Law Centre (NI)
promoting social justice through legal advice,
representation, policy, training and publications
Reminder: AGM 2011
Last chance to book your place at the Law Centre’s
AGM and seminar:
How will welfare reform hit incomes in Northern
Friday 9 December, 10am to 1pm, followed by lunch
Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action
James Browne of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.
Question time panel:
Eileen Evason, Chair of the Social Security
Standards Committee and Anne McCleary, Head of
Policy and Legislative Division, DSD.
with Ann Cartwright:
Legal Support Project
Expressions of interest have opened for volunteering
with the Law Centre's new
Legal Support Project. This service will provide
free representation to those who do not have access
to representation in employment and social security
appeal tribunals. We will train and support
volunteers to undertake this representation.
The Project will be of particular interest to law
graduate advisers and newly qualified lawyers as this will
be an opportunity to gain valuable representation
experience. We are also looking for experienced
solicitors and barristers to support the work of the
project by undertaking some pro bono work. You can
get more information on the project here.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Legal
Support Project, please complete the
application form and return it to:
Head of Legal Support Project, Law Centre (NI), 124
Donegall Street Belfast, BT1 4GY.
Completed applications may be typed or handwritten.
You can also contact Sinead Mulhern (Head of Legal
Support Project) to find out more about the project before submitting your
application: Phone 028 9024 4401.
Pictured above is Owen McCloskey, Project Worker for
the Legal Support Project.
Resolving delays in
Child Tax Credit
Law Centre social security advisers have recently dealt
with cases of delays in payment of Child Tax Credit
linked with the national insurance number (NINO)
requirement. These cases, where delays sometimes
lead to extreme hardship, can actually be resolved
fairly quickly once people are aware that HMRC is
able to waive the requirement in some cases.
In a recent case, our client contacted Law Centre
(NI) for assistance in dealing with HMRC Child Tax
Credit which had been withdrawn when she had moved
in with her Romanian fiancé.
She had been receiving Income-based Jobseeker’s
Allowance along with Child Tax Credit for her ten
year old son. When she and her fiancé moved in
together she promptly notified HMRC of the change in
her circumstances. Her fiancé did not have a
national insurance number and although HMRC can
waive the requirement for a NINO in such cases, when
she contacted Law Centre (NI) she had not received
CTC for her son for more than four months despite
numerous phone calls and complaints.
We wrote to the legal department of HMRC and
stated the intention to seek Judicial Review if the
CTC claim was not re-instated within fourteen days
and payments backdated. The family was experiencing
extreme financial hardship as CTC makes up more than
a third of their disposable income.
Our client was delighted when HMRC sorted out her
claim and paid arrears within the fourteen days.
Refresh your skills at
the Law Centre
Challenging Social Services Decisions - Derry
January - 06 March
Welfare Rights Adviser programme (WRAP) - Belfast
Challenging Social Services Decisions - Belfast
Also coming up:
8-9 February: Employment Law – Belfast
15 February: Social Security – Seeking Work, Other
Requirements and Sanctions – Belfast
15-16 February: Employment Law - Derry
16 February: Mental Health and Criminal Justice –
22 February: Legal Research Skills for Advisers -
29 February: Legal Research Skills for Advisers -
All our courses carry CPD points for solicitors,
barristers and CAB advisers.
For more details, contact:
Tel: 028 7126 2433
visit our website:
Law Centre discusses
welfare reform with All-Party Groups on disability
For the first time, the Assembly' All-Party Groups on Learning
Disability, Visual Impairments and Disability have
held a joint meeting to discuss the impact of
Welfare Reform on people with disabilities living in
The 29 November meeting gave MLAs Patsy McGlone SDLP, Jim
Wells DUP, Mark Durkan SDLP and Chris Lyttle
Alliance a chance to hear from people with a
disability, family carers and representatives of
the disability sector about
the impact of welfare reform.
The groups expressed
concerns about changes to Housing Benefit,
Disability Living Allowance and other benefits and
highlighted the need for proper parliamentary
scrutiny by the Northern Ireland Assembly when the
proposals come to Northern Ireland in 2012.
Presentations were given by Paul McGowan of MENCAP, Ricky Rowledge, Council for the Homeless NI,
Laura Niwa, Law Centre (NI), Kevin Doherty,
Disability Action and Harry Reid, Royal National
Institute for the Blind.
Migrant workers guide
The English version of Your Rights in Northern
Ireland, a guide for migrant workers, has been
The four original guides (for EEA, A8, A2
nationals and work permit holders) have been merged
into one document. You can find it
This is a joint Law Centre (NI) and Northern
Ireland Human Rights Commission production, with
support from the Office of the First Minister and
Deputy First Minister. We hope to be able to update
translations in the new year, subject to funding.