Law Centre NI

Law Centre (NI)

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

Welcome to our August 2011 enewsletter. 

In the pipeline are an updated version of our migrant workers guide and a booklet on alternatives to court, published in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ombudsman and Queen’s University.  More about this in our September issue.

We hope you find this information useful.  Please circulate to interested colleagues.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.



Childcare seminar

Encyclopedia of Rights updated

The Law of Refugee Status

September training

Victory for Law Centre client


If the newsletter does not display properly, follow this link to the HTML version.

 Childcare seminar

Speakers at the childcare seminar

The Law Centre hosted a policy discussion on childcare in the context of the impending welfare reform bill. 

Participants at the Welfare Reform and the Childcare Imperative roundtable highlighted the current gaps in childcare provision and discussed how a childcare strategy should be taken forward in Northern Ireland. 

The Daycare Trust shared its experience of the development of the childcare strategy in Britain and of the lessons to be learnt from it.

 Encyclopedia of Rights updated


Law Centre (NI) Encyclopedia of Rights 2011-2012 is now fully online at

We have discontinued the CDs which we would normally have sent to members around this time of year.  The CDs duplicated our website and became quickly out of date while the online version is updated two or three times a year.

Please discard older versions, including any CDs or binders which may remain in your office and any files stored on your computers, as the information contained in them is outdated.  Please do not use older versions for advice.

Most of our members will find the online version sufficient for their needs.  For those who may have problems with using this, it is possible to download the files from the site.  Failing this, you can request electronic copies from our publications department. 



 The law of refugee status: BOOK NOW!

A two day training course with Professor Jim Hathaway

Thurs 6 and Fri 7 Oct at QUB. Organised by Law Centre (NI) and School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast

Professor Hathaway of the University of Michigan Law School is the leading authority on refugee law.

The course

·    The course provides in depth understanding and analysis of the law of refugee status.

·     It is directed at immigration law practitioners, decision makers, NGO activists and policy makers.

·     It carries 10 CPD points for solicitors and barristers.


·     £250 private/statutory

·     £180 non-Law Centre (NI) member voluntary organisations/academics

·     £150 Law Centre (NI) members

·     £80 students

It may be possible to offer a reduced fee to asylum/refugee-led organisations with limited means.  Please contact the Law Centre for more details.

To book a place, contact Gemma Graham, email:, phone 9024 4401

Read more


 September is back to school time

European law training session at the Law Centre

Come and refresh your skills at the Law Centre.  In September and October, we have training courses for advisers in the areas of employment, social security and mental health.

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

6 September Completing Disability Forms: DLA and ESA - Derry

15 September  Completing Disability Forms: DLA & ESA Best Practice - Belfast

15 September  Representing at Mental Health Review Tribunal - Derry

20 September - 19 October  Tribunal Representation - 6 days - Belfast

22 September Representing at Mental Health Review Tribunals - Belfast

6 October - 17 November Welfare Rights Adviser programme (WRAP) - Derry

14 October Redundancy, Lay-off & Employer Insolvency - Belfast

19 October Employment & Support Allowance Changes & Migration - Derry

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

For Belfast courses, contact, 9024 4401.

For Western Area training, contact, 7126 2433

or visit our website:


 Law Centre client state pension victory

20 pound note

This case concerns the valuation of capital for State Pension Credit purposes, where the former matrimonial home is occupied by the estranged spouse.

Our client had separated from his wife 30 years before.  She had continued to live in the family home with their children who were now adults.  He owned the property in his sole name.  The mortgage was paid off and he did not charge her rent.  She was in poor health and the house had fallen into poor repair.

When he claimed State Pension Credit, the Department for Social Development valued the property at £120,000 and reduced his State Pension Credit to a minimal level due to the notional income attributed to this.  An appeal tribunal disallowed his appeal and he contacted the Law Centre.

We convinced the tribunal to set aside its decision on an error of law and represented at the remitted tribunal.  The Department agreed to get a further valuation of his interest in the property, taking into consideration that his estranged wife resided there.  The valuation came back at just over £9,000.

Our client has received more than £7,000 in arrears and his State Pension Credit has been increased to £110 per week.