The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has launched a free legal clinic in collaboration with Latham & Watkins and other leading law firms in response to consistently low numbers of applications for the UK government’s Windrush Compensation Scheme. Participating firms will provide free legal services to help individuals navigate the complex application process.
The Windrush scandal broke in 2018, after it emerged that many members of the what’s known as the “Windrush generation” — individuals who had been invited to the United Kingdom from Caribbean countries between 1948 and 1971, and had lived and worked in the UK for decades — were told that they were illegally living in the UK. Along with their children and grandchildren, many were wrongly detained, deported, and denied legal rights.
Under the Windrush Compensation Scheme, set up in 2019, people affected by the Windrush scandal can apply for financial restitution. Many people lost homes and jobs, and were denied access to healthcare and benefits. In December 2020, the UK government overhauled the scheme, raising the minimum amount of compensation for victims to £10,000. However, fewer than 2,000 claims have been made under the scheme to date, even though the government estimates that more than 12,000 individuals are eligible. The government recently extended the duration of the scheme by two years.
“While Latham has a long-standing commitment to providing pro bono services to the Afro-Caribbean community in the UK, this project is especially poignant given that a number of our lawyers that will be providing free legal advice to eligible candidates are of Caribbean descent and, in some cases, children of the Windrush generation,” said David Ziyambi, the London partner leading the Latham team participating in the clinic. “Working alongside other member firms, we are proud to support JCWI in launching this effort and hope to encourage more applicants to seek compensation by helping to alleviate concerns around the legal complexities of the process.”