Training Series on Immigration and Complex Mental Health Cases

Start: 2021-12-09 14:00:00 UTC Greenwich Mean Time : Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London (GMT+00:00)

This is a virtual event

Training Series on Immigration & Complex Mental Health Cases

Migrants Mental Capacity Advocacy (MMCA) Project, Migrants Organise

The MMCA project is pleased to announce our training series on Immigration and Complex Mental Health. This training series will go more in-depth into the issue of mental health in the immigration system and connected welfare systems. We will cover various topics to better equip practitioners in the field on the skills and knowledge needed to assist asylum seekers and migrants with mental health needs holistically.

When and Where: The seminars will be done entirely online via Zoom, between October and December 2021.

Who is this for: The training series is aimed primarily at front-line practitioners who provide direct advice and/or casework support, on immigration but also other connected welfare issues. However, anyone who is interested on this issue is welcome to attend.

How to sign up for the training series: Please see below the agenda for 5 seminars that we are organising between October – December 2021. On the day prior to each session for which you have registered, you will receive a link via email. Links will also be available in the discussion board of this event page—if you register less than 24 hours before a session or do not receive an email with joining instructions, please refer to the discussion board (visible after registration) for the Zoom link.

Access: Closed captioning via Zoom will be available, however unfortunately this seminar will only be available in English. Please note the trainings will not be recorded.


28 October, 2-4pm | Immigration Law and Mental Health Disability

Trainers: Jennifer Blair, No5 Chambers & Miranda Butler, Garden Court Chambers

This seminar will cover mental health issues and disability for an application for a leave to remain in the UK, whether as a protection claim or an application on the basis of the ECHR, including medical claim under article 3/8 ECHR. We will focus on immigration law and relevant policies and case law, as well as trauma informed practice for immigration advisers and practitioners when working with individuals with mental health issues.

Trainer Profiles: Jennifer Blair is an immigration and human rights barrister at No5 Chambers. Her practice focuses on mental health disabilities and has a strong emphasis on providing community outreach and direct legal support. She is the Modern Slavery Lead at Migrants Organise and co-founded the Migrants Mental Capacity Advocacy (MMCA) project, of which she now remains an advisory panel. She also provides advice at Haringey Migrant Support Centre and is currently the Senior Protection Legal Adviser at the Helen Bamber Foundation. This year, she co-authored a report published by the Helen Bamber Foundation entitled: “Bridging a Protection Gap: Disability and the Refugee Convention”, which provides a thorough legal analysis of disability, including mental health disability, as a grounds of protection.

Miranda Butler is a barrister at Garden Court Chambers. She has substantial experience across the spectrum of immigration, community care and public law. Her expertise includes claims relating to unlawful detention, prisoners' rights, trafficking and asylum support. She teaches medical law at LSE University including mental capacity and mental health law. She recently published a practitioner's handbook on health claims in immigration cases with Rebecca Chapman.

9 November, 2-3pm | Understanding Mental Health Problems in Asylum Seekers and Other Migrants

Trainer: Prof Cornelius Katona, HBF

This seminar will provide an overview of some common mental health conditions which can affect asylum seekers and other migrants who have suffered human rights abuses. These include trauma-related conditions but also schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and learning difficulties. We will discuss some common presentations, treatment plans and prognosis which will help practitioners identify difficulties with their clients and provide appropriate reasonable adjustments. We will also cover mental health systems and pathways within the NHS.

Trainer Profile: Prof Cornelius Katona is a psychiatrist. He is Medical and Research Director of the Helen Bamber Foundation, a London-based charity working with refugees and asylum seekers who have suffered extreme human cruelty such as torture or human trafficking. He oversees the Foundation's research and writes expert psychiatric reports in the context of clients’ asylum claims. He is the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ lead on Refugee and Asylum Mental Health. He is an honorary professor in the Division of Psychiatry at UCL, where he was worked as a clinical professor for many years. He was a member of the Committee that recently updated NICE guidelines on PTSD. He has published over 300 papers and written/edited 16 books. In 2019 he was awarded the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Honorary Fellowship, the College's highest honour

23 November, 2-4pm | Capacity to Provide Immigration Instructions

Trainer: Brian Dikoff, Migrants Organise

In this seminar, we will focus on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and making a mental capacity assessment connected to immigration decisions. Immigration decisions can be wide ranging, and mental capacity assessment can often prove tricky with fluctuating capacity. This seminar therefore will provide in depth discussion on carrying out a mental capacity assessment when it relates to immigration decisions. We will also briefly cover the role of the Court of Protection and litigation friend.

Trainer Profile: Brian Dikoff is the legal organiser at Migrants Organise, a charity based in London. He runs and coordinates the Migrants Mental Capacity Advocacy (MMCA) project, a small strategic project which looks into the issue of mental capacity and mental health in the immigration system. The project provides direct and ongoing advice and assistance to vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers with complex mental health needs, while at the same time gathers expertise and pushes for systemic changes through community organising, campaigns / policy work and strategic challenges. It is currently the only project of its kind in the country. Brian is a OISC level 3 adviser for asylum and also provides advice on mental capacity, housing, community care and other related welfare issues.

30 November 2021, 2-4pm | Preparing of Judicial Review Challenges and Evidence Building

Trainer: Katy Robinson, Wilsons Solicitor

This seminar will cover judicial review challenges on the basis of mental health grounds, particularly in the context of the Care Act 2014 and issues with asylum support accommodation. We will go through a basic overview of judicial review, and the grounds on which it can be brought, in a community care context, with a particular focus on mental health. The seminar will focus on what front-line organisations, who are typically the main point of contact with clients, can do in terms of providing evidence to support a Care Act referral and setting up a potential onwards judicial review challenge.

Trainer Profile: Katy is a partner in the Public Law department at Wilson Solicitors LLP and leads the firm’s community care work. She has experience on a wide range of cases and has a keen interest in public law challenges with an immigration aspect. Katy specialises in community care matters for clients with ongoing immigration cases and those without recourse to public funds, including migrant families, adults with care needs, age-disputed children and care leavers. She has a particular interest in working with very vulnerable clients including those with serious mental health problems. Katy brought the first reported Judicial Review challenge under the Care Act 2014 in R (SG) v LB Haringey [2015] EWHC 2579 (Admin) and the subsequent appeal to the Court of Appeal. Katy is noted in the Civil Liberties and Human Rights category of the Legal 500 2021 as a ‘key name for migrant rights issues’. She was shortlisted Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year in 2017 in the Public Law category and was praised for her professionalism and compassion and for combining ‘intellectual rigour, tactical savvy and enormous diligence, with a real commitment to and kindness towards her clients’.

9 December, 2-3:30 PM | Mental Health Law and Immigration

Trainer: Elizabeth Cleaver, Bindmans LLP

This seminar will provide an introduction to the Mental Health Act 1983, particularly detention powers under section 2 and section 3 of the act. We will also pay particular attention to section 117 aftercare support particularly when it comes to asylum seekers and migrants with no recourse to public funds.

Trainer Profile: Elizabeth Cleaver is a solicitor within the public law teams at Bindmans LLP. Her areas of practice include mental health, Court of Protection and Inquest. She was listed as a rising star in Legal 500 in 2020. She has a higher rights of audience and regularly conducts her own advocacy before tribunals and the Court of Protection. Elizabeth has in-depth experience of representing those detained under the Mental Health Act at all levels of security, and she has a particular interest in forensic cases.

About Migrants Organise & the MMCA Project

Migrants Organise is a registered charity based in London. Over the past 4 years we have run the Migrants Mental Capacity Advocacy (MMCA) project, which is a specialist strategic project looking into mental health and mental capacity in the immigration and wider social welfare system.

Under the project, we provide ongoing and direct support for vulnerable migrants with complex mental health issues, while at the same time developing a knowledge base on this issue and pushing for strategic changes to be made.

We are thankful for the support of Sir Halley Stewart Trust to make this possible.

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