In support of our commitments to SDG 16 – Peace Justice and Strong institutions, our Madrid office recently signed a collaboration Agreement with Comillas Pontifical University (“ICADE”) through its Legal Clinic programme.
ICADE Legal Clinic is a pro bono programme where students from ICADE voluntarily participate in different projects with non-governmental organisations (“NGOs”).
The ICADE Legal Clinic’s programme is divided into three different types of projects: (i) documentary (ii) direct care and (iii) street-law.
A number of NGOs contact ICADE Legal Clinic explaining the needs they have within their organisation. The Legal Clinic then creates different student groups to focus on the NGO request, namely the project. A law firm is appointed to supervise, monitor and tutor the students as they participate in the legal advice work for that project.
This academic year 2020/2021, our Madrid team entered into a direct care project with CLECE and La Asociación Corazón y Manos (the Heart and Hands Association – “the Association”) and has been involved in over 25 cases. Students are involved in complex immigration cases such as family reunification or regularisation of residence in Spain, administrative sanctions, evictions, gender violence and issues related to family law.
At least once a month, our lawyers meet with students to review the current status of their cases along with taking part in weekly follow-up calls, if needed. After this review process, students act on the advice received and spend time studying the cases; students are also sometimes in contact with the clients to provide direct support.
One of the students involved in this project told us: "the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge acquired at university to help others and to be able to learn from real cases is unique. The support of the Kennedys tutors is essential, to be confident in answering queries accurately, and helps us to not feel lost. I would recommend to anyone who can participate in such a project.”
Successful Case Study
Resident from Morocco achieves his family reunification in Spain
One year ago, two brothers originally from Morocco, were forced to abandon their apartment in Barcelona. However, they couldn’t find a new property to rent as neither of them had a labour contract to submit to the owners of any property. As a consequence, the brothers had to move to a squat apartment which was essentially, uninhabitable.
The personal situation of one of the brothers was very complicated; he was working but his 20 year old brother was unemployed as was his father, aged 65. His mother couldn’t work because she was sick. Both parents were living in Morocco, as well as his wife and his son.
The squat property he and his brother had moved into did not have any basic supplies such as water or electricity. To supplement the money earned, he collected scrap metal to sell on. With this background, he wanted to bring his family to Spain through the family reunification administrative process. This process is long and the requirements sometimes are not easy to achieve. So it is a challenge to regroup members of a whole family from other countries.
Some of the main requirements to apply for regrouping include:
- Sufficient economic resources to maintain a family
- A certified report of habitability issued by the City Council
- Legal residency
With regard to requirement (a) the brother who was working had four family members that were in Morocco i.e. wife, child and parents. To achieve this requirement, the Association found him a better job.
The most difficult requirement to achieve for this case was (b) to obtain a report of habitability. To do so, we had to find a house for the family before we were able to make the application for the report. This administrative proceeding is long, slow and complex. The law student, with our help, supported the brother and his family throughout the whole process, offering advice, guidance and support. After a very lengthy process, a report of habitability was granted. The whole family will be living in Spain together by the end of this year.