We really like the work St Mungo’s does and were keen to work in partnership with them. St Mungo’s provides good standard temporary housing for some of the most vulnerable people in our community. What is even more impressive is that they strive beyond their obligation by working with businesses like us, the Probation Service, Job Centre Plus and other support agencies to bring together a comprehensive support services for their residents.
JD Spicer Zeb has for the past few months been running a free legal advice surgery on a weekly basis at their flagship ‘Willesden Centre’ on Pound Lane. Our legal surgeries are at a fixed time of the week and are well publicised to residents of St Mungo’s and those in the immediate vicinity. Our lawyers are encouraged to offer advice within their competency and to make referrals to other support agencies or Law Firms where appropriate. Residents who cannot attend all our surgeries often found it reassuring that we are there weekly as they know where to seek legal advice when issues arise.
It is a partnership which has undoubtedly not just been a benefit to residents of St Mungo’s but also to our lawyers and the Firm who have volunteered their resources.
In addition, our Pro Bono work has strengthened the goodwill we have with our clients.
We are looking to extend our legal surgeries to other providers of temporary accommodation within the North West London area. This will be in addition to our commitment to offering the ‘Know Your Rights’ seminar at local secondary schools which is up and running.
“Know Your Rights” Seminars – Church Lane Pupil Referral Unit
Seminars lead by specially selected and trained legal representatives on areas of the Law that are relevant to young people. The seminars aim to not only raise awareness of people’s rights but also to reinforce their responsibility within our community. They offer a summary of the Law in the fields of Crime; Family law and intellectual property law amongst others. All speakers are either practicing lawyers or have sound knowledge of the area of Law of the Seminar, therefore offering up to date information to young people. Sessions are in small groups of 3-7 young people and run on a 6 week cycle. This allows the speakers to adapt the seminar to areas which are of interest to young people. In addition, we use a scenario-based approach to work with young people in evaluating choices faced in situations.
We believe young people find this approach better and more conductive to their learning.
We believe that when young people are aware of not just the law in principle but also how it applies in practical situations, they will be better informed about what actions are illegal and those permitted by the Law. This helps to create a society where young people are not inadvertently criminalising themselves and do not become a burden on the community.
Below are some of the sessions we have given:
- October 2012 – Young people’s rights in respect of ‘Stop & Search’
This session explored when and where a young person can be stopped & searched. It focused on scenarios and options open to young people when stopped in relation to a search.
- December 2012 – Law on ‘Joint Enterprise’
It can be argued that joint enterprise continues to disproportionately criminalise young people. The seminar explored what joint enterprise entails and when the court may consider a person’s action as joint enterprise.
- January 2013 – Carrying Knifes and the law
Exploring why and when people can carry knife. Sessions would also look at punishment for the offence and dangers to oneself and others.
- March 2013 – Sexual Offences
This session explored the law on sexual offences – focussing on relationships under 16 and between an adult and a minor.
It also looked at what constitutes sexual assaults, particularly focusing on ‘horse play’ and looking at other behaviour that may inadvertently be in breach of the law.
- April 2013 – Session on ‘Is it a Crime’
This session explored crime in general and focused on those areas where there may be confusion.
It will be significantly scenarios based and will include issues like evading bus fare, two people consenting to having a fight, being smacked at home, Downloading music/films, picking things found on the floor.
- June 2013 – Law on ‘Treatment of detainee upon arrest’
Session will explore how young person can expect to be treated if detained at a Police Station. E.g Telephone call, appropriate adult, social services if appropriate, Food and period of detention amongst others.
- July 2013 – Family Law, Social Services and Being in Care
This will explore how when a young person can leave home, who they can leave with and what entitlement they have having considered their age.
It will also look at the role of social services and what they can expect when taken into care or foster family.
If you would like a representative of JD Spicer Zeb to run a similar session at your school or event, please contact Kiroulus Abadir by email email@example.com.
Community Youth Fund
It is evident that it is in time of austerity that people are at their most vulnerable. We believe that it is also at this time that additional support is needed. This is why JD Spicer Zeb work closely with our local community groups, Councils and other local businesses to support young people in the London Borough of Brent.
We are initiating a Youth Fund and will commit to allocating £1,000 annually (with the view to increasing this in further years) to supporting events, projects and activities that are targeted at young people.
For Further information on our Community Youth Fund, please contact Michael Situ by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supporting Access to Legal Advice/Representations
We actively encourage and support our employees and staff to consider undertaking activities that benefits our local community.
Over the past years, some of JD Spicer Zeb’s Lawyers and Legal Representatives have put themselves through the pain barrier and long trainings to participate in activities in order to raise vital funds for charities that work to make the Criminal Justice System work for disadvantaged people within the community.
To follow what our staff are doing in the community, visit our page News webpage to find the latest information regarding JD Spicer Zeb community news.