Call for young people to join campaign for children's legal aid support

The Government is now carrying out its long-awaited review of the changes to legal aid that it introduced in 2012, which removed financial support for a range of civil matters including all non-asylum immigration cases. The review will conclude in September 2018 and an announcement from the Government is expected by the end of the year.

The Children's Society is campaigning for the government to reinstate legal aid for all unaccompanied and separated migrant children, and will seek to influence the review over the course of the summer. This work has included producing two policy reports on the issue, as well as working with a legal team to prepare an ongoing legal challenge against the Ministry of Justice for the impact that these changes have had on children.

They would like to use digital storytelling to highlight the immense challenges that young people with insecure status face when having to navigate a complex legal system alone. They want to tell real stories that show decision makers the human cost of a policy that is denying these young people access to justice and the opportunity to secure their futures.

They would like to recruit a group of young people aged 16-25 to meet with regularly throughout July and August to help them shape the campaign and empower young people to share their stories. Below are a range of suggested activities the young people could take part in.

Possible activities
• Letter writing to their MP and/or government ministers.
• Filming short video or audio clips with young people talking about the difficulties they have experienced whilst navigating the legal system and difficulties in getting legal advice and representation.
• Working with a filmmaker to develop a campaign film. This could include an opportunity for young people to learn new skills in filmmaking, such as; planning, filming, directing, editing and marketing.
• Meeting with government officials who are working on the legal aid review to discuss their difficulties getting access to justice.
• Empowering young people to meet directly with MPs and ministers.
• Have their stories featured in national media to help bring public attention to this issue, if they were comfortable doing so.

Getting involved

They are looking to hold an initial introductory session with interested young people in the last week of June, and then convene further activity sessions over the summer. These would be agreed with the young people at the first session so that they know what to expect.
There would be no costs to the young people for taking part - travel will be reimbursed and also cover any other related costs such as interpreter costs.

Please contact Scott Compton on scott.compton@childrenssociety.org.uk or 020 7841 4526.

Enquiries

If you have any queries about the Strategic Legal Fund, please contact Bella Kosmala at ILPA: bella.kosmala@ilpa.org.uk or 0207 251 8383.

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