Justice for Windrush

Laura Bee explains how the Legal Advice Clinic at the University of Leicester has developed a project to promote the government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme and help potential claimants to access it, and how the response from students has been phenomenal.

What is the Windrush Compensation Scheme?

The Windrush Compensation Scheme was launched by the government in April 2019 to compensate members of the Windrush generation who suffered losses from being unable to prove their right to live in the UK during the government’s “hostile environment” policy during the last decade. Compensation can include payment for loss of employment, benefits, impact on life and other hardship.

How does the project help potential claimants?

The team helps individuals assess their eligibility to submit a claim through the Windrush Compensation Scheme. If individuals are eligible, we can talk them through the claim process, and help them think about which if the categories of loss may apply to them. We help individuals to work out what evidence they have (or can get hold of) to support their claim.

The work involved in such cases can be sensitive because potential claimants may naturally feel mistrust towards the government, who are administering the compensation. It can also be time consuming to try and discover appropriate evidence to back up historical losses.

Once individuals are ready to make a claim, if they would like further help we can refer their case to United Legal Access, a legal and social justice organisation who are also offering their services for free. Or individuals can submit their claim themselves.

What are the benefits for the students who are involved?

The student team, some of whom have family members or friends who were directly affected by the Windrush scandal, are passionate about helping to right the injustices faced by some members of the Windrush generation. Some feel that their involvement in the project complements their interests in immigration law for example, and the students value the opportunity to develop skills such as interviewing clients, and thinking outside the box, in order to raise awareness and get the project up and running during the pandemic. One student reported being grateful to be able to “help my own community as they fight for justice”.

For more information:

Laura Bee is the Legal Advice Clinic Director at University of Leicester.


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