Law Centre NI

Law Centre (NI)

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


Welcome to our December 2012 e-newsletter.  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:

December 2012 eNewsletter.

We hope to meet as many of you as possible at our 19 December AGM and seminar on the future of adult care

Have a great holiday.

Follow us on Twitter: @LawCentreNI




Benefit cuts

Welfare Reform Bill:

- giving evidence

- parity briefing

Learning disability roundtable

DLA success

Immigration volunteer vacancy

Training at Law centre (NI)

 More benefit cuts will increase child poverty

Mother and daughter

Over 50 organisations, including the Law Centre, have warned against the impact on child poverty of more benefit cuts in a letter to the Independent coordinated by Child Poverty Action Group.

Law Centre (NI) gives evidence to Ad Hoc Committee on welfare reform

On 10 December, Law Centre Director Les Allamby gave evidence to the Northern Ireland Assembly's Ad Hoc Committee on welfare reform.

He set out a number of areas within the Bill and subsequent regulations which give rise to human rights concerns, including:

  • the provisions to make European Union workers meet the 'all work requirements' regardless of their circumstances;

  • the Inability of the Department for Social Development to provide suitable alternatives to claimants caught by the 'spare room tax'; and

  • the intention to remove Universal Credit altogether where one member of a couple signs the claimant commitment and the other member refuses. 

He also outlined concerns about the adequacy of the current Equality Impact Assessment accompanying the Bill.

 Parity and the welfare reform bill

Members of the Welfare Reform Group meet at Law Centre (NI)

The NI Welfare Reform Group has published its briefing paper on Parity and the Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill. This paper explores areas for operational flexibility and includes recommendations on where flexibility may be applied to the parity principle in respect of the Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill.

The Group advocates that a different approach may be taken to a number of the measures contained within the Bill and the subsequent regulations and guidance in order to achieve a tailored Northern Ireland approach to the issues presented in the Welfare Reform Bill.

Download Parity and the Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill here

 Learning disability roundtable

Organisers and keynote speakers at the learning disability round table

‘An Opportunity to turn rights into reality’ 

Forthcoming capacity legislation has the potential to radically change how people with a learning disability are viewed, listened to and treated; a Belfast roundtable event on learning disability heard on 26 November 2012.

Entitled ‘Choice and control in my life’, the roundtable was jointly organised by Mencap in Northern Ireland, Inclusion Europe, Inclusion Ireland, Law Centre (NI) and the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Experts from across Ireland and Europe explored what is needed in law, policy and practice to turn the right of people with a learning disability to make decisions into a reality. Those at the roundtable heard firsthand about the experiences of people with a learning disability and family carer.

Read more


 Immigration volunteer wanted

Law Centre (NI) Belfast office

Law Centre (NI) is seeking expressions of interest in a volunteer placement within the Immigration unit.

Ideally the volunteer will be a graduate in Law, will have excellent research and written communication skills and be able to demonstrate experience in and/ or knowledge of Immigration Law.  

If interested please reply in writing to Buster Cox by 17 December 2012, setting out why you are interested in volunteering with the Law Centre, how you meet the requirements of this placement and indicating clearly the working days/dates of your availability.


£3,000+ DLA backdated after advice call

We advised a man whose mobility component of Disability Living Allowance had not been paid since he was admitted to a care home.

As he had been admitted prior to 14 December 2011,the adviser told him that he was entitled to the mobility component. 

He contacted the DLA office with this information and received a backdated sum of £3,718.30.

From 14 December 2011, a person in an NHS funded care home undergoing medical or other treatment as an in-patient in a hospital or similar institution may not be entitled to the mobility component if:

  • the care home employs doctors, qualified nurses or other health care professionals; or

  • the person receives medical or other treatment by or under the direct supervision of a qualified doctor, nurse or nurses at the care home.

However, this does not apply to a person admitted before that date.


 Upcoming training at Law Centre (NI)

A Law Centre training course

15 January: Welfare Rights Adviser Programme, 8 days, Belfast

17 January: Mental Capacity and Community Care, Derry

24 January: Mental Capacity and Community Care, Belfast

30 January: Employment Law, 2 days, Belfast

27 February: Employment Law, 2 days, Derry

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

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