University of London Refugee Law Clinic
Support for asylum seekers making fresh claims has been identified as an especially underserviced area of legal practice.
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As part of the University of London Refugee Law Clinic, LLB students provide pro bono legal advice and representation for refugee clients, under the supervision of experienced solicitors and leading law firms and in collaboration with students from other UoL member institutions.
By submitting a fresh claim for asylum, a declined asylum-seeker advances further representations on the basis of important new factors (for example, changed circumstances or discovery of additional evidence). A successful fresh claim can lead to a grant of refugee status or humanitarian protection, or to a further in-country right of appeal. If the Home Office refuses a fresh claim for asylum, Judicial Review is the only legal challenge available.
Established in 2020, the University of London Refugee Law Clinic is an innovative inter-collegiate project that provides pro bono legal advice for refugee clients. This work provides some of the most disadvantaged communities with access to legal representation. The Clinic is structured as a direct legal service provider, and is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.
Students work on live cases in small groups, alongside volunteer lawyers from leading commercial law firms (Clifford Chance LLP and Macfarlanes LLP), and under the direct supervision of the Clinic’s supervising lawyer.
Aims and activities
LLB Law students participating in the Refugee Law Clinic take part in a range of practical activities such as:
- Attending training sessions by migration specialists on substantive and procedural aspects of refugee law, as well as practical skills, ethics and professional responsibilities
- Researching international and UK refugee laws and policies
- Helping to represent pro bono clients (including interviewing and taking witness statements, gathering evidence, reviewing past decision making, drafting submissions, and litigating fresh claims)
- Working closely as members of a legal team, with volunteer lawyers and students from nine other University of London member institutions
- Developing professional and career skills
- Contributing to the legal landscape and potential reform through research and test cases
- Developing experience and interest in immigration law and, more generally, in social justice work
Students taking the Refugee Law Clinic can use this experience to form part of their two-years FTE Qualifying Work Experience (QWE) required for the Solicitors' Qualifying Examination (SQE).
The Clinic complements the elective Immigration Law module in Year 2, as well as the Immigration branch of the Law & Policy Clinic. It is of particular relevance to students aiming to follow a career in immigration law or policy, and will allow them to embed their classroom learning within professional legal skills.