Pro bono partnership with Atkins and Z2K sees successful first Disability Benefit Appeals case

Earlier this summer, Charles Russell Speechlys launched our partnership with Atkins (a member of the SNC Lavalin group) and Zacchaeus 2000 Trust (“Z2K”) to take on Disability Benefit Appeals cases - assisting vulnerable individuals, often with severe medical conditions and disabilities, to challenge benefit decisions by the Department of Work and Pensions.

Z2K are a leading anti-poverty charity combining direct help for people with national campaigning to push for a better welfare benefits system. Our firm has been working pro bono with Z2K on their Disability Benefit Appeals project since 2019, with over £100,000 in wrongly withheld benefits and back payments being secured for our clients since this collaboration began. ​

Anela Anwar, Chief Executive of Z2K, outlined “Unfortunately, too many people are wrongly denied the health and disability benefits they are entitled to. This leaves many struggling to make ends meet and unable to afford basic essentials that many of us take for granted. Nearly half of all people in poverty in the UK are either disabled themselves or live with someone who is disabled. We are delighted to work in partnership with CRS and Atkins and with the positive outcome achieved for our client in this case. With the support of pro bono partnerships, we are able to help many more disabled people access justice and secure vital income to help them meet their needs.”

Speaking about the recently launched partnership with Atkins Global, Rupa Lakha, Partner in Construction, Engineering and Projects, said “We are proud to work with clients committed to positive social impact and were delighted to put in place this pro bono collaboration with our firm’s long standing client, Atkins Global, earlier this year. Working closely with Beth Fryer at Atkins, my team of Katherine Keenan and Peter Carlyon were in close contact with the vulnerable client in order to prepare his submission and represent him at his recent Disability Benefit Appeal, and ultimately achieve a successful outcome. It was found that the client had been wrongly denied his disability benefit and will now receive a much needed back payment. This result really demonstrates the power of a pro bono partnership, and we look forward to taking on our next case with the Atkins team.”

Commenting on the pro bono partnership and her experience on this first case, Beth Fryer, Senior Legal Counsel at Atkins Global, “It has been a rewarding, eye-opening and excellent experience working with both Charles Russell Speechlys, Z2K, and my first client to challenge their lack of disability benefit award. I look forward to taking on many more cases under the pro bono partnership with the firm, and a number of my colleagues are now keen to get involved too.”

If you are interested in hearing more on our Pro Bono Practice or to find out how you can get involved, please contact Sarah Farrelly.

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