European law firm Fieldfisher has been supporting the UK's leading homelessness charity St Mungo's since 2019. Most recently, the Fieldfisher legal and corporate responsibility teams collaborated with Baker McKenzie on pro bono support to help St Mungo’s identify areas of the law that homelessness specialists found unclear and difficult to navigate.
Together, the firms designed, wrote, and built an online legal toolkit to enable St Mungo's staff to gain a better understanding of laws that relate to its work and clients.
The toolkit relates to three areas: accessing accommodation, health & social care and tenancy. It is not exhaustive, nor a supplement for independent legal advice, but instead serves as a solid and accessible starting point to support staff in their roles and to help clients realise their rights.
Fieldfisher's head of Just Purpose (corporate responsibility), Millie Hawes said: “Global crises of recent years have disproportionately affected people who are homeless. We have often felt powerless over how to help, but working with St Mungo’s has allowed us to donate our skills and time, as well as our money. We know how complex legislation can be and, equally, how complex the challenges facing people who are homeless can be. So, we wanted to create a one-stop-shop to make the law, and justice, more accessible.”
Aaron Grant, employment associate at Baker McKenzie said: "We are delighted to have participated in this project and provided support to the UK’s leading homelessness charity at a time when more and more individuals are facing nights on the streets. The work has highlighted the importance of individuals being able to understand and enforce their rights, something which is only possible through accessible and comprehensive resources. We now look forward to providing training and legal education as the next stage of this initiative, delivering the information from the handbook to those who need it most.”
Jay Hunt, head of partnerships at St Mungo’s said: “We are grateful to Fieldfisher and Baker McKenzie for sharing their expertise with us and for all their hard work in making this legal toolkit a reality. We have already received positive feedback from our service colleagues who are finding the toolkit a useful and timesaving resource. This new toolkit will really improve our working and understanding of certain laws around accessing accommodation, health and social care and tenancy, which will support our vital work to make every night someone’s last on the streets.”
Following the development of the toolkit, Fieldfisher will continue to support St Mungo's on this project, by providing legal education and training to the charity on a pro bono basis going forward.
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