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Thread: refugee and migrant justice

  1. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by gumdrops View Post
    and the time lag between claims being processed and decisions made is already pretty poor
    this is really only part of the problem. key issue is the quality (or lack thereof) of intial decision-making - Home Office has sped it up, but routinely makes poor initial decisions on asylum claims. appealing these decisions eventually takes cases into the mainstream legal system, which is where the really long delays (at least recently) are happening. If there was a proper legal aid system with sufficient time allocated to presenting asylum cases then proper decisions would be made first-time - thus reducing appeals, related legal costs and individual support costs (asylum seekers can't work), not to mention those with good claims being forcibly returned. complete financial and humanitarian no-brainer.

    pledged, in any case, really hope they make the total.

  2. #17
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    afraid to say it's probably all over guys

  3. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by don_quixote View Post
    afraid to say it's probably all over guys
    where's your info from - u no someone who works there/work there yourself? can't see anything on their website or on the facebook group...

  4. #19
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    i know someone who works there

  5. #20

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    ah ok, thanks. really gutting, this.

  6. #21
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    thanks for starting the thread D_Q.

    aside from the main issue of their clients (up to 900 children potentially in limbo?!), presumably your friend and their colleagues will be out of a job soon, too?

    as highhhness wrote, poor quality initial decisions. isn't it - essentially - the case that there is a routine culture of disbelief at the Home Office wrt the officers that assess initial claims and cynicism tends to be the default reaction?

    i am sure Sufi could speak on this topic.

  7. #22
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    well i should have spoken about it in the past tense above; out of a job now. sufi knows more than me about the system. gutted in general, britain just got that little more unfriendly. even the guardian blogposts are full of bilious comments about how these people are scroungers... one guy responded to "you do realise you are talking about people fleeing torture/rape/persecution right?" with "and presumably no social benefits either?" - it beggars belief.

  8. #23
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    heh well cheers!
    it's definitely the case that ukba are cynical and incompetent, as the recent whistleblower mentioned
    "Perrett ... said interviews were conducted without lawyers, independent witnesses or tape recorders. If a case was difficult, Perrett claims, she was simply advised to refuse it and “let a tribunal sort it out”. Only cases raised by MPs appeared to be dealt with properly.
    Perrett said she was given the power to make legally binding decisions on whether asylum seekers were granted or refused asylum after just five weeks’ training. She also had the power to detain individuals and families for up to 28 days.
    ... It was Horrific"
    http://www.publications.parliament.u...ff/406/406.pdf
    interestingly the disparities between cases of nationalities refused at initial determination, and then won at appeal after proper consideration demonstrate nicely the systematic prejudice of UKBA

    up til 97 while asylum numbers steadily rose the tories basically neglected the immigration directorate of the home office - now UKBA, imposing impossible visa regimes whenever a country started producing refugees rather than internal controls.
    Labour took a more active approach, and re-structured and renamed the service repeatedly, moving control onshore by taking on responsibility for domestic arrangements of asylum seekers - accommodation and benefits, excluding them from the mainstream system. this has been a total mess from the start til now, exacerbated by bonkers projects and targets triggered by media panics, and has left UKBA no better than in '97 - experienced and/or decent officers forced out, demoralised staff out of their depth,
    apart from the unstated aim of 'establishing irreversible de facto multiculturalism thru mass immigration' of the early blair years which i'm not convinced is not a dailyhate fantasy, the only actual strategy seems to have been deterrence thru chaos, neglect and attrition, much like the tories.
    asylum numbers have gone back down to mid 90's levels though, and UKBA have contorted themselves to clear 1000s of backlogged cases without uttering the word amnesty, unfortunately the process for new claims has been accelerated to the point that the system is undermined when cases are refused so quickly, without legal reps or serious consideration or scrutiny and the system blocks up again,
    which is where RMJ come in

  9. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottdisco View Post
    isn't it - essentially - the case that there is a routine culture of disbelief at the Home Office wrt the officers that assess initial claims and cynicism tends to be the default reaction?
    that's definitely one element, and it's pretty institutionalised. the whistleblowing case from the temp who worked for the border agency in cardiff shows just how much so:

    Louise Perrett, who worked as a case owner at the Border Agency office in Cardiff for three and a half months last summer, claims staff kept a stuffed gorilla, a "grant monkey", which was placed as a badge of shame on the desk of any officer who approved an asylum application

    edit: my bad same article as sufi linked
    Last edited by highhhness; 23-06-2010 at 12:00 AM.

  10. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by sufi View Post
    asylum numbers have gone back down to mid 90's levels though, and UKBA have contorted themselves to clear 1000s of backlogged cases without uttering the word amnesty, unfortunately the process for new claims has been accelerated to the point that the system is undermined when cases are refused so quickly, without legal reps or serious consideration or scrutiny and the system blocks up again, which is where RMJ come in
    there's also an insistence from ukba on using the lowest possible legal standards to to determine the need for protection, and waiting for it to be challenged on appeal. if standards were raised just slightly, legal/support costs would be reduced and protection would be granted to a whole lot of people who need it - and the need for RMJ and similar would be really reduced. i really don't get it - the cost argument alone is overwhelming...

  11. #26
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    drat that was a longer post, with more links, and proofed, my browser ate it, as i was saying;

    ...strangely the LSC who are responsible for RMJs demise are not even close relatives of UKBA (who belong to Home Office, LSC belong to MoJ), but the sector has been blighted by chaos and incompetence (and occasional spicy corruption) from the top down to the sub-sub-sub-contracted muscle, lurching from crisis to crisis for so long that it's not surprising that important chunks are dropping off
    on one level everyone has an interest in RMJ's survival - access to legal advice is crucial to making the system efficient, fair and humane, but at the same time unfairness, ineptness and blatant disregard for human rights are deterrent factors too, depending on your level of cynicism

    RMJ have been instrumental in keeping people off flights like the recent 2nd deportation charter to baghdad, UKBA have direct flights to mogadishu and kabul scheduled,
    pass your pledge on to asylum aid, ncadc or ilpa or another sister in the struggle

    happy refugee week

  12. #27

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    this today:

    It with sadness that I have to tell you that the plan to rescue RMJ has not been successful. However, we have been overwhelmed and very touched by the support we received.
    The future at this point is not clear. However, if it becomes possible to save part of RMJ, for example, a particular office, and there is a need for funds then perhaps we might get back in touch with you to see if you could help. Please let me know if that would be possible. I will not be able to access this email account for a while, but if you would like to contact me, or need any more information, you can reach me at kabcommons@googlemail.com. I will try to keep you updated with any developments about RMJ.
    Many thanks for all your kindness, and support,
    Kathleen Commons

  13. #28
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    Freemovement General information:

    Asylum-seeker clients of Refugee and Migrant Justice are taking the Justice and Home Secretaries to court to try to force the government to stump up close to £1m to cover the costs of transferring their legal cases to other lawyers.

    Home Secretary and Justice Secretary in High Court over refugee charity collapse

    Finance | Tania Mason | 24 Jun 2010
    Topics: Law | Funding | Statutory funding | Public service delivery
    http://tinyurl.com/32unvl6

    Asylum-seeker clients of Refugee and Migrant Justice are taking the Justice and Home Secretaries to court to try to force the government to stump up close to £1m to cover the costs of transferring their legal cases to other lawyers.

    The case opened in London's High Court on Tuesday, with the charity's clients seeking judicial review of the Legal Services Commission's decision to terminate the charity's contract and not provide sufficient funding to enable it to continue operating.

    They also say the Home Secretary should have undertaken not to reject any asylum applications or deport anyone until adequate alternative legal representation is secured.

    And they request sufficient funds to cover the distribution of the outstanding cases to other lawyers.


    Emergency appeal failed

    The charity had been trying to raise last-minute funds from voluntary donations to plug the funding shortfall and rescue the organisation, but was unable to raise the amount needed. Late yesterday it issued a statement saying it would return the funds raised to the donors and proceed with winding up. It had put itself into administration last week, claiming the new legal aid payment system made it impossible for it to survive.

    The preliminary hearing this week sought to establish exactly what issues should be aired in the hearing proper next week.

    Mr Justice Hickinbottom said: "The claimants' position is simple...you challenge the LSC's decision to terminate the contract without making adequate provision for alternative representation for the clients of RMJ."

    Martin Westgate QC, representing the claimants, said there was not enough alternative representation available and this could have a "seriously detrimental effect on very many clients".

    "It is not good enough to say to clients: 'Here is a list of providers in your area' when a number of them don't provide immigration advice at all or don't have the capacity to take on more cases," he argued. "We say LSC should have addressed this before giving notice. It is their obligation to secure alternative arrangements."

    But the judge reminded Westgate that "a judicial review is not a public inquiry into how an authority acted.

    "It is not this court's role to supervise the difficult tasks that the LSC has in ensuring that their statutory obligations are performed in relation to the nine or ten thousand people who were formally clients of RMJ.

    "The answer to the provision of alternative services is not going to be: "Give RMJ £2m to keep it going" or 'Give X £1m to take on the work'. It's going to be far more complex than that - it will be related to the individual needs of the clients."

    Westgate responded: "LSC has a duty to ensure continuing advice and we say there is evidence that is not being fulfilled. There are not enough solicitors to do the work. Unless problems of capacity are addressed, that duty is incapable of being fulfilled."
    Set out parameters of the case

    Mr Paul Nicholls, representing the Justice Secretary, said the claimants had to establish the parameters of the case by setting out precisely what the defendants had done that is unlawful. "Issues need to be formulated so that evidence can be directed to that," he said.

    Mr Sheldon, representing the Home Office, said the Home Secretary was "troubled by her involvement in this case", and wanted to know what public law duty she is alleged to have breached.

    Justice Hickinbottom said: "It is obvious the placing of RMJ into administration has created challenges for all sorts of people. But the court is not responsible for supervising how those challenges are met in practice. All it can do is look at the decisions made and determine whether they were unlawful."


    The judge gave the claimants until 9am this morning to prepare a document setting out exactly what it is they allege the defendants to have done wrong, and then gave all parties the weekend to prepare evidence backing up their case. They will return to court for the hearing proper next Wednesday. The application for interim relief will be pursued then.

    He also agreed to applications to intervene in the case from the Children's Commissioner for England and the Immigration Law Practitioners Association.

  14. #29

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    RMJ closure main topic at Immigration Advisory Service conference yesterday. Man from the Legal Services Commission insisted they did all they could and RMJ shut down communications/left it to the '13th hour' (I quote) to advise them of imminent closure and hence actively prevented the earlier transfer of cases. RMJ, ILPA and everyone else wholeheartedly refuted this version of events. Man from the LSC left directly after his speech citing diary commitments. Safety first.

  15. #30
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    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010...eath-legal-aid

    "He felt he was never able to take control of his life. He was frustrated that his case had not been progressed so he decided to go down to the Home Office [immigration centre] in Croydon and 'hand himself in', saying: 'Either send me home or help me'. He felt he was taking control at last. It was a brave thing to do. But when he got there they said 'Who are you? We don't know you. Get a solicitor'. In terms of his mental state it was too much to take.

    "In London he stayed with friends some of the time but also slept rough and was not eating well. He was mentally and physically exhausted when he came back. We didn't realise the severity of the situation.

    "He went out for a bike ride on the Sunday," Woolner said. "We thought that was positive. But he did not come back."

    Woolner is now trying to raise money for Rasul's body to be returned to Iraq.Rasul was separated from his Polish partner and the mother of their sons, Malgorzata Gajda, 30, who lives in Coventry. She said he had become increasingly distant from their sometimes tempestuous relationship. "He was on the balcony for two hours, I was told. At 6pm that evening I received a call from a private number. I said 'Hello, hello' but no one answered. I'm sure it was him. He wanted to hear me and the kids for the last time."

    "The police tried to keep speaking with him. He was very quiet. Then he put his hand on his heart and looked up to God and jumped."
    Please forward the following message to anyone who you know who may want
    to give.

    Dear friends,

    We are writing this in order to ask for donations to help in the
    repatriation and burial of our friend Osman Mohammed.

    Osman was an asylum seeker from Kurdistan who had lived in the UK since
    2003. Having faced constant dismissal from the Home Office over all these
    years and in the wake of several traumatic experiences over the past
    month, Osman took his own life on 25th July 2010.

    A commemoration event and fundraising efforts are now being put in place
    in order to mark Osman’s life. These will be taking place over the next
    month. The immediate future, however, requires that we help raise the
    £3,300 needed to send Osman’s body home, so he can be buried by his
    family. In this respect time is of the essence.

    We have a cooperative bank account set up which is being used to
    specifically deal with donations taken in the immediate future for this
    purpose and if you feel you can spare anything at all please use the bank
    details below:


    sort code - 08-93-00
    account number - 14455751


    Thank you so much on behalf of all of Osman’s family, friends and those who
    understood his struggle.
    Last edited by sufi; 02-08-2010 at 10:04 AM.

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