Windrush Scandal Victims Assisted Pro Bono by Dechert LLP
Dechert LLP has agreed to participate with the UK’s Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, giving pro bono advice with seven other firms. They will help with the “Windrush Scandal”, which occurred when people were invited by Britain to move from the Caribbean between 1948-1971. Dechert law firm is taking its case in hands becoming a worldwide news on current events.
The immigrants faced hardships due to a “hostile environment policy” that required evidence of citizenship or immigration status they didn’t have. In this case, Caribbean people faced eviction, suffered job loss, were denied healthcare and deported as a result. Minimum compensation of 10,000 pounds for these families will help them improve their lives now that laws have changed. According to Caroline Black, partner at Dechert law firm, there are 12,000 individuals eligible for aid, but only about 2,000 have been able to apply so far due to lack of legal assistance. The British government passed a Windrush Compensation Scheme two years ago in 2019, but the legal costs have been prohibitive.
It is “woefully inadequate”, said Nicola Burgess, Legal Director of the Joint Council, “that so few people have been able to apply for compensation.” After two years the system is failing a second time and it is hoped the Dechert aid will be a valuable part of the solution. Dechert LLP has also taken a second step. They joined in the UK’s Winter Emergency Appeal and have now donated £70,000. With a £500 million fund available, legal aid from Dechert and other firms, plus an increased awareness of the Caribbean immigrants’ plight, there should be substantial progress in this situation. The Dechert help in this case indicates the deep knowledge on how to deal with enforcement agencies.
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