For over a decade, students from the law school have been supporting the Immigration and Asylum Clinic within CELC. Working on front-line advice services under the guidance of the Immigration and Asylum team the clinic goes from strength to strength. Students get involved in work at all stages of the immigration and asylum process including research, seeing clients, drafting representations for legal aid, representing individuals and families in appeals and applications for judicial review. Volunteers particularly appreciate the practical nature of their placements.

Exceptional Case Funding clinic with Warwick University Law Students

This year, students focused on supporting the Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) clinic on assisting clients with access to legal aid. This mainly encompasses cases whereby a client’s human rights under the ECHR would be breached if they do not get funding for legal advice and representation. As well as the ECF clinic, students also volunteered for research tasks in respect of particular cases, and some were able to assist in the preparation of and attend appeal hearings. The clinic is run in a way that helps the students get a better understanding of legal aid, drafting and researching relevant legal provisions. Assistance from the students also means that the Law Centre is able to help more people within the community.

Anonymised client case study:

Client JO – this client was applying for an extension of limited leave to remain. She met the financial criteria, receiving Universal Credit and this was well explained by the students on the ECF grounds and legal help forms. The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) did not grant legal aid at first instance as they stated that as she had undertaken degree level study previously, she could apply herself without the need for legal representation. It had to be argued to the LAA that the person was not an expert in immigration law by virtue of having studied a degree in an unrelated subject and that the complexities of the law and process were such that legal aid was merited. The LAA eventually conceded and did eventually grant legal aid and the client subsequently was able to make an application with our support, which was ultimately successful.

Each year we publicise volunteering opportunities across the Law School and look to recruit volunteers in early October. For 2021/22 all clinic work will take place remotely, adopting the most effective methods for the Law Centre and its clients. Look out for details on our events and opportunities page.

Here’s how some of last year’s students described their experience:

Italian Trulli