Host Organisation: Brighton Housing Trust

Louise Crouch

After some voluntary work with Gatwick Detainees Welfare group, I joined Brighton Housing Trust in 2004 as an Immigration Adviser helping clients with immigration and asylum applications. I then worked at Refugee and Migrant Justice for two years from 2008 where I gained experience in preparing asylum appeals and with advocacy presenting my own cases at the First Tier Tribunal. I returned to Brighton Housing Trust in 2010 and continued working in the same area helping adult and child asylum seekers, victims of trafficking and domestic violence.

I became more and more interested in the actions that can be taken if a public authority breaches human rights and the power that the law has to make real change. I decided I wanted to become a solicitor to be able to carry out judicial review work so that I can assist my clients myself when the Home Office is acting unlawfully and unreasonably. I want to hold the Home Office to account for its actions, therefore ensuring fair treatment for the people that I represent.

In 2016 when my son was 3 years old and my daughter was 1 years old, I started my GDL at the University of Brighton whilst working 4 days a week. I then completed my LPC at the University of Law, Bloomsbury part time at weekends.

I was delighted to be offered a Training Contract as a Justice First Fellow with Brighton Housing Trust. I started in January 2020 and am enjoying the challenges of my first seat in Housing Law.

Project – A Fresh Start

To promote access to justice for those who have been refused asylum but wish to remain in the UK

I have represented a number of vulnerable migrants who needed help making fresh claims for asylum. Brighton Housing Trust is the only legal aid immigration Solicitor provider in Surrey and East and West Sussex. I learnt that as a consequence there are failed asylum seekers advising each other in Brighton about the fresh claim process because they could not access free legal advice.

For these reasons, I aim to provide an outreach service in a community setting to empower these clients by increasing their understanding of what it takes to make a fresh claim and the legal remedies if their claim is refused. I will take on cases as many cases as is practical, but where I cannot assist, I will help people to make detailed referrals to other providers. Our clients have many complex needs and so I also aim to build a directory of local services to increase Brighton Housing Trust’s understanding and therefore our client’s access to services and community groups in the area.

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