Linklaters’ collaboration ramps up support for Windrush survivors
Four years on from the Windrush Scandal, Windrush survivors are still experiencing barriers to accessing compensation under the UK government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme at time when demand for support should be increasing.
Only 5%* of survivors of the Windrush Scandal have been compensated under the UK government Windrush Compensation Scheme and despite over £41 million having been reportedly paid or offered to the Windrush generation only 25%** of applicants have received payments.
In response, working with Linklaters and seven other leading law firms, the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants ("JCWI") and the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit ("GMIAU") have ramped up legal support for survivors in progressing compensation claims through the Windrush Legal Initiative (the “Initiative”).
The aim of the Initiative is to support survivors of the Windrush scandal in the preparation of their application to the Home Office, which includes evidence gathering, helping the individual with witness statements and supporting letters from family members.
Volunteer lawyers and advisers involved in the Initiative help survivors of the Windrush generation who were unlawfully detained or deported and denied legal rights with claims for compensation from the UK Government – following gross administrative errors due to government immigration policy changes. Over the last year, GMIAU and the coalition of law firms have supported 29 survivors to build, prepare and submit applications for compensation.
Nicola Burgess, Supervising Solicitor of GMIAU, commented:
"The initiative provides vital access to justice for those who have experienced decades of disbelief. An inability to prove lawful status denies a person their rights and prevents access to key services we take for granted. The human impact of this is immeasurable. Many survivors we work with have lost employment, been detained, threatened with deportation, made homeless, experienced the breakdown of relationships and have been unable to visit loved ones. Working with our teams of lawyers they at last feel supported and listened to."
Faadil Patel, Linklaters Associate, who led the firm’s first case under the Initiative, comments:
“The Windrush Legal Initiative isn’t just important – it’s necessary. It gives those in dire need access high quality legal assistance to overcome barriers to compensation that they’re entitled to. Under the UK Government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme, survivors can get awarded thousands of pounds. The compensation won’t buy back the years of survivors’ lives spent in difficulty, or the feeling of being unwanted in this country, but it can provide a minimum level of comfort and the knowledge that they were treated unjustly. I would urge lawyers to get involved where they can, it will be some of the most worthwhile work you will do in your careers.”
For access to further information and for legal support, survivors of the Windrush generation can contact Nicola Burgess at GMIAU at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Statistics as published by The Guardian in November 2021
**Statistics published by The Home office