Statement from Govan Law Centre
The Court of Session has today dismissed the cases of Rashidi and Ali v. Serco Limited, Compass SNI Ltd, and the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
In a complex and comprehensive Opinion, the court has held that lock-change evictions by Serco are not incompatible with the Human Rights Act because asylum seekers have a right of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum) against a decision to terminate their accommodation.
Serco and the Home Office had argued that Serco was not subject to the Human Rights Act as its services were of a private nature in law. The court did not accept that argument, however, it did find that the availability of a right of appeal to the First Tier Tribunal was sufficient to satisfy the human rights of asylum seekers threatened with a lock-change eviction.
We will take time to carefully consider Lord Tyre’s judgment and meet with our clients to discuss their best options. We are very disappointed for our clients, and also for asylum seekers across Glasgow who have been threatened with lock-change evictions.
Mike Dailly, Solicitor Advocate at Govan Law Centre said: “Standing today’s court ruling, any asylum seeker threatened with a lock-change eviction in Scotland will need to challenge that decision by lodging an urgent appeal to the First Tier Immigration Tribunal. The practicalities of people being able to do so are challenging and not always straight-forward, and Govan Law Centre hopes to explore these serious challenges with partner agencies in Glasgow”.
“It will be necessary for people to first ask the Home Office for continued support and accommodation in terms of section 95 or section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. If that is refused, it will then be necessary to appeal that decision”.
“Govan Law Centre will always speak up for the poorest and most vulnerable people living in our community. Asylum seekers have a huge range of restrictions on their legal rights in the UK. They do not enjoy the same rights as the rest of the community, to welfare benefits, to work and to secure accommodation. This in our view is wrong, and Govan Law Centre will continue to use every avenue we can to speak up to improve their lives”.