“It’s been a blessing to have such a skilled expert on my side.” 

*Harrold faced an uncertain and distressing future when he came to see Paul Keeley. Harrold had recently lost an appeal against deportation following a conviction for possession with intent to supply class B drugs, for which he was sentenced to 39 months in prison. 

Upon taking on Harrold’s case, Paul quickly identified that Harrold had been a victim of child trafficking. Harrold was exploited for domestic servitude by his father and stepmother and kept from school before being taken into care by the local authority. This traumatic background contributed significantly to his mental vulnerability. 

Paul’s dedication to Harrold’s case was evident from the outset. After successfully appealing to the Upper Tribunal and securing a re-hearing, Paul meticulously gathered extensive paperwork and took lengthy instructions from Harrold. His efforts highlighted that social services had not only failed to recognise Harrold as a victim of trafficking but had also disbelieved him and colluded with the Home Office to remove him from the UK. 

Both the Home Office and the Tribunal acknowledged that Harrold suffered from depression due to his childhood traumas and the local authority’s disbelief. The Tribunal allowed Harrold’s appeal under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), acknowledging the multiple failures by the Home Office and the local authority to provide Harrold with the necessary security and care during his childhood. Additionally, the Tribunal allowed the appeal under Article 4 ECHR, recognising the continuing impact of Harrold’s traumatic experiences in Nigeria and the UK, which led to his major depressive disorder. 

The Tribunal also upheld Harrold’s appeal under Article 3 ECHR, acknowledging the risk of inhuman and degrading treatment if he were deported, given his high vulnerability and risk of suicide upon returning to his country of origin. 

Harrold shared his experience in his own words: 

“I was in a state of… I had just given up. I had no one to turn to. Before I met Paul, I was really struggling. My personal life was a mess, I was out of money, and on top of that, I was facing deportation. I felt like I had hit rock bottom. 

Then I got connected with Paul Keeley. Right from the start, he really took the time to get to know my case. Within just a few weeks, he started making huge changes for me. 

The challenges I faced were not just legal; they were deeply personal. Having been a victim of modern slavery as a child, I carried significant trauma. Paul’s support went beyond the courtroom—he was there for me during my darkest hours, providing not just legal representation but emotional support and advocacy. His efforts extended to every aspect of my life, from securing my legal status to ensuring I had housing and access to healthcare. 

He was always there, keeping me informed and involved, showing a level of care and commitment that was deeply reassuring. Today, I am not only in a stable situation but also optimistic about my future—something I couldn’t have imagined before Paul took on my case. 

Before Paul, I worked with several private solicitors until my funds ran out. Based on what he’s achieved for me, I seriously doubt anyone else could have done a better job. It’s not about private or legal aid solicitors, but about the dedication of the solicitor. He has consistently gone above and beyond… Just the other day, I told him how grateful I am to have him as my solicitor. It’s been a blessing to have such a skilled expert on my side.” 

Harrold’s story exemplifies the profound impact that legal aid casework and representation can have on an individual’s life. Paul’s relentless efforts not only secured Harrold’s legal status but also provided the necessary support for his overall well-being. Harrold’s case also demonstrates how the professional field of Immigration Law requires compassionate and committed advocacy, particularly for those who have endured significant trauma and vulnerability. 

*Name has been changed 

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While the government’s ‘hostile environment’ makes life unbearable for vulnerable migrants to the UK, more and more people are being impacted by these harsh policies. Meanwhile, funding and legal aid remain scarce. 

If you would like to help our organisation continue to provide vital support to clients like Harrold, please consider donating or volunteering with us.