Legal Advice and Representation
We provide direct, specialist legal representation to migrant and refugee children in asylum and immigration matters, based on a pioneering child-centred legal service with a high success rate.
Direct casework is one of the cornerstones of our practice. Without this service we cannot hear the voice of the child directly nor understand the context within which it speaks. In order to be able to learn from children and young migrants we need to create a space in which they can see and experience change for themselves. Without the ability to make a tangible difference in their lives we are simply another set of adults who have expectations of them but who provide nothing concrete. To make a meaningful difference for children and young people we have to meet their needs, and the bottom line is that they need good, child-centred representation to enable them to access their rights in the UK.
The fact that we carry out direct casework ourselves also gives us authority when training other professionals. When we speak from our practical experience it is much easier for others to engage with and understand. They are also more likely to accept that it is possible to make changes to their own practice if we can demonstrate the effect it has in ours.
Our direct-access model places the child at the centre of our work. Critical to our success in casework is our understanding that in order for a child to provide the best evidence in support of their case, they need to feel that they have been listened to, understand, as far as possible, the context in which their case will be decided, and have time to engage with the process at their own pace. Children need a service that it is tailored to their specific needs. They are children, not adults in a smaller size. Our cases frequently take longer to conclude, and may cost more than those run elsewhere, but they result in the most advantageous outcome for our clients, and are focused on achieving durable solutions.
We understand that children in the immigration process need to have all their needs met in order to fully participate. As such we make referrals which ensure that our young clients receive social, emotional and financial support as a priority. This provides them with a safety net throughout the process, and offers them a more immediate sense of change than we can achieve through legal process. This allows the child to be able to cope with a lengthy and challenging process to the best of their ability and increases the prospects of a successful outcome.
Our casework uses a child rights model to inform the legal work that we do. We view our clients as children first and migrants second, and our legal submissions focus on this. We take an evidence-based approach to preparing cases, and believe that this too contributes to the success of our cases. Where the laws exist to protect our clients we ensure that there is evidence provided to the decision-maker which shows that our client falls within the relevant criteria. Where we believe that the law in its current form is insufficient or lacks clarity we use our strategic casework model to effect change.