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NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY AND BHATIA BEST SOLICITORS

NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY AND BHATIA BEST SOLICITORS – A FIRM RELATIONSHIP   The annual influx of Placement Students from the Nottingham Trent University's (LLB) Sandwich Placement Programme commenced work at Bhatia Best Solicitors this week. There are seven Placement Students in this year’s intake:- Rebecca Singleton - Public Law and Community Care Department. Lara Bethell – Nottingham Family Department. Hannah Cussans – Nottingham Family Department. Anthony Cheung – Nottingham Criminal Department. Alexis Vandyke-Mercer – Nottingham Criminal Department. Udochi Agbada – Nottingham Criminal Department Alice Herbert-Radford will provide a peripatetic support role in both the Family and Criminal Departments at Derby. All the students were successful in a rigorous interview process commencing in February of this year. Bhatia Best has a...

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Public Law Legal Aid Contract Extended

Public law legal aid contract extended to 2015 Legal aid has been subject to savage cuts in 2013, and further cuts are forecast for 2014 and beyond. Public law contracts(to do judicial review work) were  set to come to an end in March 2014, but the LAA have now announced that our contract will be extended to October 2015.   Bhatia Best have conducted judicial review claims under legal aid funding for many years. We have the largest legal aid contract in the country to undertake this specialist work. We pursue cases throughout England and Wales.

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February trial date set for legal aid dispute between Bhatia Best and The Lord Chancellor.

February trial date set for legal aid dispute between Bhatia Best and The Lord Chancellor. Bhatia Best commenced High Court proceedings against The Lord Chancellor in September 2013 to challenge the scope of legal aid under its Public Law contract. Since April 2013, The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) on behalf of The Lord Chancellor have refused to grant legal aid for appeals to the county court in homelessness cases under Section 204 of the Housing Act 1988 under the Public Law contract. The court applies judicial review principles in deciding these cases, but the LAA say only housing lawyers should conduct these cases.  The High Court has now listed the case for trial on 24th February 2014.

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COURT OF APPEAL GRANTS PERMISSION IN TWO LANDMARK ZAMBRANO CARERS CASES.

The Court of Appeal has this week granted permission to appeal in two landmark cases challenging the entitlement of Zambrano Carers to Homelessness Accommodation under Part VII Housing Act 1996 from Birmingham City & Nottingham City Council Bhatia Best are instructed on behalf of six Zambrano Carersin the  appeals which challenge the compatibility of The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 with the judgment of the European Court of Justice in Ruiz Zambrano. Lord Justice Lewison, in granting permission to appeal, observed that the issues concerning the entitlement or otherwise of Part VII Housing Act Assistance for Zambrano Carers to give effect to their treaty rights is impacting upon Local Authorities' housing allocation and guidance is required from the Court. The cases of Mohammad & Another v Nottingham City Council and Merali...

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BHATIA BEST CHALLENGE TO UKBA’S POLICY THAT PROHIBITS VULNERABLE FAMILIES FROM ACCESSING PUBLIC FUNDS

  Bhatia Best is working closely with a growing number of vulnerable families to challenge UKBA’s decision to stop families and children with the right to work and reside in the United Kingdom from accessing state benefits and council accommodation. Changes to Immigration Rules came into effect in July 2012 which allow families who have resided in and have established a family life in the United Kingdom to apply for the right to work and reside for an initial period of 30 months.  The new family rules provide that families should not be prevented from accessing necessary state benefits and council accommodation as a means of helping the family integrate into society and build towards establishing an independent family life....

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Legal Aid Cuts – “A View from the Judiciary”

‘The duty to face up to these problems does not just lie with the Government" In a recent public lecture to the Institute for Government, President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger has again spoken out on the Legal Aid Cuts. In recent months the Legal Sector has shown significant opposition to the Government’s proposed legal aid reforms and to many it may seem like a job well done, with a "U-turn" announced on the proposed criminal law price competitive tendering.  A simple "Google" will find a multitude of blog’s, articles and vitriol on the legal aid cuts and the effect this will have upon a citizen’s access to justice. Lord Neuberger’s speech appears to take a familiar tac,  "it...

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High Court gives judgment in Operation Nutmeg Test Case

The High Court this morning handed down its judgment in the test case of R v A Chief Constable [2013] EWHC 2864 (Admin) challenging operation nutmeg. Bhatia Best represent a number of individuals challenging the lawfulness of approaches by the police  to request DNA samples from ex-offenders decades after their offences were committed. The Police and Criminal Evidence Act as amended by the Crime and Security Act 2010 gives the police a power and therefore a discretion to ask ex-offenders for ‘non intimate swab samples’ to be checked against DNA samples held by the police and retain the sample for the purposes of crime detection and prevention. R’s case was brought on two grounds; 1) The Police had acted unlawfully in requiring R to attend a police station within...

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Successful challenge in homelessness cases

Bhatia Best has represented four individuals in linked appeals against Birmingham City Council, challenging the authority’s decision to refuse eligibility for homelessness support, under Part 7 Housing Act 1996. The Appellants in each of the four appeals had approached the authority for support, complaining that they had exhausted all other avenues in the United Kingdom and that, absent assistance from the authority under the homelessness provisions of the Housing Act 1996, they would have been compelled to leave the EU along with their British National children, for whom they were the sole carers. The authority concluded in each of the four cases that the mere fact that the appellants had managed to secure support from alternative avenues throughout their time...

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Every Child in Need

The Department of Education is proposing wide-ranging changes to the legal framework which protects society’s most vulnerable children throughout England and Wales, removing the obligation on Local Authorities to act swiftly in assessing the needs of children at potential risk. The proposals are set out in a consultation which runs until 4th September 2012 (https://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/departmentalinformation/consultations/a00211065/revised-safeguarding-guidance.). We are supporting ‘Every Child in Need’, a campaign launched on 26 July 2012, challenging the Department of Education’s proposals. The Ministers, Michael Gove MP and Tim Loughton MP, say the proposed changes involve cutting ‘red tape’, allowing local authority children’s services departments more freedom to meet children’s needs. Many local authorities – cash-strapped following swingeing cuts to their budgets – are happy to take...

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