Host Organisation: Castlemilk Law and Money Advice Centre

Abdullah Khalid

I am originally from Afghanistan. I moved to the UK when I was 20 years old to pursue a career in the legal sector. I have always been interested in law as I understood the importance of rule of law and its relationship with the public. This is particularly personal to me due to my background and where I am from.

I did my LLB and Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at the University of Strathclyde. In addition, to my Diploma, I have also obtained a Masters in International Economic Law. While pursuing the LLB I volunteered as a student advisor at the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic. I was advising, researching and managing client cases mainly involving areas of benefits, housing and employment law. My volunteer work at the law clinic influenced my decision in terms of working in social welfare law and providing free legal and impartial advice. I then joined Castlemilk law & Money Advice Centre as a legal advice worker where I did similar work. I was fortunately offered a traineeship by the Law Centre through the Legal Education Foundation.

I enjoy and am committed to furthering my career in social welfare law and, more broadly, public law. I am committed to continue working with disadvantaged client groups and continue providing much needed high-quality legal assistance.

Project

My project will be focused on EEA nationals and their welfare rights and access to benefits. Due to the roll out of Universal Credit in the last couple of years a lot of EEA nationals are getting transferred from legacy benefits such as Jobseeker allowance, Working Tax Credits and Employment Support Allowance to Universal Credit.

When transferred to Universal Credit they have to satisfy the habitual residence and right to reside test with new set of rules. Mostly the habitual residence and right to reside tests are failed by these clients and they are left very vulnerable and at disadvantage compared to other benefit claimants.

My project will gather the relevant data for such cases and assist with challenging these decisions through the DWP appeal mechanism. In addition, I will be looking at the discrimination aspects of these cases and research the relevant legal regulations in order to bring about change through judicial review and by working in partnership with local EEA welfare organisations.

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