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About Us
"Our model of legal support makes us stand out from the rest - we care about our clients’ situations and will help them as much as we can, through our free or affordable services."
Our Services
"One of the greatest challenges to accessing specialist legal advice is that people don’t always recognise that their problem has a legal resolution. Providing people with specialist legal advice quickly so that we can support them to resolve their problem remains a priority for us."


North East Law Centre has a team of employees who assist with the delivery of our services. Our team is made up of dedicated Solicitors, Case Workers, Legal Advisors, and Project and Administrative staff.

Clare Hurst

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.

Link to Clare Hurst's linkedin

Michael Fawole

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.

Link to Michael Fawole's linkedin

Julie Maxwell

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 Jubb

Helen is our Education Law Paralegal. She is also secretary to the City Wide Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Group in Newcastle.

Misbah Mohammed

Misbah is our Trainee Solicitor under the Justice First Fellowship, specialising in Immigration and Asylum work. Misbah joined the NELC in 2018, working under the Red Cross project on family reunion applications. Misbah previously worked for both private and legal aid firms and covered a range of Immigration, Asylum and Humanitarian cases. Her work so far has consisted of leave to remain and asylum applications, trafficking cases, domestic violence, spouse visas, EUSS, Article 8 matters and points based system applications.

Vicci O'Neil

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.

Chris Boyle

Chris has worked as a lawyer since 2002, and qualified as a solicitor in 2007. He joined the Law Centre as Supervising Solicitor in 2020. He has significant experience of both casework and court advocacy, as well as a good working knowledge of complaints and ombudsman procedures.

Rachel Goulding

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.

Raissa Kometa

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.

Nicola Bryden

Nicola is our Senior Business Support Administrator having joined the North East Law Centre in December 2020. Nicola has over 20 years of administerial experience.

June Holmes

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

Cath Mitchell

Cath joined NELC in January 2020 after a short career break. After nearly 40 years as a senior manager in a variety of roles in the Civil Service Cath gained significant experience, knowledge and skills in operational, change and project management disciplines, personnel management, financial management and customer service.

Kate Wisbach

Kate is a Trainee Solicitor through the Social Welfare Solicitor’s Qualification Scheme, and a qualified OISC Level 3 Asylum & Protection and IAAS Senior Caseworker. Working mainly on legal aid cases, Kate specialises in working with survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking, unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and adult asylum seekers.

Stan Heslop

Stan is our senior employment law advisor providing practical and “down to earth” advice and (occasionally) representation to clients. Separately he runs a business consultancy and mediation practice and is a unregistered Barrister. Previously Stan was a senior (global) manager within ExxonMobil Oil Corporation and has extensive experience in corporate business practice, contract, employment law and negotiation.

Inaam Ul-Haq

Inaam is our Trainee Solicitor under the Justice First Fellowship working in Employment and Family Law. He joined as a social welfare paralegal in 2022 and has worked in both private practice and not for profit. He is part of a team who runs the advice lines for Employment and Family Law and assists the senior solicitors and advisors in their work. In his spare time Inaam enjoys photography and hiking.

Eszter Papp

Immigration Adviser

Charlie Smythe

Charlie is a solicitor with over 15 years of experience in asylum and immigration law. She is qualified under the Law Society’s Immigration & Asylum Accreditation Scheme as a Senior Caseworker and Supervisor. Charlie specialises in asylum and human rights law and have significant experience acting for very vulnerable clients, including those in detention, those suffering from psychological issues and victims of torture and trafficking. She is an experienced advocate, who has regularly appeared before the Tribunal of the Immigration Asylum Chamber. She has extensive experience in a wide range of complex Judicial Review claimant challenges.

Emily O'Dowd

Emily is one of our Business Support Administrators. She joined the North East Law Centre in September 2023.

Rachel McPeake

Rachel has been involved with NELC since 2020, initially working as a Business Support Administrator, then Project Coordinator. Rachel returned to NELC in 2023 as our Business Support Manager. She has extensive experience in the VCSE sector, and helps manage NELC’s operations, funding and development.

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