Case study: a lifeline out of limbo

After suffering torture in Sri Lanka and years of detention hellish conditions on Christmas Island and Manus Island, one Tamil refugee thought his situation was hopeless. As a result, he suffered from serious mental health problems, lacking access to the appropriate specialist medical care he needed. Despite being recognised as a refugee by the UN, he was caught in limbo in Australia’s offshore processing centres. There seemed to be no end in sight.

Pro bono offered a lifeline. Skilful collaboration between MTC Solicitors, a barrister and a support worker based in Australia led to an innovative approach: his application for entry to the UK, where his sister lived, could be based on the adult dependent relative route. The visa application was initially refused, but then succeeded on appeal.

In 2019, he finally travelled to London to be reunited with his sister and brother-in-law. The creativity of his pro bono legal team had triumphed: it is believed to be the first case where this strategy had successfully been used to bring a refugee to the UK from Papua New Guinea. The solicitors are a small high street firm with limited resources who in acting pro bono changed his life forever.

Read more about the case at the Guardian.