YLAL Meetings and Events

Coronavirus update:

Due to the unprecedented circumstances we now find ourselves in, we have taken the decision to postpone all upcoming events in person. You can find details of our previous physical meetings here

Details of our remote meetings and privacy statement are below.

Please read and share our first COVID-19 report, and our second COVID-19 report on how our practitioner members and their work have been affected. 

This page contains information about recent and upcoming YLAL meetings and events. New members are always welcome to attend our meetings, and lack of experience is no barrier, so if you're interested, we'd love for you to join us. If you've never been to a meeting before, don't worry - there's no obligation to talk, just come along. On the other hand, if you have lots to say, feel free to say it (or just say hi!) 

Upcoming meetings

Our upcoming remote meetings will take place from 6:30pm on the following dates:

Wednesday 28 April 2021 - Protecting human rights in an age of authoritarianism

Join us for our next #YLALVirtual on Wednesday 28 April at 6.30pm, where we ask what it means to #KillTheBill and how we can achieve it.

We are honoured to be joined by this incredible panel of speakers:

  • Shami Chakrabarti;
  • Michael Mansfield QC;
  • Chai Patel, Legal Policy Director at JCWI;
  • Katy Watts, Solicitor at Liberty; and
  • Audrey Cherryl Mogan, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers.

The event will be chaired by YLAL committee member and barrister at Garden Court North Chambers, Ciara Bartlam.

Our expert panel will discuss the issues and impact of legislative policy seen in the debates on:

  • the genocide amendment to the Trade Bill;
  • the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021;
  • the Government's New Plan for Immigration; and
  • the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

Is the UK, as Amnesty International reports, witnessing a trend of increasingly authoritarian and regressive policy making? If so, what can we, as Young Legal Aid Lawyers, activists and members of our communities, do to stop it?

Book your free ticket here.

We are grateful to Garden Court Chambers for kindly hosting this event. Details of their privacy policy can be found here.

Previous Remote Meetings

Wednesday 24 March 2021 - Understanding Vicarious Trauma in the Legal Profession with Rachel Francis & Joanna Fleck

In the wake of the publication of their book 'Vicarious Trauma in the Legal Profession' we were delighted to be joined by Rachel Francis and Joanna Fleck, both formerly of YLAL and co-founders of Claiming Space, for a panel event to discuss the issue of vicarious trauma in our sector and what we can all do to tackle trauma and promote wellbeing amongst legal practitioners. 

We were very glad to welcome the following speakers to the panel:

- Emma McClure, Swain & Co Solicitors and YLAL Committee

- Louise Hooper, Garden Court Chambers

- Sara Lomri, Public Law Project

- Danielle Manson, Garden Court Chambers

The event was chaired by Lucie Boase (YLAL Committee & Hodge Jones & Allen) and took place via Zoom, with thanks to One Pump Court for hosting.

Wednesday  10 March -  Access to Justice for Victims of Trafficking: Part Two

The second #YLALVirtual event on trafficking took place on Wednesday 10th March, 6:30pm-8pm. The event had a specialist focus on criminal trafficking and featured an expert panel and Q&A.

We were delighted to be joined by our expert speakers:

  • Henry Blaxland QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Professor Felicity Gerry QC, Libertas Chambers
  • Rabah Kherbane, Doughty Street Chambers

The event was chaired by YLAL Committee Member, Hafsah Hussain. 

To catch up on Part One of the trafficking series, the recording can be accessed here.  
The recording of Part Two can be found here

Tuesday 16 March - Fforwm YLAL Cymru / YLAL Cymru Forum 

YLAL Cymru's first ever forum for members, supporters and those interested in joining took place on Tuesday 16 March 2021. 

Wednesday  24 February - Upholding the rights of disabled children

Disabled children face significant barriers to accessing essential education, health and care provision. Local authorities and other public authorities are under resourced and often fail to meet their statutory duties. Yet recent research shows that local authorities have spent £200 million in the last 6 years on fighting parents of children with special educational needs in the Tribunal, only to lose 95% of the time.

YLAL was proud to host a panel of legal aid lawyers and campaigners to discuss how we organise, advocate and litigate to address the systemic unfairness experienced by disabled children with complex needs.

We were delighted to welcome:

  • Amanda Elliot, SEND Action
  • Ollie Persey, Garden Court Chambers
  • Alex Temple, Just For Kids Law
  • Polly Sweeney, Rook Irwin Sweeney

The chair was YLAL Committee's Hafsah Hussein.

You can find a recording of the event here.

Wednesday 10 February 2021: Fighting racism in a systemically racist legal system

This #YLALVirtual explored how, if at all, young legal aid lawyers can effectively fight racism whilst working in a systemically racist legal system.

We discussed the challenges of fighting racism whilst working within and alongside systemically racist organisations such as the Courts & Tribunal Service, the Police, the Prison Service and Government Bodies. These challenges include fighting racism using laws that have historically been weaponised against Black, Brown and Racialised groups and representing clients that may have a deep-rooted distrust of the legal system.

We were delighted to be joined by our expert panel of speakers:

  • Elena Papamichael, GT Stewart & 4Front
  • Ife Thompson, UN Fellow, BLAM & BPLS
  • Raggi Kotak, One Pump Court & Consultant on Race
  • Shina Animashaun, Garden Court
  • Zehrah Hasan, Garden Court & Legal Sector Workers United

The event was chaired by Aneela Samrai of Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors and the YLAL Committee.

You can find a recording of the event here

Wednesday 27 January - Roundable on the Independent Human Rights Act Review

The #YLALVirtual on 27 January 2021 was a roundtable to discuss the Independent Human Rights Act Review (IHRAR), including the relationship between domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the impact of the HRA on the relationship between the judiciary, the executive and the legislature, and what we can do to defend the HRA. 

We were delighted to be joined by a stellar panel of expert speakers:

  • Aarif Abraham, Garden Court North

  • Alice Cullingworth, Rook Irwin Sweeney

  • Donnchadh Greene, Doughty Street Chambers

  • Zehrah Hasan, Garden Court Chambers

  • Mark Hylands, DPG Law

  • Jessica Jones, Matrix

  • Barbara Likulunga, Bristol Law Centre

  • Emma McClure, Swain and Co/YLAL committee

  • Stephanie Needleman, JUSTICE

  • Bethany Shiner, Middlesex University

  • Eilidh Turnbull, BIHR

  • Katy Watts, Liberty

  • Siân Pearce, Asylum Justice

If you didn't manage to catch it, you can view a recording of the event here. You can read the minutes here.

Wednesday 13 January 2021: Access to Justice for Victims of Trafficking: Part One

The first #YLALVirtual of 2021 was part one (of two) in a series looking at access to justice for victims of trafficking (VoT). 

Part one focussed on leave to remain applications for VoT, and the impact of immigration status on survivor recovery and risk of re-exploitation.

We were delighted to be joined by an expert panel:

  • Carita Thomas, ATLEU
  • Laura Duran, ECPAT
  • Miranda Butler, Garden Court Chambers
  • Anna Serini, Anti-Slavery International
  • Rebecca Kingi, FLEX and YLAL Committee (Chair)

You can check out recordings of our previous meetings on the minutes page

Wednesday 16 December 2020: YLAL's Magical Festive Extravaganza 

YLAL celebrated the end of 2020 by hosting multi-award winning magician, mind reader, hypnotist and pick pocket, Stephen Barry, for an evening of interactive festive fun. 

Thank you to One Pump Court for allowing us to use their remote facilities. 

Wednesday 9 December 2020 YLAL Virtual: Holding the State to Account After a Death

At this #YLALVirtual, we considered the barriers faced by families and individuals in fighting for justice after a State-related death. Tara Mulcair of Birnberg Peirce was in the chair and we were honoured to be joined by individuals with direct experience of inquests and inquiries:

  • Edward Daffarn, Grenfell United
  • Mira Hammad, Garden Court North Chambers
  • Allison Munroe QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Dr Sara Ryan, Justice for Laughing Boy and Oxford University

Wednesday 25 November 2020 - YLAL Virtual Careers Event: How to Get Your Dream Job in Legal Aid

YLAL's annual careers in legal aid event took place on Weds 25 November 2020. We were grateful to hear from a fantastic panel of speakers with varied routes into the law, across many areas of practice:

  • Eleri Griffiths, One Pump Court  

  • Aqsa Hussain, No 5 Chambers

  • Siobhan Taylor-Ward, Merseyside Law Centre

  • Maria Poleo, Duncan Lewis Solicitors 

This was one of most popular events to date & is a must-watch for aspiring legal aid lawyers. If you missed it, you can view a recording here

11 November 2020 - YLAL Cymru: Spotlight on Asylum and Immigration

Sut mae gweithio ym maes cyfraith lloches a mewnfudo yng Nghymru? Beth sydd angen ei wneud i sicrhau mynediad at gyfiawnder ar gyfer rhai o'n cymunedau allgaëedicaf? Pa rôl a allai ac a ddylai cyfreithwyr ei chwarae ar adeg pan mae senoffobia a chasineb tuag at geiswyr lloches yn cynyddu? All Cymru fod yn 'Genedl Noddfa'?

Ymunwch â ni am drafodaeth panel efo'r cyfreithwyr ac ymgyrchwyr sy'n gweithio yn sector lloches a mewnfudo.

Siaradwyr:

  • Hilary Brown, Virgo Consultancy Services
  • Mona Bayoumi, Civitas Law
  • Hayley Morgan, Prosiect Teithio Ymlaen, TGP Cymru
  • Siân Pearce, Asylum Justice

Rhan 2 o gyfres o ddigwyddiadau YLAL Cymru sy'n rhoi sbotolau ar brofiadau ymarfer cymorth cyfreithiol a mynediad at gyfiawnder yng Nghymru.

What is it like to work in asylum and immigration law in Wales? What must be done to ensure access to justice for some of our most marginalised communities? What role can and should lawyers play in a climate of rising xenophobia and hostility to migrants and asylum seekers? Can Wales be a 'Nation of Sanctuary'?

On 11 November 2020, YLAL Cymru held a panel discussion with lawyers and campaigners working in the immigration and asylum sector.

We heard from:

  • Hilary Brown, Virgo Consultancy Services
  • Mona Bayoumi, Civitas Law
  • Hayley Morgan, Travelling Ahead Project, TGP Cymru
  • Siân Pearce, Asylum Justice

This event was Part 2 of a series of YLAL Cymru events to shine a spotlight on the realities of legal aid practice and access to justice in Wales.

Recording and minutes to follow. 

Wednesdays 21 and 28 October 2020 - Racial Diversity in the Professions: Then and Now

Over two weeks, Young Legal Aid Lawyers held two crucial events on racial diversity in the legal system. 

In the wake of the death of George Floyd in the United States, Black Lives Matter protests sprung up across the country forcing the UK to reflect on the way in which Black people are treated at the hands of police here. As we learned that Black men are 10 times more likely to be stopped and searched and Black people are more likely to be given longer sentences of imprisonment, stories from the other side – from the lawyers themselves – began to emerge. With Black barristers being mistaken for defendants in Court, Black solicitors being accused by police of interfering in arrests and only 1% of the Judiciary identifying as Black – now is the time to reflect on how the lack of racial diversity in the legal profession impacts upon the system as a whole. 

The events comprised two panel sessions on Wednesday 21 and 28 October 2020.

Panel Session 1: The Lawyers

The first event took place on Wednesday 21 October and featured a range of practitioners at different stages in their career, offering their perspectives on racial diversity. 

We were delighted to be joined by the following expert speakers:

  • Quaam Animashaun, Marketing Manager at Leigh Day
  • Dexter Dias QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Abimbola Johnson, 25 Bedford Row
  • Lauren Mercurius-Taylor, MTC Solicitors
  • Sonali Naik QC, Garden Court Chambers
  • Mark Robinson, Criminal Defence Lawyer
  • Aneela Samrai, Hodge Jones & Allen Solicitors
  • Natasha Shotunde, Garden Court Chambers
  • Christian Weaver, GCN Chambers & #TheLawIn60Seconds

The event was co-chaired by Monidipa Fouzder from the Law Society Gazette and YLAL committee member, Hafsah Hussain.

You can view the recording of the event here.

Panel Session 2: The System

Our second follow up event took place on Wednesday 28 October, where the recommendations from the first session were put to representatives of stake-holding organisations in the justice system. 

We were delighted to be joined by the following representatives:

  • Jenny Agboke, HM Courts and Tribunal Service
  • Hekim Hannan, Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division of the Law Society 
  • Esme Kemp, Immigration Law Practitioners' Association
  • Edwina Koroma, Inner Temple Outreach
  • Sam Mercer, Bar Council
  • Laurie-Anne Power, Criminal Bar Association

The event was co-chaired by Monidipa Fouzder from the Law Society Gazette and YLAL committee member, Hafsah Hussain.

We are really grateful to One Pump Court for kindly hosting both events.

You can view the recording of the event here.

 

Remote Meetings Privacy Statement

Unless stated otherwise above, YLAL will be hosting events on Zoom in conjunction with One Pump Court Chambers. You can read One Pump Court's privacy notice here.

We understand there have been some published concerns about Zoom, privacy and data, however, Zoom is a really effective environment to host meetings and seminars and we need to be practical and accessible. 

You can read Zoom’s privacy statement here and their official statement on EU GDPR compliance here.

If you are still concerned about privacy, you can take the following steps to protect yourself even further:

  • Do not install the application (nor any addons / plugins to web browser). 
  • Avoid using the service on professional devices (as far as possible).
  • Join the meeting via the web browser version: https://www.zoom.us/join.
  • Try to use a privacy protecting browser, such as Brave or Mozilla’s firefox.
  • Avoid turning on the camera if possible (and turn the camera off if you are not talking).

You can read our general privacy policy here