Refugee and Migrant Justice is a legal service which provides assistance to asylum seekers and other migrants coming to the UK.
The threat of closure is putting than 10,000 asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants at risk without legal assistance. Victims of trafficking, torture and armed conflict and nearly a thousand unaccompanied children would be affected if RMJ had to close.
RMJ were once paid on a monthly basis for the work they did. Rule changes mean that payments now always arrive late for asylum and immigration work. The Legal Services Commission is now making them wait until the case is concluded to process payment, sometimes as long as two years. As a charity this is making it almost impossible for them to continue their work.
Paradoxically, the drawn out and complicated nature of asylum cases makes the work RMJ does all the more vital. Yet it is these long cases in combination with an inadequate method for payment that is threatening the service.
RMJ do not need extra money, they just need paying in a time frame which realistically allows them to continue their work. The new coalition is committed to reviewing legal aid. Altering the way asylum cases are paid for could improve countless lives and ensure asylum cases are dealt with quickly so we do see the return of the large backlogs and blighted past systems.
Below the fold you will find a standard letter which you can edit, print and post (or e-mail to email@example.com marked FAO Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP) to show your support.
Please also copy this letter to The Minister for Immigration, Damian Green MP by writing to Emily.Warren2@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. You may also like to send a copy of the letter to your local MP: Find out who they are here. Richard Benyon will be getting a letter from me.
Refugee and Migrant Justice do fantastic work for refugees and migrants and deserve your support, please take 5 minutes out of your day to help.
Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP
Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
7th June 2010
Dear Mr Clarke,
I have recently learnt from Left Outside Blog about the possible closure of Refugee and Migrant Justice due to bureaucratic rules that result in late payment by the Legal Services Commission.
No charity can be expected to wait many months, even years for payment. Refugee and Migrant Justice provides an excellent service to asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants with the greatest needs and this is putting that service under threat.
If RMJ has to close, I understand this will lead to more than 10,000 people being left without legal representation and this could cause chaos in the asylum system. Lives will be put at risk and there are likely to be many more miscarriages of justice, which are already common.
With that in mind I beg you to consider urgently paying this very important charity what it is due or to make interest free loans available to make up the difference. I appreciate that public finances are under pressure but understand the Government is committed to a fundamental review of legal aid. This is the perfect opportunity to cut out inefficiency and pay providers like RMJ fairly and promptly.
I hope you will take this matter seriously and I look forward to hearing of your immediate actions.