Migrants Mental Capacity Advocacy Project

Adults with severe mental health issues receive little support navigating the immigration and social welfare system, though they may lack the mental capacity to do so. As a result, many are unable to regularise their status and face the full brunt of the hostile environment.

In October 2017, we started the Migrants Mental Capacity Advocacy (MMCA) Project to fill this gap. The MMCA Project is the first and only project of its kind in the UK, providing tailored support for complex mental health cases.

Case Study

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Rachel was trafficked to the UK in 2002 to do housework without pay. Rachel suffers from delusions and strongly believes that she is a British citizen.

James Image

James is a dependent of an EEA national who has lived in the UK for 5 years. In 2015, he made an application for permanent residency, which was refused.

How we work

We work with both appeal cases (i.e. where a litigation friend might be needed) and pre-appeal cases (i.e. where an application needs to be made and there is no litigation).

Our aim is threefold:

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Gather an evidence-base on issues faced by adults who lack mental capacity both in the immigration and social care system (i.e. accessing welfare benefits, community care support, healthcare, etc.)

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Provide short-term, practical solutions to these issues for adults who lack mental capacity currently in the system.

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Push for changes to be made to provide long term solution to the issues identified through strategic litigation and/or policy campaigning.

Each case is discussed by a panel of expert professionals, before we create a bespoke support plan. Our panel includes:

Basmah Sahib

Basmah Sahib

Title

Bijan Hoshi

Bijan Hoshi

Public Law Barrister at the Public Law Project

Eleanor Sibley

Eleanor Sibley

Court of Protection Barrister at Field Court Chambers and Legal Project Manager at the AIRE Centre

Elizabeth Cleaver

Elizabeth Cleaver

Title

Francesca Valerio

Francesca Valerio

Community Programme Director at Migrants Organise and Qualified Social Worker

Heike Langbein

Heike Langbein

Immigration and Welfare Adviser

Jennifer Blair

Jennifer Blair

Immigration and Human Rights Barrister at No5 Chambers and Modern Slavery Lead at Migrants Organise

Will Whitaker

Will Whitaker

Court of Protection and Mental Health Law Solicitor at Bindmans

We have also created a network of Litigation Friends, whom we can potentially match to act as an independent advocate or litigation friend of last resort. Please note that we are not a matching service and cannot guarantee any match with a litigation friend, even if we accept a referral.

If you have issues with cases involving mental health or mental capacity, we can offer second-tier advice for professionals. We may also be able to offer tailored training to your organisation. Please contact brian@migrantsorganise.org. We can also take a small number of cases into the project. All referrals need to come through the community programme.