Charles Russell Speechlys partners with Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and seven other law firms to assist Windrush victims apply for compensation

This month sees Charles Russell Speechlys join forces with the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and seven other law firms to launch a pro bono initiative assisting Windrush victims apply for compensation from the UK Government. The initiative has been established in response to consistently low numbers of applications for the UK government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme, compounded by a lack of legal support in navigating the complex application process.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme was set up in 2019 in response to the Windrush scandal. The scandal broke in 2018 when it emerged that despite living and working in the UK for decades – having been invited to the UK from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971 – many of the “Windrush generation” and their family members were told that they were illegally living in the UK and were wrongly detained, deported and denied legal rights. Under the scheme those affected by the Windrush scandal can apply for compensation for the significant detrimental impact it’s had on their lives. Many had lost homes and jobs, as well as being denied access to healthcare and benefits.

As highlighted in the Windrush Lessons Learned Independent Review, not only is there a lack of awareness of the scheme resulting in the low numbers of applications but there are also serious concerns surrounding the lack of legal support available for the applicants. One year on from the Review, 83% of individuals eligible to claim under the UK government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme are yet to make an application. This means that of the £500 million total expected to be paid out to Windrush victims, only £6.1 million has yet been paid.

Kelvin Tanner, Partner in the firm’s immigration team, will be leading our volunteers involved in the pilot.  Commenting on the pro bono initiative, Kelvin outlined “The Charles Russell Speechlys team is proud to be a part of this important pilot, working together with the legal team at JCWI and in collaboration with other firms to assist Windrush clients in submitting their applications for compensation. Our lawyers are committed and ready to support these individuals to navigate the complex scheme in order to help them obtain the redress they are entitled to.”

The eight law firms involved in supporting JCWI on this pro bono initiative are Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Charles Russell Speechlys, Debevoise & Plimpton, Dechert, Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, Taylor Wessing and White & Case.

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