Law Centre NI

Law Centre (NI)

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


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

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Welfare reform

Human trafficking

Strategy for children

Focus on PIP

Training opportunities

CTA appeal

 Welfare reform

Les Allamby, Director of Law Centre (NI)

Law Centre echoes Social Development Committee concerns

The Law Centre has welcomed the Social Development Committee’s acknowledgement of significant concern about the impact of the Welfare Reform Bill on vulnerable people. Commenting on the publication of the Committee's report on the Bill, Law Centre (NI) Director Les Allamby said:

‘The Welfare Reform Bill is being introduced against a backdrop of stringent austerity measures and cuts across the welfare state. The recommendations contained in this report are a significant step towards tailoring welfare reform to Northern Ireland’s circumstances’.

He continued: ‘The Assembly must now do more to ensure the Welfare Reform Bill incorporates measures to protect the most vulnerable groups when the Bill reaches Consideration Stage in the Assembly. This legislation will transform the welfare state for a generation and our MLAs must ensure that the changes will work effectively in practice for Northern Ireland.’

Read more

 Human trafficking

Les Allamby with Anna Lo MLA and Diane Kelly

Speaking at the Law Centre Fringe Meeting on Human Trafficking at the Alliance Party Conference on Saturday 2 March, Law Centre (NI) director Les Allamby welcomed the significant progress that has been made to co-ordinate efforts to tackle human trafficking in Northern Ireland. 

He stressed the importance of ensuring victims have access to expert legal advice and support services and called on the Executive to ensure effective systems are put in place to monitor trafficking activity.

Read more

 Strategy for children

Speakers at the Children Strategy seminar at QUB

On Friday 22 February, Law Centre (NI) assistant director policy and publications Ursula O’Hare spoke at a Queen’s University seminar on progress on child poverty in Northern Ireland.

The event was co-hosted by Queen’s Improving Children’s Lives Initiative; Children in Northern Ireland; the Health and Social Care Board; the Public Health Agency; the Office of First and Deputy First Minister and the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership.

For more information and videos of the event, follow this link:

Improving children’s lives – Event 6: experiencing economic and environmental well-being


 Focus on Personal Independence Payment

BIPP Focus Group meeting at Law Centre (NI)

With Belfast Integration and Participation Project, the Law Centre is holding a FREE information session on Personal Independence Payment. 

Aimed at advisers and people who work with migrant workers, the session will be held on Thursday 14 March in the Law Centre’s Belfast Office, from 11am to 1pm. 

To confirm attendance, ring 9024 4401 or email


 Next steps for welfare reform

The Welfare Reform Group has produced a briefing note on next steps for welfare reform. It can be downloaded by following the link below:

The impact of welfare reform PDF

 Training opportunities

Law Centre (NI) Training Officer Eamon Docherty with trainees

13 March, Personal Independence Payments, Belfast

14 March, Understanding Universal Credit and Other Changes, Derry

19 March, Commissioner Appeals, Identifying Errors in Law, Belfast

21 March, Legal Research Skills for Advisers, half day, Belfast

26 March, Benefits for Carers, Belfast

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

28 March, Personal Independence Payment, Derry

28 March, The Rights of Agency Workers, Belfast

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

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

Immigration case highlights need for a mutual visa system

We successfully represented a Nigerian national living in the Republic of Ireland who had been refused a visitor’s visa for Northern Ireland. 

Our client resides lawfully in the Republic, in a different county from some of his Irish born children who live with their mother. He entered Northern Ireland unlawfully on one of his return journeys from visiting his children.  He was detained by UKBA and then released.  Shortly after, he applied for a visit visa to travel to Northern Ireland with his four year old Irish citizen child.  The British Embassy in Dublin refused and informed him that, as he had previously been removed from the UK, he was banned for a further ten years.

With Law Centre representation, he appealed to the Immigration Tribunal in Belfast. The judge agreed that the Embassy had failed to consider whether a decision to refuse him entry to the UK with his young son would in any way detract from rights he might have under EU law.  The judge allowed the appeal and referred the matter back to the Embassy.

The Embassy in Dublin asked him to lodge his passport with them to enable them to insert the visa. He has done this and is awaiting a response.

This case highlights the need for the Common Travel Area to develop a mutually agreed visa system.