Director Ahmed Aydeed and caseworker Maria Poleo, both of our Immigration and Public Law department based in Birmingham, were invited to speak at the University of Law’s Human Rights and Social Justice Careers Evening held on 6 February.
This event was a careers evening for students at the University of Law. The students that attended are taking their LLBs in Law, including GDL, LPC, BPTC, among others courses. The aim of the evening was to let students hear about careers and opportunities in publicly funded legal aid work. The speakers specialised in various areas of law, including Clinical (Medical) Negligence, Criminal Law, Immigration and Public Law (Human Rights Law).
As a solicitor and director specialising in Immigration, Human Rights and Public Law Ahmed was invited to be a speaker at the event to give the students an overview of the legally aided public law work undertaken by Duncan Lewis, with a focus on our public law work (judicial reviews) relating to immigration decisions. Ahmed explained that his team focuses on bringing up challenges against unjust policies. He gave a brief summary of the types of claims his team is working on, including key challenges.
One of the challenges his team is bringing is against the police forces that refer victims of trafficking that they encounter to the Home Office. We are repeatedly seeing victims of trafficking coming into contact with the police where there are clear indicators that they are victims of trafficking, but they are not referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) which is used to determine whether someone is a potential victim of trafficking. As a result their trafficking claim is not investigated, and they are referred to the Home Office as not having an immigration status.
Ahmed went on to mention the ‘travel ban’ challenge his team are bringing against the discriminatory policy that allows additional scrutiny to visa applications of nationals from specific countries.
Lastly he mentioned the ‘same roof rule’ challenge, which relates to victims of violent crimes that are not able to claim compensation if they live under the same roof as their perpetrator.
Ahmed concluded by talking about opportunities at Duncan Lewis. With 14 key offices throughout London and across England and Wales, and over 25 departments specialising in different areas of law, we have a wide selection of career opportunities for anyone beginning their career in law, or looking for their next challenge. A full list of vacancies can be found here.
Maria Poleo was invited to speak at the event as a former student of the University of Law and as a representative of Young Legal Aid Lawyers, West Midlands.
Now working on legally aided matters, Maria first spoke about her background, explaining how she used the resources of the university to network and get the necessary work experience to land her first legal job in the UK. She then explained the type of work she does on a daily basis in the Public Law Department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, giving a brief summary of the type of cases she has dealt with, including matters concerning victims of human trafficking and unlawful detention.
Maria also introduced Young Legal Aid Lawyers, an organisation of junior and aspiring lawyers committed to practising in areas of law which have traditionally been publicly funded. She talked about the objectives of the organisation and how being involved in it can help students network in these areas of law
Other speakers at the event were: Kashmir Uppal of Access Legal Solicitors (working in Medical Negligence Law), Fraser Stuart of the Criminal Cases Review Commission, James Turner a Criminal Law solicitor and Senior Partner at Tuckers Solicitors and current President of Birmingham Law Society; Andrea Muckley a solicitor who previously worked for a charity and has experience in Asylum and Immigration Law.
Following the talks the students were able to talk to the speakers individually as part of a networking opportunity. The event was a great success and both Ahmed and Maria are pleased to have been given the opportunity to speak to the next generation of lawyers.