Launch of Refugee Legal Confidence Programme in Surrey by Lady Hale at University of Surrey, February 2020

Launch of Refugee Legal Confidence Programme in Surrey by Lady Hale at University of Surrey, February 2020

LAP’s Joss Saunders, Ade Henderson and Louise Curd join Lady Hale, together with Liz Williams, Prof Alex Sarch and Prof Graham Miller of Surrey’s School of Law 

We are delighted to announce the launch of the LAP Refugee Legal Confidence Sessions as part of University of Surrey’s Law School Access to Justice clinics. 

The programme will be run by the School of Law at Surrey University and we thank Liz Williams, Director of Clinical Legal Education and LAP Member, for all her efforts in bringing this project to fruition together with local lawyers and refugee support workers at the Diocese of Guildford. Both the LAP programme and the Access to Justice Clinics in general are an excellent opportunity for law students to work with local lawyers and refugee support groups, such as the Diocese of Guildford, to support those in need within the local community.  They will commence in March 2020.

Liz Williams, Director of Clinical Legal Education

The sessions are designed to inform refugees with right to remain in the UK, of their legal rights and obligations in their new host country. In turn we hope this will enable and empower them to become successful members of their new communities. The sessions cover topics such as the UK constitution, the role of the police and criminal law, family life in the UK, education and healthcare services and employment.  Although not intended to be an advice service (but rather provision of basic legal information), signposting to partner agencies is also available.  

Joss Saunders, GC Oxfam GB, on the benefits of lawyers contributing their skills in volunteering and pro bono work

Lady Hale launched the initiative and welcomed the contribution that lawyers and law students are making in order to safeguard access to justice in a climate of reducing legal aid provision.

Lady Hale launches the Access to Justice clinics

Thank you to all who have contributed to the development of the Refugee Legal Confidence Programme, which started in Oxford in 2017 as a result of collaboration between LAP, Oxford-based charity Refugee Resource and Oxford Brookes University.  We are continuing to improve and develop the programme for roll-out around the UK.  If you are interested in getting involved please email us.

Local lawyers Erin, Dee and Esther join LAP, Liz Williams, Lady Hale, Lady Toulson and Dame Linda Dobbs at the launch event

Post Script – since preparing this article, the Covid-19 pandemic has unfortunately prevented the start of the refugee legal confidence sessions.  In order to safeguard the health and safety of all concerned during this difficult time, they have been postponed.  We hope to re-establish the programme later in 2020 or as soon as is feasible. 

Photo credits: Paul Stead photography

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