Law Centre NI

Law Centre (NI)

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

Welcome to our October 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: October 2013 enews.

Follow us on Twitter: @LawCentreNI

Frontline 89 out now

Encyclopedia of Rights 2013 - updated



Pro bono conference

WCA review

Social justice lecture

Welfare reform conference

New Law Centre courses

Child Benefit delays

Book now for pro-bono conference

Sinead Mulhearn - head of LSP

Pro-bono in practice: international perspectives

Date:  Friday 8 November, 9.15am to 5pm

Venue:  Riddel Hall, Queens University, 185 Stranmillis Road, Belfast

The conference will be of benefit to all those  interested in the development of pro bono work in Northern Ireland.  Participants will:

  • have a chance to hear from leading international practitioners about their pro bono work in promoting human rights and access to justice;

  • hear about the possibilities for NGOs and others to access pro bono assistance internationally;

  • hear from a panel, including representatives from leading law firms here, about the business case for pro bono; and

  • have the opportunity to  put forward ideas in their workshops for the future development of pro bono in Northern Ireland.


Colin Gonsalves, Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India and Founder Director of the Human Rights Law Network and Balazs Sahin-Toth Counsel, Allen and Overy (Budapest)

Speaker biographies and Conference Programme

Cost: Free  CPD: To be confirmed

Booking:  Booking Form and Location Map

Enquiries:  Deborah Hill, Legal Support Project, Law Centre (NI), 124 Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2GY

Email: or phone 028 9043 5050  

Law Centre hosts WCA review meeting

On 19 September, Dr Paul Litchfield, independent reviewer of the Work Capability Assessment, was in Belfast to hear the views of voluntary sector stakeholders.

The Law Centre and the Social Security Agency hosted the meeting, chaired by director Les Allamby, at the office of NICVA.

Martyn Day shines light on law as a tool for social change

The Law Centre held its inaugural social justice lecture, Law as a Tool for Social Change, last month. 

Martyn Day of Leigh Day and Co addressed a packed audience of members of the legal profession, policy makers and voluntary sector advisers at Crumlin Road Gaol.

He praised the UK legal system that, uniquely, allows extra-territorial mass action, and a judiciary unafraid to take on government and multinationals. He expressed concern at legal aid changes which seriously limit access to justice in Britain.

Introducing the lecture, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan cautioned against current efforts to restrict the scope of judicial review.

Read more

Welfare reform hits Northern Ireland hard

A major conference held on 3 October by Law Centre (NI), Citizens Advice, Advice NI and the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action heard that welfare reform will take 750 million pounds annually out of the Northern Ireland economy.

Watch a video stream of the conference.

Read The impact of welfare reform on Northern Ireland research carried out by Sheffield Hallam University for NICVA.

Enrol on our new courses

16 October to 21 November 

Tribunal representation Belfast (six days)

17 and 18 October 

Advocacy skills Belfast (two days)

22 November 

Immigration law and criminal justice Belfast

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

Download our full training programme here

More details:

Resolving Child Benefit delays

We recently helped several clients with delays in processing of claims for Child Benefit which can have a knock-on effect on other benefits and tax credits.  There is an ongoing problem with this, especially for refugees and migrants. HMRC often takes at least six months to process these claims. This can lead to significant hardship for clients who are vulnerable.  Intervention by our caseworkers can significantly speed the process.

Feel free to refer clients to the Law Centre for help.  Our advice line is open Monday to Friday, 9.30 to 1pm: 9024 4401. We advise and represent on social security, community care, employment, immigration and mental health legal issues.


 Law in Northern Ireland Brice Dickson Hart Publishing