7 September 2015.

If you have a query about the fund or would like to discuss an application for funding, please contact the project manager, Gerry Hickey, on

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The Strategic Legal Fund for Vulnerable Young Migrants is a project of Trust for London, delivered in partnership with Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and MigrationWork CIC.

Strategic Legal Fund, PO Box 64636, London SW8 9DE Tel. 020 7091 0539

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