Collaborative legal aid clinic: immigration law for foreign national women prisoners in UK prisons

Applications for the Academic Year 2023 - 2024 are now closed.  

The Bonavero Institute seeks to enrich the human rights experience of Oxford students, and to assist them to develop careers in the broad field of human rights. Its “Gateways to Human Rights Research and Practice” initiative aims to deepen student engagement with the institute’s research projects and to provide insights into human rights practice. Several programmes form part of this initiative: Non-credit Courses on Human Rights Strategy, Research Training Programmes, various opportunities for Human Rights Mooting, the Collaborative Legal Aid Clinic at HMP Huntercombe and our Summer Fellowship Programme.

Programme summary 

We are looking for six students to participate in a legal aid clinic to assist solicitors with providing immigration advice to foreign national women in prison during the academic year 2023/ 2024. Students will be required to spend one day per month working at the clinic. Participating students will be supervised by an experienced solicitor and will receive hands-on experience with immigration law and human rights. 

Clinics will be held at the Turpin & Miller premises under the supervision of solicitor Tom Giles of Turpin & Miller. At each clinic, students will assist in interviewing potential and existing clients via videolink or telephone and assist Turpin & Miller with case follow-up. 

An introductory seminar will be held to give an overview of basic principles of immigration and asylum law, and provide training on interview techniques and the ethics of legal advice work in a prison. There will be regular opportunities for the student group to share their experiences and speak about challenges. Participants will be provided with a certificate to confirm their participation in the programme. 

Context of the project 

A large number of women in prison are currently facing deportation but are without any legal representation. This is due to drastic cuts in legal aid which mean that the costs of initial consultations with prisoners are not always covered by legal aid and are therefore undertaken at risk. This project guarantees an initial consultation for women facing deportation and enables Turpin Miller to secure legal aid for them, where possible, addressing an urgent human rights need.  

The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights, the Centre for Criminology, and Oxford law firm Turpin & Miller are organising a collaborative legal aid clinic to address this problem. The project will give Oxford University students who wish to develop careers in human rights and immigration law the opportunity to gain expertise carrying out country research, preparing tribunal bundles, taking statements, and liaising with prisons and relevant third parties.  

Profile of participants 

  • Research skills: Graduate law and criminology students or graduate students of other disciplines with an undergraduate law degree; interest in immigration law and human rights. 

  • Availability: Participants are expected to commit approx. 12 hours per month over the course of the academic year. This includes: 

a) initial training as well as termly review sessions;  

b) assisting in the legal aid clinics (virtual) (half a day, once per month);  

c) assisting Turpin & Miller with case follow-up (half a day, once per month);  

d) a blog post or academic paper on an issue which arises from the clinic.  

Students will also be required to attend an introductory session which will be led by Prof. Mary Bosworth, Prof. Freya Baetens and Tom Giles, this will be held in-person at the Bonavero Institute on Wednesday 8th November 10.45am - 12.45pm. 


Please send a letter setting out why you would like to participate in this programme, together with a CV, to

If you are also applying for the women’s prisons legal aid clinic, please indicate your preference which we will endeavour to take into account.  

Closing date for Applications: Noon Monday 30th October 2023.

You will be notified as to whether your application has been successful on Thursday 2nd November 2023. 


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