Coram Children’s Legal Centre employs lawyers and experts in children’s human rights. Want to join the team? Check out our current vacancies.
Maria Abu Khadra, Paralegal
Maria is a paralegal with CCLC’s Education Law Team. Prior to this role, Maria used to work as a Child Law Legal Advisor with the Child Law Advice Service from January 2022.
Maria attained her LLB Law degree from the University of Essex in 2021. She volunteered for three years with the Essex Law Clinic.
Chessie Aeron-Thomas, Solicitor
Chessie is a solicitor specialising in public and community care law. She joined the CCLC June 2022. Chessie first began working in public law in 2010, gaining experience at the Public Law Project. She then joined Pierce Glynn as a paralegal before training at Deighton Pierce Glynn where she worked in public law, housing law and civil claims for false imprisonment and breach of the Human Rights Act 1998. She qualified in 2015. Subsequently, she moved to Simpson Millar where she developed a practice focused on acting for child and adult victims of trafficking in judicial review challenges and claims against public authorities.
Her caseload typically involves an interplay between public/community care and immigration law. She is particularly interested in trafficking identification challenges, age assessment cases involving mental health and capacity issues, and Children Act challenges concerning support for children in care and former relevant children with insecure immigration status.
Rosalyn Akar Grams, Managing Director of Legal Practice and Children’s Rights
Rosalyn Akar Grams joined CCLC’s Legal Practice Unit as the Head of Legal Practice in September 2019. She is an experienced solicitor specialising in asylum, immigration and human rights cases. She is an accredited supervisor under the Law Society’s Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme. She has acted for clients throughout the asylum process from the initial application stage through the appeal stages right up to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. Rosalyn also has significant experience bringing judicial review and strategic challenges.
Prior to joining CCLC, Rosalyn was the Interim National Manager of the Medico-Legal Reports Service and permanent Manager of the Legal Advice and Welfare Service at Freedom from Torture. In 2017, she was shortlisted for Human Rights Lawyer of the Year at the Law Society Excellence Awards for her work promoting the rights of survivors of torture going through the asylum system.
Rosalyn is an experienced trainer. She has written articles on access to justice and has been consulted by organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Justice on issues related to the UK asylum system.
Previously, Rosalyn spent many years as a practising solicitor at Wilson Solicitors LLP, specialising in asylum and with a focus on survivors of torture, victims of trafficking and gender based violence and children and young people. She started her work in this field at the Refugee Legal Centre in 2002.
Her notable cases include MJ (Angola) v SSHD  EWCA CIV 557, R (on the application of Elmi) v SSHD  EWHC 2775 (admin) and KV v SSHD  UKSC 10 (with Freedom from Torture as joint interveners).
Vanessa Amankwah, Paralegal
Vanessa joined the Education Law Team as a Paralegal in October 2021.
Prior to becoming a Paralegal, Vanessa volunteered with Coram Voice as a Coram Voice Advocacy Helpline Volunteer where she provided support for vulnerable children, young people and their families.
Vanessa’s previous experience includes working as a Learning Support Assistant in a further education institution for young people with special educational needs (SEN). She has also worked as a Special Educational Needs Assistant with children with moderate to profound needs and learning difficulties. Vanessa has working knowledge and a great awareness of the difficulties such children and young people face and the challenges associated. She now deals with advising and supporting clients with Education, Health and Care Plans and associated Tribunal appeals.
Vanessa graduated from the University of Essex with a First Class Degree in LLB Law. She will be looking to progress her legal journey by completing the Legal Practice Course.
Ayshea Azam, Supervising solicitor, KIND UK pro bono project
Ayshea Azam joined CCLC in November 2020 as a supervising solicitor for our Kids in Need of Defense UK (KIND UK) project. Ayshea trains and supervises pro bono lawyers at Baker McKenzie and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom who assist in the end to end casework involved in registering children and young people as British citizens.
Ayshea is a practising Solicitor since 2002, having initially worked in private practice and subsequently in the Not for Profit sector. She joins us from Consonant, where she worked for 9 years as an Immigration Solicitor/supervisor. She was responsible for caseworkers and solicitors across the legal aid, private and stateless teams.
Ayshea is a well-grounded and pro-active solicitor with experience in asylum, immigration, human rights and nationality law. She has represented clientele in complex casework, appeals and high court litigation both under legal aid and privately. Her specialism includes EU law, domestic abuse, and immigration relating to children and women’s issues including asylum.
Ayshea is committed to securing access to the law for migrants and improving awareness of legal rights and remedies. She delivered The Pathway specialist immigration advice service to homeless patients receiving NHS treatment and the NHS clinical teams. She also has experience of working in partnership projects and delivered the EU Advice Service, a specialist pro bono project exclusively for EEA nationals and their family living in Westminster borough.
Ayshea speaks Punjabi, Urdu and basic Hindi.
Machela Boampong, Senior paralegal
Machela is a senior paralegal with CCLC’s Legal Practice Unit. She started working with the Legal Practice Unit in July 2018.
Prior to her role as a senior paralegal she worked as a Legal Advisor with the Child Law Advice Service for two years, from June 2016 – June 2018. She started in October 2015 as a volunteer for the Child Law Advice Service. Her role was to provide advice to young people and parents on family, child and education law.
Machela obtained her LLB Law degree from the University of Essex in 2016. She went on to complete an LLM in International Human Rights at the University of Essex in 2016-2017.
Gregg Burrough, Senior Solicitor
Gregg joined Coram Children’s Legal Centre within the Education Team in November 2021. He is an experienced education solicitor who primarily assists clients with Special Educational Needs Tribunal appeals. Gregg also brings Judicial Reviews against Local Authorities as public bodies over their decisions around Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs). Gregg undertakes his own advocacy in the first tier tribunal.
Gregg also assists with the Queen Mary’s University Legal Advice Centre which provide one off pieces of advice for clients who may have an education issue.
Outside of work Gregg is still attempting to play football and is part of a local 11 a side football team.
Keeley Creedy, Head of community care law
Keeley Creedy is a solicitor specialising in public law and community care law. She has a particular interest in public law, civil liberties and human rights.
Keeley has gained considerable experience in representing young people in age disputes. She also has experience in education law and represents children who have been excluded, are out of school and with respect to their special educational needs. She works closely with a number of children’s charities, in particular CCLC’s partner charity Coram Voice.
Keeley trained and qualified as a solicitor at Fisher Meredith LLP. She subsequently worked at Maxwell Gillott before joining Coram Children’s Legal Centre in 2014.
Solange De Carvalho, Senior Solicitor and Immigration Casework Manager (grant funded)
Qualified as a solicitor in 2006 and has specialised in immigration and asylum law since 2003. She is an accredited supervising solicitor experienced in representing children and young people at all stages of the immigration and asylum process and has particular interest in family and private life cases under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and citizenship applications. She has a wide experience in judicial review applications and appeals in the First Tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and Court of Appeal. She joined CCLC in May 2022 having worked at Dexter Montague and Partners and Legal Rights Partnership.
Pia de Keyser, Senior paralegal
Pia joined the education team in CCLC’s Legal Practice in January 2019.
Before joining the LPU she worked as a paralegal in Community Care and Education Law at John Ford Solicitors.
After completing her LLM Qualifying Law Degree at Birkbeck School of Law in 2017, Pia gained legal casework experience as a volunteer at Liberty and Advocate (formally the Bar Pro Bono Unit). She went on to undertake the Graduate internship at Camden Community Law Centre, where she advised on housing and welfare benefits issues, and represented clients in the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support).
Since joining the LPU Pia has completed the Bar Professional Training Course, and was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2021. She has also qualified as a Civil/Commercial Mediator.
Before making the career change to law, Pia worked as a specialist educational needs teaching assistant, and as a visiting creative workshop leader in nursery and primary schools throughout London.
Ishraq Denha, Solicitor
Ishraq commenced working at CCLC in July 2020.
She originally qualified as a Personal Injury Solicitor in 2005. After 3 years of dealing with litigated personal injury matters Ishraq moved on to qualify as a primary school teacher. Following a 10 year teaching career she decided to move back into law specialising in Education Law, combining her two passions. Before joining CCLC she worked at Stone King for over a year dealing with a variety of Education Law related matters.
She now deals with a variety of appeals including refusal to assess for EHCPs, refusal to issue EHCPs, appeals against sections B, F and I of an EHCP and where there has been a failure to implement an EHCP.
Madey Doku, Senior Paralegal
Madey joined CCLC in August 2020 as Paralegal in the Education Law team.
Prior to joining CCLC, Madey worked as a Paralegal at John Ford Solicitors assisting fee earners with education, public law and community care matters. Before becoming a Paralegal, Madey trained as a Youth Advocate at Just for Kids Law where she formally advocated for children and young people with education, housing, immigration and community care matters. Madey also volunteered with Bexley Citizens Advice Bureau as an Adviser for three years. She has experience working with exceptionally vulnerable children and young people across the charity and public sector and currently serves as a school Governor at a local primary school in Bexley.
Madey graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in History, and subsequently went on to complete the GDL at City University. She successfully completed the LPC in July 2022 where she was awarded a full-fee scholarship by The Law Society.
Michelle Elcombe, Supervising solicitor, KIND UK pro bono project
Michelle Elcombe joined CCLC in May 2016 as the Supervising Solicitor for the Kids in Need of Defence (KIND) UK pro bono project, previously called the Children’s Pro Bono Legal Service. The service utilises the pro bono commitment of lawyers at DLA Piper and Allen and Overy to provide a free legal to service to children and young people to enable them to apply for and enjoy British citizenship. Michelle is responsible for training and supervising these lawyers and has been instrumental in developing the project and proving that this pro bono model works. The service has been recognised as a unique innovative model of pro bono provision of legal services.
Michelle was previously a Partner and head of Immigration at Leonard Canning’s solicitors in Southampton, formerly Leonard and Co solicitors where Michelle also trained and qualified. Michelle has over 13 years’ experience specialising in immigration, asylum and nationality law. Michelle has experience representing children, young people and families at all stages of the immigration and asylum process including initial applications, appeals and judicial reviews.
Kelly Everett, Senior solicitor
Kelly joined the Children’s Legal Centre in 2004 and assisted with the setting up, running and advising of what is now the Child Law Advice Line – a national telephone advice line which provides free legal advice over the phone and online on child, family and education law matters. She subsequently qualified as a solicitor in child law, family law, public law and education law in 2006.
Kelly was previously head of the family team before taking a career break to have two children. Now working part time, Kelly represents children, parents and carers in the area of child and family law where she has a keen interest in judicial review cases. Although Kelly undertakes work across the field of family and child law, her specialism is in representing children and young people in matters involving local authorities. Her particular interest lies in ensuring that homeless young people are accommodated and supported by the relevant authority, whether that be social services or the council housing department, bearing in mind the duties of those authorities and the wishes and feelings of the young person, in addition to ensuring that those young people who have been in care are able to access all their entitlements until the age of 21 or 25.
Kelly undertakes work on all areas involving the Children Act 1989 and Children Act 2004, including obtaining support services for children and their families from local authorities and placement moves for young people in care, leaving care legislation and contact and residence disputes.
She has been involved in a precedent case: Carla Edwards v General Register Office  EWHC 2380 (Fam), involving a declaration of parentage.
Kelly has written for Children & Young People Now and appeared on a number of regional and national television programmes and radio stations.
She works on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and is based in CCLC’s Colchester office.
Sophie Freeman, Head of immigration and asylum law
Sophie Freeman is an accredited supervising solicitor specialising in immigration, asylum and nationality law. Sophie has experience representing children, young people and families at all stages of the immigration and asylum process, including initial applications, fresh claims, appeals and judicial reviews.
Sophie has particular expertise working with young people with mental health problems. She regularly represents victims of trafficking and young people at risk of persecution as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. She also has a particular interest in representing young people facing deportation from the United Kingdom as a result of their criminal convictions.
Sophie also undertakes strategic litigation on behalf of the Legal Practice Unit. She, along with Jane Barrett, had conduct of CCLC’s intervention in the case of R (SM & Others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1144 (Admin) in which the High Court found the then Home Office policy on Discretionary Leave to be unlawful because it did not allow the proper consideration of children’s best interests when deciding the duration of leave to remain to be granted to them.
As well as her casework within the Legal Practice Unit representing individuals and families, Sophie works closely with the Migrant Children’s Project, contributing to the MCP’s policy work and training programs. She also speaks regularly at the monthly legal advice meetings held by the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group.
In October 2016, Sophie wrote the immigration and asylum section of the Legal Action Group’s special publication entitled, ‘Use it or lose it: children and legal aid’. In July 2018, Sophie was named ‘Legal aid lawyer of the year‘ in the social and welfare category.
Sophie trained and qualified as a solicitor at Fisher Meredith LLP, where she gained valuable experience in children law and community care law, as well as immigration and asylum law. She joined CCLC in June 2012.
Rhona French, Immigration Caseworker
Rhona joined CCLC in March 2022 as a Senior Caseworker for our Family Reunion from Europe (FRFE) Project. Rhona works in conjunction with another charity, Refugee Legal Support (“RLS”), and in partnership with eight corporate firms in making entry clearance applications to reunite clients in the UK with their separated family members in Europe, Turkey and Libya.
Rhona is an experienced caseworker in the field of Immigration and Asylum law and has represented clients throughout all stages of the immigration and asylum process. She is accredited under the Law Society’s Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme at Senior Caseworker Level. She has experience in representing children, young people and families, including vulnerable clients and clients with mental health and learning difficulties.
Rhona began working as a caseworker in Immigration and Asylum law following graduating with a BA Chinese and Law degree from SOAS, University of London. She is completing her LLM in Human Rights Law at Birkbeck, University of London. Before joining CCLC, Rhona worked at TRP Solicitors, a specialist asylum and immigration law firm in Birmingham. Outside her work as a caseworker, she has delivered introductory workshops on deportation and human rights law to children, young people and adults and has campaigned for migrant rights with Waging Peace (NGO) and with Quaker Peace and Social Witness.
Rhona speaks German, Mandarin, Chinese and basic Polish.
Whitney Hard, Solicitor
Whitney joined CCLC’s Community Care Team as a Paralegal in October 2019. After successfully completing a training contract undertaking seats in Community Care and Public Law, Immigration Law and Family Law, Whitney is now a Solicitor in the Community Care Team.
Whitney previously worked as a Modern Foreign Language teacher, teaching Spanish and French at secondary level, and holds a first class degree in Law with Spanish Law and Language and a Masters Degree in Human Rights.
Whitney’s caseload involves both public and community care law, and she undertakes all types of challenges under the Children Act. She particularly focuses on representing children and young people who are and/or have been detained in custody, including those on remand, and victims of trafficking, particularly county lines. Whitney is particularly interested in cases where children and young people require accommodation and support upon release, including bail and early release on Home Detention Curfew, and challenges to NRM decisions, including reconsideration requestions.
Jack Howes, Senior paralegal
Jack is a senior paralegal in the Education Law Team in CCLC’s Legal Practice Unit. He first joined CCLC in January 2019 following 10 months in a Paralegal role in a London law firm specialising in SEN law. Jack is working towards qualifying as Solicitor and left CCLC in September 2020 in order to study the Legal Practice Course full time at the University of Law. After achieving a distinction in his Legal Practice Course, Jack returned to CCLC in July 2021. Jack obtained his LLB law degree from the University of Greenwich in 2017.
Jack largely deals with advising clients on Education, Health and Care Plans and has assisted parents and young people with appeals to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
Ban Hussein, Immigration and Asylum Senior Caseworker
Ban is an accredited Senior Caseworker specialising in Immigration and Asylum law. Her caseload has a particular emphasis on applications for asylum, fresh claims, refugee family reunion and applications on the basis of family and private life.
Prior to joining CCLC, Ban worked at Wesley Gryk Solicitors, a specialist immigration firm. She assisted solicitors with all aspects of their caseload, which had a particular emphasis on applications based on partnership, family and private life, EU law, nationality and asylum on the basis of sexual identity. Before becoming a paralegal, Ban was a Project Officer within CCLC’s Migrant Children’s Project. She also worked as an advocate for asylum seeking women in refugee camps needing to access maternity services, and volunteered both at a clinic which provided support to migrants needing to access NHS services, and a refugee support centre for young people.
Ban graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in Politics and International Relations. She then went on to complete a postgraduate degree in Middle East Politics at SOAS, and has completed the GDL at BPP University, with a view of qualifying as a solicitor.
Ban joined CCLC’s Immigration and Asylum Team in September 2021.
Joyinola Layonu, Paralegal
Joyinola is a paralegal within the Immigration and Asylum Team at CCLC.
Joyinola initially joined Coram in January 2020 as a legal and policy intern within the Migrant Children’s Project (MCP). During that period, she supported the MCP’s Exceptional Case Funding and EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) projects. She was also involved in policy initiatives such as a report on the impact of Brexit and the EUSS on children’s rights. Following her internship, Joyinola returned to the MCP as Legal and Policy Assistant in January 2021 and joined the LPU in July 2022.
Joyinola is passionate about human rights advocacy at domestic and international levels. Prior to joining CCLC, she interned at the Immigration Advice Service and volunteered with Islington Law Centre, where she was exposed to the UK immigration system and its impact on the rights of vulnerable people. In 2018, she completed an internship with the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland, where she advocated for the rights of human rights defenders at the 39th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Joyinola holds an LLB Law degree from Coventry University and an MSc in EU Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her MSc dissertation focused on the impact of Greek laws and practices in relation to detention on the vulnerabilities of unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Alongside her work at the LPU, Joyinola is undertaking the Bar Practice Course at the University of Law in London, with a view to becoming an asylum, immigration and human rights barrister specialising in children’s rights.
VyVy Lewis, Solicitor-Advocate
VyVy is a dual-qualified UK/USA lawyer and qualified as a Solicitor in England and Wales in 2005. VyVy specialises in representing children, parents, and extended family members in care proceedings.
VyVy undertakes her own advocacy and she has Higher Rights of Audience (Civil). As well as being a member of the Resolution’s London committee and the Law Society’s Children Law Accreditation Scheme (aka the Children Panel) she is an assessor and interviews applicants/marks re-accreditation applications. She is a Resolution assessor for the Children Law (Public) (and a back-up assessor for Domestic Abuse) portfolio. VyVy is a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Lawyers for Children as well as being a member of their Equality & Diversity Sub-Committee. She is also is a co-organiser of the London Children’s Lawyers.
VyVy has a Juris Doctorate and an LL.M from the University of Washington School of Law in the USA. VyVy remains an active member of the Washington State Bar Association. She worked as a trial lawyer in Seattle, Washington (USA) in the fields of Care, Juvenile Justice, Misdemeanours, Children-in-Need, At-Risk Youth, and Education law until she moved to the United Kingdom. She is also a member of the District of Columbia Bar.
Nobuhle Mpofu, Paralegal
Nobuhle joined the Education Team as a paralegal at CCLC in May 2022. Nobuhle is passionate about children’s rights within family and education.
Prior to her role she worked as a legal advisor with the Child Law Advice service, where her role was to provide advice to young people, parents, and guardians on family, child, and education law matters.
Nobuhle obtained her LLB Law degree from the University of East Anglia.
Teigan Owers, Paralegal
Teigan joined CCLC in September 2022 as a Paralegal in the Community Care team. She graduated from the University of Kent in 2020 with a first-class degree in Law and Criminology. Following this, she studied the LPC combined with a masters at BPP University, attaining a distinction.
Alongside her studies at BPP, Teigan volunteered for BPP Legal Advice Clinic’s Family team, which provided free legal advice and support services to individuals and families. She has joined CCLC to gain knowledge and experience in Community Care law and to progress in her legal career.
Safiyyah Patel, Paralegal
Safiyyah joined the Education Law Team at CCLC in June 2022.
Prior to her role as a Paralegal, she undertook extensive pro bono work covering various areas of Law. She assisted clients with a range of issues, providing legal advice and assistance. Safiyyah is very passionate about helping children to give them the best possible chances in life. She has experience working with young people through her part time role at a tuition centre, tutoring children in Maths, English and Science for over 3 years.
Safiyyah obtained her LLB Law degree from the University of Bradford in 2022.
Amber Shah, Paralegal
Amber joined CCLC in July 2022 as a Paralegal in the Community Care team.
Prior to joining CCLC, Amber worked in childcare. She also volunteered for Public Legal Education and Human Rights Education projects, promoting the rights and legal empowerment of children and vulnerable adults. She has joined CCLC to develop a legal career in Community Care law.
Amber graduated from the University of Warwick with a first-class degree in Law with German Law.
Qaisar Sheikh, Head of education law
Qaisar joined Coram Children’s Legal Centre in 2010 as a paralegal, for what is now called the Child Law Advice Service. He later joined the Legal Practice Unit (LPU) and subsequently qualified as a solicitor in 2016. Since April 2017, Qaisar has led the Education Law Team, a branch of our LPU. He is responsible for all operations of our education practice, including supervision and business development, both in terms of our legal aid work and private client services. He is part of the Coram Management Group which brings together key service managers across the group organisations, developing joint strategy and cohesive work.
Qaisar is highly experienced in education law, particularly special educational needs, discrimination claims, Upper Tribunal appeals and public law challenges related to schools and local authorities. He has a keen interest in health and social care matters that arise within SEN appeals. Although he primarily undertakes work in these areas, he has gained experience in child and family law matters. For his work in Education Law, Qaisar has been highly ranked in Chambers and Partners 2020, 2021 and 2022 (currently ranked in Band 1 with only two other solicitors).
Chambers and Partners comment:
Qaisar Sheikh is very highly regarded in the field for his broad practice representing parents, children and young people. He frequently assists with appeals to the SEND Tribunal regarding school placement and the contents of Education, Health and Care plans. He is extremely passionate and has a very good technical brain in terms of being able to spot obscure points of law. Qaisar is personable, knowledgeable, and has a huge wealth of experience which shines across in his handling of education law appeals. He is a great tactical lawyer who knows when to push a point and when not to.
In July 2022, Qaisar won the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year award in the category of public law at the Legal Aid Practitioner Group’s 20th Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards. See CCLC’s article here.
Outside of work, Qaisar is a proud father of three very energetic children, organises weekly basketball sessions for his local community and enjoys spending time with friends. Qaisar is a committee member and Trustee for the well regarded Education Law Association.
Reported and notable cases:
- East Sussex County Council v KS (SEN):  UKUT 273 (AAC)
- M v Hertfordshire County Council (SEN):  UKUT 37 (AAC)
- F v Responsible Body of School W  UKUT 112 (AAC)
- London Borough of Southwark v WE (alternative person for OA):  UKUT 241 (AAC)
- London Borough of Redbridge v H O (SEN):  UKUT 323 (AAC)
- H (child) v London Borough of Hillingdon 
- London Borough of Croydon v K.A.  UKUT 106 (AAC)
Find out more about the services provided by Qaisar and our Education Law Team here.
Betty Shuttleworth, Paralegal
Betty joined the Community Care Law team as a Paralegal in August 2022. She hopes to gain experience and knowledge in the field before training as a solicitor. Betty is an advocate for the rights of all those children who have additional needs or disabilities. Currently, Betty volunteers for IPSEA on their advice line and tribunal help line, supporting parents to access the correct education for their child. Before joining CCLC, Betty volunteered with KEEN Oxford as a buddy to disabled children and served as Outreach Officer on her university sports society for two years.
Betty graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in law. Following this, Betty undertook an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Oxford, writing her thesis on the educational provision offered by Youth Offending Services to disabled young offenders.
Eleanor Simon, Solicitor
Eleanor is an accredited solicitor specialising in immigration and asylum law. Eleanor is experienced in representing children, young people and families at all stages of the immigration and asylum process, including initial applications, appeals in the First-tier and Upper Tribunals, fresh claims, and judicial reviews.
Eleanor has a particular interest and expertise in representing vulnerable clients in their asylum and human rights claims, including victims of human rights abuses, victims of trafficking, unaccompanied children and care leavers, and those with mental health difficulties.
Eleanor started working as an accredited caseworker in immigration and asylum law at Wilson Solicitors LLP in January 2013, and went on to qualify as a solicitor there in October 2016. She joined Coram Children’s Legal Centre in May 2018.
Phuong Truong, Senior solicitor, family and child law
Phuong qualified as a solicitor in 2000 and has since specialised in family and child law. Her main area of practise is public child law care proceedings representing children both directly and through the children’s guardian and parents on applications for care orders and supervision orders. She has broad and extensive family experience which includes representing clients on applications for: discharge of care orders; deprivation of liberty orders; wardship proceedings; special guardianship orders; Section 8 orders such as child arrangements orders, prohibited steps orders and specific issues orders including permission to remove the child from the jurisdiction; and Family Law Act applications for non-molestation and occupation orders.
Phuong’s work at Coram now focusses on representing children, in both public and private law matters.
Phuong is a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel and conducts her own advocacy. She is a member of the Association of Lawyers for Children. She is a supervising solicitor and has mentored and trained paralegals and trainee solicitors.
Liam Wells, Trainee solicitor
Liam is a Trainee Solicitor in the team currently undertaking seats in Education Law, Discrimination Law, Immigration & Asylum Law and Family Law.
Liam joined CCLC in October 2019 as a Senior Paralegal in the Education Team, subsequently becoming a Legal Aid Agency approved supervisor. Prior to joining CCLC, Liam has experience as a paralegal in both Public Law and Medical Negligence for two private practice law firms.
Liam obtained his undergraduate LLB Law degree from the University of Lancaster in 2015. Liam also went on to complete an LLM Masters degree, with specialism in Human Rights and Public Law, in 2016. He obtained his LPC from the University of Law (Bloomsbury Campus) in June 2020.
Liam will qualify as a solicitor in Spring 2023.
Child Law Advice Service
The CLAS team
The Child Law Advice Service is staffed by fully trained paralegals specialising in family, child and education law. They all hold a legal qualification, having completed law degrees, legal practice courses or specialist paralegal courses. Our staff come from a variety of backgrounds including having worked in Citizen Advice Bureaux or other legal firms. All our advisers are trained in customer service, call handling and digital communication.
For information and advice on issues of Child, Family and Education Law please the Child Law Advice Service’s dedicated website www.childlawadvice.org.uk.
Migrant Children’s Project
Afia Ahmad, Outreach solicitor
Afia Ahmad is a solicitor specialising in Immigration, Asylum and Nationality law and has worked across a range of immigration organisations, including the British Red Cross, Home Office (Appeals and Litigation Department) and Mishcon De Reya LLP.
Prior to joining Coram, Afia trained at Kesar and Co Solicitors and qualified as a solicitor in 2020. Afia has extensive experience in all aspects of immigration casework and advocacy with a particular focus on legally aided work. She has represented individuals at immigration tribunals, including bail hearings, asylum appeals and deportations, as well as handling judicial reviews. She has a particular passion for human rights and is a former trade union representative.
Afia currently works as an outreach solicitor within the Migrant Children’s Project. She runs the immigration clinic at CARIS Haringey, as well as providing front line legal advice to vulnerable families in primary schools across London.
Afia speaks Urdu to native fluency and has lived experience as a refugee.
Nikki Clarke, Outreach Immigration Adviser
Nikki is an Immigration Adviser accredited under Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) at Level 2 Immigration and Asylum. Nikki previously worked in a voluntary sector organisation where she contributed in supporting their registration under OISC, which enabled them to deliver a free legal advice service. Nikki also worked in a partnership model that specialised in representing clients in refugee family reunion applications. She has experience of advising on asylum, fresh claims, immigration, and nationality matters.
Prior to becoming an Immigration Adviser, Nikki worked as an Asylum Caseworker, supporting and advocating in areas of housing, asylum support, and health issues. She also assisted families seeking asylum in isolated dispersal areas with integration needs.
Nikki graduated from the University of Nottingham with a degree in English Studies. She is currently in the process of completing her Post Graduate Diploma in Law with the University of London, specialising in Human Rights and International Development. She is enthusiastic about advocacy and empowering young people, gaining her Level 2 Independent Advocacy qualification in December 2021.
Alison East, Senior solicitor
Alison East is a solicitor working Tuesday – Thursday answering queries on immigration and welfare matters by email for the Migrant Children’s Project Legal Advice Line.
Alison trained as a social welfare lawyer at Hammersmith Law Centre and has a broad-based legal background encompassing welfare rights, community care, housing and public law as well as immigration.
Chloe Evans, Immigration Advice Legal Manager (maternity cover
Chloe Evans is currently managing and supervising our outreach legal advice projects across London.
She is a senior immigration adviser accredited under the IAAS at level 2 and at level 3 of the OISC in asylum and immigration. She specialises in working with children, young people and families at all stages of the immigration and asylum process. She also has experience working with clients held in immigration detention.
Chloe has been practicing immigration and asylum law since 2014 and previously worked at Wilsons LLP, as well as various grassroots organisations. She joined CCLC in October 2018.
Chloe is fluent in French.
Rosalind Hodder Compton, Senior legal and policy officer
Rosalind is a solicitor specialising in immigration, asylum and nationality law and issues relating to access to support, housing, health care and education for children, young people and families affected by immigration control. Rosalind is experienced in working with children, young people and families at all stages in immigration, asylum and nationality processes, including in initial applications, appeals and judicial reviews.
Rosalind does outreach work across several London boroughs, offering legal advice to children, young people and families on immigration, asylum and nationality law.
She trained at Fisher Meredith where she worked in immigration, housing and police and prison law, before joining CCLC in October 2013.
Rosalind was seconded to the Greater London Assembly, working on the Citizenship and Integration Initiative, for a year from April 2018 to March 2019.
Anita Hurrell, Head of the Migrant Children's Project
Anita Hurrell manages CCLC’s Migrant Children’s Project, which promotes the rights of children and young people affected by UK immigration control, and is responsible for providing legal guidance and delivering training to professionals in the statutory and voluntary sectors. She contributes to CCLC’s policy work, particularly on the issue of legal aid.
Anita has worked in the field of immigration since 2008, including as Senior Researcher at the think tank Policy Network and as a Caseworker at the legal charity Refugee and Migrant Justice, where she primarily represented clients in detention and unaccompanied children.
Anita was seconded to the Greater London Assembly, working on the Citizenship and Integration Initiative, from April 2017 until April 2018.
Marianne Lagrue, Policy & Programmes Manager
Marianne Lagrue is Policy & Programmes Manager at Coram Children’s Legal Centre. She works in CCLC’s Migrant Children’s Project and contributes to CCLC’s policy work on Brexit, children’s rights and access to justice. She has authored Uncertain futures: the EU settlement scheme and children and young people’s right to remain in the UK (2019) and co-authored Rights without Remedies: legal aid and access to justice for children (2018) and ‘This is my home’: Securing permanent status for long-term resident children and young people in the UK (2017). She is also responsible for CCLC’s digital content, the monitoring and evaluation of the MCP’s programmes, and the operation of the project’s training programme. Marianne manages youth involvement in the work of the MCP, and runs CCLC’s Youth Rights Trainers scheme. She is also an immigration adviser accredited to OISC level one and does outreach legal work on the EU settlement scheme.
Marianne has past experience as a Parliamentary researcher in the House of Lords, as an assistant caseworker for an MP and as a political consultant. She has an MA in Media and International Development. Marianne joined CCLC in September 2015.
Stewart MacLachlan, Legal & Policy Manager
Stewart MacLachlan is Legal & Policy Manager for the Migrant Children’s Project, part of Coram Children’s Legal Centre. He manages the legal training programme, as well as specific funded projects. He leads on a number of policy areas at the centre, including asylum, trafficking/modern slavery and access to education. He is co-author of Seeking Support (fifth edition), a guide to working with separated children and young people. He sits on a number of working groups related to children and asylum, education and care.
Stewart is a practising Scottish solicitor, qualifying in 2010, and was accredited as a level 2 supervisor under the Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme in England. He previously worked at an immigration firm in Nottingham, and worked for over 4 years in law centres in Scotland.
He is current chair of the Board of Trustees at the Scottish Child Law Centre, having been on the board since August 2018. He also became a trustee of We Belong in 2022.
Nisa Tanin, Solicitor
Nisa is an accredited solicitor, specialising in immigration, asylum and nationality law.
She has experience working with children, young people and families at various stages of the immigration and asylum process, including initial applications, fresh claims, appeals and judicial reviews.
Nisa is committed to assisting vulnerable clients and has represented victims of human rights abuses, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, victims of trafficking and those with mental health difficulties. She trained at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors in immigration detention, police law and inquests. She qualified in 2016 and has since been practising immigration and asylum law. Nisa joined CCLC, originally as part of the Migrant Children’s Project, in July 2019.
Nisa is a native Dari/Farsi speaker and fluent in French.
Youth Rights Trainers
The Youth Rights Trainers are young people aged 18-25 with lived experience of the UK immigration and asylum systems who are accredited to co-deliver training alongside the MCP’s solicitors. To see our trainers in action, book one of our training courses.
Sheree Clark, Project and Finance Manager
Sheree Clark is the Project and Finance Manager for both London and Colchester offices. Sheree joined Coram Children’s Legal Centre in November 2008 as an accounts assistant for the charity. Sheree has a number of years’ experience and has spent her career in finance-based roles. In 2011 Sheree took over the role of Legal Cashier for CCLC’s Legal Practice Unit and in January 2014 took on the additional role managing our Colchester office and subsequently from May 2022 taken overall responsibility for our London Office.
Charlie Messum, Operations Officer
Charlie joined Coram in June 2022 as our Operations Officer. She has worked for over 14 years in the not-for-profit sector within a variety of operational and administrative roles, most recently for a children’s literacy charity and previously within a family court team and young people’s domestic violence service.
Her passion for supporting children and young people reach their full potential regardless of background stemmed from teaching sensory yoga and art classes to 6 month-5 year olds and most recently as a play volunteer at the Log Cabin- an after school club for children aged 5-15 with additional needs and disabilities.