Law Centre NI

Law Centre (NI)

promoting social justice through legal advice,
representation, policy, training and publications


Welcome our first e-newsletter of 2013.  We hope that you find it useful. Please feel free to circulate to interested colleagues.

If this newsletter does not display properly, you can read it in your internet browser. Just click on:

January 2013 eNewsletter.

Follow us on Twitter: @LawCentreNI

Find out about the progress of the issues we are lobbying for: Law Centre’s December 2012 policy bulletin.



Who Cares?

Tribunal reform conference

Welfare reform

Migrants and benefits info

Legal Support Project

Training at Law Centre (NI)

Success in employment cases



DSD seeks Joint Standards Committee Member.

Time to ask who cares hears AGM

Speakers at Law Centre AGM 2012 and seminar on the future of adult care

As the New Year unfolds, a major shake up to the health and social care system is expected. The Law Centre’s AGM on 19 December heard from Health Minister Edwin Poots about how the system will care for the frail, elderly and vulnerable.

The adult social care system in Northern Ireland provides support to people living in their own home or in residential care. 

Delegates also heard from Richard Humphries of the London-based leading health policy think-tank, The King’s Fund, about the extent of the challenges to reforming adult social care, and from Claire Keatinge, Commissioner for Older People, Northern Ireland and Ann O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Age NI.

The DHSSPS consultation paper on adult social care, Who Cares? The Future of Adult Care and Support in Northern Ireland, is available at . Consultation ends 15 March.

Read more

Tribunal reform: the way ahead

A joint conference of University of Ulster, Law Centre (NI) and the Department of Justice

Friday 25 January, Bar Library Belfast, 10 am to 4 pm

Speakers include Justice Minister David Ford MLA; Professor Michael Adler, University of Edinburgh; Brian Thompson, University of Liverpool; Professor Dame Hazel Genn, University College London; Gráinne McKeever, University of Ulster.

The Plenary session will explore the way forward for tribunal reform, and will be chaired by Sir Patrick Coughlin, Lord Justice of Appeal.

More information from

 Law Centre proposals on welfare reform

As the Social Development Committee prepares for the final stages of scrutiny of the welfare reform bill, Law Centre (NI) has submitted 26 potential amendments to the Welfare Reform Bill for the Committee to consider.

Download Law Centre proposals to Assembly Committee


Migrant workers training and information

Participants at BIPP training session Oct 2012

The Belfast Integration and Participation Project runs until the end of June. 

The Law Centre is producing an online guide on Universal Credit and migrant workers for the Project, as well as running information meetings and training sessions:


Focus group / information meetings

Thursday 17 January, 11am to 1pm: free information session on benefits available for migrant workers and how to claim them.  All welcome.

Further meetings: Thursday 7 March and 13 June


Training sessions

Universal Credit and Migrants training (two-day courses)

Thursday 16 and 23 May, 10am to 4pm

Thursday 30 May and 6 June, 10am to 4pm

Read more


Training opportunities at the Law Centre

24 January, Mental Capacity and Community Care, Belfast

30 January, Employment Law, 2 days, Belfast

31 January, Means Tested Benefits, Derry

14 February, Social Security: Seeking Work, Other Requirements and Sanctions Belfast

20 February, Personal Independence Payment, Belfast

27 February, Employment Law, 2 days, Derry

6 March, Children and Young People in the Immigration System, Belfast

7 March, Understanding Universal Credit and Other Changes, Belfast

All our courses carry CPD points for solicitors, barristers and CAB advisers.

For more details, visit the training section of our website, or contact, 028 7126 2433 or view our training programme

A busy year for Legal Support Project

Speakers at LSP-PILS pro-bono seminar 2012

It is now almost a year since the Law Centre’s Legal Support Project (LSP) successfully concluded its first case in the Social Security Appeals Tribunal. Since then, the LSP's caseload has grown rapidly.

Read more

Success in employment cases

£50,000 compensation for agricultural worker

In a case referred by Magherafelt District Advice Service, we secured compensation of £50,000, by settlement made just before full hearing, for an agricultural worker who had worked for many years below the correct rate of pay under agricultural wages legislation and had never been given annual leave. The worker had been working seven days per week, often for 52 weeks in the year.

Apart from the claim under the Agricultural Wages Regulations, the worker also had claims for unlawful deduction from wages, redundancy pay, unfair dismissal and breach of the Working Time regulations.

£15,000 settlement in pregnancy discrimination and unfair dismissal case

In a case referred by Dungannon CAB, we obtained a £15,000 settlement a week before hearing in a pregnancy discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal case.

Our client was a successful saleswoman who had had a good relationship with her employer until she got pregnant.  Before going on maternity leave, she was pressurised about returning to work very soon after her due date and during her leave she had her company car, which was also for private use, taken off her.  Shortly before she was due to return to work she was told her terms and conditions were radically changing and then told she would have to work on a freelance basis.


DSD seeks Joint Standards Committee Member

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