MP praises University Law Clinic work to reunite Afghan families

A local MP has praised the work of a pro-bono law clinic helping to reunite families affected by the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, visited the University of Plymouth Law Clinic to meet the team and find out more about the work taking place across the city. 

Students detailed their work on the Family Reunion Project as part of the initiative’s Immigration and Refugee Law Clinic, including their partnership work with the British Red Cross, and how individual cases have impacted them, such as helping three unaccompanied children out of Afghanistan.

The Immigration and Refugee Law Clinic is one of several run by the University’s Law Clinic, where students deliver supervised pro-bono legal guidance as part of their undergraduate studies. Other projects include the Family Law Clinic, Employment Law Clinic, Tenancy Advice Clinic and Business Law Clinic.

The Law Clinic has won numerous national awards for both its positive student learning experience and civic impact.

Luke said: 

“We currently have 111 people with links to Plymouth still in Afghanistan, and my case workers are trying to ensure they get back through support such as tracking and navigating Home Office processes. In addition, there are nearly 100 people in Plymouth who have fled, and they need support for family reunification. It’s very complex as people are scattered and occasionally have fallen out of the system – it’s really disturbing.

“While we can track, we can’t provide legal advice, so it’s great to hear about the amazing work the University’s Law Clinic is doing to help. Ultimately, we’re dealing with people’s lives, and it’s so important we do what we can across the city to help.”

<p>Luke Pollard MP visits the Law Clinic&nbsp;</p>

Student Shasenem Chakanova, who met Luke Pollard MP as part of the event, said: 

“As part of the Law Clinic’s Family Reunion Project, we’re given individual cases to work on and we’ve learnt a lot from working with the British Red Cross. COVID-19 restrictions have been a challenge, but we were still able to get the work done via online meetings and virtual access.”

Student Charlotte Holmes added: 

“While resilience is a key skill to learn, these cases can be so hard-hitting as you really feel for the people involved. It’s been a big eye-opener as you don’t always hear the detail of the human story in wider media.”

Student Sofia Sbarsi concluded: 

“Learning about the challenges that come with understanding different systems and cultures, as well as the nature of the work itself, is incredibly valuable for our future careers – and I know I want to go into this area of law to make a difference.” 

Rosie Brennan, Director of the Law Clinic, said: 

“We are so proud of everything our students do, particularly the work to help people across the city access justice in a variety of ways. We work closely with many partners in the city, without whom we could not operate and from whom the students learn so much.”

Luke Fisher, also a Director of the Law Clinic, added: 

“Our work shows that, as a student, you don’t have to go to a large city, you can have valuable and impactful opportunities here in Plymouth. The Law Clinic has an ethos that people are more important than profit and we all benefit from the work taking place.”

Plymouth Law Clinic

The Law School is committed to giving you the opportunity to put the law into practice.

The Law Clinic offers advice and representation to real clients and in many cases, makes a tangible difference to their lives.

Read more about our Law Clinic
Life Buoy attached to a Wooden Paneled Wall
<p>School of Society and Culture</p>