Law Centre NI

Law Centre (NI)

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


Welcome to our July 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: July 2013 e-newsletter.

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Why advice matters

Summer training

Advancing rights

Refugee week

Casework success

Why advice matters

Les Allamby, Mary McManus and John Devine launch  Why Advice Matters

Law Centre (NI), Advice NI and Citizens Advice have joined forces and told Stormont that advice is critical to help people cope with welfare changes.

A report launched at Stormont on 2 July by the Northern Ireland Advice Services Consortium (Advice NI, Citizens Advice and Law Centre (NI)) highlights the likely impact of welfare reform on people across Northern Ireland and how advice providers will be called upon to help those struggling to cope with the changes.

Why Advice Matters highlights some stark facts, including:

The reform of Disability Living Allowance between 2013 and 2015 could mean that over half of claimants could see their benefit reduced or completely removed;

The introduction of Universal Credit will impact on 287,000 households across Northern Ireland;

The demand for independent advice has grown steadily with over two million enquiries dealt with over the past four years;

Representation by advisers can double the chances of success at benefit tribunals.

Download a copy of the report here: Why Advice Matters


Summer training at Law Centre (NI)

WRAP course June 2013

You can enrol now for these courses:

Disability Related Benefits, 8 August, Belfast

Disability Related Benefits, 13 August, Western Area

Understanding Universal Credit, 15 August,  Belfast                              

Personal Independence Payment, 20 August, Belfast

Personal Independence Payment, 3 September, Western Area

Carers and their Rights, 5 September, Western Area

Law Centre (NI) courses carry CPD points for solicitors, barristers and CAB advisers.

Download our training programme here

For more details or to book a place, visit the training section of our website or contact, 028 7126 2433.


Advancing rights

Authors of Rights in Progress 4th edition Jonathan Simpson and Les Allamby

The 4th edition of Rights in Progress: A guide to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act, is now available for purchase.

Law Centre members have received a free copy of the guide, which otherwise retails at £10.00.  You can order a copy by using the Order Form on our website, or contacting our publications unit: or phone 9024 4401.

Our Policy unit has published two policy papers on migrant issues which are currently informing discussions with relevant statutory agencies and should help bring about fairer healthcare for migrants and better support for separated children subject to immigration control.

Find them here:

Migrants and health care

Separated children


Celebrating Refugee Week

In the audience at Refugee Day event at Law Centre (NI)

On 20 June, the Law Centre celebrated refugee day with an inspiring debate on Refugee law: cases that changed the world.

Four speakers selected and presented what they considered to be the most groundbreaking case in the history of refugee law. Under the good natured watch of the Honourable Mr Justice Weir, the speakers presented:

Chahal v UK, Professor Colin Harvey (QUB)

HJ (Iran) and HT (Cameroon), Steven McQuitty (Bar Library)

Limbuela, Virginia McVea (NIHRC)

Shah and Islam, Buster Cox (Law Centre (NI))

Another groundbreaking case, Sufi & Elmi v UK, was presented by Law Centre volunteer Helena Wilson during question time.

Also during Refugee Week, we celebrated a year of achievements of the Belfast Integration and Participation Project, a joint venture of Belfast City Council, Law Centre (NI) and South Belfast Roundtable on Racism.

As part of the BIPP programme, the Law Centre held a successful series of training and information sessions on migrants and benefits.  The information has been compiled into a guide which will be available online in August.


Casework success

We appealed to the immigration tribunal on behalf of a Chinese national married to a dual Irish/British citizen.  She had received a letter from the UKBA refusing to consider her application for permanent residence as the spouse of an EEA national who is permanently incapacitated. 

A preliminary issue at the hearing was establishing that the letter issued to her contained an 'immigration decision' attracting a right of appeal and therefore establishing that the First-Tier Tribunal had jurisdiction to hear the appeal. 

The appeal was successful at the First Tier Tribunal and she was granted permanent residence under the provisions of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006.