News

In April 2021 JCWI, in partnership with eight leading law firms (Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Charles Russell Speechlys, Debevoise & Plimpton, Dechert, Latham & Watkins, Linklaters, Taylor Wessing and White & Case) set up the Windrush Legal Initiative to provide advice and support for people to apply to the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

In January 2022 the Windrush Legal Initiative transferred from JCWI to GMIAU. Under GMIAU’s guidance, the Initiative will continue its work to support Windrush survivors.

The Windrush Legal Initiative works on a pro bono basis. This means our advice and assistance is free of charge.

What is the Windrush scandal?

In 2018, news of the Windrush scandal broke. Commonwealth citizens who had been in the UK for decades were facing major problems as they were unable to prove their right to be in the UK. Despite their lawful residence and as a result of the government’s increasing insistence on immigration checks in every aspect of life – known as the Hostile Environment – people were denied access to key services. Many lost their jobs, housing, access to benefits and people were even wrongly detained and deported. Lives were ruined. Many, like Rupert Everett who GMIAU supported, passed away before being able to see justice.

Windrush Compensation Scheme

Those impacted and their close family members can apply for compensation to recover their actual losses such as loss of earnings and benefits and to seek redress for the impact it had on their lives.

Unfortunately, the application for compensation is complex and people often need legal assistance to complete it. The Compensation Scheme has only paid out a fraction of the money the government anticipated, partly due to inaccessibility and partly due to delays in decision-making.

We’re determined that as many people as possible must be supported to access compensation.

You could be eligible for compensation if:

· you came to the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973

· or your parents or grandparents came to the UK from a Commonwealth country before 1973

· or you came to the UK from any country before 31 December 1988 and are now settled here;

You can also apply if you are:

· the close family member of someone eligible to claim and you have had significant losses yourself;

· or representing the estate of someone who would have been eligible.

How to access our free advice

If you or anyone you know has been impacted, or if you have any enquiries about the Initiative please contact Nicola Burgess nicola@gmiau.org.