Public Interest Law Centre

public law | human rights | legal action

21Oct 2019

Defending the Elephant against profit-driven development

21st October 2019|

On October 22nd there will be a solidarity demo outside the High Court to coincide with the start of the two-day hearing of Public Interest Law Centre’s judicial review of the proposed development of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre.

For more – check out the inaugural PILC blog!

25Sep 2019

Rough Sleeping Support Service and Migrant Rough Sleeper Rights

25th September 2019|

Earlier this month PILC and Migrants Rights Network held a roundtable meeting on migrant rough sleeper rights. Attendees includes Streets Kitchen, Liberty, Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants, Project 17, Refugee Council and Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth.

The aim of the meeting was to develop ways of working together to uphold the rights of migrant rough sleepers, especially around data sharing and the role of local authorities & the voluntary sector in immigration enforcement.

PILC & MRN are particularly interested in monitoring the Home Office’s Rough Sleeping Support Service, which the Home Office claims has been introduced ‘to help non-UK nationals sleeping rough resolve their immigration cases and access the support that they need.’

However emails between the Home Office and the GLA, obtained through FOI requests made by Liberty, suggest that the RSSS represents a new effort to co-opt local councils and charities into the ‘delivery of immigration control’ and an attempt to circumvent consent-based information sharing.

The Home Office and some local authorities and homelessness charities have a history of unethical and unlawful practice when it comes to migrant rough sleepers. In December 2017 a Home Office policy allowing EEA-national rough sleepers to be detained and ‘administratively removed’ on the basis that rough sleeping was an ‘abuse’ or ‘misuse’ of EU treaty rights was ruled unlawful in the High Court as a result of a judicial review brought by PILC and North East London Migrant Action (NELMA).

NGOs, lawyers and activists who care about upholding the rights of homeless people in the ‘hostile environment’ need to work together to keep the Home Office and its allies honest on migrant rough sleeper rights.

PILC has produced a briefing on the RSSS.

If you would like more information, or have information to share, please email office@pilc.org.uk

4Aug 2019

Update on the Public Interest Law Centre

4th August 2019|

We’re pleased to announce that the Public Interest Law Centre has moved to a new host organisation following the closure of Lambeth Law Centre.

Our new base at Camden Community Law Centre (CCLC) will allow us to continue our work developing strategic litigation against austerity and the hostile environment whilst also supporting campaigners & communities to challenge unlawful policies and practices on the part of national and local public authorities.

We’d like to thank CCLC and Law Centres Network for helping us achieve such a smooth transition. Huge thanks also to TV Edwards Solicitors and Project 17 for providing temporary office space for PILC staff during our move. A shout out to all of those who contacted us expressing solidarity – it made us all the more determined to ensure we are re-established.

PILC is very much ‘open for business’ and we look forward to working with clients and partners old and new. Please note that we are operationally independent from CCLC — referrals and enquiries should be directed to office@pilc.org.uk

4Aug 2019

Brimstone House complaint and update

4th August 2019|

Residents of Brimstone House formed a powerful deputation to the Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and the full Labour council meeting at Stratford Town Hall on Monday 15 July 2019.a

The deputation to a submission of a legal complaint, compiled with the Public Interest Law Centre supported by Focus E15 campaign, regarding the appalling conditions of the temporary and emergency accommodation in the Newham Council-owned building in Victoria Street, Brimstone House.

The compliant has been sent to every member of Newham Council and demands immediate action to remedy unsuitable housing conditions and to stop the length of time that people spend in temporary accommodation in  many with young children. The accommodation is not overcrowded, but is in disrepair and the atmosphere many residents say is like a jail. Residents of Brimstone House are often told they will stay for 3-6 months, however the average length of stay is 1.5 years.

The legal complaint compiled by PILC, with the active assistance of Focus E15 campaigners and volunteers from the UCL Legal Advice Clinic is comprised of in-depth witness statements from 19 residents, an architectural report on the suitability of the building, recommendations from residents and Focus E15 Housing Campaign on what needs to be done in the short term, but also long term strategic policies and campaigns.

More information about the deputation and the ongoing campaign can be found here

The residents and campaigners are due to meet with the Mayor of Newham on Tuesday 6th August 2019 to further press their demands.

18Jul 2019

Closure of Lambeth Law Centre – statement from the Public Interest Law Centre

18th July 2019|

We’re sad to announce that Lambeth Law Centre (LLC), which has hosted the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC) since its inception as a law unit in September 2016, is closing due to insolvency.

PILC is currently taking steps to protect and continue the important work that we do. We are in the process of finalising a move to a new host organisation. We anticipate that PILC will be able to carry on working with minimal disruption to our clients and partners.

PILC was originally established to develop strategic litigation. On behalf of clients and campaigners we scored some significant victories for campaign groups and working class communities in defending them against the hostile environment and austerity.

We take solace from the solid links we have built with campaign groups and other lawyers who see the value of our work.

We’re grateful for your continuing support and look forward to being able to provide further updates soon.

1Jul 2019

Elephant & Castle Judicial review rilled up hearing this month starting the 17th!

1st July 2019|

A coalition of groups has called a solidarity protest on Wednesday 17th July 2019 outside the High Court.

The Public Interest law Centre is instructed in a Judicial Review challenge relating to the proposed devellopment at the Elephant & Castle.

The regeneration has already lost over a thousand council homes, from the Elephant’s demolished Heygate estate, a scandal in a borough with desperate housing need. Now, shopping centre owner and property developer Delancey has won permission to demolish the local shopping centre.  They also have permission to build new shops and nearly a thousand homes, but only 116, at best, will be social rented – and workicng class people will have to wait 10 years to see if they are built as promised.

Jerry Flynn our client is  challenging Delancey’s planning permission through a Judicial Review.  We want the permission quashed and then  a development scheme that provides homes and shops that are truly affordable for local working class people.

The rolled up hearing – permisison and sunstantive hearing – is due to take place on the 17th and 18th July 2019.

27Jun 2019

News about volunteering

27th June 2019|

We rely on the support of enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in the issues that the Public Interest Law Centre tackles. From public law to civil actions against public authorities we are developing our work and in the future we are hoping to develop a volunteer prorgramme.

Unfortunately at the current time we are are not taking on volunteers – this is due to a space and capacity issues.

We ask that if you are interested in volunteering with us that you watch this space as we hope to be announce a volunteer programme in the near future.

15Jun 2019

Sathananthan (private prosecutor) v Brigadier Fernando

15th June 2019|

ready for court?

It is now confirmed that the above case has been listed for Tuesday 6th August 2019 at Westminster Magistrates Court.

At this stage we act for the private prosecutors, although at this stage the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have indicated an interest in taking over the case. We have made submissions on behalf of the private prosecutors and requested that they do not take the case over.

2Jun 2019

Challenge to the Secretary of State for the Home Department

2nd June 2019|

The Secretary of State had failed to publish any, or any adequate application process for those who needed to apply for support under paragraph 9 Schedule 10 Immigration Act 2016.

Judicial review proceedings were brought on behalf of our client (a Syrian national who would have been eligible for support under that provision) Evidence from Hackney Winter Night Shelter, ASAP, Detention Action and Bail for Immigration Detainees had been relied upon in support of the challenge. Due to the legal action brought by the Public Interest Law Centre  the Home Office have now published a policy document providing additional guidance as to how an applicant may apply for accommodation under Para 9 Sch 10

This climb down by the Home Office will assist hundreds of people. Costs to be awarded.

6May 2019

Adjournment of Sathananthan (private prosecutor) v Brigadier Fernando

6th May 2019|

On Friday 3rd May 2019 the Court decided that the case required a further adjournment. The Defence requested this in order to ensure that all documentation is secured from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The adjournment is for a period of 28 days.

We will keep the news page up to date on further developments.

8Apr 2019

New leaflet – defending the rights of EEA nationals

8th April 2019|

The Public Interest Law Centre took the Home Office to court in 2017 and ended operations that saw Immigration Enforcement arrest and deport European people who were sleeping rough.

We have expanded our work to monitor and defend the rights of European nationals who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or vulnerably housed.

We continue our work with EEA nationals around issues concerning

  • Settled Status applications and info on forthcoming changes
  • Compensation claims against Home Office for unlawful detention
  • Welfare and Housing rights legal challenges
  • Economic and Social rights during Brexit
  • NHS Charging for European nationals

Our new leaflet is off to the printers – if you need copies for your agency or a client drop us a line at office@pilc.org.uk

24Mar 2019

Funding the legal challenge – Elephant and Castle

24th March 2019|

A coalition of local people and groups are fighting for fairer regeneration at the Elephant and Castle – a regeneration that was supposed to deliver jobs and homes for local people, but is doing the exact opposite.

The Public Interest Law Centre is instructed in this case and has filed an application for permission to proceed to a Judicial Review.

The regeneration has already lost over a thousand council homes, from the Elephant’s demolished Heygate estate, a scandal in a borough with desperate housing need. Now, shopping centre owner and property developer Delancey has won permission to demolish the local shopping centre.  They also have permission to build new shops and nearly a thousand homes, but only 116, at best, will be social rented – and we will have to wait nearly ten years to get them.

Southwark’s Council’s planning committee was misled as to the maximum amount of affordable housing the scheme could viably provide. While Delancey said it could only afford to provide 116 social rented units we now know that with Mayor’s funding they could give us another 42. That’s 42 families deprived of somewhere decent and affordable to live.

Jerry Flynn our client is  challenging Delancey’s planning permission through a Judicial Review.  We want the permission quashed and then  a development scheme that provides homes and shops that are truly affordable for local working class people.

At least £10000 must be raised to be able to mount this vital challenge and for that we need your help. All funds will go towards the legal costs of the case. Follow the link to the crowdjustice page here

Please donate to our appeal, any amount big or small!

Please share this page with you friends and contacts!

Any donation you can make will help in this crucial fight to make London a city where the needs of our diverse communities come before the profits of offshore property developers.