Why young people need lawyers Just For Kids – PP257

JUST FOR KIDS LAW exists to help children and young people overcome all the difficulties they face, from problems at school and issues with immigration status to trouble with the police.

They work with and for young people to ensure their legal rights are respected and promoted, and their voices heard and valued.

Aika Stephenson and Shauneen Lambe established Just for Kids Law in 2006. Shauneen, a barrister and an attorney, had previously acted for death row defendants in the US, and Aika, a solicitor, had become a lawyer after working with the youth offending team and remand prisoners at Feltham Young Offenders Institution.

Shauneen and Aika recognised that the children and young people they worked for often needed more than legal representation – they also needed support and advocacy to address the issues that had led them into the youth justice system in the first place – school exclusion and a lack of support for children with special education needs, children with mental health issues, children in the care system who were not receiving support, and children with housing problems.

Since our first youth advocate was appointed in 2008, we have expanded into an organisation offering a unique holistic service that combines direct advocacy with youth opportunities support and legal representation, while we have also used strategic litigation to change the law on issues as diverse as holding of children in police cells, the law of joint enterprise and access to student finance. We have spread our impact through the advice and training delivered by our Youth Justice Legal Centre and widened the scope of our work from casework and campaigning to holding government to account on their child rights obligations through the merger with the Children’s Rights Alliance for England in 2015.

Lynsie Monroe spoke to three Just For Kids Law team members:

  • Chief Executive Officer, Enver Solomon
  • Natalie Bichard, Youth Advocate
  • Alex Temple, Public Lawyer and Policy Officer

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