As part of our commitment to assisting the next generation of social welfare lawyers, we had Dylan, a student of International and European Law at The Hague, Netherlands, complete a two week placement last month.

Here is what he had to say about the experience.

“I spent two weeks at Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) in July and August 2018. During my time at GMIAU, I shadowed and aided solicitors with their ongoing work. I had a hands-on experience and was thrown right into exciting and fascinating work.

I got to sit in with drop-ins on Tuesday morning, where each case was different. You never knew who was going to coming through the door next and what their legal issue or question was. I learnt about the Refugee Family Reunion project and the Women At Risk project run at GMIAU by Asli and Vicky, respectively, and got to sit in on a case in the Refugee Family Reunion project.

On Wednesday, I got the opportunity to work with Isabel at MVAP at Manchester Refugee Support Network (MRSN) where I aided refugees to fill-in their own forms such as travel document applications, EEA family permits, and British citizenship applications. This was a great, and slightly chaotic, experience which taught me so much and put what I had learnt at university into practice in a somewhat stressful environment.

I also aided solicitors by conducting research on country situations for cases with upcoming hearings. I also aided solicitors with legal documents for cases. It was thrilling to be trusted with the responsibility to do real legal work during my time at GMIAU, which is different from my past experiences at solicitor’s offices. Further, I had the opportunity to attend proceedings at the Manchester Immigration and Asylum Tribunal on two occasions.

As well as the legal work, I aided with GMIAU’s communication strategy and kept an eye on and updated their social media outlets and their websites between working on cases and when there were no suitable consultations with clients for me to sit in on. Denise made sure that I was never left twiddling my thumbs at GMIAU.

Apart from the working experience, I had to opportunity to meet numerous hard working and friendly professionals who welcomed me warmly and encouraged me to make the most out of my two weeks at the organisation. The working environment was the cherry on top of my excellent experience at GMIAU.

My two weeks at GMIAU were busy and flew by so quickly, I wish that I could have stayed longer. I would, without a doubt, recommend law students and anyone with an interest in social justice issues to contact GMIAU for a placement at an extremely rewarding and exciting experience.”

Written by Dylan Casey Marshall, August 2018.