Castle Park Solicitors

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The “Common Law” Myth

Many people still believe that because they have lived with their partner for many years they have the same rights as married couples if they separate.  This is not the case.  The law relating to the rights of married parties who divorce and those of cohabitating partners who separate are very different.  Being married confers financial claims which both parties can make under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.  When considering how matrimonial assets and incomes should be divided the court will endeavour to share the matrimonial pot fairly taking into account the needs of the parties.  This is turn will be dependent on their ages, whether there are any dependent children, financial recourses of each of the parties and so on. The financial remedies in the Matrimonial Causes Act are not available to cohabitating partners.  There are no similar provisions which protect the economically weaker party who may also be left as the main carer of the children.  That party can only hope that their ex-partner will voluntarily help support them or they must rely on the payment of child maintenance enforced through the Child Maintenance Service and in some limited circumstances to financial provisions available for the children the Children Act 1989.  Property disputes are dealt with under the Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.

Given that the number of cohabitating parents is rising, the disparity between what is available to married separating parents and unmarried separating parents is worrying and therefore there is a call for the law to be changed to provide financial remedies in certain circumstances to unmarried parties.  Interestingly same sex couples can now marry or enter into a civil partnership.  A civil partnership confers the same financial rights as a marriage.  However same sex couples who do not want to marry but want to provide each other with the same financial rights as if they were married cannot enter into a civil partnership.

Many organisations and individuals are campaigning for a change to the law to provide some protection to unmarried couples. Resolution which is an organisation of family lawyers and other professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family issues is one of those organisations.   Details of the Resolution and the campaign for a change to the law for co-habiting couples when they separate can be found at www.resolution.org.uk.

Our family solicitor Alison Lewis is an accredited specialist Resolution member and committed to providing non-confrontation and constructive resolution to family issues.  If you need advice about the cohabitation issues raised above or any other family law matter she can help.   Alison offers free initial consultations - for more information call 0116 344 0050.

More Information

Come and meet Alison Lewis (experienced solicitor) at our free drop in clinic at our office on the Wednesdays 10am – 12pm and Friday 2pm – 4pm and at the Innovation Centre DMU on Wednesdays 2pm – 4pm. No appointment necessary.

For more information call 0116 344 0050.

FREE Family Law Advice

Come and meet Alison Lewis (experienced solicitor) for free family law advice. Alison can answer queries on all areas of family law including:

  • Divorce
  • Financial Issues on the Breakdown of Marriage/Cohabitation
  • Children Issues
  • Civil Partnerships
  • Adoption/Special Guardianship
  • Injunctions
  • Post and Pre-nuptial Agreements
  • and more.

Free drop in clinic at our office on the Wednesdays 10am – 12pm and Friday 2pm – 4pm and at the Innovation Centre DMU on Wednesdays 2pm – 4pm. No appointment necessary. For more information call 0116 344 0050.

More Information

For more information call 0116 344 0050.

FREE Immigration Advice

Come and meet Louise Koch (experienced solicitor) for free immigration advice. Louise can answer queries about:

  • Brexit
  • Residence cards
  • Registration certificates
  • British citizenship applications
  • Entry clearance visas
  • Spousal visas
  • Family reunion
  • Appeals
  • Fresh asylum claims
  • Human rights applications
  • and more.

Free appointments at the bangladesh youth & cultural shomiti (BYCS)
Fridays 10am – 12 noon
Contact BYCS to make an appointment.

Contact BYCS to make an appointment

Bangladesh Youth & Cultural Shomiti
Main Office & UK Online Centre
30-32 Biddulph Street
Leicester LE2 1BF
Telephone:0116 275 5855
Fax: 0116 275 5844
Email: learn4life@bycs.org.uk

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Impact of Loss of Rights for Dual Citizens

There is an issue of debate as to what rights are enjoyed by an EU citizen who naturalises as a British citizen and becomes a dual citizen. There is a huge uncertainty amongst EU citizens and their family members living in the UK and their future status.

The question of becoming formally and legally British is quite a personal question as many EU citizens have mixed feelings on this matter.  This is because on one hand they wish to secure their position but on the other hand they feel as though they have been betrayed by their treatment at the hands of the British Government.

An issue with becoming a dual British Citizen began to arise since the UK changed its approach to dual citizens in 2012 and started to deny any dual citizens any rights under EU law.

This is a huge problem for any EU citizens who have family members from outside the EU living with them or who may want family members to live with them in the future. The moment such a person becomes a British citizen, any family member living with them from outside the EU who was previously resident under EU law will become unlawfully resident.

Dual citizens will also loose their right to bring any family members into the UK under EU law in the future, if EU law continues to exist following Brexit. This can become a significant area of concern in the future.

Why has the UK changed its approach?

The UK decided to change its approach following the case of McCarthy. In this case a British woman applied and obtained an Irish passport on the basis of her Irish ancestry. Without ever leaving the UK to exercise Treaty rights in another Member state, she then tried to argue that as a dual citizen her Jamaican spouse should be allowed to live in the UK under EU law. The Court rejected this argument and held that neither Directive 2004/38 nor Article 21 TFEU apply to:  a Union citizen who has never exercised his right of free movement, who has always resided in a Member State of which he is a national and who is also a national of another Member State.

Since this case, the UK changed its approach and now takes the view that EU rights are instantly lost the moment a person becomes British. The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 impart rights to EEA nationals, but EEA national is defined as follows at regulation 2 on interpretation of terms: EEA national” means a national of an EEA State who is not also a British citizen.
The effect is to remove EEA nationals and their family members from the scope of the UK’s implementation of EU law immediately on the EEA national becoming a British citizen.

Very limited transitional arrangements are set out in Schedule 6 of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2016 but these only protected a narrow group of EEA nationals and family members already resident in 2012 who had permanent residence or had applied for residence documents.

If you are an EEA national considering applying for British citizenship, please pop along to one of our free drop in appointments to discuss any concerns in light of the above. Drop in sessions are held on Tuesdays 10am-12-pm, Wednesdays 1pm – 2pm and Thursdays 12 – 2pm.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Asylum Seekers Access To Additional Support – S.96 (2) Immigration And Asylum Act 1999.

The home office has recently issued guidance and created an application form (ASF2) for asylum seekers who seek additional support. Up to now, general support and provisions, at a rate of just £36.95 per week, have been made for asylum seekers under s.95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. This is to cover daily living expenses such as food/drink, clothing, toiletries, medication and travel, amongst others, outside of the overall package of support provided such as free accommodation arrangements. However, this still may not be sufficient to cover the particular circumstances and needs of many individuals.

As a result, S.96(2) gives the Home Office power on a case by case basis to meet the requirements of individuals, who require further assistance beyond the overall package and general support provided. The additional support may include cash payments, support I kind (for example gifts such as clothing and food), changes to accommodation or changes to other arrangements. It is important that asylum seekers who require this additional support have access to it, even if they already receive additional allowances (such as for pregnant women who receive an additional £3 per week during pregnancy and £300 maternity grant.)

Each case will be considered individually, however it is vital the additional support does not simply amount to something extra the person desires, it must be an essential need that is different from asylum seekers in general, or, a need common to most asylum seekers that is more costly due to individual circumstances. An example may be where essential travel costs could be reduced significantly by changing accommodation arrangements or providing additional cash support/travel tickets.

If you wish to make an application for S96 (2) payment you will need to be able to show that the need is an essential living need. The following are considered to be essential living needs; sufficient food to keep those on support healthy, provision of suitable clothing, essential toiletries, means to travel to appointments, means of communications with emergency services, access to education, essential household goods, special requirements for new mothers and babies, non-prescription medication and the opportunity to maintain interpersonal relationships and a minimum, level of participation in social, cultural and religious life.  Secondly you must be able to demonstrate that it cannot/will not be met by another state body e.g. local authority, education authority or the NHS. For example if local authorities are providing assistance with education or healthcare, the Home Office will not be obliged to provide this additional support. An example of this is when free school uniform, travel and meals can be provided to children by the local council.

In order to make an application for additional support, use form ASF2 setting put your needs, particular circumstance, support required and the cost/duration involved, Evidence may be required to support the application. The form can be located on the government website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-additional-asylum-support-form-asf2 or obtained from the Asylum Support Application Service who will assist with your application. It must be submitted to the asylum support casework team. Guidance for completing the form can be found on https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/598944/Applications-for-additional-support-v1_0.pdf.

If you require further information or assistance, come along to one of our free drop-in sessions, Tuesday 10am-12pm or Thursday 12pm-2pm. Alternatively, call 0116 344 0050 to book an appointment with Louise.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

The Dubs Amendment

The Dubs amendment is a child refugee scheme where the government had agreed to resettle unaccompanied child refugees from Europe to the UK. Unaccompanied children arriving under the Dubs programme aredistributed around the country as part of the National Transfer Scheme where they come under the care of local authorities. The majority are placed in highly experienced foster care and all under 16’s and girls are put into emergency foster care before being transferred, while older children go into temporary accommodation.

Under S.67 of the Immigration Act 2016, the government agreed to resettle children and their families from the Middle East and North Africa region. Although the section did not mention how many children, the Dubs amendment asked for 3000 children and their families to be resettled and this is the reason most M.P’s voted for this amendment to go through.

As of the 8th February 2017, the government announced the closure of this scheme. So far, 200 children have been resettled under the scheme and a further 150 are still to come, bringing this to a total of 350 children. The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, explained that the reason for this is because the UK had already admitted many children under different refugee schemes. She argued that a total number of 8000 children have come through in the year 2016 alone and this includes children coming directly from camps in or near Syria.

This act by Rudd has been described as shameful and the labour and SNP benches are in anger and dismay. The Home Affairs Select Committee head has said that the “The refugees are being forced to go back to the mud, back to the danger, back into the arms of the people traffickers and the smugglers, theexploitation, the abuse, the prostitution rings – back into the modern slavery that this parliament and this government have pledged to end.”

Some have argued that stopping this safe and legal route for child refugees to come to the UK, will not stop them from trying and it will give the traffickers more opportunities to exploit the children. The children are forced to make these hazardous journeys and in addition to this they have to hand over money to smuggler gangs who have networks of organised crime behind them.

Many of these children have been reported missing. In 2015 alone 10,000 children were reported missing. This figure has definitely risen as 120,000 more children have arrived into Europe since then and there is no way of telling how many of these children have fallen into the hands of the smugglers and traffickers.

This decision is very disappointing. Please do not hesitate to contact immigration specialist, Louise Koch at Castle Park Solicitors.

The Dubs amendment is a child refugee scheme where the government had agreed to resettle unaccompanied child refugees from Europe to the UK. Unaccompanied children arriving under the Dubs programme aredistributed around the country as part of the National Transfer Scheme where they come under the care of local authorities. The majority are placed in highly experienced foster care and all under 16’s and girls are put into emergency foster care before being transferred, while older children go into temporary accommodation.

Under S.67 of the Immigration Act 2016, the government agreed to resettle children and their families from the Middle East and North Africa region. Although the section did not mention how many children, the Dubs amendment asked for 3000 children and their families to be resettled and this is the reason most M.P’s voted for this amendment to go through.

As of the 8th February 2017, the government announced the closure of this scheme. So far, 200 children have been resettled under the scheme and a further 150 are still to come, bringing this to a total of 350 children. The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, explained that the reason for this is because the UK had already admitted many children under different refugee schemes. She argued that a total number of 8000 children have come through in the year 2016 alone and this includes children coming directly from camps in or near Syria.

This act by Rudd has been described as shameful and the labour and SNP benches are in anger and dismay. The Home Affairs Select Committee head has said that the “The refugees are being forced to go back to the mud, back to the danger, back into the arms of the people traffickers and the smugglers, theexploitation, the abuse, the prostitution rings – back into the modern slavery that this parliament and this government have pledged to end.”

Some have argued that stopping this safe and legal route for child refugees to come to the UK, will not stop them from trying and it will give the traffickers more opportunities to exploit the children. The children are forced to make these hazardous journeys and in addition to this they have to hand over money to smuggler gangs who have networks of organised crime behind them.

Many of these children have been reported missing. In 2015 alone 10,000 children were reported missing. This figure has definitely risen as 120,000 more children have arrived into Europe since then and there is no way of telling how many of these children have fallen into the hands of the smugglers and traffickers.

This decision is very disappointing. Please do not hesitate to contact immigration specialist, Louise Koch at Castle Park Solicitors.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Eu Nationals Will Not Be Deported If They Do Not Have Private Healthcare.

After a German PhD student was told she could be removed if she cannot produce her medical insurance documents, the Home Office has reassured that they will not deport EU nationals if they fail to have private healthcare.

A briefing published by immigration barrister Colin Yeo claims the Home Office acquired new enforcement powers against EU citizens from 1 February 2017. He warns EU citizens who are not considered to have “right of residence” and who do not have CSI could be deported or refused entry back into the UK if they leave.

It was a week after the PhD student received her warning that the Home Office made the statement. This was to put at ease any fears students and other categories of EU nationals, may have with regards to failing to comply with the requirement to have ‘comprehensive sickness insurance’ (CSI) in order to qualify for residency in the UK. EU citizens will not be removed from the UK or refused entry solely on the basis that they do not have comprehensive sickness insurance (CSI).

The CSI rule comes from the 2004 EU directive but failed to take into account the fact that Britain’s health service, the NHS, is not insurance-funded. The majority of EU nationals living in the UK are entitled to use the NHS meaning many do not have health insurance. Consequently, the European Commission held the UK liable for not treating the NHS as CSI in 2012 telling them “this breaches EU law”. However the case was never progressed due to the threat of an EU referendum taking place.

Whilst immigration barrister Colin Yeo says the statement made by the Home Office was “good news and very welcome” he states that the Home Office’s legal position is unclear as to whether those without rights to reside under the 2004 directive could be removed.

The Home Office has amended some of the language it uses in communications with EU citizens.

Last year, another Dutch woman Monique Hawkins was told to “prepare to leave” the UK even though she has been in the country for 24 years, married to a British man and had two British children.

The Home Office now no longer use this language, telling those who are refused permanent residency does not have to mean they have to leave the country.

If you have any concerns regarding this or would like to discuss this with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Castle Park Solicitors.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Home Office Ends Policy Of Automatic Settlement For Refugees After Five Years

The Home Office has announced changes to the policy of automatic settlement for refugees after five years. A new policy of reviewing whether all refugees require protection at the end of a five year initial period of leave will be effective immediately for all refugee settlement applications, whether it be an already resident refugee in the UK or those expecting to qualify automatically for settlement.
Since it can no longer be assumed that a refugee will qualify for settlement, it will be harder for refugees to find work, commit to educational courses or simply settle down and rebuild their lives. This will mean that alongside not being able to work, they may not be able to rent accommodation, drive, and maintain a bank account and more. Any refugees refused settlement under the new policy will in theory face detention and removal.

The first signs of the implementation of the new policy came in November 2015 with changes to the immigration rules. Now the official “safe return review” policy has been announced.
The previous policy in place since 2005, stated that refugees would be granted an initial period of five years of limited leave and at the end of that period would automatically be granted settlement on application.

The new approach is to conduct “safe return reviews” for all refugees before granting settlement. The new Settlement Protection instruction sets out details of the policy and settlement may now be refused where:

  1. There has been a “significant and non-temporary change in the country situation”. This is described to mean that a fear of persecution can no longer be regarded as well-founded and the changes must be such that the reasons for becoming a refugee have ceased to exist.
  2. There have been changes in personal circumstances.
  3. The refugee has returned to their country of origin or habitual residence.
  4.  The refugee has obtained a national passport from their home country.
  5. There is evidence the original decision to recognise refugee status was incorrect.
  6. Any dependents of the refugee have travelled home or obtained a national passport.

This change of policy contrives a threat of removal at the end of the five year period for any refugee granted protection in the UK. Refugees will now no longer be secure in their status and will be unable to properly start rebuilding their life.

If you have any concerns regarding this new policy and would like to discuss this with us, please do not hesitate to contact immigration specialist, Louise Koch at Castle Park Solicitors.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Law Firm and Charity Partnerships: A Growing Model

Castle Park Solicitors set the standard back in 2013 when the Community Advice and Law Service (CALS) won approval to launch Castle Park Solicitors Community Interest Company, whose profits go to support the continuing work of the charity.

Since then other charities have been attracted set up Alternative Business Structures (ABS) as a means to support their work. The Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU) an Islington, North London, based charity that provides legal help to the victims of trafficking and slavery is the latest to adopt this model, creating a law firm to service immigration and employment law private clients, with the aim of using profits to fund its charitable work.

It's great to see other charities adopting the model pioneered with Castle Park Solicitors.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Financial requirement of £18,600 for a spousal visa – new court decision today!

The long-awaited Supreme Court ruling in MM & Ors has just been announced.  This gives hope to thousands of families divided by the requirements of the immigration rules, because they do not earn enough to live with the person they love. 

The case challenged the requirement for British citizens and settled UK residents to earn at least £18,600 a year in order to sponsor a spouse from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). It has long been argued that the family migration rules do not adequately safeguard the welfare of children. 

  • The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the consideration of children in spouse/partner visa applications is incompatible with their rights under national and international law. Specifically, the Family Migration Rules and guidance fail to fulfil the Government’s legal duty to have due regard to children’s best interests as a primary consideration in immigration decisions. The judges have declared these Rules and instructions to Home Office decision-makers unlawful in this respect.
  • The judges also ruled that, where the financial requirements are not met, further consideration must be given to alternative sources of income in deciding whether to grant leave to partners and spouses outside of the Family Migration Rules. 
  • However, the Court upheld the overall acceptability and proportionality of the £18,600 minimum income requirement in principle, and its compatibility with human rights legislation under Article 8, Article 12 and Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights (given effect in UK domestic law through the Human Rights Act 1998). This was because the Home Secretary always has a discretion to grant leave outside the rules if strict application of the rules would violate a person’s human rights. 

The minimum income requirement of £18,600 has caused heartache for thousands of families since its introduction in July 2012 as part of the effort to reduce net migration. Many families have been divided, with partners and children being forced to maintain a relationship with a parent via electronic means. Others are exiled from the UK, unable to return as a family or to maintain relationships with British grandparents and other relatives. 

The £18,600 requirement is 138% of the UK minimum wage and could not be met by an estimated 41% of the UK working population.

The Government must now implement the Supreme Court’s ruling. They must amend the Family Migration Rules and accompanying guidance to decision-makers, in order to ensure that the statutory duty to consider children’s best interests is fully reflected in all decisions that concern children. 

In addition, the Court has recommended that the Government clarify to decision-makers that alternative sources of funding can be considered in an assessment of whether leave should be granted outside of the Rules. While the judges did not specify how this must be done, they ruled that a blanket policy of not accepting other forms or sources of funding would be incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998. 

If you are affected by the financial requirement and want assistance with an application to the Home Office, please contact our offices on 0116 344 0050 to see how we can assist!

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Immigration rules HC667

On 3 November 2016, the government announced important changes being made to the Immigration Rules. These will come into effect to applications made on or after 24 November 2016. The changes include the increase of minimum salary for skilled workers, the removal of the 28-day grace period for expired immigration applications and the introduction of a new English Language requirement for family immigration.

Anyone looking to apply for a Tier 2 visa will need now need to earn a minimum salary of £25,000 as a long-term staff or a minimum salary of £30,000 if you are a short-term staff. If you are applying for a Tier 2 visa as a graduate trainee, then the minimum salary is now £23,000 whilst the Tier 2 skills transfer visa will be closing.

Another important change concerns the 28-day grace period after an applicant’s leave expires. The changes will now mean there is no 28-day allowance and will be replaced with a 14-day allowance instead if there was a good reason, beyond the control of the applicant or their representative, for the application not being made on time.

An application can still be made in time within 14 days of the expiry of leave if:

  • the application was made from a previous application which was refused,
  • the application was made after the expiry of an extended leave given under s3C of the Immigration Act 1971
  • if the expired application was due to an administrative review or appeal or;
  • if this administrative review or appeal was concluded, withdrawn, abandoned or lapsed.

The changes also deal with the change in qualifications required. A new English Language requirement at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages will be introduced to non-EEA partner and parent applicant. This will affect anyone looking to apply for an extension of their stay after 2.5 years in the UK under the 5-year settlement route. This new requirement will apply to partners and parents whose current leave is due to expire on or after the 1 May 2017.

If you have any concerns regarding this or would like to discuss this with us, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Castle Park Solicitors.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

And the winner is...

Congratulations to Bhavnaben Mistry on winning a luxury hamper as part of our competition advertised in partnership with the NHS. We’d also like to take the opportunity to thank all those that entered! Remember, if you have a Family, Immigration or Wills and Probate matter which you’d like to discuss with a legally qualified solicitor in confidence you can find information about this on our ‘Free Legal Services’ page

During the months of November and December 2016 certain sections on the Immigration Act 2016 will come into force

As of 1st December 2016, Section 63 of the 2016 act gives power to the home office to remove those people who are pursuing a human rights claim or have one pending.

The 2016 act will make it easier to remove those people that have no right to remain in the UK (as long as this does not affect the person’s human rights). The person can thereafter make an appeal when they are outside of the UK. This provision is called ‘remove first and appeal later’ and it was initially targeted at offenders that were immigrants but now will apply to all immigrants.

Even if the appellant would most likely win their appeal, they will still have to leave the UK. This means that they may lose their home, job etc. They must also pay £800 to lodge an appeal which can take up to a year and then be allowed back in the UK.

In addition, section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 explains that a non-British national is only capable of extending their leave in certain circumstances, for instance if they have limited leave to enter or remain in the UK or they apply to the Secretary of State for variation of that leave. However, the Immigration Act 2016 now says that section 3C leave can now be cancelled if an immigrant fails to comply with conditions of their leave or has used deception to remain in the UK.

The 2016 act also details residential issues, if an individual does not have permission to enter or stay in the UK they will not be able to rent property. The 2016 act will also make it easier for landlords to evict immigrant tenants. It is important to note that landlords who do rent property to immigrants that do not have permission to stay in the UK will face the risk of criminal charges.

Another requirement that will come into force on 21st November 2016 is that of all public-sector workers in customer facing roles within the UK must be able to speak English or Welsh.

Most importantly the 2016 act aims to address the issues of exploitation of immigrant workers and inadequate consequences for repeat offences made by employers. This section details how it is unacceptable for workers to force immigrants to work in poor conditions while withholding wages. Also, it is illegal for immigrants to work in the UK if they do not have permission to stay in the UK and employers will be prosecuted for hiring illegal immigrants.

If you have been affected by any of the above then please come and see our specialist Solicitor during our drop in clinics; Tuesday 10am – 12pm and Thursday 12pm – 2pm.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Court of Appeal says when it is “reasonable” to remove a child resident for 7 years or more

In 2012 the immigration rules stated that a foreign child would be permitted to remain if the child had lived in the UK for at least 7 years AND it was not reasonable to expect the child to relocate. A similar rule was applied to British children. If the child was British AND it was not reasonable to expect the child to relocate then a foreign national parent would be permitted to remain in the UK to look after that child.

Section 117B(6) of the Immigration Act 2014 reinforces the immigration rules. S.117B(6) provides that a person with a genuine and subsisting parental relationship with a child who had lived in the UK for 7 years or more or is British will be permitted to remain in the UK if it would not be reasonable to expect the child to be relocated.

Once the criterion of s.117B(6) has been met, Article 8 (the right of respect for one’s private and family life, his home and his correspondence) could be infringed if the applicant is forced to leave.

Case law demonstrates that a child who has been resident for 7 years or more holds significant weight when determining the removal of a child. After such a period of time the child is thought to have put down roots and developed social, cultural and educational links in the UK such that it is likely to be highly disruptive if the child is required to leave the UK.

The removal of a child resident for 7 years or more should only be considered where there are powerful reasons supporting a decision. It is also important to note that where the parent does not have an independent right to remain in the UK it would be inappropriate to treat the child as being in the same position.

If you have been affected by any of the above then please come and see our specialist Solicitor during our drop in clinics; Tuesday 10am – 12pm and Thursday 12pm – 2pm.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance

What is it and who needs it?

If you are an EEA/EU citizen or their family member and you would wish to qualify for a right of residence then eventually a right of permanent residence you have to meet certain requirements. Following the Brexit vote to leave the EU, it is more important than ever to make sure that you do currently meet the requirements. We fully expect that EEA citizens with the right of residence or permanent residence will benefit from transitional arrangements and be “passported” to a new immigration status, but we are not so sure about the position of those who are living in the UK without a right of residence.

Confusingly, EEA citizens and their family members are allowed to use the NHS in the UK, but according to the Home Office the NHS does not count as comprehensive sickness insurance. In the one case that has been decided in the higher courts on this point, the Home Office won their argument. For an EEA citizen or family member who needs comprehensive sickness insurance, therefore, they need to show something more than merely that they can use the NHS if or when they need it.

Who needs comprehensive sickness insurance?

EU law gives a right of entry to the UK to any EEA citizen. However, only certain EEA citizens qualify for a right of residence, which brings with it the right to be accompanied by family members, the right to claim certain benefits, protection from removal from the UK and the right to acquire permanent residence after five years of a qualifying activity.

The main categories of EEA citizen who qualify for a right of residence are:

  • Workers
  • Self employed persons
  • Self sufficient persons with comprehensive sickness insurance
  • Students with comprehensive sickness insurance

As you can see, two of these categories require the EU citizen to hold comprehensive sickness insurance.

The family members of self sufficient persons and students will also need comprehensive sickness insurance to qualify for their own right of residence. See further below.

There are LOTS of self sufficient EEA nationals currently living in the UK. For example, they may be married to a British citizen and not currently be working or self employed. Unless they have already acquired permanent residence through five historic continuous years of work or self employment (and be able to provide it), they will need to show they have comprehensive sickness insurance to show that they have a current right of residence in the UK.

Example

Danielle is a French citizen. She is married to Edgar, a British citizen, and has lived in the UK married to Edgar since 1982. She has never worked in the UK because Edgar has a full time job and his income is more than sufficient for them both to live on.

Danielle could potentially qualify for a right of residence as a self sufficient person. However, she would need to show that she has comprehensive sickness insurance. Without that, she has no current right to reside in the UK.

Before Brexit, that was not a problem as nobody was likely to try and remove her and she had a right of entry. When the UK leaves the EU and assuming EU free movement laws come to an end, Danielle will no longer freely be able to enter the UK, will have no EU right of residence as an existing resident and unless the UK Government makes provision for her she will be residing illegally in the UK.

Family members of EEA citizens who need comprehensive sickness insurance

The UK’s implementation of EU law has always required the family members of self sufficient EEA citizens to possess comprehensive sickness insurance as well as the EEA citizen in order for them to have a right of residence. From 6 April 2015 the same rule has also been applied to the family members of EEA students. For further information on the changes, please see this guidance noteon the changes.

What counts as comprehensive sickness insurance?

This is not an easy question to answer. The rest of the EU uses a system of health insurance to provide the public with health care. In the UK, uniquely, we have the National Health Service instead, which is not insurance based but instead simply provides free health care at the point of need. The EU rules on the need for comprehensive sickness insurance for self sufficient persons and students were not really written with the UK’s unusual situation in mind.

The purpose of the rules is that self-sufficient persons and students should not become unreasonable burdens on state resources – or, as the Supreme Court put it in the very recent case of Mirga v SSWP, “economically inactive Union citizens using the host member state’s welfare system to fund their means of subsistence”.

Access to the NHS is not enough

An EEA national living in the UK is allowed to use the UK’s National Health Service. The Home Office has long argued that this does not count for the purposes of EU law as having comprehensive sickness insurance, though.

The Home Office view was upheld by the Court of Appeal in the case of Ahmad v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWCA Civ 988:

70. I would dismiss this appeal. If an EEA national enters the UK and is not involved in an economically active activity, for example because she is a student, her residence and that of her family members will not be lawful unless she has CSIC [Comprehensive Sickness Insurance Cover] while she is a student in the five years following her arrival. Accordingly her family members will not be able to qualify for permanent residency in the UK.

71. So Mrs Ahmad had to have CSIC while she was a student. This condition must be strictly complied with. The fact that she would be entitled to treatment under the NHS, and was thus at all times in substantially the same position as she would have been had she had CSIC, is nothing to the point. Her failure to take out CSIC put the host state at risk of having to pay for healthcare at a time when the Ahmads had not then achieved the status of permanent resident and she was not economically active.

So, we know from Ahmad that access to the NHS does not count. What might qualify as compressive sickness insurance, then? There are three potential ways to meet the requirement.

1. Buy comprehensive private health insurance

One way forward is to purchase private health insurance from a private company. This is relatively cheap if you are young and healthy. It may be prohibitively expensive or even impossible if you are older or already ill.

This will need to be “comprehensive”. Both lawyers and non-lawyers have found the level at which sickness insurance becomes “comprehensive” to be something of a mystery. The Government says it means “full health insurance”, which raises the question of what “full” is to mean. So this is of little help.

The Guide to Supporting Documents on the EEA (QP) form is a helpful place to start because it sets out the Home Office view (which is not necessarily the right view always). It suggests that the insurance should

“cover you (and your family members if applicable) for the majority of risks while you are in the UK”.

This suggests that there may be gaps in cover allowed; after all, it does not say “all risks”.

There are broadly two schools of thought on the level of health insurance one should get: the first suggest that no insurance is comprehensive unless it covers everything; if it misses something out, however small or inconsequential, it cannot after all be comprehensive. They rely on the strict linguistic meaning of the word ‘comprehensive’. The second say that ‘comprehensive’ indicates a level of insurance that is consistent with some of the highest available levels of cover available, but not necessarily the highest possible level available. That is to say, it should cover everything that one would expect a reasonably complete policy to cover, but not absolutely everything one can think of.

It will be a question of fact whether this bar in an individual case has been met. For instance, in the case of Baumbast a lack of cover for emergency treatment given in the UK meant that his health insurance was not comprehensive. Note however that because Mr Baumbast and his family had never relied on state resources, the slight shortfall in his health insurance could not undermine his right to reside, as this would be disproportionate in the context of Mr Baumbast’s and his family’s individual circumstances.

This does not mean everyone will agree, as a cautionary tale from personal experience will tell: I once observed a case where the Home Office successfully argued at first-tier tribunal level that ‘comprehensive’ referred to so high a level of cover that no provider in the UK offers it, and so no-one could possibly satisfy such a criterion. While this surely cannot be correct, it is a view that has some traction – so take risks on the completeness of your health insurance at your peril.

2. Use a European Health Insurance Card

The EEA(QP) form states that you can use a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as evidence of comprehensive sickness insurance, but only if you make a declaration that you do not intend to stay in the UK permanently.

You can find more information about applying for a EHIC here.

3. Prove you are protected by reciprocal arrangements with your home EEA country

The EHIC exists because of multilateral and reciprocal agreements between EU countries which mean that the cost of medical care in the host state can be recovered from the state of origin so long as that person is entitled to healthcare in that state.

In Ahmad v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWCA Civ 988, the leading Court of Appeal case on the issue, it was common ground that if Mrs Ahmad could prove that there were reciprocal arrangements between the UK and Denmark enabling the UK to reclaim from Denmark the costs of providing Mrs Ahmad with care in the UK then she would be considered to have comprehensive sickness insurance. Rather unfortunately, though, there was n evidence put to the court that this was so in her case:

53. The appellant seeks to rely on the fact (as he contends) that Mrs Ahmad would have a right to obtain healthcare here and the Secretary of State could recover the costs in Denmark. It is common ground that if there were reciprocal arrangements with the EEA national’s own state that would be sufficient to constitute comprehensive insurance cover.

54. However, there is no evidence that Mrs Ahmad, who has been in the UK since 2006 and who is therefore no longer habitually resident in Denmark, is still entitled to healthcare in Denmark.

The court also held that the Home Office was under no obligation to find out what the position was; that was up to Mrs Ahmad as it was her case to prove.

The way to prove that you have comprehensive sickness insurance that covers you in the UK without a EHIC is to use forms S1, S2 or S3. These are specifically mentioned by the Home Office in the guidance notes.

For more information about the forms, click here. It is thought that the forms can be obtained retrospectively from the health provider in your country of nationality, i.e. that you can apply now for a form that provides cover for previous residence in the UK. Once obtained the form needs to be translated into English and sent to the following address:

Overseas Healthcare Team
Department for Work & Pensions
Durham House
Washington
Tyne and Wear
NE38 7SF

This information is accurate to the best of my knowledge but it is also untested, in that I have not myself seen a successful application for a student or self employed person based on this method. If you have more information, please get in touch with me or leave a comment.

Alternatives

One alternative is to wait and see what happens with the UK’s negotiations to leave the EU. It may be that some arrangement is made for EEA nationals who happen to be living in the UK at a certain date but do not have a right of residence or permanent residence. We simply do not know. This does not seem at the moment like a very safe way of approaching the issue, and it also risks wasting time that might otherwise be spent building up a right of residence to acquire permanent residence further down the line.

Another option is to become a worker or self employed person. Neither requires comprehensive sickness insurance.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Local Refugee and Asylum Organisations

Local organisations working to support refugees and asylum seekers

This specifically focusses on asylum seekers and refugees. It does not aim to cover all groups working with vulnerable people or people in need. If you know of other groups working with refugees and asylum seekers, please mail me so that the list can be expanded. I aim to keep this list as up to date as possible.

Organisation

Where

Contact details & more info

Areas of activity

Support requested

The Red Cross

Office at Oadby

Piotr Kuhiwczak
0116 2710359
Bradbury House
54 Kenilworth Drive
Oadby
LE2 5LG
(open 10-4 weekdays)

Food store
Legal team
Searching for relatives

Donations (via national website)
Food, toiletries, baby items and supermarket vouchers (specific detailed list available)
Volunteers

Leicester City of Sanctuary

Drop in Centre Holy Cross Priory, LE1 6HW

Mick Walker
leicestercityofsanctuary@gmail.com
Website gives details of what happens when.

Drop in centres (would like to develop more across the city) including:

  1. Craft groups
  2. English lessons (women)

Mailing list used to request specific items

Donations
Locations and volunteers for drop in centres in the city
English teaching
Help with craft groups
Bikes

After 18

Various city centre locations

07851 022125
E-mail contact

Supporting young adults in the asylum system:

  1. Information and advice
  2. Activities

Donations
Volunteers to deliver ESOL, English, Maths, Science, counselling etc.
Text books and equipment

Welcome Project

St Martin’s House, LE1 5PZ

Elizabeth Bacon
0116 2705711
http://www.oneroof.org.uk/service-directory/support-services/welcome-project

Women’s project
Drop in centre:

  1. Clothing
  2. Food
  3. Phone access
  4. Advice

Nappies
Food

Islamic relief

Highfields

Salim Yusuf Lorgat
56 Chatsworth Street
Leicester LE2 0FP
Tel: 0116 251 3450

Charity Shop (7 days opening)
Clothing drive
Translation & cultural support

Syrian appeal for donations
Mediterranean appeal for donations
Clothing and other shop goods

Asylum and Refugee Network

 

Sheila Mosley

Campaigning
Supporting Zimbabwean asylum seekers through drop in with traditional cooking (currently seeking new location)

Location for fortnightly use for drop in
Funds to support drop in (including bus fares)

Aid for Refugees Arriving in Europe

Fosse Neighbourhood Centre

Victoria Russell
07814 121379

Sending aid to mainland Europe and Greek islands

Donations
Volunteers to help sort & pack
Help from logistics experts re transport

Stand up to Racism

 

info@standuptoracism.org.uk,

Convoys to Calais (both to take items and to demonstrate solidarity) Next convoy 17th October.

Waterproof clothing, tents, sleeping bags

Poets in solidarity with refugees (East Midlands – not just Nottingham as on website)

 

Ambrose Musiyiwa’s email
Ambrose Musiyiwa’s blogspot
Various facebook and twitter links to find.

Compiling an anthology of poems about or by refugees
Also similar work with musicians

Funds for a publication

Refugee Action

City Centre

0116 261 6223

Advice, information and signposting

Donations

One Roof

City Centre

07989 698483
St Martin’s House
Peacock Lane
Leicester LE1 5PZ

Advice, advocacy and practical support for homeless from all backgrounds

Donations

Open Hands

City Centre

Sue Smout
Trinity Life Church
Upper Tichborne Street
Leicester LE2 1GL

Drop in
Household goods and clothing

 

Le Solidarity

Various local collection points

Sophie Cottis-Allan

Taking supplies to refugees in Calais
Distributing other donated items around other groups

Cash donations
Also currently focussing on tents, tarpaulins, sleeping bags, men’s jackets and shoes, wind-up torches

Zimbabwe Action in Solidarity

City Centre

Pelagia Hungwe
07917754132

Drop in Centre

Urgent need for new venue for fortnightly meetings

The Race Equality Centre (TREC)

City Centre

0116 2042790
Tahera Khan

Advice and support, community development, policy development, research, education & training

 

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Asylum Seeker Process

The asylum seeker process and support available nationally and in Leicester

This article focuses on refugees who have officially sought asylum in the UK.

Types of application - Asylum seekers are split into two categories; people over 18, who may or may not have dependents/families with them and unaccompanied children under 18

Adult (over 18) asylum seekers and dependent children

Decisions are made by UK Visas and Immigration within the Home Office. Claims should be made as soon as an asylum seeker arrives in the UK to an immigration officer. Any delay may prevent claims for welfare and accommodation. Each applicant will be assigned an individual case worker who will oversee the process until the asylum seeker is either granted leave to stay or removed from the UK. Asylum seekers are entitled to public funding for legal representation (legal aid).

An initial interview will take place to confirm the personal details of the applicant and their journey to the UK, checks are made to see if they have claimed asylum before and a reference number given. A few days later applicants will meet their case worker for the first time and a full interview will be within a couple of weeks, this the opportunity for the asylum seeker to give their reasons for seeking asylum; what has happened to them and what might happen if they are returned to their own nation. Asylum seekers may be required to attend regular meetings throughout the process.

Should asylum be refused then generally an appeal to the First Tier Tribunal is allowed. While waiting for the appeal to be heard they may remain in the UK. An exception to this is asylum seekers coming from countries the Home Office presume produce unfounded asylum claims or if they have already sought asylum in a safe third country, in which case an appeal can only be made after they have left the UK. Asylum seekers appealing a decision not to grant refugee status are only entitled to legal aid if it is felt the appeal has a 50% or higher chance of success. Should the appeal also fail then an further appeal is only allowed to contest a point of law, which will require legal advice. 

If the claim is allowed on the grounds of the 1951 Geneva Convention then the applicant is usually granted leave to remain in the UK for five years and at the end of the period may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. This can be reviewed. If the claim is allowed on human rights grounds then the asylum seeker usually receives Humanitarian Protection which is initially granted for five years and is also subject to review. Once granted protection in the UK, they have the right to; work, claim benefits and be reunited with their spouse and children (if they are under 18). Should new evidence come to light following a failed asylum claim, then a second claim can be made but if there is no new evidence then failed asylum seekers are expected to make arrangements to leave the UK. If a person does not leave after a refused claim, UK Visas and Immigration may enforce a return to their home nation.

Unaccompanied children under the age of 18

                An unaccompanied asylum seeking child is a child who is seeking asylum and is separated from both parents and is also not being cared for by an adult who in law or by custom has responsibility for them. The first step to entering the immigration system for a child is a screening process which involves UK Visas and Immigration checking travel documents, details being taken and a short interview being conducted. If it is accepted that the child is under 18, they will be referred to the relevant local authority for accommodation  and support while their application is considered. If their age is called into question a further assessment will be undertaken and if they are considered to be significantly over the age of 18 they will be treated as an adult asylum seeker.

Under Sections 17 and 20 of the Children Act 1989 local authorities have a duty to provide support to unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Section 17 places a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child by providing appropriate services while Section 20 requires the local authority to accommodate children. The local authority will also assist the child in making their asylum application by arranging an independent solicitor, placing appropriate documentation on file and supporting contact with the Refugee Council.

UK Visas and Immigration will conduct a first reporting event to establish contact with the child, explain the asylum process, check the substance of the asylum application, check the child has legal representation, check the completion of the child’s Statement of Evidence Form and provide information about the Red Cross’s family tracing and reunification service. They should also inform the child about the voluntary returns service. A longer interview will follow to help collect evidence for the child’s claim; this will be held with the child’s designated responsible adult(s) and/or their legal representative.
There are a range of potential outcomes for child asylum seekers:

  • Refugee status and the grant of asylum. If refugee status under the criteria of the 1951 Convention or 1967 Protocol is granted then the UK will recognise this status and extend protection to the refugee. It will usually be clear the child’s best interests are served by remaining in the UK. Social workers should then ensure the child’s pathway plan reflects the likelihood of long term residency.
  • Humanitarian Protection.  Where a child does not fulfil the criteria of a refugee they may be granted protection when there are substantial grounds to believe the child may face a real risk of harm in the country of return. It will then be in the best interests of the child to remain in the UK. As with adults asylum seekers, this status is subject to review.
  • Discretionary Leave. If neither of the above are met, then they may meet the criteria for discretionary leave. The best interests of the child must be considered and leave to stay is granted for three years or until they reach 17 ½ years old, whichever is soonest.
  • UASC Leave. UK Visas and Immigration have a policy that no unaccompanied child will be removed unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that safe and adequate reception arrangements are in place in the country to which the child is to be removed. Only if it is decided that the child’s best interests are outweighed by the need to uphold immigration control will asylum be refused. In all other cases the child should be granted UASC leave to stay until they reach 17 ½ years old.
  • Outright Refusal. A decision to refuse an application will only be reached if none of the above are met.

At the age of 18 an unaccompanied child asylum seeker moves out of social care and is treated as an adult for immigration purposes. On leaving care they are entitled to support which extend to higher education bursaries, a personal adviser and provision of vacation accommodation if they are in higher education. This support is currently under review and the Immigration Bill proposes to end such arrangements. If the child has not been successful in their application for refugee status and all discretionary leave extensions and basis for appeals are exhausted, they will be considered Appeal Rights Exhausted. Once declared ARE UK Visas and Immigration will cease reimbursing local authorities after three months, any further support must be funded by the local authority.

Ceasing support requires a Human Rights Assessment by the local authority. A decision that results in a person sleeping or being without shelter or funds would be considered inhuman or degrading treatment. If the local authority concludes there are is no other support available it may need to accommodate the individual. However should they be able to return to their country of origin this may be different.

Government provision of support- Adult asylum seekers: accommodation and subsistence

The Home Office provides support for those deemed destitute (homeless or similar). Applicants are deemed to be destitute if:

  • They and their dependents do not have adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it  OR
  • They have adequate accommodation or the means of obtaining it but cannot meet essential living needs.

Section 95 support can be provided if the asylum seeker or their dependents appear to be destitute or likely to become destitute within 14 days. This support can be accommodation only or help with living costs only or both. Section 98 support is a short term use while a Section 95 application is considered.

In addition to housing support (if housing is provided the asylum seeker will not be able to choose where), asylum seekers are entited to £36.95 per person per week (collectable at a local post office) with additional payments and grants available for pregnant women and mothers of children under 3 years old and may also be entitled to free healthcare. In addition children aged 5 to 17 are required to attend school, state school education is provided free of charge by the state and children may also be eligible for free school meals.

Currently Section 4 support is also available to asylum seekers who have been refused asylum if they are homeless, do not have money to buy food and can show there is a reason why they can’t leave the UK yet. This support can include short-term housing, some healthcare or a payment card for food and toiletries. The government is seeking to end this type of support for failed asylum seekers.

Asylum applicants cannot work while their application is considered unless they have been waiting longer than 12 months for an initial decision. A request can be made to work but only to take up a job that is on the list of shortage occupations published by UK Visas and Immigration. Permission must be sought from their caseworker to work, volunteer or undergo vocational training. Asylum seekers are able to access English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) after 6 months in the UK but these are fee paying classes. There are some voluntary organisations that do provide ESOL.

National asylum support services

Migrant Help http://asylumhelpuk.org/ 0808 8000 630. A charity based in the South East of England which has a government contract to provide advice services to asylum seekers nationally. Their advice is available in a number of different languages and covers; how to claim asylum, the asylum process, accommodation support, financial support, accessing health care, finding legal representation and other asylum issues.

Refugee Council https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/ Provides specialist support on all areas of claiming asylum and also has a national service dedicated to unaccompanied children seeking asylum, the Children’s Panel Advice Service- 020 7346 1134.

Legal advice, asylum advice and support

Asylum seekers are eligible for legal aid to assist their claim for asylum. The government recommends the use of a regulated immigration adviser and lists the following in Leicester:

Health services

  • ASSIST (Leicester City Assist Practice) http://www.nhs.uk/Services/gp/Overview/DefaultView.aspx?id=36959  0116 295 2400 provides healthcare tailored to the needs of asylum seekers and is part of the NHS in Leicester.
  • NHS 111 helpline provides advice with non-emergency healthcase (call 111)
  • NHS Help with Health Costs 0845 850 1166 helpline for help with presscriptions for medicine, dental care, eyesight tests and buying glasses
  • Leicestershire AIDS Supports Service http://www.lass.org.uk/ 0116 255 9995 provides support, information and advocacy to asylum seekers with and affected by HIV.

Education, social care and personal support

Children must be enrolled at a local school; the council will help with applications. The council may also be required to accommodate those over 18 if due to age, illness, disability or any other circumstances are in need of care and attention which they cannot access elsewhere. Unaccompanied children seeking asylum are supported by the local authority in the same way as British children taken into care. They may also be entitled to support on leaving care until they reach 21.

The city council’s libraries https://www.leicester.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/libraries/ provide users with free internet access, other resources and community information. The council also operate a scheme to provide furniture and other household items to people in crisis https://www.leicester.gov.uk/your-environment/recycling-and-waste/reduce-and-reuse/the-furniture-bank-scheme/.

Separate document lists support  available from other local organisations.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Change to Appeal Fees

The Government announced its intention to dramatically increase fees for Immigration Tribunal hearings by up to 500%.

The Ministry of Justice said that the policy remained that where fees were charged to access public services, they should be set at such a level to recover the full cost and so the massive increase in fees is intended to reflect this policy.

The announcement is made in response to a consultation in which a vast majority of responses opposed the increases. The law centres network said the rises were disgraceful and meant that asylum seekers faced “whopping” fees. The public and commercial services union also made its views known. The union said “it is utterly reprehensible that this government is pressing ahead with a 500% increase in tribunal fees, despite overwhelming opposition from law firms, judges, professional bodies, charities and unions”. It seems as though the government has completely ignored the views of those in the legal system who pay an integral part in the decision making of immigration cases such as those mentioned by the above union.

The timescale for fees to be implemented in the First-tier Tribunal is “as soon as possible”. The fees for permission to appeal in the Upper Tribunal are considered less urgent.

So, the fees will shortly be as follows:


Appeal Type

Current Fee

New Fees

First-tier Tribunal

Application for a decision on the papers

£80

£490

Application for an oral hearing

£140

£800

Application to the FTT for permission to appeal to UP

£0

£455

Upper Tribunal

Application to the UT for permission to appeal to UT

£0

£350

Appeal hearing

£0

£510

The government continued to defend the above fees and said that the fee increase would secure the funding of immigration and asylum tribunals, while “protecting access to justice and the most vulnerable appellants through the extension of the fee exemption scheme.

They have questioned whether the same exemptions and remission scheme which applies in the First-tier Tribunal should apply in the Upper Tribunal considering the new changes.

The proposed exceptions to appeal fees have been very slightly widened to include the following:

  • those in possession of a Home Office fee waiver
  • those who qualify for legal aid or asylum support;
  • those who are appealing against a decision to deprive them of their citizenship; and
  • those children bringing appeals to the tribunal who are being supported by a local authority.
  • those people appealing decisions to revoke their refugee or humanitarian protected status;
  • those with parental responsibility for, children receiving support from local authorities under section 17 of the Children Act 1989 (or any equivalent legislation in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland);
  • children who are being housed by a Local Authority under section 20 of the Children Act 1989 (or any equivalent legislation in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland).

The changes are likely to dramatically reduce the number of appeals. Potential litigants, many of whom might well have won their cases, will be not be able to appeal their decision due to the lack of funds available to them, given their circumstances.

If you are worried as to how the above changes affect you then visit our offices for a drop-in session where you will be given FREE legal advice about your Immigration matter on Tuesdays between 10-12 and Thursday between 12-2.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

Refugee Week

Castle Park Solicitors to join Refugee Week celebrations

Lawyers from Castle Park Solicitors will be joining the Refugee Week celebration at Town Hall Square on June 18.

The theme of the celebration is ‘Different Pasts, Shared Future ’.

In Leicester the event is organised by the British Red Cross and will see musicians, dancers, poets and performers come together with people in Leicester to celebrate the contributions refugees make.

The event will start at 11am and it will run till 4pm. 

Immigration solicitor, Louise Koch said: "Castle Park Solicitors has been taking part in Refugee Week celebrations in Leicester right from the time the firm started.

"Refugees have made and continue to make a significant contribution to the city and to Britain. It is, therefore, absolutely right that the city should celebrate them."

Castle Park Solicitors is a community interest company and is the first law firm in the United Kingdom to be owned by a charity.    

They offer advice and representation in family law, immigration and nationality law, and wills and probate.

The firm was set up to enable people to access affordable legal advice following massive cuts to the provision of legal aid.   

The firm is the trading arm of the Community Advice and Law Service (CALS) who provide free advice in debt, housing and welfare benefits. Any profits made by Castle Park Solicitors go towards funding the valuable service that CALS provides.

Louise Koch said: "We understand that many people seeking legal advice have a limited budget and so, wherever possible, we offer reduced rates, fixed fees or the option for a client to manage their own case with help from us as needed.”  

Castle Park Solicitors was shortlisted for the 2013 Law Society Excellence Awards and was winner of the 2015 Modern Law Awards.

To contact Louise Koch

Email Louise Koch or telephone 0116 344 0050.

About Refugee Week

For more information on the 2016 Refugee Week celebration in Leicester click here >

To contact the organisers of the event, email Joe Thurgate or call 0116 2710359.

Accreditations and achievements

Terms & Conditions

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