We have a team of highly qualified, supportive and friendly solicitors and legal and welfare assistants/advisers:
Clare Hurst is our Deputy Centre Director. Clare is a Solicitor of over 15 years qualification specialising in the area of Asylum and Immigration Law since 2002 and joined the Law Centre in 2006 having completed her training contract in private practice. She has extensive experience of Legal Aid and innovative grant funded projects providing free immigration advice delivery focusing on more holistic legal advice provision for Asylum seekers, Refugees and Migrants in the region. Clare is passionate about access to justice and continues to fundraise for the Law Centre to provide more pro bono help whenever possible.
Tristan is our Trainee Solicitor having originally joined us as a Community Paralegal. Tristan advises in Immigration (OISC Level 1), Family Law and Criminal Injuries Compensation Applications. Tristan also supports our Senior Solicitor Clare in her outreach work at local organisations WERS (West End Refugee Service) and FODI in Sunderland (Friends of the Drop In).
Michael is the Centre Director and has extensive experience across all sectors. Prior to joining the Law Centre Michael worked for a private law firm, and before that was the CEO of a regional charity. Michael is passionate about social justice and protecting human rights. He enjoys reading and spending time with his family in his spare time.
Julie has worked in the voluntary sector for over 20 years, she is an experienced Finance Manager and Bookkeeper. She has seen many changes in the way charities are funded, in particular partnership working, which is a positive way of providing holistic services for clients.
Helen is our Education Law Paralegal. She is also secretary to the City Wide Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Group in Newcastle.
April is a family solicitor working within our family law department. April is currently working on the Legal Support for Litigants in Person project. As a Justice First Fellow, April has also been working on her own project, supported by the Legal Education Foundation and the North East Law Centre. The project is as follows: Provision of legal and advocacy services to those experiencing mental health problems, who do not qualify for statutory supportThis project aims to identify people who have mental health problems that do not qualify for advocacy services but require legal assistance. Once identified, the project would aim to provide legal services to this vulnerable group, adopting a human rights-based approach.
Misbah is an accredited Senior Immigration Caseworker primarily focusing on Family Reunion cases funded by the Red Cross Families Together Programme.
Vicci is a Family Solicitor and has also trained as a Family Mediator. Her focus is promoting the FLOWS project (Finding Legal Options for Women Survivors) which can help any survivor of Domestic Abuse who needs urgent protection throughout England and Wales. She is passionate about supporting survivors and always encourages clients to engage with local specialist services. She is a member of the Northumbria Domestic and Sexual Violence Champions Network and a Women’s Aid Ask Me Community Ambassador. If your organisation would like to know more about the FLOWS project please contact her to arrange this.
Mental Health Adviser
Chris is our senior solicitor, he has experience in all kinds of immigration matters, ranging from human trafficking, asylum law, detained cases and complex immigration matters. He has undertaken family life cases, EU cases and complex nationality cases.Chris has represented in appeals nationwide. Chris is experienced at both overturning Border Agency decisions and also succeeding in new applications for those who have been previously refused. He has around 20 years experience in immigration and asylum work.
Laura is our employment advisor. She began with us as a volunteer whilst completing her Bar Professional Training Course at Northumbria University. She has since completed the BPTC and is a full time member of staff. Laura is a specialist employment advisor on our SLIP project and mans the weekly employment law advice line.
Rachel is our Welfare Benefits Caseworker, working in partnership with the Recovery College Collective (Recoco) in Newcastle, providing welfare benefit advice and support for their students. Rachel has several years of experience in welfare advice in various community focused organisations. Rachel also represents clients from initial applications for benefits to First Tier Tribunal appeals. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys time with her family in the great outdoors but also likes to relax with a good book or video game.
Shareen is a Trainee Solicitor and a Justice First Fellow. Shareen currently advises in Family Law and Criminal Injuries Compensation. Shareen grew up and studied in the North East, having completed her Legal Practice Course (LPC) at Northumbria University. She has worked both in private practice and not for profit organisations.
Raissa is one of our welfare benefits advisors who works on our Families Through Crisis project. Raissa provides advice and guidance on welfare benefits, and also provides assistance with clients on how to complete benefit applications. Raissa also assists with mandatory reconsiderations and with preparing appeals.
June Holmes is an Immigration Solicitor at the Law Centre assisting across our grant funded projects in her subject area. Before joining the Law Centre in 2021, June completed her training at a well-known local law firm and has several years' experience working on immigration matters. She is passionate about helping to bring families together and challenging racist and xenophobic policies. Before re-training as a solicitor, June worked at Amnesty International and is fluent in Spanish and French
Stan is the senior employment law advisor providing advice and (occasionally) representation to our clients. In addition to this Stan runs a business consultancy (unrelated to employment law) and mediation practice. Before that was a senior (global) manager within ExxonMobil Oil CorporationCalled to the Bar in 2004, Stan has extensive experience in corporate business practice, contract, employment law, mediation, and negotiation.Stan is passionate about access to justice for all and has a pragmatic and "down to earth" approach to client issues.