On this page you will be able see all the grants that are awarded by the Strategic Legal Fund for Vulnerable Young Migrants from December 2012 to 31 March 2017.
Materials produced by grantees, which might be helpful to other advocates for migrants' rights are available from the SLF archive, hosted by Coram Children's Legal Centre.
Elder Rahimi Solicitors - £17,900
A grant was awarded for data gathering/legal argument development for litigation challenging Home Office delays in processing asylum claims of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC).
Determination of status whilst a child is more likely to lead to a grant of Refugee Leave and therefore a durable solution, delays result in many UASC reaching 18 before their claims are determined. Currently, these delays in determining the asylum claims of UASC are a worsening problem affecting the majority of them, certainly in the South East. Strategic litigation can result in a change in Home Office practise/policy which can improve the lives of a significant number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children.
Asylum Support Appeals Project - £ 16,950
A grant was awarded for pre-litigation research and for developing a casework strategy in respect of the anticipated unlawfulness in the implementation of asylum support changes in the 2016 Immigration Act.
The Act will severely limit refused asylum seekers' access to support. Nearly 1/3 of asylum applicants are aged 18-24 and nearly 2/3 of those currently in receipt of s95 support are families. Home Office support for refused asylum seeking families with children will end, causing a severe increase in destitution. Support for refused asylum seekers facing a 'genuine obstacle' to leaving (s95A support) will be restricted to those who have very
recently lost their asylum claims. This will exclude vulnerable families and young people, including those with severe physical or mental illness, as well as pregnant women. There will be no support for those applying for judicial review of the refusal of a fresh claim, until permission is granted. There will be no right of appeal in s95A cases, or where support is discontinued when a fresh claim is refused. The Act will also restrict support for
migrant care leavers.
A grant was awarded to carry out pre-litigation research and develop a litigation strategy with a view to improving access to compensation for young victims of trafficking and modern day slavery.
In the UK, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority(CICA) deals with claims for compensation from victims of violent crimes, including victims of trafficking. ATLEU consider that the CICA scheme is incompatible with the UK's legal obligations under the Anti Trafficking Convention due to the barriers victims of trafficking face when trying to access the scheme. This includes the fact that CICA only compensates for crimes where the victim has sustained an injury, nor does CICA recognise the act of trafficking as a crime of violence.
CICA requires that applicants complain directly to the Police, and comply with any investigation, before their claims can be considered under the scheme. Young trafficking victims are often so fearful that they are unable to to enter into the criminal process. Those that do engage with the investigative process may find it to be re-traumatising and young victims are often not ready to engage in psychological treatment This can mean they are unable to produce a psychological report demonstrating that they have suffered an injury as a result of their trafficking. For these reasons young victims are frequently excluded from the CICA scheme and prevented from recovering any compensation for their trafficking experiences.
Child Poverty Action Group - £7,800
A grant was awarded to investigate the merits and gather evidence for a possible judicial review challenge to the two child limit which is introduced by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016. From April 2017, most families' entitlement to key benefits for children will be limited to a maximum of two children in each household.
CPAG considers that the two child rule will have a disproportionate impact on certain groups, e.g. migrant families, as they are statistically more likely to have larger families. They also consider that the two child rule fails to treat the best interests of children as a primary consideration, contrary to Article 3 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Coram Children's Legal Centre - £4,000
A grant was awarded to research and develop a legal strategy to address the problem of children being unable to prove that they are British citizens in law, which makes them vulnerable to immigration control and exclusion from key services. These children are often living in single-parent households with non-UK mothers but have absent fathers who are British citizens or are settled.
A child born in the UK with a British or settled parent is entitled to apply for a British passport. Currently these children experience problems making applications to the family court for declarations of parentage and problems applying for child maintenance. CCLC considers that the current barriers these children experience is at odds with their rights to know their identity, parentage and nationality, and must be addressed so that children who are British in law can have their rights realised
Public Law Project - £10,700
A grant was awarded to carry out pre-litigation research to investigate whether the short notice periods given to migrants who receive notice of their liability for removal, provides enough time to obtain legal advice and to ensure their cases are heard by the court. This includes former unaccompanied children who were given leave until their 18th birthday. Public Law Project are concerned that the current system does not respect the legal right of access to the court and contains inadequate safeguards for individuals who have not been able to access legal advice within the short notice periods.
Simpson Millar LLP - £22,870
A grant was awarded to Simpson Millar, working with Birds solicitors, to undertake pre- litigation research to investigate the legal obligations the UK has towards children and young migrants who have been trafficked into the UK but who go missing when they are released from custody or detention or whilst under the care of local authorities.
They consider that in these cases there is a credible suspicion that these children have not just gone missing but that they been re-trafficked and that the UK is currently failing to put in place protective measures to prevent this from happening. In particular, the research will look into what action lawyers can take when their young trafficked clients go missing during the course of legal proceedings in order to ensure they are treated as victims of trafficking rather than absconders.
Deighton Pierce Glynn - £9,050
A grant was awarded to undertake pre-litigation research on the lawfulness of the Home Office policy, introduced in May 2016, which allows for the removal of EEA nationals who are street homeless. Deighton Pierce Glynn consider that the policy has no legal basis and is contrary to EU law as it will prevent EEA nationals from exercising their right to live, work and study in the UK.
The policy could affect EEA nationals who become homeless as a result of losing their job, or those who lose their homes following a bereavement or a relationship breakdown. In particular, a higher number of EEA nationals are engaged in seasonal employment and will be vulnerable to losing their homes once the work comes to an end. Figures show that around 12% of those sleeping rough are under 25 and a significant number are likely to be EEA nationals.
Legal Services Agency - £8,500
A grant was awarded for a six month project to undertake pre-litigation research on the impact of the Immigration Act 2016 on Scotland. It is understood that some of the Act's provisions will have a negative impact on entitlements to support and assistance for separated children, migrant care leavers and asylum seeking families whose initial claim for asylum has been refused. These provisions have been scrutinised in terms of the impact on England but, as yet, no such scrutiny has been carried out on the impacts for Scotland.
Furthermore, the LSA are concerned that there may be legislative consent issues as the Act's powers will impact on other areas of law such as housing and social care, both of which are devolved matters in Scotland. The research will aim to address these information gaps and may also enable legal challenges to mitigate the negative impacts the Act will have on vulnerable young migrants.
The AIRE Centre - £5,640
The AIRE centre were awarded an extension grant of £5,640 to undertake further research into the implementation of Operation Nexus and the impact it has on young EEA migrants and their families, and to expand their research outside of London.
In June 2015 a grant was awarded to The AIRE Centre for nine months to undertake pre-litigation research on Operation Nexus. This is joint initiative between the Metropolitan police and the Home Office which targets foreign nationals encountered by police in the London area. The grant was used to conduct research into the policies behind Operation Nexus to assess whether these have led to young EEA migrants being unfairly targeted under the scheme.
JCWI were awarded the second part of a grant to further investigate and gather evidence of any unlawful discrimination caused by the right to rent scheme. This includes preparation for a judicial review which would seek to challenge the scheme on several potential grounds. The scheme will require landlords to check whether a person wishing to rent a property is in the country lawfully.
The first part of this grant was awarded to JCWI in December 2015 to undertake pre-litigation research on the lawfulness of the right to rent scheme which was rolled out across England on the 1st February 2016. JCWI consider that the scheme will disproportionately disadvantage young migrants and families, as many will have their immigration papers with the Home office or have unclear or disputed documentation relating to their immigration status.
Asylum Aid - £14,260
A grant was awarded for a six month project to conduct pre-litigation research in relation to the difficulties children and young migrants face when trying to register as British citizens. In particular, they will be researching the 'good character' requirement, which must be met by those wishing to register as British Citizens. This presents a growing problem for many young migrants as the standard being applied is very high. From January 2015 the 'good character' requirement was extended to children from the age of 10.
Islington Law Centre - £29,175
A grant was awarded to develop legal arguments which seek to force the UK to comply with its obligations in relation to children living in the 'jungle' in Calais who wish to join their family members in the UK. Under regulations governing asylum claims in Europe, unaccompanied asylum seeking children should be able to join close relatives in other countries, including the UK. However, with respect to children living in Calais, the system is slow and complicated and is preventing these children from being reunited with their families in the UK.
A grant was awarded for a 12 month project to research and develop legal arguments about the impact on families of what GMIAU consider to be the unlawful fee waiver policy. The application fees for families applying for leave to remain in UK are approximately £1149 per person. Under current Home Office policy, fees will only be waived in very limited circumstances and does not normally extend to families on low incomes. GMIAU argue that the fees are so high as to effectively prevents these families from extending their leave to remain or making an application in the first place.
A grant was awarded to undertake pre-litigation research on the impact of awarding 30 months leave to remain to children who have been resident in the UK for over 7 years. Previous litigation on this matter had ruled that the Home Office should consider the welfare of individual children when deciding how long to grant a period of leave. ASIRT argue that this case specific approach is not being adopted and that 30 months leave is being granted as a matter of course. This can create severe hardships for children which can impact negatively on their life chances.
A grant was awarded for a joint intervention, with the Office of the Children's Commissioner, being heard in the Supreme Court late February 2016. The case concerns a challenge to the minimum income requirements introduced under the Family Migration Rules 2012. The rules introduced new minimum income thresholds for those seeking to bring their spouses/partners and children into the UK. JCWI consider that the Family Migration Rules are keeping thousands of migrant families apart and children are being forced to grow up in broken homes as a result.
A grant was awarded to undertake pre-litigation research on the lawfulness of the right to rent scheme being rolled out across England on the 1st February 2016. The scheme will require landlords to check whether a person wishing to rent a property is in the country lawfully. JCWI consider that the scheme will disproportionately disadvantage young migrants and families, as many will have their immigration papers with the Home office or have unclear or disputed documentation relating to their immigration status. As a consequence migrant families with children may find it particularly hard to find accommodation and may be driven into unsafe or inappropriate housing.
Liverpool Law Clinic - £21,400
A grant was awarded for a four month project to undertake pre-litigation research into whether the Home Office is implementing its Stateless Determination Procedure (SDP) in accordance with its international obligations. They consider that UK legislation and practice is failing to reflect the Stateless Convention and that there are many young people, who are stateless or at risk of statelessness, who are failing to have their cases considered properly. This can leave many unable to access eduction, employment, housing, benefits or training.
Child Poverty Action Group - £8,625
A grant was awarded for nine months to undertake pre-litigation research regarding the 'Genuine Prospects of Work Test' which restricts benefits to EEA nationals who are jobseekers, and those who become unemployed, if they are deemed not to pass the test. CPAG consider that the test may be in breach of EU regulations and is more restrictive than EU law permits. Many of those affected by the test are migrant families with young children.
The AIRE Centre - £10,942
A grant was awarded for nine months to undertake pre-litigation research on Operation Nexus ,a joint initiative between the Metropolitan police and the Home Office which targets foreign nationals encountered by police in the London area. The grant will be used to conduct research into the policies behind Operation Nexus to assess whether these have led to young EEA migrants being unfairly targeted under the scheme. In addition, the grant will be used to determine whether these policies amount to discrimination and prevent young migrants from exercising their rights to live and work in the UK.
Leigh Day £12,920
A grant was awarded for a four month project to carry out pre-litigation research on the new Modern Slavery Bill, to identify gaps in the Bills provisions in relation to the protection needs of victims of trafficking. They will also be looking at whether the new Bill sufficiently complies with the UK's obligations, both under European and international law, towards this group.
Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors £13,330
A grant was awarded for an intervention, in the Supreme Court, on behalf of the charity Kalayaan. The case concerns whether diplomatic immunity provides a defence to a civil claim brought by a person who has been trafficked into a country by a diplomat employer.
Coram Children's Legal Centre - £4,000
A grant was awarded for a six month project to prepare a third party intervention in two cases being heard in the Court of Appeal relating to the level of support provided by local authorities, (under Section 17 of the Children Act), to destitute migrant families with children. . They will seek to argue that the rates of support offered by many local authorities are inadequate and have a serious impact on the well-being of the children and parents involved.
In June 2015, Coram Children's Legal Centre were given an additional grant of £3,650 to gather further evidence to support their intervention in the Court of Appeal.
Just for Kids Law - £9,666
A grant was awarded for a ten month project to carry out research and to prepare an intervention in a Supreme Court case which seeks to challenge the inability of young migrants, with discretionary leave to remain (DLR), to access student finance. Changes to education regulations in 2012 removed the right of those with DLR to access student finance, such as student loans. The research will look at the impact this change has had on young migrants ability to enter higher education. Many migrants will be unable to fund themselves so may have to delay their studies for several years.
The Migrants Law Project - £15,594
A grant was awarded to Migrants' Law Project at Islington Law Centre & Detention Action to continue their research on the lawfulness, or otherwise, of the Detained Fast Track procedures. Following a court ruling earlier this year in which the judge found serious failings in the system, particularly in relation to detainees having timely access to legal advice, the Home Office agreed to take steps to remedy these problems. The MLP & Detention Action will carry out research to ascertain whether the steps taken by the Home Office have sufficiently rectified the failings and, if not,whether it is appropriate to restore the matter back to court.
Public Law Project - £12,925
A grant was awarded to Public Law Project to carry out pre-litigation research on the recently introduced 'no-notice' removal policy.This policy was introduced under the Immigration Act 2014 and removes the in-country right of appeal against removal to various groups of migrants. Part of the grant is to research and develop a broader project on matters arising from the Immigration Act which may adversely affect access to justice for young migrants and their family members. This includes, among others, the removal of appeal rights for the majority of immigration cases and the power to restrict access to immigration bail in certain circumstances.
Asylum Support Appeals Project - £19,500
A grant was awarded to the Asylum Support Appeals Project for a six month project to intervene in a case of a destitute migrant with outstanding representations on family life grounds, who was refused Section 4 support from the Home Office. The intervention seeks to clarify whether destitute migrants, including former unaccompanied asylum seeking children and migrants with young children in the UK, are entitled to basic accommodation and subsistence (Section 4), if their application to remain in the UK on the basis of private and family life is still being considered.
Bindmans LLP - £9,200
A grant was awarded to Bindmans LLP for a three to six month project to carry out pre-litigation research into the impact the sharing of NHS patient data with the Home Office may have on migrants accessing healthcare. The research will look particularly at whether migrants with young children and pregnant women are deterred from seeking medical care when they need it.
Lambeth Law Centre - £7,000
A grant was awarded for an eight month project to gather evidence and to identify legal arguments about the impact the policy of not awarding permanent residence to migrant families has on children and young migrants, as many will face years of insecurity in the UK.
Luqmani Thompson & Partners - £6,875
A grant was awarded for five months to undertake pre-litigation research on Operation Nexus, a joint initiative between the Metropolitan police and the Home Office which targets foreign nationals encountered by police in the London area. Research will look at whether those affected have been given access to a fair hearing and that any evidence used to detain or deport them has been properly tested in the courts.
Hackney Community Law Centre with Hackney Migrant Centre - £29,000
A grant was awarded for a six month project to undertake pre-litigation research into potentially unlawful practices and decision-making by social services when responding to requests from destitute migrant families for housing and support (Section 17).
Public Law Project - £17,000
A grant was awarded to Public Law Project for a two month project to undertake further pre-litigation research on changes to legal aid funding for judicial review challenges, which could obstruct access to justice for young migrants.
Public Law Project - £3,290
A grant was awarded for a one month project to undertake research on proposed changes to legal aid funding for judicial review challenges, which could result in a failure to bring challenges in meritorious cases involving young migrants, and thus obstruct access to justice.
Migrant and Refugee Children's Legal Unit (MiCLU) at Islington Law Centre - £13,680
A grant was awarded for a three month project to conduct pre-litigation research into new Home Office family tracing guidance and practice which focuses on Bangladeshi and Albanian nationals, which may cause distress for separated children and young people in the asylum system, and place them and their families at risk.
Hansen Palomares Solicitors with Citizens UK - £14,124
A grant was awarded for a six month project to conduct pre-litigation research focussing on the Immigration Bill and possible discrimination faced by migrant families and young people in accessing housing in the private rented sector.
Deighton Pierce Glynn with Kalayaan - £10,000
A grant was awarded for a five month project to bring an intervention on behalf of Kalayaan in a case before the Court of Appeal which seeks to demonstrate that employers who mistreat and exploit employees, many of whom may be young and who may have been trafficked, cannot rely on diplomatic immunity as a defence to compensation claims.
A second grant was awarded to the Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit for a four month project to develop its research into the Legal Aid Agency's approach to the right of trafficking victims to legal aid to bring compensation claims.
Ealing Law Centre - £20,000
A grant was awarded for a seven month project to undertake pre-litigation research on three connected areas concerning the registration of children as British citizens: the fee requirement, the narrow interpretation of the law and the failure by the Home Office to give proper reasons in refusing applications for registration.
A second grant was awarded to JCWI to undertake additional work on its six month project researching the impact on children of the new and narrower Adult Dependent Relative rule.
Legal Services Agency Ltd - £10,500
A grant was awarded for a nine month project to undertake pre-litigation research into support provided by local authorities across Scotland to separated children who arrive in Scotland aged 16 -17 and claim asylum.
Matthew Gold & Co Ltd with Project 17 - £17,500
A grant was awarded for a nine month project to undertake pre-litigation research into local authority duties to provide support where a child is living with a parent who has no recourse to public funds, and there is an issue of domestic violence.
A grant was awarded for a six month project to undertake pre-litigation research into the impact on children of the new and narrower Adult Dependent Relative rule, which provides for elderly parents and grandparents to join family in the UK.
Deighton Pierce Glynn (Bristol) - £9,200
A grant was awarded for a three month project to undertake pre-litigation research into the practice of prematurely moving young trafficking victims who claim asylum out of safe house accommodation and into the asylum support system, and of placing them directly in the asylum support system, with possible implications for those affected of completing the transition to a life free of trafficking.
Bindmans Solicitors with Public Law Project - £8,000
A grant was awarded to Bindmans Solicitors, working with Public Law Project, for an eight week project to research the impact of the proposed residence test for legal aid for child migrants and to develop a challenge to this.
A grant was awarded to the Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit for a three month project to undertake research into the Legal Aid Agency's approach to the right of trafficking victims to legal aid to bring compensation claims.
Coram Children's Legal Centre - £4,000
A grant was awarded to Coram Children's Legal Centre for a three month project to gather evidence on current practice and develop legal arguments regarding local authority duties to fund immigration legal services for looked after children, care leavers, and families supported under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989.
Deighton Pierce Glynn with Roma Support Group - £3,000
A grant was awarded to Deighton Pierce Glynn, working with Roma Support Group, for a three month project to develop legal arguments with a view to challenging eligibility criteria for Free School Meals, the operation of the Pupil Premium, and to explore whether the Pupil Premium addresses underlying inequalities and tackles disadvantage amongst pupils who most need this, in line with its stated aim. The work will have a particular on EU Roma children.
Bhatt Murphy Solicitors with Medical Justice - £15,000
A grant was awarded to Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, working with Medical Justice, for a six month project to undertake pre-litigation research to develop challenges to human rights breaches and unlawful policy and practice faced by children and pregnant women who are subject to enforced removal. The project will have a particular focus on the use of force and the use of immigration detention.
Southwark Law Centre - £10,000
A grant was awarded to Southwark Law Centre for a six month project to undertake pre-litigation research to develop a challenge as to the legality of the rules that impose a "No Recourse to Public Funds" restriction on families granted limited leave to remain on Article 8 (the right to family and private life) grounds, which may result in them living in poverty and below benefit levels.
The AIRE Centre - £20,000
A grant of was awarded to the AIRE Centre for a nine month project to undertake pre-litigation research to develop challenges to the lawfulness under European Union (EU) law of the UK´s "right to reside" test for social security benefits. A small amount of the grant is to fund the AIRE Centre´s legal to team to travel to the Court of Justice of the EU to make submissions in a third party intervention involving whether EU migrant women remain eligible for benefits in the late stages of pregnancy and shortly after childbirth.
Public Interest Lawyers with Anti-Slavery International - £18,800
A grant was awarded to Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) for a 12 month project to bring a third party intervention on behalf of Anti-Slavery International in a case in the Supreme Court. This involves the case of a trafficked girl who sought compensation from her traffickers by appealing to the Employment Tribunal and the Court of Appeal. The case failed in the Court of Appeal on the basis that the appellant was unlawfully present and unlawfully employed in the UK. Anti-Slavery International will argue that the UK has obligations to protect trafficking victims and ensure that they can seek reparation against those who have wronged them, drawing on article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the international legal framework for the protection of victims of trafficking in human beings.
Tower Hamlets Law Centre - £5,000
A continuation grant of £5,000 was awarded for a four month project. The Law Centre had identified evidence to suggest that some London boroughs were not complying with their statutory duties to provide care and support for refugees and asylum seekers (turning 18/21 years of age) under the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and accompanying regulations. This was leaving young people poorly supported and unable to access their education, training, employment, support and accommodation entitlements and without the independent living skills they needed. In response, the Law Centre has undertaken research into whether there are systemic failings by local authorities, with a view to bringing a test case involving a group of clients, or alternatively, to make a complaint to the Ombudsman if the evidence supports this. The aim is to ensure that local authorities are providing a consistent and high standard of care and support to all young refugees and asylum seekers, as provided for by the Leaving Care Act.
Fadiga & Co working with ECPAT UK - £12,000
A grant was awarded for a three month project to develop a legal challenge against the Home Office over its failure to implement a system of guardianship for child victims of trafficking. Evidence suggests that currently trafficked children in the UK lack anyone to advocate for their short and long term best interests which means that they are often denied the protection they are entitled to, are criminalised, and do not access education and practical, legal, medical and welfare that they need. On 6 April 2013 the European "Trafficking Directive" comes into force which requires Member States to ensure that, where appropriate, a guardian is appointed to unaccompanied child victims of human trafficking. The Government has so far indicated no intention to consider implementing a system of guardianship. Fadiga & Co working with ECPAT UK, Nadine Finch and Parosha Chandran of Counsel will develop legal arguments and seek to launch a legal challenge against the Home Office position.
Migrant Legal Project - £11,509.70
This grant is for a six month project to conduct research and develop a legal challenge to protect the rights of child victims of trafficking who go missing from care following a criminal conviction. The aim is to protect children who are vulnerable and presumed still to be in the UK, to highlight the way in which children who go missing are treated, and to improve policy and practice. MLP work particularly but not exclusively with Vietnamese children, many of who are prosecuted and sentenced after being found in exploitative situations, and then go missing from care. The work aims to develop challenges to violations of Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Trafficking Convention and the Refugee Convention, as well as looking at options to protect these vulnerable children and young people via domestic laws and policies.
RAMFEL - £13,246
This grant was awarded to Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London for a six month project to examine the legal implications for young people and families of Operation Nexus (formerly known as Terminus), which is a pilot project embedding UKBA staff in local police stations. The project will look mainly at the protection, advice and interests of vulnerable young migrants who may get caught up in the pilot as suspects, victims and family members. It will look at the ways in which the pilot was set up and how the equalities impact and other aspects are to be evaluated, liaise with local and national migrant groups, see what legal challenges can be developed where appropriate, and produce briefings for migrant groups and advisers to be used if the pilot is rolled out nationally as proposed.
Below, you can also access information about the grants made by its predecessor, the Strategic Legal Fund for Refugee Children and Young People pilot project.