Public Interest Law Centre

public law | human rights | legal action

2Jul 2018

The launch of the PILU project defending the rights of EEA homeless people

2nd July 2018|

Following the successful case of Gureckis the Public Interest Law Unit has launched a free telephone advice and referral line.

The phone line will be open Monday-Friday (10am-4pm).  We are open for direct and second-tier advice as well as referrals. Attached ready-to-print are flyers in English and Polish (other languages to follow). Referrals  can also be made by emailing office@pilc.org.uk .

We will work with all EEA nationals affected by homelessness or at risk – this means we can work with those vulnerably housed, moving from place to place as well as those sleeping rough.

The remit of our work focuses on challenging unlawful public bodies’ decisions, actions or policies in a range of arrears – may it be access to Welfare Benefits, Healthcare or Housing. We are also aware of continued enforcement and discrimination against EEA nationals, which we will challenge wherever possible.

Please do not hesitate to call or email us to discuss any recurrent issues you encounter in your work or potential referrals.

Aims and Objectives

 The aim of the project is to ensure homeless people from the European Economic Area (EEA):

  • receive access to specialist legal representation,
  • learn, defend and enforce their rights.

The Public Interest Law Centre will take a strategic litigation approach to challenging central government, local councils and the Greater London Authority’s policies and practice where those are judged to infringe homeless people’s rights. Learnings will also be shared to support front line organisations and ensure the impact of test cases is promoted and to maximise the impact of the project across the sector.

Beneficiaries

The project will benefit EEA nationals who are homeless (sleeping rough, sofa surfing, vulnerably housed) or at risk of homelessness as well as those supporting them through frontline advice and casework.

Activities

  • Free Legal Advice sessions (bi-weekly, locations TBC)
  • Problem identifier sessions with frontline organisations
  • Roundtable discussions
  • ‘Know your Right’ factsheet for homeless people and advisors
  • Training on the opportunities and limitations of Public Law as a tool for defending the rights of homeless people.

Issues

Below is a short (and non-exhaustive) list of issues that we have an interest in:

  • Routes to settlement during Brexit transition (especially for those who might lack the necessary documents)
  • Criminalisation of rough sleepers and precarious workers
  • Discriminatory treatment of homeless people
  • Implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

If in doubt give us a call – 07856539582

23Jun 2018

Launch of the Scottish Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (SCOPS)

23rd June 2018|

Lawyers from the Public Interest Law Centre attended the launch of SCOPS yesterday.

The day was a great success with speakers from a whole range of different traditions uniting together to launch a united campaign for a public inquiry into undercover political policing in Scotland.

It is becoming increasingly clear that many undercover officers – part of the SDS and the NPOIU – were involved in spying on Scottish social justice campaigners. Those campaigners encompass the whole spectrum of progressive activists from trade unionists, socialists, environmental campaigners, and community activists.

The Conference kicked off with speeches from Neil Findlay MSP who has been in the forefront of raising the cases of blacklisted workers. Eveline Lubbers from the Undercover Research Group spoke in broad terms about the work she does in researching and uncovering police spies. Finally Tilly Gifford a social justice campaigner – explained her reasons for bringing a judicial review against the UK and Scottish governments for failing to organise a public inquiry into undercover political policing north of the border. ‘Andrea’ from Police Spies Out of Lives spoke powerfully about how she was deceived into a long term relationship with an undercover police officer who used her to legitimise his spying on socialist activists she campaigned with.

The afternoon session heard from a range of speakers including Pat Egan from the National Union of Mineworkers. He spoke about the recent grant of a judicial inquiry into policing during the miners strike 1984-85. Dave Semple from the PCS (civil service union) spoke about interference by the security services in his union in the 1980’s, and the ongoing battles against the bosses today. Paul McGloughlin spoke from the Miscarriages of Justice Orgnisation (MOJO) about their support from the public inquiry being extended to Scotland.

Finally, the conference agreed to launch the Scottish Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (SCOPS) with a first meeting in mid-July. If you are interested in getting involved contact copsscotland@gmail.com

Read an additional report featured in the online journal Bella Caledonia from freelance journalist Harvey Duke – here

17Jun 2018

Scotland, Surveillance and Spycops Conference

17th June 2018|

In September 2017, Edinburgh’s Court of Session agreed to grant permission for a full Judicial Review hearing to take place. The case brought by the Public Interest Law Centre on behalf of Tilly Gifford, a social justice activist, is important. The full hearing is due to be heard on the 19-20th July 2018 

However, notwithstanding the legal case, we must build a campaign to force the UK government and the Scottish government to concede to a proper inquiry. Truth and justice are demanded by trade unionists, environmentalists, women activists, blacklisted workers, and social justice campaigners.

A conference is to take place on 23 June 2018, to organise the campaign, expose political policing in Scotland and inform people of the latest developments in the Judicial Review and the Undercover Policing Inquiry 

Time: 11am to 5pm 

Venue: Scottish TUC – 333 Woodlands Rd, Glasgow G3 6NG

For more information about the conference please contact copsscotland@gmail.com

Downloadable leaflet Haldane_SpyCop_A5_1

7Jun 2018

Fernando Gonzalez Llort finally receives visa for entry clearance to Britain

7th June 2018|

After a long delay and a brilliant response by Members of Parliament, Fernando Gonzalez Llort has finally received his visa for entry clearance to Britain. He is now arriving on 13th June to speak to MPs, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign AGMthe RMT Garden Party, UNISON National Delegate Conference and trade unionists across the country.

Fernando made his visa application on 16th April 2018 but a month later he was told that his application needed ‘additional processing’. Three years ago, Gerardo Hernandez and Rene Gonzalez, two other members of the Miami Five, had their visas refused on three occasions before a lengthy legal challenge and far reaching campaign finally secured their entry.

This time we had serious concerns as the wait went on for Fernando’s visa and there was no update from the Home Office. In just the past three days over 20 Members of Parliament contacted the Home Office and the FCO raising these concerns. This rapid response illustrates the breadth of support there is in parliament for the Five and for Fernando’s visit next week.

Solicitors then issued a pre action protocol letter for judicial review to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP making it clear that further delay would be deemed as ‘a clear violation of the Article 10 Rights of MPs to receive and impart information‘ which was the basis of the legal victory in November 2015.

Paul Heron, solicitor said “We are delighted that we could support Fernando in securing a visa to visit colleagues and MPs in the coming weeks. It is just a shame that the UKVI had thrown this historic visit into jeopardy by looking to refuse access to the UK”.

Once again we have been forced to take action to secure a visa for a Cuban visitor to the UK. We would urge the Government to do all it can to facilitate exchange, trade and understanding between UK and Cuba at a time when the Trump administration seems intent on reverting back to a ‘Cold war’ failed policy of Blockade and intervention.

We hope everyone will take the opportunity to come to the events to hear from Fernando about his experiences as a newly elected member of the Cuban National Assembly

*from the Cuba Solidarity campaign statement