There is considerable concern that more asylum seekers will be made homeless after a legal bid to prevent failed asylum seekers being evicted without a court order was dismissed by the Court of Session.
The case against the Home Office and its contractor Serco was taken by two women in Glasgow who were told their locks would be changed.
The private housing provider’s plans to evict more than 300 asylum seekers in Glasgow brought pressure and campaigning from across the city and Scotland. It was then forced to temporarily pause the action ahead of the court challenge.
However, in dismissing the case, the judge stated: “I am satisfied that neither of the pursuers has made out a relevant case for any of the orders sought.”
Judith Robertson, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and Lynn Welsh, Head of Legal for the Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland, said:
‘We remain extremely concerned about Serco’s policy of locking people out of their homes without proper processes or safeguards, and the harsh impact this has on the people affected, leaving them with nowhere to go and in a vulnerable situation on Scotland’s streets.
‘We continue to have concerns that the policy fails to comply with people’s human rights including their right to a private and family life.
‘We will now consider the most appropriate next course of action, including possible legal intervention in another relevant case.
However, helpfully, the judge did clarify that Serco was a public body for the purpose of the Human Rights Act 1998 – something that both Serco and the Home Office had strongly resisted previously.
Govan Law Centre said it was “very disappointed” for its clients, and that they now plan to appeal the judgement.
You can read more about this case here.
Image credit: Takver, Flickr