Law Centre NI

Law Centre (NI)

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

Welcome to our October 2011 e-newsletter. 

Our AGM and an update to our guide for migrant workers are just around the corner.  More about this in November e-newsletter.

Meanwhile, we have a new poster signposting immigration advice. If you would like to display it, you can download it here.

We hope you find this information useful.  We would be grateful if you would circulate it to interested colleagues.



Frontline 81 online

Alternatives to Court booklet

Dilnot roundtable

Legal Support Project

Autumn training

State pension and internment


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 Frontline 81 now online

Law Centre (NI) legal adviser Louise Arthurs at the High Court

With a special feature on advocacy and access to justice, comments on the impact of the Dilnot report on long term care and an overview of immigration detention in the UK.

Read more


Alternatives to court launched

Launching alternatives to Court with Minister of Justice David Ford

Alternatives to Court in Northern Ireland, an information booklet to promote alternative dispute resolution, was launched on 12 September at the Northern Ireland Ombudsman’s office. 

A joint publication of the Northern Ireland Ombudsman, Law Centre (NI) and Queen’s University Belfast, the booklet is primarily aimed at members of the public.  It is available online on the Law Centre’s and Ombudsman’s websites as well as on NI Direct. 

Download it here: Alternatives to Court in Northern Ireland

If you would like to make copies available on your premises, please contact our Publications Unit on 9024 401,


Dilnot roundtable

Speakers at Dilnot roundtable

On 30 September, Law Centre (NI) and Age NI held a joint roundtable event to examine the Report on the Commission of Funding of Care and Support (the Dilnot Review) and to launch the debate on the funding of long term care in Northern Ireland.

The roundtable discussion made it clear that, in light of the current Compton review of Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland and the potential implications of the Dilnot Review recommendations, this is a key time for the debate to begin in earnest here. 

Read more 


New Legal Support Project

Head of Legal Service Project Sinead Mulhern

The Law Centre is launching a new project early next year, to address the significant increase in demand for advice in social security and employment law.

The Legal Support Project will train volunteer law students and legal professionals in their early careers to undertake representation.  We will also seek to encourage existing legal professionals to undertake pro-bono work.  Volunteers will be recruited and supervised to provide representation. 

The project will focus on social security and employment work. We will gather cases through our member agencies.  This will help us to meet some of the additional demands to provide representation at tribunals. 

Sinead Mulhern has been appointed Head of the Legal Support Project.  She takes up her new post this month.


Enrol now for autumn training

Training session on European Law at the Law Centre

19 October Employment & Support Allowance Changes & Migration - Derry

25 October Employment & Support Allowance: Changes and Migration - Belfast

7 and 14 November Intro to Immigration Law - Belfast

16 and 17 November Advocacy Skills - Belfast

30 November Challenging Tax Credit Decisions: Overpayments - 1/2 day - Belfast

For Belfast courses, contact, 9024 4401.

For Western Area training, contact, 7126 2433

or visit our website:

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


Casework success: state pension and internment

We were contacted in 2009 by an 86 year old man who had been interned without trial in Northern Ireland between 1957 and 1960.  He was never charged with or convicted of any offence.  He had a full employment record both before and after internment.

He was receiving State Retirement Pension at a reduced rate from the UK because he did not receive national insurance credits while interned.  He had moved to the Republic of Ireland in 1962.

We made an application for an award of credits for the period and we appealed the refusal on human rights grounds.

The President of Appeal Tribunals heard the case and while he agreed that there had been a breach of human rights, he refused the appeal on the grounds that he did not have the power to grant a remedy.  We appealed to the social security commissioner.

In the interim we corresponded with the office of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Department of Justice regarding a scheme in 1999 under which contributions were made for those interned in the 1950s.  In July this year, the Department of Justice confirmed that it had made late payment of contributions for the period to HMRC and the Pensions Department is currently reviewing our client’s pension entitlement.

He was understandably delighted with the result as he had been told many times over many decades that there was nothing that he could do about this situation.