University of Westminster and its partners to launch free legal advice service for victims of the Windrush scandal

University of Westminster and its partners to launch free legal advice service for victims of the Windrush scandal

PR Newswire

LONDON, Oct. 16, 2020

LONDON, Oct. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Westminster Legal Advice Clinic has brought together university law clinics, Law Centres, community groups and members of the community to join forces and launch The Windrush Justice Clinic, offering independent free legal advice and assistance to victims of the Windrush scandal in making claims under the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

The new Windrush Justice Clinic, which is already taking enquiries and will see clients from 2 November 2020, takes a specialist approach that seeks to recompense applicants justly, offering advice, assistance, casework and representation as appropriate. Where specialist immigration advice or legal representation is needed, the Clinic can refer clients to a specialist within their network.

The collaborative partnership consists of the University of Westminster Legal Advice Clinic, University of Greenwich Legal Advice Clinic, London South Bank University Legal Advice Clinic, North Kensington Law Centre, Southwark Law Centre and community groups Claudia Jones Organisation, The Windrush Compensation Project and The Jigsaw House Society.

Established in April 2019, The Windrush Compensation Scheme was set up by the UK Government to provide victims of the Windrush scandal with compensation for their suffering. Since the Government first apologised two years ago for the treatment that people were subjected to, more than 12,000 people have received documentation from the Home Office confirming they are living in the UK legally. This offers an indication of the number of people who should be able to claim compensation before the scheme ends in April 2023.

By the end of September 2020, 1,531 people applied under the scheme, but only 168 people (11% of those who had lodged claims) have received Windrush compensation payments during the first 18 months of the scheme's operation. Only £1.3m had been distributed from a fund that the Government expected might be required to pay out between £200-500m.

Applicants must provide extensive and complex documentary evidence, often going back decades, providing proof 'beyond reasonable doubt' for their losses. The application runs 18 pages long, requires detailed calculations, supporting evidence and information about the non-financial impact of the hostile environment policy on them, their family and friends.

The university law clinics are on the frontline of The Windrush Justice Clinic to offer initial assistance and all clients will be assessed to decide what level of help they need. The clinics are run by law students, solicitors, barristers and accredited caseworkers.

The Windrush Justice Clinic's launch event will be held on the 20 October and the service will officially run from 2 November. The service will initially be based in London and will be provided through each individual university law clinic's website and phonelines.

Anna Steiner, Senior Lecturer at the University of Westminster and Windrush Project Leader, said:

"The Windrush Justice Clinic has been set up by a group of lawyers, community workers and university lecturers who feel very strongly about the injustices suffered by victims of the Windrush scandal. The model is innovative and collaborative with student law clinics playing an important role in providing free and independent access to justice in partnership with Law Centres and community groups.

"We believe that by working in this way we will be able to assist a large number of the Windrush generation and their families who have been affected by this scandal. Whilst we recognise that money cannot make up for the appalling way in which people have been treated, we are committed to assisting those affected to get the compensation they deserve."

The WJC launch event will take place from 6-7pm on 20 October. Book your place at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/windrush-justice-clinic-launch-tickets-123968435929.

Follow The Windrush Justice Clinic's Twitter page at @WindrushJC.

Notes to editors: 

The Windrush Justice Clinic is currently London based but there are plans to roll it out nationally after an initial pilot phase. The Clinic is currently fundraising for a centralised website, phoneline and staff: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/windrushjusticeclinic.

The Windrush Scandal

The majority of the victims of the scandal travelled to England from the Caribbean between 1948 and 1973. However, the scandal affected and continues to affect people and their families, who settled in the UK from any overseas country before the end of 1988, in particular The Commonwealth countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The late Paulette Wilson, whose case was highly publicised, is one of the many victims of the Windrush scandal.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme was established in April 2019 so that people could get some recompense for their suffering, for issues such as illegal imprisonment and deportation, loss of employment, immigration and legal fees for unsuccessful applications, loss of access to higher education, or international student fees, loss of homes, frozen bank accounts, lack of access to welfare benefits and health care.

About the Claudia Jones Organisation

The Claudia Jones Organisation was set up in 1982 by and for African Caribbean heritage women and their families from Hackney and surrounding boroughs. Their vision is to build a culture of aspiration globally where women of African Caribbean heritage and their families are strengthened to achieve their full potential.

Their culturally sensitive services include intensive emotional and practical support for women and their families affected by domestic and other forms of gender-based violence or life challenges as well as support to elders. The organisation takes a holistic and therapeutic approach in providing advice and advocacy with issues of mental wellbeing, isolation, vulnerable housing, financial hardship, food poverty, immigration status and family breakdown. They offer individual and group therapy to help with the trauma of abusive relationships, health issues, COVID-19 and other, intersecting oppressive experiences of individual and families and for those who have been impacted or are at risk of becoming victims of hostile immigration policies.

About The Windrush Compensation Project

The Windrush Compensation Project is aimed at ensuring free legal support and representation is available for affected Windrush victims and raising public awareness of where such support can be accessed. Contact details: patrickvernon@btconnect.com and giftyedila@gmail.com.

About the Jigsaw House Society (JHS)

The Jigsaw House Society (JHS) is a community interest company that specialises in social innovation, community organising and educational training programmes for underrepresented groups. 

JHS believes that activating communities through diverse collaborations, co-production and learning by doing, create the best outcomes and the most social impact. 

JHS works with universities, football clubs, city councils and corporates to help them increase the social impact they have on their local communities, staff and clients. 

University of Westminster Legal Advice Clinic

The University of Westminster Legal Advice Clinic provides free legal advice to the public in four key areas: housing law, family law, employment law and immigration. All services are supervised by a practising solicitor or barrister. With the most diverse student body in the country, our friendly and approachable law student advisors come from all walks of life which means they can relate to a whole range of problems and situations.

Our free service aims to give clients the tools, tips and practical solutions to help you move forward as well as ensure you feel empowered and supported to take the next step.

The Legal Advice Clinic maintains close links to a number of charities and legal organisations, including Z2K, North Kensington Law Centre and the Centre for Women's Justice.

The clinic maintains close links with the University of Westminster's Careers and Employability Service, and seeks to promote volunteering opportunities and pro bono work for all Law students.

Find out more at https://uowlegaladviceclinic.org.uk.

LAW CLINIC CONTACT DETAILS

University of Westminster Legal Advice Clinic

E: lawclinic@westminster.ac.uk
T: +44 (0)20 3506 9626 (24 hours answerphone please leave a message we will return your call within 48 hours where possible)

Online enquiry form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfj8T1CSUp66X9z3jW9fEwzbCSHUDonyECiZ3Mr9sa8eGKWdg/viewform?c=0&w=1

We are currently operating a telephone and online service.

University of Greenwich Legal Advice Centre

Email: legaladvicecentre@gre.ac.uk
Website URL: http://www.gre.ac.uk/legal-advice-centre

How to contact: Phone (+44 (0)208 331 9947 - 24 hours answerphone please leave a message we will return your call within 48 hours where possible)

Enquiry form: https://www.gre.ac.uk/legal-advice-centre/contact

We are currently operating a telephone and online service. If you have trouble accessing online services please let us know by leaving a phone message and we can arrange a socially distant face-to-face appointment where it is safe to do so, and the government guidelines allow.

London South Bank University Legal Advice Clinic

How to contact: The LSBU Legal Advice Clinic is a drop-in clinic. We operate service on The Clinic is open term time only as set out below:

Autumn: Tuesday 22 September 2020 – Friday 11 December 2020
Winter: Tuesday 26 January 2021 – Friday 26 March 2021
Spring: Tuesday 20 April 2021 – Wednesday 7 May 2021

The Clinic is based at:
Clarence Centre for Enterprise and Innovation, 1 St George's Circus, London SE1 OAP

Website URL: www.lsbu.ac.uk/legaladviceclinic
Email legaladvice@lsbu.ac.uk

Please telephone +44 (0)20 7815 5450 at the following times if you wish to access an appointment:
Tuesday: 10am until 10.30am for an appointment the same morning from 10:30am to 12pm.
Wednesday: 10am until 10.30am for an appointment the same morning from 10:30am to 12pm and then 3pm to 3.30pm for an appointment the same afternoon from 3:30pm to 5:00pm.
Friday: 10am until 10.30am for an appointment the same morning from 10:30am to 12pm.

Claudia Jones Organisation
Phone: +44 (0)20 741 1646
Thursdays and Fridays
www.claudiajones.org 
103 Stoke Newington Road
London N16 8BX

The Jigsaw House Society
Email: windrushjusticeclinic@jhs.org.uk

North Kensington Law Centre (NKLC)
Email: windrushjusticeclinic@nklc.org.uk

 

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