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

Strategic Legal Fund

for vulnerable young migrants

New funders support SLF

We are very pleased to announce that the SLF has recently welcomed two new funders on board: Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. These are in addition to existing funders Trust for London, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, and Unbound Philanthropy.

The support of JRCT and Paul Hamlyn Foundation means that we have secured sufficient funding to offer the full grants pot of £360,000 for Phase 3 of SLF (which runs until December 2016). MigrationWork CIC manages the day to day running of the fund.

Our focus continues to be on providing small one-off grants to NGOs and private law firms for pre-litigation research and third party interventions, which uphold the rights of migrant children and young people in the UK.

Our maximum grant size is £30,000 per project, however we encourage organisations to apply for smaller grants to help ensure that we reach a wide range of organisations.

We particularly welcome applications from NGOs and solicitors firms based outside of London including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The next application deadline is 18 May 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

New grants awarded

We received a total of eight applications to our January and March 2015 rounds, and made five grants.

Congratulations to the successful grantees:
  • Just for Kids Law who will intervene in a case of being heard in the Supreme Court challenging the inability of young migrants with discretionary leave to remain (DLR) to access student finance. Changes to education regulations in 2012 removed the right of those with DLR to access student finance, such as student loans. JFKL were granted permission to intervene in January 2015.
  • Coram Children’s Legal Centre who will intervene in two cases relating to the level of support provided by local authorities, (under Section 17 of the Children Act), to destitute migrant families with children. They will seek to argue that the rates of support offered by many local authorities are inadequate and have a serious impact on the wellbeing of the children and parents involved.
  • Ealing Law Centre who will carry out pre-litigation research on the use of the ‘good character’ requirement for children and young people who wish to register as British Citizens. The standard for good character is very high and from January 2015 the requirement has been extended to children from the age of 10.
  • Leigh Day solicitors, working with Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX), who will carry out pre-litigation research on the new Modern Slavery Act, to identify and develop arguments regarding gaps in protection for victims of human trafficking.
  • Deighton Pierce Glynn who will intervene in a Supreme court case on behalf of Kalayaan, in an appeal against a decision of the Court of Appeal, which concerns whether diplomatic immunity affords a defence to a civil claim by a person who have been trafficked by the diplomat employer.

Progress on earlier SLF grants

Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP) was grant funded to intervene in a case concerning a destitute former asylum seeker who had been refused support by the Home Office. He was refused support on the grounds that his outstanding representations, which were based on having a private and family life in the UK (under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights), did not entitle him to support from the Home Office. ASAP's intervention sought to clarify whether those making these claims, including former unaccompanied minors and families with young children in the UK, are entitled to basic accommodation and subsistence (under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999) whilst their claims are outstanding. Following lengthy submissions from ASAP, the Home Office conceded that support may, in any particular case, need to be provided to avoid a breach of a person's Article 8 rights. ASAP’s factsheets about the case and Section 4 generally can be found on its website.

Public Law Project (PLP) were grant funded to carry out pre-litigation research into the lawfulness of aspects of the Immigration Act 2014 and related policies. The research targeted a new Home Office policy whereby some migrants could be removed from the UK without being served with removal directions. This policy would have made it difficult or impossible for individuals affected to challenge the decision to schedule their removal. PLP were instructed by Medical Justice to challenge the policy, which would have affected young migrants under 25 as well as former unaccompanied minors. PLP sent the Home Office a detailed letter before action, and the Home Office agreed to suspend the policy in response to that letter. It will take the matters raised by PLP into account when formulating a revised policy.

Islington Law Centre (ILC) were grant funded to consider challenges to the lawfulness of aspects of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO) 2012. One of the issues they challenged concerned family re-union and access to legal aid. ILC argued that legal aid should remain available for this group under the Exception Case Funding scheme. In a judgement given by court of appeal, which considered a range of issues concerning access to exceptional case funding (ECF), they ruled that the guidance governing ECF was too restrictive and in some respects was not in accordance with the law. In relation to refugee family reunion cases, the Court ruled that the exclusion from ECF may breach a refugee's right to family life under Article 8 of the ECHR. The court also ruled that the best interest of a child remained a very important consideration even when that child was not in the UK. More on the case here.

Criminal Justice and Courts Act

The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 received Royal Assent earlier in the year, and its provisions will be brought into force over the coming months.

The exact implications of the legislation are not yet entirely clear, but given that it introduces changes to judicial review and third party interventions, it seems very likely that many NGOs and firms who are funded through SLF will be affected.

We're currently reviewing the impact of the changes on SLF. Because the majority of our funding is for pre-litigation funding, we are hopeful that we will not need to significantly change our approach. We will keep you posted as our thinking develops.
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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