The Leeds based legal firm undertakes pro-bono (free) work in support of the Manuel Bravo Project. The project offers free legal advice to asylum seekers who wish to appeal against a negative first decision or submit a fresh claim for asylum and who cannot obtain Legal Aid.
The Project is named after a Leeds asylum seeker from Angola, who tragically took his own life on 15th September 2005. He fled to the UK after his pro-democracy activity led to attacks on his family, including the murder of his parents. At Manuel’s asylum hearing, his solicitor did not attend and he was forced to represent himself. He did not learn that his claim for asylum had been finally refused, until his removal to a deportation centre. Fearing persecution if returned to his home country, he took his own life, hoping his son would be allowed to remain safely in the UK.
- If an asylum seeker chooses to appeal, they have just four weeks to prepare for their hearing.
- Despite this, over 1 in 4 initial decisions to refuse asylum are overturned at appeal
- It is also very hard to get Legal Aid as it is only granted for appeals judged to have a 50% chance of success and demand far exceeds capacity. Many solicitors are therefore unwilling to take on asylum cases and Manuel Bravo deal with those cases below that 50% threshold.