A good post day by trainee solicitor Ellen Fotheringham
Every day the casework team at JCWI receive the daily post by email, which often contains decisions from the Home Office or Tribunal in our clients' cases. In our line of work, opening the post can often be an anxious moment, sometimes with a disappointing outcome. However, yesterday was a fantastic post day for JCWI’s casework team: we received confirmation that two of our clients have been recognized as refugees and that one has won her human rights appeal, along with her two children. For a small team, this is a lot of good news for one day.
My own client, who was recognized as a refugee, has been living undocumented in the UK since she was 15 years old. Now 25, she has transitioned into adulthood in a state of limbo, unable to fully engage with her peers or society as a result of her immigration status. It is wonderful feeling to know that she can now begin to move on with life, having finally been granted access to justice, and the rights she has been denied for such a long time; although I cannot help to dwell a little on the years she has lost.
My colleague Sairah’s client was finally recognized as a refugee after she brought a legal challenge against the Home Office’s unlawful implementation of a Tribunal decision (after an Immigration Judge found that our client is a refugee, the Home Office attempted to grant him a lesser form of leave, only lasting for six months). Sariah felt vindicated for her client, but feels frustrated that he had to wait to so long to access his rights, and that the Home Office used vague wording in their response to her challenge, refusing to acknowledge or apologize for their serious error.
My colleague Enny’s victory at her appeal was a poignant moment. The client is an extremely vulnerable woman, who is a victim of serious domestic violence, together with her children. We have all seen Enny work incredibly hard on this case over the last month, including cancelling her holiday in order to represent the family at the appeal hearing. When Enny told her client the good news, she responded that she felt like she could finally breath again.
Whilst Enny’s own overwhelming emotion was happiness for the family, she also felt frustration. Of course, we all take a moment to celebrate good news and it's wonderful that our clients can finally move on with their lives. Yet, even on days with good news, we are reminded starkly of the failings of our current immigration system. It is a combination of both that inspires and drives us to continue with our work.