Jacqueline McKenzie is a human rights lawyer, a partner and head of the immigration and asylum law at Leigh Day.  She played a central role as founder of McKenzie, Beute and Pope in leading the Windrush Surgeries, which have been held at various locations across the country including at the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) from as early as May 2018. She was a member of the independent advisory group that delivered the Windrush Lessons Learned Review in March 2020 and has represented hundreds of people impacted by the Windrush Scandal. She gave oral and written evidence to the Home Affairs Committee on the Windrush Compensation Scheme and was placed at number 10 in Power Media’s Powerlist of 2022 for her work helping those affected by the Windrush Scandal. 

In excerpt 1 below, McKenzie notes that the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (i.e., LAPSO) prevented access to legal aid for non-asylum cases.  It significantly reduced the number of practitioners, making it difficult to find an immigration lawyer.  Those who did go to lawyers often couldn’t keep up the payments.  She also notes that some went to small high street firms who failed to do a good job, while charging thousands.

In excerpt 2, McKenzie talks about CHOGM (April 2018) and the role played by High Commissioners when the scandal broke.  She notes that they couldn’t be seen to be political, but notes that Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, made a powerful statement and demanded an apology.  They were never going to be the conduit by which the struggle would be led.  The change came about with the first meeting in Brixton at the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) when over 1000 members of the community turned up.  Surgeries were set up at the BCA by McKenzie’s firm.

Interview by Juanita Cox

Jacqueline McKenzie (Excerpt 1)

KEYWORDS: LAPSO, immigration, lawyers, legal aid, high street firms

Jacqueline McKenzie (Excerpt 2)

KEYWORDS: High Commissioners, Amber Rudd, Grenada, St Kitts, activists, journalists, Andrew Holness, Keith Mitchell, CH4, Dexter Bristol, Black Cultural Archives, lawyers, Patrick Vernon, Lee Jasper, Peter Herbert, David Neita, Zita Holbourne, Donna Guthrie, status, compensation, David Lammy, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Diane Abbott, Doreen Lawrence, charter flight, British, Trinidad & Tobago, Seth Ramocan, Deport charters.

TRANSCRIPTS (coming soon)


JC:         Dr Juanita Cox (Interviewer)
JM:        Jacqueline McKenzie (Respondent)


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