Govan Law Centre win reprieve for Glasgow asylum seekers threatened with eviction by Serco

MEDIA RELEASE: Update on eviction Glasgow asylum seekers by Serco.

Govan Law Centre’s Principal Solicitor and Solicitor Advocate Mike Dailly said: “Serco’s lawyers have written to GLC this evening to formally confirm that no eviction proceedings will take place against our client and her partner.  Accordingly there is no need for an interim interdict hearing at the Court of Session tomorrow morning in Edinburgh, but our client’s court action will proceed in terms of the legal principles in dispute.  

We have called upon Serco to put all eviction on hold pending the issues in dispute being ruled on by Scotland’s Supreme Court, the Court of Session. The Office of the Advocate General in Scotland confirmed this evening that our client was now being provided with asylum support for housing and subsistence under section 95 of the  Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 following a new application for asylum.

Serco has confirmed no eviction will take place while that is the case, however, our client remains at risk if her support comes to end in the same way as the other 330 asylum seekers under the threat of eviction in Glasgow.

Initially, Serco sent ‘lock change notices’ to 6 asylum seekers in Glasgow whose asylum claims had been refused by the Home Office.  However, many more removal notices had already been sent out to asylum seekers.  

After GLC lodged proceeded in the Court of Session last Friday – and after pressure from MPs and campaign groups in Glasgow – Serco then agreed to give those six asylum seekers 21 days grace, and to place all other asylum seeker evictions on hold pending a court ruling on the legality of DIY evictions.

GLC believed this to be an inadequate response.  It did not give our client and others proper protection from eviction.  Serco publicly ‘unreservedly welcomed’ a legal challenge, ‘as it will enable all parties to clarify an area of Scottish law which has so far been untested’.

GLC’s point is that there is no possibility that this complex legal dispute can be settled authoritatively  within 21 days.  

This is why we are calling on Serco to put all asylum seeker DIY lock-change evictions on hold until the Court of Session can rule on this issue.

This is another step towards protecting the human rights of asylum seekers in Scotland.  It is a victory for campaigners, housing associations, and elected members in Glasgow. We thank everyone who has worked hard to defend asylum seekers rights. Of course the legal challenge is not over. It has only just begun. 

 

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