Fifty lock-change evictions blocked by Glasgow Sheriff Court

Serco accommodation

The fight against Serco’s lock change evictions in Glasgow continues as fifty evictions have now been blocked by Glasgow Sheriff Court.

The scale of intervention from the court raises serious questions about multinational firm Serco’s evictions policy.

 Lawyers representing people affected by the policy argue that lock change evictions without court orders are unlawful. They are seeking interim interdicts from the Sheriff Court on a case-by-case basis as a means of protecting people at risk of summary eviction, while the law is being clarified.

The blocking of fifty lock-change evictions by Glasgow Sheriff Court will put pressure on Serco to pause all its lock changes while the law is being clarified. Scottish Refugee Council is aware of three people who have been made homeless as a result of lock-change evictions in the past fortnight. These lock changes may subsequently be found to be unlawful. Those who have been locked out will no doubt end up on the streets. This is in no one’s interests and a particularly concerning approach to take towards people at a very vulnerable time in their lives and who, generally speaking, have no recourse to public funds.

Graham O’Neill, Policy Manager at Scottish Refugee Council said:

“These fifty interdicts are a significant milestone in the campaign against Serco and the Home Office’s inhumane treatment of people seeking refugee protection in Scotland. It’s time for Serco to commit to the lawful court order procedure which exists to protect people, giving them time to challenge potential evictions and avoid crisis situations such as this, where people are being forced into destitution and onto the streets.

“Until there is a final ruling on this legal case, we urge Serco to immediately stop making people homeless, and to stop spreading fear and anxiety among vulnerable, marginalised groups in Scotland.

“There are undoubtedly more than the three people we know of who have been forcibly evicted this summer. We urge anyone who is worried about their Serco accommodation or who knows anyone who might be at risk of eviction to contact Scottish Refugee Council straight away. We run free legal advice sessions where people can find out about their rights. Please call our helpline on 0141 223 7979.”

Fiona McPhail, Principal Solicitor at Shelter Scotland said:

“To achieve fifty interim interdicts so far is great news and just shows that there is a case to be heard. We would urge that Serco stop its programme of lock changes until the law has been clarified on whether these lock changes are lawful. Until then, as a group of housing lawyers in Glasgow, we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that any person at risk of a lock change has access to legal advice so that their rights to a home may be defended.”