Law Centre NI

Law Centre (NI)

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


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

If it does not display properly, you can read it in your internet browser.  Just click on: April 2013 eNewsletter.



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Frontline 87

Immigration updates

Direct payments and consent

Policy bulletin

Future of tribunals

Training opportunities

BIPP update

Disabled Facilities Grant success

Awards for "dynamic forward-thinking" organisation

Law Centre NI staff celebrate IIP and LEXCEL awards

Law Centre (NI) was recently awarded Lexcel v5 accreditation. Lexcel v5 is the international practice management standard awarded by the Law Society to solicitors and legal services providers who meet the highest management and customer care standards.

The Law Centre also achieved the Investors in People Health and Wellbeing Award. This is in addition to being reaccredited as an Investors in People Bronze Award winning organisation.

The assessment report commented: "This Investors in People review has shown the Law Centre to be a dynamic and forward thinking organisation, with clear objectives and plans for future development and improvement."


Frontline goes digital

Frontline 87 Spring 2013

Frontline magazine is now a digital publication.  

Read it on screen on our website or download Frontline 87 PDF

We welcome feedback from our readers on this new format, and will be actively seeking the views of Law Centre members in the near future.

In this issue: new benefit rates; welfare reform concerns; tribunal reform; an interview with the Attorney General; gender equality and more.


Immigration updates

New information briefings on immigration issues. Read them here:

Human trafficking: new working arrangements for adult victims of trafficking in Northern Ireland , March 2013

The best interests of children in immigration law , March 2013

Also published in March: two updated briefings on immigration, marriage, partnerships and family relationships:


 Community care direct payments

In May 2012, the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety (NI) issued Guidance entitled Direct Payments for Persons who lack Capacity to Consent.

The guidance sets out interim arrangements for the provision of direct payments to adults who lack the necessary mental capacity to consent to receive direct payments.

The Law Centre has published a briefing which summarises the guidance and examines the actions that must be taken by Health and Social Care Trusts in existing direct payments cases and for new applications.

The briefing also highlights the role of the authorised person in the context of direct payments provision.

Read it here: Law Centre (NI) community care briefing 28, direct payments for adults who lack capacity to consent


Policy news

Law Centre (NI) policy bulletin March 2013


Roundtable on tribunal reform consultation

Senior Law Centre staff and speakers at the Law Centre's tribunal reform roundtable

Last month, Law Centre (NI) hosted a roundtable discussion on the future of tribunal reform in Northern Ireland.  Coming at the mid-way point of the Department of Justice consultation on tribunal reform, the roundtable explored options for improving user experience and for reform of the tribunal system.

The consultation closes on 19 April and is available on the Department of Justice website at: The Future Administration and Structure of Tribunals in Northern Ireland


Training opportunities

Trainees at Law Centre (NI)


Personal Independence Payment, 30 April

Welfare Rights Adviser Programme, 8-day course, starting 8 May

Introduction to Mental Health Law, 21 May

Western Area

Introduction to Mental Health Law, 29 May

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.


Free training and information with BIPP

Social security legal adviser Patricia Carty with trainees at Belfast Integration and Participation Project session on benefits available to migrant workers

Belfast Integration and Participation Project and Law Centre (NI) are running a series of training and information sessions on benefit entitlements for migrant workers. Three events for your diary:

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

Practitioner Focus Group

13 June, 11am to 1pm

Where: Law Centre (NI) Belfast office, 124 Donegall Street, Belfast BT1 2GY.

For more details, email


Disabled Facilities Grant success

Following a referral from Mencap Northern Ireland, Law Centre (NI) acted on behalf of an adult with a learning disability and severe physical health issues.

Our client’s family had made an application to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive for a Disabled Facilities Grant to fund housing adaptations at her home to better meet her needs. Before making the grant available, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive required a recommendation from the relevant Health and Social Care Trust that the adaptations were needed.  The Trust had refused to provide this recommendation.

We requisitioned medical and other evidence on our client’s behalf which attested to her physical and psychological needs necessitating the adaptations.

Following a review of the case, the Trust accepted our legal argument and agreed to recommend the adaptations in full.