A coalition of 12 law firms has been recognized in the ‘Excellence in Pro Bono category’ at The Law Society’s Excellence Awards.
The firms were recognised for their work with Asylum Aid, a charity advising and advocating for refugees and asylum seekers.
Lawyers from Akin Gump, Ashurst, Cooley, Dentons, Freshfields, Latham, Morrison and Foerster, O’Melveny, Orrick, Reed Smith, Skadden, and White and Case partnered up to assist individuals as they applied for recognition as “stateless”, which provides them with various protections including the right to remain.
The collaborative project was launched in 2018 and aims to help make it easier for individuals to navigate the process and its “complex” evidentiary requirements.
It comes as an estimated 12 million people are stateless, including over 600,000 living in the UK and Europe. They face destitution, homelessness, and prolonged immigration detention, but are often denied identity documents, education, health services, and employment.
To date, the project has assisted with 45 matters and thirteen clients have already been recognized as stateless or provided other permanent status.
In addition to helping individuals, Asylum Aid uses the work of this project as a basis for reports and advocacy to simplify and improve the application process.
For example, advocacy from Asylum Aid has contributed to improvements in the Home Office’s online application process, the system of administrative review for refused applications, and the Home Office’s consideration of leave to remain for stateless persons issued deportation orders.