Plea to Stop Closure of Refugee and Migrant Justice in UK

Guest Post by Lucy

Some of you may have heard that the charity that I work

for, Refugee and Migrant Justice, went into administration yesterday.

We have been told that we have to stop our work today and be out of our

offices around the UK by next Wednesday.

About 400 staff have

now lost their jobs but much more importantly, about 10,000 clients have

lost their legal representation. This is because of the way that legal

aid cases are run by the UK government. We have done the work and are

owed £1.8 million by the Legal Services Commission (the people that run

legal aid) which they will not give us because the cases have not been

closed. The cases may not be closed for years becase that is how long

the Home Office take to make a decision on refugee claims so in effect,

we will not be able to be paid for the work we have done for years. It

is a completely unsustainable system and I’m afraid that we may be the

first charity of many to go under.

We represent children,

torture victims, trafficked victims, people with mental health problems

and many more. We are their only lifeline, their only hope of getting

food, shelter, good legal representation and just someone to care about


I’m asking you, my friends and family, to come out and

protest against this outrageous miscarriage of justice. The protest is

being called by Unite on our behalf but it’s representative of the third

sector as a whole: people that protect and uphold the rights of the

most vulnerable. Our sector are being threatened by this new government

and we need to fight back.

I really need you. My clients really

need you. I would really appreciate your support at this time. And

please tell your friends, colleagues and families.

Time: 4.30pm

Ministry of Justice, 102 Petty France,

London SW1H 9AJ

Thank you very much.


More details below:

Demonstrate Against

Likely Closure of Refugee and Migrant Justice – Defend Legal Aid


and Migrant Justice (RMJ), the largest provider of specialist legal

advice for asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants in England and

Wales, went into administration on June 16 2010.

This is a

result of cuts in Legal Aid over recent years and changes in the way in

which Legal Aid providers are paid. RMJ used to get paid monthly, but is

now only paid after each case is closed – many cases last many months

or even years. No charity can be expected to wait that long for payment

and many law centres are finding it difficult to cope with the new

payment system. David Cameron’s claims to value the work of charities

rings very hollow indeed.

RMJ (formerly the Refugee Legal Centre)

was founded in 1992 and in the last year alone has helped over 11,000

people. Closure would mean that many thousands of vulnerable people will

be left without legal representation. Many will face being returned to

countries where they face persecution and their lives are in danger.


far the Ministry of Justice has declined to help RMJ. UNITE is calling

for RMJ to be saved and for proper Legal Aid funding to ensure that the

most vulnerable members of society have real access to justice.


in public spending are affecting the poorest people right across our

society. But these people did not cause the economic crisis and should

not be made to pay for it.

UNITE, the union that represents RMJ’s

340 staff, has called a demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice

at 4pm on Friday 18th June 2010. Please join us. .

Ministry of


102 Petty France

London SW1H 9AJ

Tubes: St

James’s Park and Westminster

For further details, please contact

Rachael Maskell, Unite National Officer, Community and Non Profit

Sector: 07768 693933


Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.