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Note: Applications for the academic year 2018/ 2019 are now closed.

Context of the project

As a foreign-national only establishment, most if not all prisoners at HMP Huntercombe are likely to be deported from the UK. At present, there is very little opportunity for prisoners to obtain immigration and asylum advice. The Bonavero Institute, Professor Mary Bosworth, Director of the Centre for Criminology, and Oxford law firm Turpin & Miller have therefore established a collaborative legal aid clinic to provide such advice and give opportunities to students who wish to develop careers in human rights and immigration law.

It is expected that each clinic will provide legal advice to 10 prisoners in relation to immigration and asylum issues. Graduate students will assist in taking initial instructions from potential clients and gathering information before the prisoners see the solicitor. Prisoners will then have a brief interview with the solicitor who will advise them of their options and further steps. We anticipate that several of the cases will result in litigation in the High Court, which will give students an opportunity to observe and assist in litigation.

Programme Summary

Participating students will be supervised by an experienced solicitor and will receive hands-on training in immigration law and human rights and will also provide valuable legal assistance to prisoners at HMP Huntercombe. Students will be required to spend one day per month working at the clinic. 

The morning clinic will be held every fortnight at HMP Huntercombe under the supervision of solicitor Tom Giles of Turpin & Miller. At each clinic, two students will assist in interviewing potential clients at HMP Huntercombe. Each student will also spend a half-day a month at the Cowley Road offices of Turpin & Miller in Oxford to assist with case follow-up.

An introductory seminar will 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. The Bonavero Institute will also provide regular opportunities for the student group to meet to share their experiences and speak about challenges.

Participants will be provided with a certificate to confirm their participation in the programme.

Profile of participants

  • Research skills: Graduate law and criminology students or graduate students of other disciplines with a law degree; interest in immigration law and human rights.
  • Availability: Participants are expected to commit approx. 8 hours per month in MT 2018, hopefully to be extended to the academic year 2018/2019. Preference will be given to candidates who would also be available in HT and TT 2019. This includes a) initial training as well as termly review sessions; b) assisting in the legal aid clinics at HMP Huntercombe (half a day, once per month); and c) assistance with case follow-up at Turpin & Miller in Oxford (half a day, once per month).

Students will also be required to attend the introductory session which will be led by Professor Mary Bosworth and Tom Giles of Turpin & Miller. This session will be held on Tuesday, 30 October 2018, 3 to 5 pm, in the Gilly Leventis Meeting Room at the Bonavero Institute. The clinics will take place on 1, 15 and 29 November and possibly 13 December.


Please send a letter setting out why you would like to participate in this programme, together with a CV to BonaveroIHR@law.ox.ac.uk.

Applications close on Thursday, 25 October 2018, at 9 am. You will be notified by Monday, 29 October, as to whether you have been accepted.