Members of Penningtons Manches’ family team have joined a group of volunteers from a number of City law firms attending bi-monthly legal advice clinics at the charity Shelter from the Storm in London.
In an initiative run by Andrew Hochhauser, a barrister who specialises in banking and financial services disputes and also acts as a deputy High Court judge, the Penningtons Manches team provides guidance to residents at the shelter on family law issues ranging from child custody to divorce.
This is one of the first on-site legal hubs run by a shelter in the UK. Generally residents of shelters are required to visit local community law centres which may not be easily accessible. Established nearly a year ago in February 2014, the new clinic offers assistance on a wide variety of issues such as access to housing benefits, tenant rights, and the immigration status of migrants.
Family law partner Gillian Rivers leads the growing team of solicitors at Penningtons Manches who are visiting the clinic on a regular basis. Says Gillian: "This project allows us to provide practical help to Shelter from the Storm and make residents fully aware of the best path to follow to overcome obstacles they may be facing. Lack of access to legal support can be a real problem to people who are experiencing homelessness."
Shelter from the Storm was founded in Islington in 2007 and aims to house and support the homeless and dispossessed from any part of the country. After initially being run in a church hall, it now operates every night of the year, completely free to guests.
The activities of the legal clinic were recently highlighted by Bloomberg News. Click here to read the full feature article.