Asylum cases saved following charity collapse

By Ian Dunt

The cases of thousands of asylum seekers have been saved from a devastating lack of legal representation after Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ) went into administration.

The not-for-profit organisation was forced into administration in June, after the government failed to step in to address a cash flow problem created by late payment of legal aid by the Legal Services Commission (LSC).

The problem, which did not relate to income but to the timing of payments from legal aid work, was brought to the government’s attention through an open letter from legal experts and activists, but no action was forthcoming.

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The LSC came into the picture again to transfer all live files from the RMJ to other providers.

“When a legal aid funded organisation runs into financial difficulty on this level, the impact on the clients can be potentially devastating,” said Hugh Barrett, LSC executive director for commissioning.

“We have done everything we can to smooth the transition of cases to other providers in as short a time as possible.”

A statement from the LSC today confirmed that of all the 12,500 live cases handed to them had either been marked as closed by their staff or transferred to another provider.