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RMJ demo at MoJ


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The union at RMJ is organising a demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice tomorrow. See you there? It is ages since I’ve been to a demonstration. I think the last one may have been at Campsfield when I was a student.

Demonstrate Against Likely Closure of Refugee and Migrant Justice – Defend Legal Aid

Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ), the largest provider of specialist legal advice for asylum seekers and other vulnerable migrants in England and Wales, went into administration on June 16 2010.

This is a result of cuts in Legal Aid over recent years and changes in the way in which Legal Aid providers are paid.  RMJ used to get paid monthly, but is now only paid after each case is closed – many cases last many months or even years.  No charity can be expected to wait that long for payment and many law centres are finding it difficult to cope with the new payment system.  David Cameron’s claims to value the work of charities rings very hollow indeed.

RMJ (formerly the Refugee Legal Centre) was founded in 1992 and in the last year alone has helped over 11,000 people. Closure would mean that many thousands of vulnerable people will be left without legal representation.  Many will face being returned to countries where they face persecution and their lives are in danger.

So far the Ministry of Justice has declined to help RMJ. UNITE is calling for RMJ to be saved and for proper Legal Aid funding to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society have real access to justice.

Cuts in public spending are affecting the poorest people right across our society.  But these people did not cause the economic crisis and should not be made to pay for it.

UNITE, the union that represents RMJ’s 340 staff, has called a demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice at 4pm on Friday 18th June 2010.

Please join us.

Ministry of Justice

102 Petty France

London SW1H 9AJ

Tubes: St James’s Park and Westminster

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


2 Responses

  1. You may have seen the parliamentary debate earlier today. This is one of the statements by Ken Clarke!

    Responding to an urgent question in the Commons Mr Clarke told MPs that “every other organisation” including charities had coped with changes in the way legal aid was paid.

    We urgently need other providers and organisations who know about law and human rights to send out statements confirming the the whole sector is struggling because of delayed payments. At the moment Mr Clarke is painting a picture that RMJ are the only ones with the problem and as you are aware, this is not true, but we urgently need leaders in the field to go on record with this.

  2. Whilst there is an overwhelming urge to gloat and take part in some vigorous grave-top-dancing, this development is a great shame.

    The RLC stood out as a beacon amongst other “Immigration Lawyers” as honest and straight talking, as versus the growing number of fly-by-night charlatans found scurrying around the Tribunal these days.

    I always found RLC reps to be well prepared, trained and hard working, there only real fault was their tendency to take things a little too personally & and getting a bit too close to their client.

    It is a shame that the professionalism and tenacity of their caseworkers was not mirrored by their blundering back office and board who were at the helm as the ship went down.

    Farewell RMJ aka RLC.