Our Team

Baljeet Sandhu
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Baljeet is MiCLU’s founding director and recognised as one of the UK’s leading experts on children’s rights in the field of asylum and immigration law. Baljeet qualified as a solicitor at Wilsons LLP in 2008 having worked in the voluntary sector for a number of years with a background in youth work. Baljeet later joined Refugee Legal Centre (RLC – later known as Refugee and Migrant Justice) to develop and design the UK’s first children’s rights programme for migrant and refugee children and support the work of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) in establishing the UK’s first national training programme on refugee children’s rights. She later co-directed the Refugee Children’s Rights Project (RCRP) a partnership between Islington Law Centre and Coram.  She has contributed to a number of legal publications and delivers child-rights based legal and policy training to lawyers, NGOs, statutory agencies and children’s charities in the UK and the EU. She sits as an expert advisor on a number of boards and panels, including the Asylum and Immigration Advisory Board of the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England and the Strategic Legal Fund for Vulnerable Young Migrants. She is the founder and legal expert of the Law Centre Network’s Principles to Practice project – a socio-legal research project involving 18 Law Centres across the UK evaluating UK process, practice and decision-making in cases involving unaccompanied asylum seeking children. She was awarded the Young Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in 2011 and appointed a 2014 Clore Social Leadership fellow and 2016 Vital Voices global leadership fellow.

 

Anna Skehan
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Anna is our specialist children and young person’s immigration solicitor. Anna has been practising immigration and asylum law since 1998, and has worked at Islington Law Centre since 2003. Anna has experience of running a wide variety of cases having extensive expertise in representing victims of human trafficking, slavery and exploitation. Since 2010 Anna has specialised in immigration and asylum cases involving children and young people representing child victims of trafficking, young people fleeing war, conflict and violence and undocumented young migrants in the UK. Anna was awarded Immigration Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in 2006 in recognition of her expertise in supporting and representing highly vulnerable migrants. Anna has been a consultant Peer Reviewer for the Legal Aid Agency in the Immigration and Asylum category since 2006.

 

 

 

Roopa Tanna
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Roopa Tanna has been practising immigration and asylum law since 1995, and has worked at Islington Law Centre since 2011 joining the Refugee Children’s Rights Project to support the project’s strategic litigation work and later joining the Immigration Unit as a supervising solicitor. Roopa has a wide caseload covering complex asylum, immigration and judicial review cases and has been working closely with MiCLU to take forward test case litigation on children’s rights and representing young people in complex immigration and public law challenges. Over the last few years Roopa has been heavily involved in High Court challenges against the legal aid cuts following the enactment of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and legal challenges creating safe legal routes to the UK for children in the Calais refugee camps. Roopa was awarded a 2014 Champion of Justice Award and was a 2015 finalist for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in the Public Law category.

 

 

 

Jen Ang
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Jen joined MiCLU in September 2015 as our Legal Education Officer. She has worked as an immigration and asylum solicitor since 2005, most recently as Lead Solicitor of the Young Persons’ Project at the Legal Services Agency (a law centre based in Glasgow), providing advice and representation to migrant children and young people across Scotland. Jen also works as a Legal Adviser for Freedom from Torture, and an Associate Lecturer at the Open University in Scotland, where she teaches first-year courses in both English and Scots Law. Jen is leading on the development and expansion of MiCLU’s Responsibility Shared legal education programme, which aims to offer innovative, practical training about the rights of children, and to enhance support for legal and non-legal professionals who work day-to-day with vulnerable children and young people subject to immigration control across the UK.   Contact Jen on jennifera@islingtonlaw.org.uk.

 

 

 

Deborah Thackray

Deborah joined MiCLU in March 2016 as our Legal and Res20160602_195512earch Officer. She first became involved in refugee law while studying her Master’s at Charles University in Prague after visiting a Czech immigration detention centre. Deborah went on to work at Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance, a British charity that provided legal aid and psychosocial services to refugees in Egypt, where she led the unaccompanied minors team, and later as refugee status determination team leader.
 Deborah has taught comparative international refugee law at the American University in Cairo, and also worked for UNHCR as a resettlement consultant and a refugee status determination appeals officer.
 She is an accredited caseworker at OISC Level 2, and assisted in November 2015 supported our Centre’s work to reunite refugees in Calais with family members in the UK. Deborah leads our legal research programme underpinning MiCLU’s advice, policy and legal education work. Contact Deborah on deboraht@islingtonlaw.org.uk.

 

Lisa Payne

Lisa joined MLisa photo 3iCLU in May 2016 as Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer. Lisa has worked on a wide range of policy areas which include children in care and care leavers, education, child poverty and disadvantage, youth justice, child trafficking, early education and childcare, and mental health – always with children’s rights at their core. She was Head of the Policy Unit at the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) as well as clerk to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children in Westminster for many years, and has also led on Unicef UK’s domestic policy work on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. More recently, she has provided children and family policy expertise on a range of freelance policy research projects, many of them focusing on children’s views and voices. In addition to her role at MiCLU, Lisa is also working with the Scottish Government on Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA). Contact Lisa on lisap@islingtonlaw.org.uk