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Disappointing decision on Serco lock changes

Posted 13 Nov 2019

People pictured protesting with banners that say things like 'refugees welcome' and 'no evictions'.

Today the Court of Session found in favour of Serco in a test case for asylum seeker lock changes. 

Our Principal Solicitor Fiona McPhail commented:

“This decision is deeply disappointing news for all those directly affected.

“We now face a situation where around 300 people will be at risk of summary eviction, with no right to homeless assistance or no right to work to earn their own income to cover rent, meaning there is a high risk they will end up on the streets of Glasgow.

“Our clients are continuing to progress their asylum claims and cannot return to their country of origin.

“The finding that Serco is not a public authority and therefore does not need to comply with the Human Rights Act or the Equality Act is deeply concerning. It’s the state that has the statutory obligation to accommodate asylum seekers - if by privatising those services, the state can avoid its obligations under human rights and equalities law, this sets a dangerous precedent.

Gordon MacRae, Assistant Director for Communications and Policy, Shelter Scotland said:

“At Shelter Scotland we think there are both moral and legal cases to be heard.  It is morally repugnant to force anyone out of their home with nowhere for them to go. Public bodies must not stand by while people face winter on the streets.

“Shelter Scotland exist to protect everyone’s housing rights no matter their circumstances. We will continue to do what we can protect those whose rights are denied. “

Fiona McPhail added:

“The Court appears to have placed some emphasis on the type of case it was- and the fact that it was not a judicial review. Hopefully the solicitors in this case will reflect on these observations, as judicial review proceedings were raised by another party and have been put on hold whilst this case has been taken as the lead case.”