We have a team of highly qualified, supportive and friendly solicitors and legal and welfare assistants/advisers:
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.
Tristan is a solicitor practising Immigration/Asylum and Family Law. He is a member of Resolution and the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA) and a Senior Caseworker under the Law Society's Immigration and Asylum Accreditation Scheme.Before joining the Law Centre in 2016, Tristan worked for over ten years as a constituency caseworker for a Member of the European Parliament.
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.
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 is our Education Law Paralegal. She is also secretary to the City Wide Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Group in Newcastle.
April is a family solicitor working within our family law department. April is currently working on the Legal Support for Litigants in Person project. As a Justice First Fellow, April has also been working on her own project, supported by the Legal Education Foundation and the North East Law Centre. The project is as follows: Provision of legal and advocacy services to those experiencing mental health problems, who do not qualify for statutory supportThis project aims to identify people who have mental health problems that do not qualify for advocacy services but require legal assistance. Once identified, the project would aim to provide legal services to this vulnerable group, adopting a human rights-based approach.
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 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.
Nigel is one of our Receptionist/Administrators having joined the North East Law Centre in December 2019. Nigel is the first point of contact for all enquiries coming into the Law Centre and will ensure that all enquiries are dealt with as quickly as possible.
Chris is our senior solicitor, he has experience in all kinds of immigration matters, ranging from human trafficking, asylum law, detained cases and complex immigration matters. He has undertaken family life cases, EU cases and complex nationality cases.Chris has represented in appeals nationwide. Chris is experienced at both overturning Border Agency decisions and also succeeding in new applications for those who have been previously refused. He has around 20 years experience in immigration and asylum work.
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. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys time with her family in the great outdoors but also likes to relax with a good book or video game.
Shareen is a Trainee Solicitor and a Justice First Fellow. Shareen currently advises in Family Law and Criminal Injuries Compensation. Shareen grew up and studied in the North East, having completed her Legal Practice Course (LPC) at Northumbria University. She has worked both in private practice and not for profit organisations.
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 is one of our Receptionist/Administrators having joined the North East Law Centre in December 2020. Nicola has over 16 years of administerial experience, and has worked in the voluntary sector for the past 14 years. Nicola deals with enquiries into the Law Centre and you can call our reception where you will be greeted with a friendly voice.
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
Rachel is our Project Administrator, her role is to assist with the day-to-day running of our projects and is currently working on our Supporting Litigants in Person (SLIP) project and our Syrian Settlement project whist assisting with our social media, website and digital developments.
Stan is the senior employment law advisor providing advice and (occasionally) representation to our clients. In addition to this Stan runs a business consultancy (unrelated to employment law) and mediation practice. Before that was a senior (global) manager within ExxonMobil Oil CorporationCalled to the Bar in 2004, Stan has extensive experience in corporate business practice, contract, employment law, mediation, and negotiation.Stan is passionate about access to justice for all and has a pragmatic and "down to earth" approach to client issues.
Thea joined the Law Centre in December 2019. She is an OISC Level 1 accredited immigration adviser, and currently works on the Law Centre’s EU Settlement Scheme Project, as well as staffing the advice line and supporting other members of the Immigration team. She has previously worked as an advisor for young people claiming asylum and has volunteered for several migrant support organisations in and outside of the UK. She studied Arabic and Persian as an undergraduate and completed an MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies in 2019.
Marisa is an experienced Family Law Solicitor working in our Family Department, mainly providing one off legal advice to litigants in person. Marisa has many years' experience of all areas of Family Law with a particular focus on matters relating to children and domestic abuse. Before coming to the Law Centre in February 2020, Marisa's main area of focus was in cases involving Children's Services' involvement with families and safeguarding children. Marisa is passionate about supporting victims of abuse who are litigants in person.
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.