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Strategic Legal Fund - September 2014
Migration Work CIC Esmee Fairbairn Trust for London

Strategic Legal Fund
for vulnerable young migrants

SLF extended to December 2014

We are pleased to announce that the current phase of the SLF has been extended to December 2014.  The next two application deadlines are 15th September and 10th November 2014.  If you would like to discuss a potential application please contact the project manager at slf@migrationwork.org.  For SLF funding guidelines or to download an application form click here.

New SLF Project Manager at MigrationWork

Gerry Hickey has taken over from Fran Smith as the project manager of the SLF.  Fran worked with the project from the beginning and all involved with the Fund are very grateful for the commitment and breadth of knowledge she brought.  Gerry has worked in advice services since 1990 and holds a particular expertise in asylum support law.  Her most recent role was at the Asylum Support Appeals Project. 

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SLF Archive

Coram Children’s Legal Centre (CCLC) has now launched the SLF archive. The archive was commissioned by the SLF and includes a range of materials which have been produced by SLF funded projects. These include policy papers, legal opinions, responses to Freedom of Information requests and research findings.  The aim of the archive is to share these materials with those seeking to improve the lives of vulnerable young migrants, with a particular focus on those who advocate for them, including lawyers and voluntary sector organisations. This is a ‘living’ archive and will be added to regularly. The archive is hosted by CCLC on their website.  To access the archive click here.  

Grants awarded

We received four applications for funding in July 2014 and made three grants. Grants were awarded to:

  • Lambeth Law Centre to research the impact on children of the policy of not granting ILR/permanent residence to parents or carers where it may be in the best interest of the child to award such a grant  
  • Luqmani Thompson and Partners for pre-litigation research on Operation Nexus, a joint initiative between the Metropolitan police and the Home Office which targets foreign nationals encountered by police in the London area. Research will look at whether those affected have been given access to a fair hearing and that any evidence used to detain or deport them has been properly tested in the courts.
  • Hackney Community Law Centre, working with Hackney Migrant Centre, to undertake pre-litigation research into potentially unlawful practices and decision-making by social services when responding to requests from  destitute migrant families for housing and support (Section 17) . 
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Grant progress

In the last couple of months there have been a number of notable successes for projects which were supported by the SLF. These include:

  • Bindmans working with Public Law Project (PLP), received a grant from the SLF to carry out pre-litigation research on the potential effects of the proposed introduction of a ‘residence test’ for legal aid on young migrants. The test sought to exclude from legal aid anyone who could not prove they had been lawfully resident in the UK for 12 months. This would affect significant numbers of people, including migrants who had recently been granted leave to remain as well as those who had been in the UK for some time and were awaiting a decision on their applications to remain.

    The pre-litigation research contributed to a successful legal challenge. The High Court ruled that the test amounted to unlawful discrimination. The Government is appealing this judgment. For more information on the ruling click here.
     
  • The SLF grant funded the AIRE Centre to bring a third party intervention in the case of Jessy Saint Prix heard in the European Court. The case focussed on the position of EU citizens who stop working in the late stages of pregnancy in order to have their babies. The particular issue was whether they remained a 'worker' under EU law during that period and were therefore entitled to claim benefits.  The court found that they did retain the status of a ‘worker’.  This is an important ruling as it will help protect pregnant EU citizens and those with young babies from becoming destitute. For more information about the case click here.
  • Anti Slavery International intervened in a Supreme Court case concerning modern day slavery, represented by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) with funding from the SLF. The intervention advanced arguments about the UK's obligations to protect trafficking victims and to help ensure that victims, whether legally present in the UK or not, are able to seek reparation from those who wronged them. In a landmark judgment on the first ever modern slavery case heard by the Supreme Court, the Court unanimously ruled that trafficked people have a right to claim damages from their traffickers irrespective of their immigration status. PIL have written a blog about the judgment on Trust for London’s website.
     
  • In July, JCWI launched its report on the impact on children and families of the restrictions inherent in the Adult Dependent Rule, following pre-litigation research funded by the SLF. The launch, held in parliament, was chaired by Sarah Teather MP. Sue Lukes, from SLF, spoke at the launch. JCWI will continue to press for a change to the Adult Dependent Rule. For a copy of the research click here.  
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, Tel. 020 7254 7272 Email:SLF@migrationwork.org
www.strategiclegalfund.org.uk

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Registered Charity No.  205629.