The Strategic Legal Fund

The Strategic Legal Fund (SLF) for migrant groups in the UK is a fund to support legal work in the UK that goes beyond securing justice for an individual and makes a significant contribution to law, practice and procedures to uphold and promote the rights of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants more generally.

The SLF aims to tackle injustices and inconsistencies in law and practice that disadvantage or discriminate against asylum seekers, refugees and migrants as a result of their migration status.

The SLF supports strategic legal work in the UK which benefits asylum seekers, refugees and migrants which are defined by SLF as those:

• Who are living in poverty and

• Who face significant disadvantage or discrimination in connection with their immigration status.

This includes but is not restricted to potential cases in the areas of:

• Immigration

• Asylum and asylum support

• Human rights

• Education

• Housing

• Welfare benefits

• Discrimination

• Access to justice

• Community care.

The maximum grant for any one application is £30,000, however, groups are encouraged to apply for lesser amounts. The average grant size is around £12,000. The maximum grant length is 12 months, though most grants are for six months or less.

Applications will be considered from:

• Not-for-profit organisations that provide specialist level legal advice to people discriminated or disadvantaged by their migration status.

• Firms of solicitors that provide specialist level legal advice to people discriminated or disadvantaged by their migration status. Firms need to demonstrate that the funded work does not include any element of profit and there is a pro bono element included.

The funding is for strategic legal work which is defined here as work where the impact is likely to go beyond an individual case, and to result in changes to law, policy and practice that will benefit a wider group of people.

Applications must be to fund one of two kinds of strategic legal work:

• The research and development of cases pre-litigation including: gathering evidence to test a hypothesis or research to establish authorities’ policy and practice, identifying potential plaintiffs/applicants/appellants; researching whether to proceed; translating relevant material; and evaluating a litigation strategy.

• Third party interventions in existing cases, which allow a non-party intervener to assist the court in arriving in its decision in a case, acting as an amicus curiae, a friend of the court. Funds can be used for evidence-gathering, instructing counsel, preparing the application for permission to intervene.

Applicants should check the list of previous SLF grants to make sure their proposal does not duplicate any existing work.

There are usually six closing dates for applications during the year, roughly every two months.

Guidelines and an application form can be found on the ILPA website (http://strategiclegalfund.org.uk/about/).

Applicants are ‘strongly encouraged’ to discuss their proposal with the SLF Project Manager before submitting their application form at claire.tindale@ilpa.org.uk.

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