B shares his experience of being supported by the JRS Legal Project to access justice and protection.
Before I was supported by the Legal Project, I couldn’t work, I was not getting any support, and I couldn’t study. I was afraid – afraid I might be deported and separated from my family. I was afraid that if I went out, I wouldn’t come back home. I was able to have a meeting with Michael Tarnoky, Senior Legal Officer at JRS and he clarified the situation for me. Before that, I wasn’t 100% sure how to continue with my case to seek asylum in the UK. My case was stuck and he helped me move it on. I had an issue with a payment for my previous lawyer. It was an amount that I couldn’t afford. Michael explained how I could apply again but that I didn’t need to pay anything.
This was all during Covid restrictions, and I think that processing my fresh claim would’ve been quicker without that, as we were only able to speak over the phone. Michael would come to my house to pick up my papers. That’s the kind of help you don’t imagine a lawyer to do, to come over to your house to collect your papers, making sure he keeps a distance because it is during the Covid pandemic.
After support from the Legal Project, I started working. I have been working for some months now as the Home Office allowed me to work. Now I can study too, I am going out more and feel more relaxed. I can support my family. Everyday I have to remind myself that my life is different now to how it was before. My life has changed thanks to the JRS Legal Project.
A supportive holistic approach
The most important thing about the Legal Project is the approach – you take someone from here [the start of their case] and get them to there [the end]. It is very personal and one-to-one. It is a much friendlier way to proceed, not judging you. It’s very personal, I could say anything and I would not be afraid to be judged.
There’s nothing I would change about the Legal Project. If I want to talk to Michael, he responds straight away. Contacting Michael is very easy. Maybe on the phone not so much now, but with email he responds very quickly.
The most important thing for me about JRS as a whole is the approach – you feel more relaxed, more accepted there. You don’t feel afraid to ask anything, you don’t feel like you’ll be rejected. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming. I don’t go to any other charities because I like the approach here – keep doing what you are doing!