Host Organisation: Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit

Siobhan Poll

Siobhan joined the Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit as a Justice First Fellow in January 2017. She studied Law at Brunel University and completed her Legal Practice Course at the University of Law in London.

Siobhan spent her university placement year at Ealing Law Centre and Bartram & Co Solicitors and continued working at the law centre throughout her final years of study. Working on immigration and housing cases as well as managing the telephone advice line, she rapidly gained an understanding of the huge impact that the legal aid cuts were having on local residents. Where once law centres had been able to intervene and obtain transformative outcomes for people, those in need were now often turned away due to the lack of legal aid, with nowhere else to go.

Siobhan volunteers at the Project for Registration of Children as British Citizens which is hosted by the Migrants Resource Centre, where she helps at their monthly advice surgeries.

Project

Siobhan's Justice First Fellowship project will focus on improving access to justice for victims of trafficking who are seeking compensation. Currently victims face multiple barriers when seeking compensation from their trafficker. There is inadequate legal aid provision for this work and the few who do find legal representation experience delays of as long as two and a half years before legal aid is even granted and their case can be started. Those seeking compensation from the state’s Criminal Injuries and Compensation Authority (CICA) are often barred from claiming this compensation due to the highly restrictive eligibility criteria. The project will look at ways of improving victims’ access to legal aid and build awareness of these issues across the legal advice sector.

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