Eviction by lock-change prevented for five destitute asylum seekers in Glasgow

Locked door
Serco will issue lock change notices and evict women, men and children from their homes

On Wednesday 3rd July, Glasgow law firm the Legal Services Agency secured interim interdict orders preventing the eviction of five asylum seeking clients, until a further hearing of the case on 7th August.

From LSA’s press release: “The asylum seekers had received a notice telling them their right to occupy the property would terminate at 11.59pm on 4 July 2019 and that if they did not leave, Serco would take steps to evict them.

The asylum seekers’ legal team took urgent action and commenced legal proceedings at Glasgow Sheriff Court, which led to the hearing on 3rd July 2019. They argued that eviction without a court order was unlawful in Scots law and the court agreed to grant “interim interdict” orders, which will stop Serco from carrying out any lock change evictions until the next hearing of the case. “

Another five interdicts are anticipated, which could lead to the prevention of ten evictions in total. At present, this impediment only applies to the five people whose cases were in court on Wednesday 3rd July. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that any individuals served with a lock change notice seek urgent legal advice.

Tomorrow, Friday 5th July, we expect the first 7-day lock-change eviction notice letters to be served by Serco, despite the matter having not been clarified definitively in law.

It is believed that around 300 people in total will be affected by these forced evictions.

Since August 2018, when Serco initially set out their plan to evict 300 destitute asylum seekers from their homes, we have held Legal Surgeries in conjunction with Shelter Scotland, JustRight Scotland, Legal Services Agency, Latta & Co Solicitors, Govan Law Centre, Govan Community Project, British Red Cross and ASH Project. This joint initiative between the legal and third sector is an emergency response to Serco announcing plans to forcibly evict people from its properties, and provides free, confidential legal advice offered by experienced housing and immigration lawyers. Legal Surgeries currently run every second Tuesday, 10-4.

Between August 2018 and March 2019, 109 people attended our legal surgeries.

 

What are we calling for?

It is morally unacceptable to force people into destitution, homelessness and extreme poverty. People affected by these evictions do not have access to alternative resources or recourse to change their situations. We are working to ensure that everybody affected has access to the information and advice they need, and know that many of those affected will be able to get back onto Home Office support with the correct support.

For those people whose claim for asylum has been refused and who cannot return for various reasons to the country they left, it is absurd to expect them to survive in destitution with no right to support themselves or receive support. They should be granted a temporary legal status which entitles them to accommodation and state support, and not continue to be failed by a failing UK asylum system.  

Destitution is a political choice on the part of the UK Government. We call for systemic change in which a humane and well-functioning asylum system replaces the hostile environment. There is no evidence that forcing people into destitution has any impact on the number of people seeking safety in the UK from persecution.