Sean Canning – manager
Sean started his career working in the social housing movement where he began work as a housing worker before becoming Director of An Teach Irish Housing Association, an organisation which specialises in working with young, single homeless people in Haringey.
Sean has worked in the Law Centre movement for the last ten years as Director of the North Kensington Law Centre and now Hackney and Camden Law Centre’s. He has extensive experience of fundraising, managing legal aid contracts and developing volunteer programmes.
Sean was instrumental in setting up the Advice Now project in Kensington and Chelsea – a collaborative £500,000 project funded by the Big Lottery Fund to offer a wider range of all types of advice services.
Sean has been Treasurer of the Law Centres Network for three years (2007-2010) and has served as a member of the Law Centres Network Executive Committe for several years.
He is a school governor.
Nathaniel Mathews – housing solicitor
Nathaniel Mathews is the senior solicitor at HCLC. He was born in the UK but spent much of his childhood abroad in Mexico, Italy and Kuwait. He has worked at HCLC since qualifying as a solicitor in 1994. He heads the Social Welfare Team.
In 2006, Nathaniel was awarded the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award in the ‘Social Welfare‘ category.
In his spare time, in a personal capacity, he writes a blog called ‘Frontline Hackney – a day in the life of the Law‘.
Diane Morrison – employment solicitor
Diane Morrison joined the Law Centre as a typist in May 2005 (initially on a part time basis). She then qualified as a Generalist Adviser with the CAB (Holborn) on a part-time basis and became the Law Centre’s main adviser alongside the specialist caseworkers. She still volunteers with the CAB. From 2009 onwards she started the Law Centre’s volunteer programme which was then upgraded with input from Ms. Wendy Pettifer.
Diane’s main experience has been in the social welfare law team – alongside supporting the volunteers with front level advice work and represents the Centre at the London Borough of Hackney’s Public Service Promise meetings.
Outside of the Law Centre she is also a keen distance runner (she successfully completed her fourth marathon in London in April 2012).
She also believes the world’s problems could be solved if more people learned knitting and embroidery. She is a member of the Womens’ Institute (Alexander Palace) and has joined the London Comedy Writers circuit as an outlet for writing sketch comedy. She was also the secretary of the St Ignatius Soup Run for 11 years and is a member of a choir.
In October 2014, Diane won the Law Society Excellence Award 2014 in the ‘Solicitor of the Year-In House‘ category.
Hope Olugbola – debt caseworker
Hope joined Hackney Law Centre in November 2006.
He worked for the Hackney Citizens Advice Bureau in Mare Street, in the same position, for four years before joining HCLC.
Hope runs Hackney Law Centre’s Debt Advice project funded by Hackney Homes for council tenants. He works out of all five neighbourhood office across the borough.
He is also a LSC Debt caseworker Supervisor.
Hope is an approved Debt Relief Order intermediary and an accredited member of Institute of Money Advisers.
In his spare time, Hope is an active volunteer member of a charity-Life Gate, where he offers support, counselling and life-skills training to individuals and families in crisis.
Hope is married and has two boys.
Sonia joined Hackney Community Law Centre in January 2017, having previously volunteered at South West London Law Centre when she was a Legal Practice Course student. She has volunteered with Camden Law Centre since 2013.
Sonia was admitted to the roll as a solicitor in November 2010. She has been an accredited Level Two Senior Caseworker under the Law Society’s Immigration and Accreditation Scheme since 2010 and a Supervisor since 2012.
Sonia previously worked in the public law department at a private practice firm and also at the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit. She is a co-convenor of the Courts and Tribunal Working Group for the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.
Sonia has a wide experience of immigration and asylum law, particularly in judicial review matters. Her experience includes, but is not limited to, applications for leave to remain in the UK, asylum claims, appeals, trafficking cases, unlawful detention cases and removal matters.
In her spare time, Sonia is an active political campaigner for the Green Party and the Women’s Equality Party. She also does yoga, pilates and runs. Sonia enjoys going to live music gigs (mainly blues & Americana) and festivals (she’s attended Jazzfest in New Orleans three times). She also loves art, particularly street art photography, and is an avid traveller – (previous trips have included the Trans-Mongolian from China to Russia and walking the entirety of the South West Coast Path – 630 miles from Somerset to Dorset).
Marcin Brajta – welfare benefits caseworker
Marcin began working at HCLC in September 2016. He previously worked for Stirling Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) as their Income Maximisation and Debt Caseworker. He also worked on housing, employment and immigration cases, acting as a trainer on immigration law to all new trainee advisors. Marcin also used to work as a court approved interpreter providing Polish-English translation in courts, police stations and hospitals. He gained a diploma in Public Service Interpreting in 2012.
Marcin, who originally comes from Poland, studied for his BA degree in Scottish Law with sociology at the University of Stirling. He then studied for his Graduate Diploma in Law at the University of Law in Leeds, gaining a distinction.
Marcin speaks Russian to a high level and he also has a good working knowledge of Spanish.
In his spare time, Marcin enjoys playing the guitar. He was the bass player in a number of bands in Stirling and Glasgow. He is a keen cyclist and has cycled around many of Scotland’s islands in the Inner and Outer Hebrides.
Kevin Long – housing solicitor
Kevin joined the Law Centre in November 2016. He has worked in social welfare law for 15 years beginning as an advisor at Brent Private Tenants’ Rights Group before joining Lambeth Law Centre in 2006 where he qualified as a solicitor. In this time he has practised in immigration, employment and benefit law, but housing has remained his core area of expertise. He has experience of representing tenants and homeless applicants in all fields of housing law, but particularly enjoys public law possession cases. At Lambeth Law Centre he successfully acted in a series of cases where groups of social housing tenants subject to local regeneration schemes were facing eviction.
In 2012 he was nominated in the Guardian’s ‘Lawyer to Watch’ series. Since 2013 he has been a contributing author for LexisNexis PSL on social housing, is a regular commentator for PSL News Analysis, and was a co-author of LexisNexis ’Social Housing Law in Practice (2015)’. He has also written for other publications in the advice and welfare sector (see Advisor 166 ‘Keep it in the Family’ (2014)).
In his spare time, Kevin enjoys walking on Hackney Marshes, cycling the Lea Valley with his children, and long distance running. He has started and finished numerous marathons and ultra-marathons. In April 2017, he will be running the London marathon to raise funds for his former workplace Lambeth Law Centre.
Jamille Mohammed – housing solicitor
Jamille joined Hackney Community Law Centre as a housing solicitor and supervisor in November 2016. He graduated in 2002 with an honours degree in Law and completed his Legal Practice Course in 2007.
Jamille has practised in housing law ever since, specialising in all aspects of housing law including landlord and tenant matters. He has also advised on possession proceedings, anti-social behavior cases, unlawful eviction and re-entry, homelessness law, disrepair, injunctions under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act, tenancy deposits, neighbour disputes and harassment, defences under the Equality Act 2010, public law defences and judicial reviews.
Jamille is also an experienced advocate and regularly represents clients as a duty solicitor at Central London County Court and Clerkenwell & Shoreditch County Court.
Prior to joining the Law Centre, Jamille worked in private practice at a firm where he was joint director of a busy housing department. He previously also worked in the city.
Jamille is strongly committed to providing access to justice and has acted pro bono in cases where clients have needed immediate representation. He believes in exploring all options possible to assist those at risk of losing their homes.
In his spare time, Jamille is an active political campaigner, lobbying the Government and his local MPs about access to justice and the importance of legal aid. He is also a school governor, plays badminton and enjoys going on long walks.
Miranda Grell – development officer & tribunal advocate
Miranda came to HCLC in February 2011 as part of the first intake in a new formalised volunteer programme where she worked on housing and immigration and asylum law cases. Miranda then became an intern with HCLC in October 2011, answering calls on our telephone adviceline and seeing ‘drop-in’ clients for face-to-face appointments. Miranda is now HCLC’s Development Officer working with the Centre’s Manager to fundraise and build HCLC’s capacity and profile in a difficult financial time.
In November 2014, Miranda was awarded the Law Centres Network’s ‘Reita Clarke Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievement’ in recognition of “her award winning initiatives, dynamism and creativity, and her commitment to justice for the people of Hackney“.
Prior to coming to HCLC, Miranda had successfully completed a Graduate Diploma in Law at City Law School, gaining a distinction in Constitutional and Administrative Law, and undertook a number of legal placements and mini pupillages. She also spent six months with a busy children’s legal charity. Miranda had previously worked for the then Deputy Mayor of London as her researcher and was also a local Councillor. She also worked for the conciliation service Acas as a Senior Policy Advisor and in Brussels as a trainee speechwriter to the then European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs.
Miranda has a First Class degree in European Studies with Modern Languages (Spanish and German) from the University of Manchester and a Masters in International Employment Relations from the London School of Economics.
Following the successful completion of her Graduate Diploma in Law in 2010, Miranda successfully completed the Bar Professional Training Course in 2014 and was Called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in November 2014. Her call to the Bar was proposed by former Lord Justice of Appeal Sir Stephen Sedley, a Master of the Bench at the Inner Temple.
In her spare time, Miranda is a commissioning editor and advisor on business development for online magazine The Justice Gap (www.thejusticegap.com).
*The solicitors, caseworkers, interns and volunteers are assisted by Bella – administrator and Kim – administrator*.