Letter of Affidavit Claims and Oath by aiu11982


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									Living Stories : Legal Change : Changing Lives
                 Matthew Weait
                Birkbeck College
               University of London

                                      "The best test of a civilised
                                      society is the way in which
                                      it treats its most vulnerable
                                      and weakest members."

                                      Mahatma Gandhi
       Scope / Aims of Talk
• To discuss the ways in which voice can be
  used to effect legal change
• To explain the ways voice can be used as
  evidence to support claims for change
• To discuss the form that evidence can
         The Power of Voices
• Voice is powerful, but powerful in different ways
  and with different consequences / effects
  – Baroness Hale – N v Home Office (House of Lords)
  – Rod Liddle on Sarah Porter (The Spectator June 24th
  – Sarah Porter in her own words (Positively Women –
    the Prison Issue), summer 2010)
  – “Deborah” (complainant in the Mohammed Dica case,
    2003) (Positive Nation, February 2004)

East Hastings St,
 Vancouver BC
               PIVOT Approach
Law is a critical tool for social change, because it is through
   the law that we regulate our civil society. Approaching
   social change with the tools of the law can create systemic
   and robust impacts on the way society is governed. Pivot’s
   legal strategy includes three tactics:
• Legal education projects are aimed not only at educating
   marginalized people, but also educating other groups about
   those rights. In each case, tailoring the communication to
   the target group is critical.
• Strategic legal action describes a range of legal initiatives,
   from formal correspondence to civil litigation, aimed at
   challenging barriers to the rights of marginalized persons.
• Law reform includes research on policy and administrative
   reforms as well as legislative changes that would enable
   lasting improvements to the social and legal status of
   marginalized persons.
              The Affidavit
• What is an affidavit (in this context)?
• What is the nature of affidavit evidence?
• Why has Pivot used affidavits?
• How has Pivot managed to get the
• What has it done with the affidavits?
          What is an affidavit?
• Classically - a written declaration made under
  oath; a written statement sworn to be true before
  someone legally authorized to administer an
• It‟s essence is its simplicity, clarity, its absence
  of opinion, evidence of facts rather than
  assertions or expressions of value
• It has legal validity – can be used as evidence in
  a court of law.
  Why has PIVOT used affidavits?

• „Affidavits make it very difficult to deny that
  a particular issue exists.‟ (David Eby)
• „the number of similar and shared
  experiences … it‟s very powerful.‟ (David
• Accretive / cumulative / repetitive
     How has Pivot obtained its
• Proactive
• Central part of the strategic dimension of
  its work –
• Located IN the community, going out to
  people to get the evidence
PIVOT lawyer David Eby taking an Affidavit from
a DTES resident
Pivot unveils sex worker
SEX LAWS / Sullivan
refuses to meet with
Tom Sandborn / Xtra West /
Thursday, June 22,
TREATMENT: Pivot Legal Society
Katrina Pacey (left) and researcher
John Lowman want parliament to
repeal Canada's archaic
solicitation laws (Michelle Mayne
Cheap Rooms Off the Block?
Rare deal could save
Eastside SRO.
By Tom Sandborn
Published: March 20, 2007

By Monday morning, when
demonstrators gathered outside the
Carl, Eby was able to announce an
imminent deal to save the Rooms as
affordable SRO housing.

                     Protesters Haunt SRO Auction

                     Residents of the Burns Block were
                     evicted last year.
                     Advocates worried as Hastings
                     hotel sold to North Van developer.
                     Protesters Haunt SRO Auction
       AHPN – Proof Positive:

• Objectives
  – to introduce a new format of evidence-building
    for use by community advocacy organisations
  – to use this format to uncover the problems
    faced by HIV-affected Africans seeking
    asylum in the United Kingdom
  – to provide evidence of key issues in order to
    influence policy and practice and support
      AHPN – Proof Positive:
• Staff and volunteers trained in interviewing
  techniques and how to record evidence for
• •One-to-one interviews with asylum seekers
  living with HIV to record events
• •Recording and editing records for anonymity
• •Affidavits –swearing in records as legal
• •Report on findings
      Voices from the project:

My immigration status has affected my health.
The time I heard my case was refused I felt like I
had died already. It was like a world war in my
body. I had no appetite to eat, I was scared.
Sometimes I am out of my house and when I go
back to my house I am thinking ‘oh, maybe I will
see the letter from the Home Office to tell me to
go back to Africa’. If I see a police car near my
house, I feel scared and I sometimes pass by
my place to wait for the police car to go’.
My immigration status has affected my health … The
people who know I am an asylum seeker, including
friends, automatically assume I am HIV positive. They
perceive asylum seekers negatively draining the
system – even after I say I do not receive any benefits
and I am being cared for by my family, they do not
believe it.

I have concerns around removal. If I should go back
home, when the time comes for me to take my
medication, would I be able to access that medication?
Everybody is different and yet people in Zimbabwe are
given the same medication. If I do get the medication, I
need the right food. Would I be able to get the right
food? Would I get the right monitoring? I am happy
with my current monitoring and care. With removal,
where is my tomorrow?
     Findings –conclusion(I):

– No evidence of treatment tourism
– late diagnosis persists among African
  communities in the UK
– Severe stress, mental health issues/
  depression and impact on general wellbeing
  and HIV progression
– Treated with disrespect, robbed of rights –
  detention centres–treated as criminals
    Findings –conclusion (II):

– Unused resources –well educated and
  capable but not able to work –volunteer
– Good health due to medication –potential
– Strong social networks established –time in
– Destitution and constant fear of deportation
          Thanks and Acknowledgements to …

•   Jabulani Chwaula
•   Edna Soomre
•   Jonathan Thorpe
•   AHPN staff and volunteers

And most of all those who have participated


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