Dear Nicola Blackwood,
I am deeply concerned to hear news about the charity Refugee and
Migrant Justice entering administration due to bureaucratic rules that
resulted in non-payment of Legal Aid by the Legal Services Commission.
Refugee and Migrant Justice provides invaluable legal services to
asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants with the greatest needs.
This crucial service is now severely under threat.
If RMJ has to close, I understand this will lead to more than 10,000
people, including 900 children and victims of trafficking, torture and
armed conflict, being left without legal representation. 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
far too common.
With that in mind I am asking you to press the Department of Justice to
do all it can to rectify this situation and ensure that some of the
most destitute people in our country have access to legal assistance.
I hope you will take this matter seriously and I look forward to
hearing of your immediate actions.
I'd like to apologise to Nicola for not mentioning that I intended on publishing the letter on my blog. With hindsight, it would have been polite to do this. I hope she will be happy for me to publish her response.
UPDATE: A demonstration is being organised against the likely closure of RMJ outside the Ministry of Justice at 4pm on Friday if you can make it.
UPDATE 2: Show your support by joining this Facebook group.