Coram Children’s Legal Centre has provided legal advice and representation to children and families for over 40 years.
As well as working under legal aid contracts, we have responded to a challenging environment with innovative grant-funded legal advice work and a pioneering project to realise children’s rights to citizenship.
Through advocacy and litigation we have successfully secured changes to laws and policies in order to protect the rights of children and young people.
Recent examples of CCLC’s impact include:
- The Child Law Advice Service provided legal advice and guidance to 15,609 telephone and email enquirers on the areas of family, education, and child law in 2021/2022 and there were over 2.1 million downloads of information from its dedicated website.
- CCLC offers specialist legal advice on up to 1000 case per year through its free, confidential immigration advice line – mainly to statutory and voluntary sector professionals but also to young people and families. Many hundreds more receive outreach immigration legal advice each year in community settings across London including youth homeless services, youth groups, homeless family services and primary schools. Alongside young ambassadors, we deliver workshops to young people and families so that they understand their legal rights. Each year, we train hundreds of social workers and other professionals, enabling them to recognise immigration, asylum and nationality issues and take the right steps to realise children’s rights.
- In 2021/2022, Coram International worked in 42 countries across the globe to ensure that children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. UNICEF commissioned Coram International to draft a new Global Guide: Legislating for the digital age: Global guide on improving legislative frameworks to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse. The purpose of the Global Guide is to provide guidance on how to strengthen legislative frameworks to protect children from online sexual exploitation and abuse in accordance with international and regional conventions, general comments and guidelines of treaty bodies, model laws and good practices.
- In 2021, the Home Office published new guidance to allow a fee waiver for the registration of some children as British Citizens. This had long been one of our asks, including in the Price of Belonging report launched by Citizens UK in June 2021, and will make a real difference to families struggling to pay.
- We published ‘Rights without Remedies: legal aid and access to justice for children’ in 2018 and used this as the basis for ongoing engagement with the Ministry of Justice, whilst also providing evidence from our Migrant Children’s Project to strategic litigation. In 2019, the government reintroduced legal aid for the immigration cases of separated children, expanded the scope of legal aid to include special guardianship orders in private family law, committed to face-to-face advice for education cases and pledged to amend the Exceptional Case Funding scheme.
- Through lobbying on the EU Withdrawal Bill, we helped secure the government’s ongoing commitment to give due consideration to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) when making policy and legislation. We worked with the Department for Education (DfE) to design a comprehensive children’s rights training package for civil servants, launched in November 2018.
- Through our on-going engagement with the Home Office, using evidence from our frontline advice work, we ensured that the needs of children, specifically children in care, were reflected in the development and implementation of the EU Settlement Scheme. We secured cross-party support for calls for additional protections for children in care, including the introduction of a declaratory scheme and clearer guidance for local authorities.
“Thanking you again for all your help, without your tenacity and persistence in seeing this case through, we would not have seen this outcome – your efforts are much appreciated by all our family.”
(feedback on one of CCLC’s lawyers in the Legal Practice Unit)
Recent awards include:
- Qaisar Sheikh, head of Education Law at Coram Children’s Legal Centre, was named Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the category of public law at the Legal Aid Practitioner Group’s 20th Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards which took place on the 12th of July 2022.
- In 2021, Coram Children’s Legal Centre was chosen as one of the two Baker McKenzie London office’s Charity of the Year charities, in a two-year partnership that will see the law firm support CCLC’s work through a range of collaborative fundraising, volunteering and pro-bono activity.
- Sophie Freeman, solicitor and manager of the immigration and asylum law team in CCLC’s Legal Practice Unit, won Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in the social welfare category in 2018.
- Coram Children’s Legal Centre, together with partners DLA Piper and Allen and Overy, won a Law Works Award and a Legal Week Award for its Pro Bono Legal Service in 2015.
- Noel Arnold, former Director of Legal Practice at Coram Children’s Legal Centre became inaugural winner of the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards in the children’s rights category in 2015.