Immigration cases

Ms T’s Judicial Review

Ms T came to the country to join her husband.  Within weeks he had started to beat her and abuse her viciously.   After putting up with this for nearly six months, she left him and applied under the 3-month Domestic Violence Concession (DDVC).

This concession allows women who have joined their husbands in the UK and subsequently suffer domestic violence, to apply for leave to remain and access to benefits for up to three months while they receive advice and support.  It enables women to access a safe home at a refuge.  It also allows women to then submit an application to settle in their own right.    The aim is to protect victims of abuse, and ensure that they aren’t trapped in violent relationship by the fear of destitution and homelessness and removal from the UK.

The Home Office turned Ms T down on the grounds that, at the time she entered the country, her husband was not “settled” in the UK even though he had been granted 5 years’ Refugee Leave to reside in the UK for and has since been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (settled status).

This perverse decision is plainly contrary to what Government ministers intended when they brought in the domestic violence concession.  It meant that Ms T was barred from applying for benefits; as a result she had to live on sporadic charitable handouts for several months and to share an emergency hostel room – intended to be only for a few days – with 5 other women.

ELC sought a judicial review on Ms T’s behalf, and the case is now in the Court of Appeal.   Ms T has been granted leave to remain and access to benefits pending the conclusion of these proceedings.

 

Victory for Ealing Law Centre as teen is awarded citizenship

Solicitors at Ealing Law Centre have just won a key legal case on behalf of a young man who has been granted British Citizenship. He can now take up a place at a prestigious drama school.

The eighteen year old, known as Danny, had lived in the UK since the age of three. He was not entitled to citizenship as his father was not a British citizen and his mother had returned to her country of birth and was no longer involved in his life.

“Children and young people can be left in limbo with no right to go into further education or take work,” explained solicitor Solange Valdez of the Law Centre’s Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens. “The Secretary of State has the discretion to register children as British citizens but had not included someone in Danny’s position.

“We challenged the Secretary of State’s decision to the high court and we are delighted that Danny now has citizenship. It is the first time citizenship has been granted to someone in his position.

“This is a key decision which should benefit many more children in the same situation. We are seeing more and more young people in our monthly surgeries who urgently need to resolve their status in order to pursue their education.”

Speaking after the decision, Danny commented: “I have had difficulties with my
status for many years and I’ve missed opportunities throughout my school life due to lack of citizenship. You feel very insecure about your future, as if you have no proper identity.”

Danny is looking forward to attending his citizenship ceremony this week.

Homelessness

Ms X was referred to Ealing Law Centre by her support worker.  She had been evicted from previous accommodation due to rent arrears and had been sleeping in garages for the past 6 months; she had previously attempted to take her own life and was engaging with mental health services but had little in the way of written medical evidence. Ms X had attempted to make a homelessness application to the Council but had been sent away, and no homelessness application had been taken from her.

When Ms X came to our office she was facing a further weekend on the street; she was terrified at this prospect, and had nowhere else to turn.   The Law Centre wrote to the Council threatening judicial review as the homelessness application had not been dealt with in the correct way; as a result,  the Council have provided Ms X with temporary accommodation while further investigations are made into her homelessness application.  Although this is at present is only a temporary respite, it has given Ms X some stability to continue her medical treatment and start getting her life back on track.

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