Clan Childlaw are expanding their legal services for children and young people by representing unaccompanied asylum-seeking and trafficked children in Edinburgh and the Lothians as part of a collaboration with JustRight Scotland (JRS) made possible by funding from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.

The collaboration has come together in response to an increase in the number of refugee and trafficked children and young people arriving in Scotland. These arrivals are no longer restricted to local authorities with experience of working with this group, and the existence of specialist immigration advice for children, particularly on legal aid, outside of Glasgow is severely limited. Edinburgh and the Lothians have been identified as areas where the demand for specialist, child-centred legal advice was far outstripping the supply.

Clan Childlaw and JRS recognised that if they worked together, they could fill this gap.  JRS represents migrant children and young people across Scotland through its Scottish Refugee & Migrant Centre.  Clan Childlaw are experts delivering child-centred legal representation to children and young people, albeit not in immigration. To build more capacity and meet the need, this resulted in JRS’s Scottish Refugee & Migrant Centre delivering an intensive training programme and support to solicitors at Clan to enable them to take on referrals.

Alison Reid, Principal Solicitor at Clan said: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration to gain the skills to help unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Edinburgh and the Lothians. These children have faced horrific situations in their home countries and during their journey to reach Scotland. We will do everything we can to help them navigate the immigration system and secure the best outcome possible.”

Andy Sirel, head of JRS’ Scottish Refugee & Migrant Centre, added: “This is a great example of law centres working together – sharing skills and resources – to bridge a gap in access to specialist legal advice.   We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Clan Childlaw to expand the protection and support available for asylum seeking and trafficked children, living in the east of Scotland.”

Initially, Clan will take referrals from the Scottish Guardianship Service only and then plan to expand to respond more fully to unmet need.

For further information, please contact Lucy Frazer at [email protected] or on 0808 129 0522