Hackney Community Law Centre

MENU menu

Close close menu

Our team

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 Committee for several years. He is a school governor.


Sean Canning

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‘.


Nathaniel Mathews

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


Diane Morrison

Mark McDonald-Loncke - Trainee Solicitor/Justice First Fellow

Mark McDonald-Loncke is our Justice First Fellow. The Justice First Fellowship Scheme was established in 2014 to support the next generation of students committed to public interest and social justice issues who want to pursue a career in social welfare law. The Scheme has been established by The Legal Education Foundation, and is supported by the EsmeĢe Fairbairn Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy, City Bridge Trust and a number of law firms. Its aim is that the Fellowship Scheme will come to be seen as a route to a career in this important area of law, with Fellows going on to become leaders in their field and important advocates for access to justice and the rule of law.


Mark first became interested in practising law whilst undertaking an internship in Jamaica where he assisted prisoners on death row at the now ‘Independent Jamaica Council for Human Rights’. The internship formed part of his university studies as a volunteer with the University of Westminster’s ‘Death Penalty Project at the Centre for Capital Punishment Studies’. In Jamaica, Mark experienced first-hand the poverty, destitution and suffering of death row prisoners who could not afford legal representation. Mark graduated in 1995, before then obtaining a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 1997. He completed his Legal Practice Course (LPC) in 2002.

After he completed his legal studies, Mark worked within social welfare law for over 11 years at Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), first as an adviser at Bristol CAB and then as a legal aid money advice caseworker and additionally a housing caseworker at various CABs in the Essex area. Part of Mark’s role at the CAB also included training and mentoring new advisers in housing and debt casework.

Mark also volunteered with a wide variety of local community groups delivering social welfare advice, including an Eastern European Women’s support group assisting women experiencing hate crime, marginalisation and isolation locally; the Offender Support Initiative, providing prisoners at HMP Chelmsford, HMP Bullwood Hall and HMP Holloway with advice on their rights to housing following release from prison; and the Debt Health initiative assisting patients in secure mental health units with money management.

In Mark’s spare time he enjoys running and Wu Shu Kwan (Chinese kickboxing) which he has practised for over 20 years. He also plays the piano.


Mark McDonald-Loncke

Marcin Brajta - Welfare Benefits Caseworker

Marmarcincin 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.


Marcin Brajta

Sonia Lenegan - Immigration Solicitor

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).


Sonia Lenegan

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


Kevin Long

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, undertook his Legal Practice Course and, following the completion of his training contract, qualified as a solicitor 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.


Jamille Mohammed

Miranda Grell - Comms & Development Advisor

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. Between January 2012 and March 2018, Miranda was 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“.

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.

Miranda has now left HCLC to pursue her career at the Bar but she is retained on a freelance basis as HCLC's Comms and Development Advisor.


Miranda Grell


The solicitors, caseworkers, interns and volunteers are assisted by administrators Bella and Kim.