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Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC) celebrates 2nd year with seminar at Garden Court Chambers

 

The Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC) celebrated its second anniversary last night with a seminar along with celebratory speeches and drinks at Garden Court Chambers. The seminar was chaired by Alison Harvey; Legal Director of ILPA.  Solange Valdez; PRCBC’s solicitor and co-founder, spoke about the law and guidance regarding registering children as British citizens and Carol Bohmer; co-founder of PRCBC, presented the initial findings of Ealing Law Centre’s research report on the systemic obstacles to children registering as British citizens, which was funded by the Strategic Legal Fund (SLF) for vulnerable young migrants. The speakers set out the current difficulties faced by children and young adults who have a right to apply to be registered as British but face severe obstacles in doing so due to lack of information, poor Home Office decision making and high application fees. Solange and Carol were joined by Sonali Naik; barrister from Garden Court Chambers and Natalya Seagrove; volunteer at Ealing Law Centre in explaining the legal position and findings and potential routes for legal challenge.  Anita Hurrell of Coram Children’s Legal Centre then commented on the report and the potential for policy work and possible future recommendations.

 

The project’s staff and volunteers were honoured to be joined by the Children’s Commissioner Dr Maggie Atkinson. At the celebratory drinks Dr Atkinson presented PRCBC’s three Youth Ambassadors with certificates in recognition of their role as ambassadors for the project, raising awareness about the importance of registering as British. The young people Kimani, Dajay and Zaki spoke about the importance to them of applying to register as British and why they wanted to make sure others who are entitled do the same.

 

Speaking after the event Solange Valdez PRCBC’s solicitor said “the project is hardwork. We are working beyond capacity and mostly unfunded but the value to young people of registering as British as soon as they become entitled is too important to ignore. The current barriers to registration are immense with a fee of £699 which is often insurmountable for destitute or low income families and young people. We will be continuing the campaign to ensure that all those who assist young people as part of their day to day work realise the importance of being registered as British.”

 

EALING LAW CENTRE VOLUNTEER MANAGER WINS CHAMPIONS OF JUSTICE AWARD

Alan Cripps, volunteer Business Manager at Ealing Law Centre on Northfield Avenue has been chosen for one of the prestigious London Legal Support Trust’s new Champions of Justice Awards.

 

The awards were awarded on Thursday 23rd October by Dominic Grieve QC and Judge Rinder at a ceremony to celebrate the Trust’s tenth anniversary. They are intended to recognise the ‘unsung heroes’ of the legal advice world.

 

Alan, who gives his time to the Law Centre as an unpaid volunteer, said:

“I’m delighted to have been given this award, but Ealing Law Centre is a real team effort, and I feel privileged to be part of it.  I’m constantly amazed and inspired by the professionalism and dedication which my co-workers bring every day to the vital work of making sure that people who have nowhere else to turn can get access to justice.”

Trust Chief Executive Bob Nightingale said: “It was a privilege to be able to recognise people who make a real difference to people’s lives, whether they be paid staff or unpaid volunteers. The reaction from the winners was fabulous. Most of them had no idea that they had been nominated until they arrived. They were surprised and even amazed to have been nominated because the real stars of the service have no idea how much they are valued by the rest of us.”

 

 

 

Ealing Law Centre celebrates official Open Day

Staff, trustees and volunteers at Ealing Law Centre celebrated their official Open Day on Friday 10 October 2014. The Law Centre opened its doors to clients, local community groups and several local dignitaries to celebrate its first full year in operation at 210 Northfield Avenue.

 

Around 60 people passed through the Law Centre’s doors during the course of the afternoon including domestic violence support workers, the Legal Director of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association, the Director of the Law Centres Network, the Amnesty International UK Programme Director of Migrants and Refugees, a Children Legal Centre representative, former clients, lawyers from local firms, the Deputy Registrar from Hammersmith and Fulham Registry Office, law students and academics.

 

Akram Hallaji, Advice & Support Worker at the Ashiana Network who attended the event said ‘Thank you for supporting our clients with immigration issues. We are very blessed that an excellent immigration solicitor is there to help our clients complicated cases and take on their cases when no one else would’

 

A former client of the Law Centre Danny said ‘being successful in my case and being registered as British has changed my life. Things are much more positive and I am doing well and moving on with my career’

 

Lynn Knowles, Chair of Trustees, welcomed everyone to the Law Centre and explained how it had been set up following the collapse of Law for All. She praised the hard work of the volunteers and community activists that had turned the idea of a Law Centre into a reality.

 

Local MP Virendra Sharma performed the official opening ceremony. “I have long been a supporter of Law Centres and I am delighted that there is now one in Ealing,” he said.

 

Shadow Minister of Justice Andy Slaughter MP added: “I have high praise for the work of Law Centres. In my experience they keep Councils honest.”

 

Leader of Ealing Council, Cllr Julian Bell also welcomed the Law Centre, saying:”There is a huge need for legal advice given the perfect storm of cuts to public spending and the current housing crisis.”

 

The Law Centre’s local ward councillor David Millican also expressed his support for the Law Centre, saying that in his experience there were lots of constituents needing housing and immigration advice.

 

Claude Moraes MEP talked of his background in the Law Centres movement and praised the extraordinary work involved in setting up the Law Centre and the Project for the Registration of Children and British Citizens.

 

“We hope that our Open Day has given local organisations a taste of the legal cases that we can help with and the work we hope to do with the local community,” said Law Centre’s supervising solicitor Solange Valdez.

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