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
For further details, please contact Rachael Maskell, Unite National Officer, Community and Non Profit Sector: 07768 693933