Immigration legal aid lawyer of the year is a children’s immigration specialist - Refugee Council
January 16, 2009

Immigration legal aid lawyer of the year is a children’s immigration specialist

By Alice, Refugee Council Children’s Panel

Exciting news for us here in the Children’s Section. We nominated Kalvir Kaur from the Immigration Advisory Service as Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year and in December were delighted to find that she won in her category. The event was organised by the Legal Aid Practitioners’ Group which recognises the talents of lawyers who work on behalf of the most vulnerable members of society. Kalvir’s particular talents lie in pursuing unusual and difficult children’s cases that need skills in understanding immigration as it relates to children. We see many such children and young people in the Children’s Section, some of whom have been trafficked here or whose need for protection arises out of an exceptional circumstance; often their claims for protection rely on a number of different international instruments.

All of the children and young people we work with in the Children’s Section have an experience that is unique to them. A good legal representative will seek out the particular aspects of their case and looks at how the details relate to the Refugee Convention and Human Rights Act.

For example Dorcas, a 16 year old girl from Democratic Republic of Congo was raped as a result of her father’s political activism. Taking a detailed statement from such a traumatised young person is vital to ensure her claim for asylum can be properly considered. It takes skill, sensitivity and time. We are very lucky to work with a number of real specialists in knowing how to communicate with and represent children appropriately.

This work needs to be protected. The government is currently consulting on the future for publicly funded immigration advice and representation.  We will make sure that the particular issues relating to children are raised and that we keep shouting about the need to preserve and share the knowledge, skills and dedication of Kalvir Kaur and others who work tirelessly to make sure that children get the protection they need.