Windrush pro bono scheme relaunched

updated on 06 June 2022

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The Windrush Legal Initiative, a pro bono advice scheme, has been relaunched in an effort to support more victims of the Windrush immigration scandal.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCIW) in partnership with eight City firms (including Linklaters LLP and Taylor Wessing) transferred from JCIW to the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) in January.

GIMAU has received funding from the Access to Justice Foundation enabling it to organise community outreach work to ensure more people are aware of the Home Office’s compensation scheme, as well as support them.

The scheme was relaunched after it was unable to reach as many clients as had been hoped and anticipated during its first run. Nicola Burgess, a GMIAU solicitor and former legal director at the JCWI, put this down to “potential applications not knowing they are eligible to apply and for those who do, a reluctance and fear to again engage with the Home Office as the party responsible for the historic injustice they have endured”.

Burgess added: “This is why we are so thrilled to have been given funding by the Access to Justice Foundation so we can conduct community outreach and information sessions to make more people aware of the scheme and more importantly to ensure they are supported and legally represented through the confusing and complex application process.”

Accountancy giant EY will also be offering its support. Burgess said: “The beauty of having forensic accountants is they can go through voluminous records and calculate the actual losses that have occurred, hopefully allowing applicants to be properly compensated in real-life terms.”

The eight partner law firms are:

The Home Office has previously estimated that it takes 30 hours to process a case through to payment approval however, a National Audit Office report instead found that, on average, it takes 154 hours.

You can see a list of various pro bono initiatives via LawCareers.Net.