Monday, 26 January 2015

Govan Law Centre and Children 1st launch new family support project in Glasgow

Govan Law Centre (GLC) has launched a joint project with Children 1st to improve the lives of over 60 ‘just coping’ families each year. We will provide legal services and money advice to families with young children who are already working with Children 1st in the Glasgow South.  The project is funded by the Scottish Legal Aid Board and will be led by Lorna Walker, senior solicitor at GLC, and Alison McLaughlin, money advisor with Children 1st (based at GLC).

GLC will work along side the many family and early years services run by Children 1st in Glasgow. Our  legal services will be aimed at families who are coping but whose debt and legal problems are in danger of becoming too much for them.  We will ensure these families can access appropriate  legal advice and representation alongside the intensive family support that the existing Children 1st services provide.

The project will also provide training to Children 1st staff so they can give basic advice and information, and ensure they have a basic understanding of the law as it relates to debt and benefits and that they are up to date with any changes.

GLC will run an advice service for family support workers and their clients; support family support workers who have complex cases; and take on legal case work referrals including defending evictions, appealing to social security tribunal and taking on judicial reviews and appeals to the Supreme Courts.

This is an exciting  innovative project and fits with GLC's aim to intervene early as we can before problems become even more stressful, complicated and expensive for our clients.  We will embed legal and advice services in existing models of family support, meaning we can intervene as early as we can to resolve immediate or escalating debt crises alongside other ongoing family issues, so that families can achieve the long term goals they are working towards with Children 1st.


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Iain Nisbet appointed Convener to School Closure Review Panel in Scotland

The appointment of Govan Law Centre's Iain Nisbet as the first Convener of the School Closure Review Panel in Scotland has been confirmed.  Until now, school closure proposals that have been called in under the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 have been determined by the Scottish Ministers.  

Amendments made by the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 will change that process so that  school closure proposals that are called in by Scottish Ministers will be referred to the Convener of the School Closure Review Panels.  The Convener will be required to constitute a School Closure Review Panel to determine each individual case.

Mr Nisbet - is the Head of Education Law at Govan Law Centre, where he advises and provides training for parents, schools and education authorities on all aspects of education law.  He is the Chair of the advisory group on Additional Support for Learning, and a former Non-Executive Director with Education Scotland.  He was until recently, a member of the Parent Council of his local school.

This appointment will be for five years and will run from January 12, 2015 to January 11, 2020. This appointment is regulated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.


Monday, 12 January 2015

First appointment to the Justice First Fellowship in Scotland announced

Deidre Flanigan
GLC is delighted to announce the first Scottish appointment of the Justice First Fellowship. The Justice First Fellowship is a prestigious new scheme established to support the next generation of students committed to public interest and social justice issues who want to pursue a career in social welfare law. The scheme has been established by The Legal Education Foundation in partnership with Govan Law Centre and other social welfare organisations across the UK.

The first Fellow to be appointed in Scotland is Deirdre Flanigan. Deidre has an LLM in International Human Rights Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights and an LLB in Law and a Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Edinburgh. She was the Outreach Coordinator at the Scottish Human Rights Commission, her role was to assist civil society in taking a human rights based approach to their work and to engage more with the UN human rights system including treaty body reviews and Universal Periodic Review.
Deidre gained monitoring experience working for a human rights NGO in Nepal with a particular emphasis on the duty of the state to ensure accountability for human rights in a post-conflict society. She was a research consultant in developing Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights with a particular focus on economic and social rights including the right to an adequate standard of living.
She has also worked as an occasional case law reviewer for Oxford Publications of international criminal law cases and has additional experience with a criminal defence firm in Glasgow and a commercial firm in Argentina. She has volunteer experience in several fields including advocacy with a focus on the adequacy of living standards of temporary accommodation for refugees and asylum seekers.