Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Let's have justice for RMJ

Refugee and Migrant Justice,  formerly the Refugee Legal Centre, is being forced into administration because of a mean-minded change to the way the Legal Services Commission pays out legal aid. As this leaflet (pdf) explains, RMJ used to get paid monthly to cover the work they do. But now they get paid only after each case has closed, which depends on the timing of Home Office and tribunal decisions.

As a charity, RMJ may not obtain bank loans. The organisation is not asking for extra money, just for Legal Services Commission to pay what is due, or, failing that, for government-backed interest-free loans.

A barrister who specialises in immigration work, but who is by no means a soft liberal, tells me that RMJ is a good organisation.  The government's rebuttal that other organisations manage is "silly", she says. Few organisations could cope with waiting 2 years or more to get paid, when they have to shell out for rent, salaries, and all the rest of it, month in, month out.

There are many ways to help, as this web page explains.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

Private Eye (no 1265) adds: "There are reports that the UK Border Agency is refusing to give extra time to RMJ clients who are fighting deportation to find a new lawyer to present their case.

"The Legal Service Commission's own figures suggest that nearly a third of those offering asylum and immigration work are profiteering - yet nothing is being done to stop it. In the meantime, a trusted and respected charity that works hard for its clients goes down the drain, throwing more vulnerable people into the clutches of the greedy. Brilliant."