LONDON SOUTH BANK UNIVERSITY in partnership with Philcox Gray, Wainwright & Cummins, Anthony Gold and Hanne & Co

Drastic cuts to legal aid mean there is an ever increasing demand for free high quality social welfare law advice. So the innovative London South Bank University Legal Advice Clinic (LAC) is a vital new resource for the residents of one of London’s most deprived boroughs. What is innovative about the project is that it’s a drop-in face-to-face service. That’s great for clients who can get the advice they need immediately, and it’s great for students who are plunged straight into the advice process – always under the close supervision of university-employed solicitors or shadowing local solicitors at specialist evening advice sessions. Philcox Gray, the first firm to offer our services at the specialist evening sessions, are proud that our support for the project has been fundamental to its success.

The LAC operates out of dedicated premises on campus and is open during the University term-time. The current term runs 23rd September – 10th December 2014, and the daytime drop in opening times are:

  •  Tuesdays 10am – 12 noon
  •  Wednesdays 10am – 12 noon and 3pm – 5pm
  •  Access to the evening sessions is via initial assessment at the daytime drop-in sessions

Sessions can get busy and the LAC cannot guarantee to see everybody, so you should arrive early to avoid disappointment.

The LAC’s free drop in service provides basic information on any legal topic and generalist advice on social welfare law matters (except immigration). Clients are signposted and referred to local advice agencies and legal services. In appropriate cases clients are referred for specialist legal advice on family, housing and employment matters at specialist evening sessions. These specialist sessions are staffed by local solicitors who are shadowed by law student volunteers.

The Clinic has had impressive results for clients (over 1200 since it opened in September 2011) and is an inspirational learning experience. One law student described her involvement with enthusiasm:

“No other legal experience I have done has given me this level of responsibility and client contact. Working at the clinic has really boosted my confidence.”

Alan Russell Senior Lecturer, Solicitor and Director of the Legal Advice Clinic asks if such projects can plug the gap left by the attack on access to justice in his article at

The answer? Well – such services can help, and Philcox Gray, along with other local solicitors, are committed to the project’s future.

Clients can contact the LAC at:

London South Bank University

Legal Advice Clinic

Caxton House, 13-16 Borough Road

Southwark SE1 0AA

T : 020 7815 5450


(Please note the LAC does not give advice by phone or email)

Survey on violence against women

A new report commissioned by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) reveals the extent of abuse suffered by women at home, work, in public and online. As well as demonstrating the wide prevalence of violence against adult women, the report also details incidents of physical and sexual violence experienced by women in childhood. The FRA says that the survey shows that policy makers need to recognise the extent of violence against women, and ensure that responses meet the needs and rights of all victims of violence against women.

Over 42,000 women across the European Union, aged between 18-74, were interviewed for the survey. Women were asked about their experiences of physical, sexual and psychological violence, including domestic violence. Questions were also asked about incidents of stalking, sexual harassment, and the role played by new technologies in women’s experiences of abuse.

Some of the key findings show that:

  • 33% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15;
  • 22% have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by a partner;
  • 43% have experienced some form of psychological violence by either a current or a previous partner, such as public humiliation, forbidding a woman to leave the house or locking her up, forcing her to watch pornography, and threats of violence.

The survey on which the report is based makes clear that a wide variety of groups need to take action to combat violence against women, including employers, health professionals and internet service providers. It highlights that the police and other relevant services should be trained to recognise and understand the impact of psychological abuse on victims to ensure all forms of violence against women (and girls) in varied settings are recognised, recorded and acted on.

Should you be experiencing domestic abuse of any kind, please contact us to see if we can assist you, including taking measures to afford you protection from the family courts.

Mother wins appeal In Family Court

Beverley King, Partner and Joint Head of the Family Department at Philcox Gray, recently represented a “first time” mother of a young baby on a successful appeal against a Care Order and Placement Order for adoption. The Local Authority had prospective adopters waiting in the wings but the mother’s successful appeal stopped the Adoption plan. The mother’s “goodbye” contact with her baby had taken place three months before the appeal decision.

Despite the mother making great progress during the care proceedings, including attending intensive therapy, the Court  made a Care Order and a Placement Order when the baby was just four months of age. The successful appeal against these Orders led to  the Court setting them aside and reinstating contact for mother and baby immediately. The proceedings are continuing.

It was a very interesting case which demonstrated how the quest to comply with the PLO 26 week time-scale can work against the child’s interests and the interests of the parents.  The  appeal  considered all of the recent developments in case law, including the landmark decisions of Re: B and Re: BS which have  brought a much needed requirement for close scrutiny of Care Plans for adoption of children. The Court is now duty bound to evaluate all of the options, ie, family placement or adoption, in terms of positives and negatives for the child.

If you need help or advice with any family matter, please contact us to see if we can assist you.

“Mind the Gap”

The BBC in its new short series presented by Evan Davies, last night highlighted the difference between London and the rest of the country in terms of economic growth.  In a short piece within the programme, they highlighted the Elephant and Castle’s Heygate re- development and the effect that this will have on the availability of social housing in the local area of Southwark – with very few of the new properties being available to rent on social lets.

It was interesting to see former residents of the Heygate to go back and comment on the effect that moving from the area has had on them, and also to see a councillor from Southwark answer some tricky questions about the future of social housing in the Borough.

Heygate’s days are numbered

The Heygate Estate in Elephant and Castle has been for many years a symbol of 1970s housing.  Southwark council admits that the “Heygate estate is a huge 1970s concrete fortress which was once home to more than 3,000 people” and that it had “become an example of a poorly designed municipal estate with heating that failed each winter.”

Times are changing in Southwark.  Heygate Estate is now in the final stages of demolition so that they may build new homes which will be “modern, warm, dry and safe.”

While we are pleased to see new homes being built, we sincerely hope that the council is able to deliver homes which are “warm, dry and safe” throughout the borough.

If you are affected by council housing or housing association housing which is defective, then contact us to see if we are able to assist you to resolve your housing problems.heygate

An eviction gone wrong

On 16 January 2014 at Blackfriars Crown Court, a man was convicted of two counts of wounding with intent, after an eviction by a Court bailiff went horribly wrong.  A lawful Possession Order and Warrant for Eviction had been obtained by the Landlord.  However it was found that little was known about the man who was being evicted by the housing association.  The bailiffs went ill prepared and the tenant is reported to have shot at the bailiff and the housing officer.

This is an extreme response and the situation need not be so bad.  If your Landlord has applied for a warrant to evict you then there may still be a possibility that a Court can be asked to stop or delay the eviction.  If you have received a Warrant for Eviction from the Court,  or you need help and advice in relation to any problems with your tenancy, do not hesitate to contact us to see if we can assist you.

120 years of Philcox Gray

As 2013 draws to a close the staff and partners at Philcox Gray look forward to the New Year to come.  Established in 1894, 2014 will see the 120th year of Philcox Gray.  With a birthday celebration comes a new look for the firm – the launch of a new website and new branding which we hope will see us well into the future.

We remain steadfast in our core values; providing quality advice and legal assistance to vulnerable people, and committed to our work for clients whether eligible or not for legal aid.

Christmas office hours

Our office will be closing for Christmas on 24 December at 1pm and will re-open on 2 January 2014 at 9.00am. We take this opportunity to wish our clients and our colleagues a peaceful Christmas and a happy new year.

Homelessness at Christmas

Many might have seen the high profile campaign by housing charity Shelter, which this year has focused on the high level of homelessness among children and families. The statistic quoted by Shelter is nearly 85,000 children in Britain face homelessness this Christmas morning, and of those children, many will be in temporary accommodation on or in emergency bed and breakfast accommodation.

Hidden behind the statistics are issues of which to be aware.  It is unlawful a local authority to house homelessness families in certain bed and breakfast hostels for longer than 6 weeks, and accommodation of a family in a bed and breakfast accommodation should only be as a last resort..  The City of Westminster was recently highlighted for their flagrant breach of these rules and the Ombudsman ordered them to pay compensation of £500 to each family who complained.

If you and your family have applied as homeless and have been housed emergency accommodation then we may be able to assist you to obtain suitable accommodation and to consider a complaint to the Ombudsman.  Call Philcox Gray and we will see if we are able to assist you.