Concern over the low number of claims for the Windrush compensation scheme has prompted eight major law firms to join forces to offer free legal advice to those affected by the scandal when filling out claims. Thousands of people who had legally moved to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s were later misclassified as immigration offenders. Many of them not only suffered emotional distress, but also suffered severe financial consequences when they were laid off from their jobs and deprived of access to housing, banking, health care, pensions and social benefits. At least 180 people were arrested and deported by mistake. Giles Belsey, Partner at Dechert, said: “We are delighted to be working with GMIAU and our partner firms to help the Windrush complainants. We have seen first-hand that people can really get legal aid to help them through documentation. Many people eligible to apply may be reluctant to do so, they may not appreciate the true extent of the losses they have suffered, or may feel deterred by the process, time and effort. We understand that it can be difficult to get in touch, but we`re here to help. We encourage those affected to take advantage of the free and confidential legal advice available and ultimately to claim the compensation to which they are entitled.
In April 2021, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), in partnership with eight leading law firms (Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Charles Russell Speechlys, Debevoise, Dechert, Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, Taylor Wessing and White & Case), launched the Windrush Legal Initiative to provide legal advice and support to people applying for the Windrush Compensation Scheme. In January 2022, the Windrush legal initiative was transferred from JCWI to GMIAU. Last year, he supported 29 people in their claims. The Windrush Justice Clinic is operated by a collaboration of partners, including the University of Westminster and London South Bank University Legal Aid Clinics; North Kensington Law Centre, Southwark Law Centre, Claudia Jones Organisation, Windrush Compensation Project and Jigsaw House Society. However, due to the increasing tightening of immigration laws since the 1970s, and especially after the introduction of immigration policies for “hostile environments” in 2012, many members of the Windrush generation have been forced into crisis as they have lost their jobs, access to social benefits and public services as if they were in the country illegally and, In some cases, they have been arrested or deported. Four years later, and while Windrush survivors still face barriers to compensation, more legal support is available. Around £40 million was reportedly paid to 1037 of the 3878 candidates of the Windrush generation. The Interior Ministry estimated that about 15,000 people were in need of compensation. Recent reports on the programme by the Home Affairs Committee, the judiciary and the Windrush Justice Clinic have all concluded that the lack of government-funded legal advice is an obstacle for complainants to make claims. The service provided includes advice, support, intervention and representation. If specialized immigration advice or legal representation is required, we can contact one of the specialists in our network. We advise you on your claim using a specialized approach to compensate you fairly As highlighted by the independent review of lessons learned from Windrush, not only is there a lack of knowledge of the system, resulting in a low number of claims, but there are also serious concerns about the lack of legal support for claimants.
Exacerbated by the fact that legal fees can only be claimed for certain claims. The JCWI initiative was created to help those affected by the Windrush scandal submit their applications, assess the resulting decision and, if necessary, appeal. When the programme was launched in 2019, no funding was allocated for legal aid, as the application form should be simple enough for applicants to complete individually.