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The asylum seekers facing a Kafkaesque legal nightmare

He can't work. He can't study. He can't claim support from the state. Officially he is not allowed to stay in Britain. But he can't leave. And now he can't get even find a solicitor to help him escape this demoralising and exhausting state of limbo.

The number of people fleeing persecution and arriving on our shores has fallen significantly in recent years. In the first three months of 2011, 4,845 people sought asylum in the UK. Yet these people, from failed states and oppressive regimes, from Somalia, Eritrea, Iran and the Arab Spring uprisings, are funnelled into a Kafkaesque nightmare. Legal aidhas been slashed and is facing another £350m cut. More than 400 barristers have warned that victims of torture, children and the mentally ill will have their lives put at risk by cuts that, they say, will create legal aid "deserts" where it is impossible to find publicly funded access to justice.

Asylum specialists are going out of business. Last year the legal charity Refugee Migrant Justice (RMJ) shut down, leaving 10,000 asylum cases in limbo. Twelve months on, some case files are still locked away in storage. The largest remaining provider of publicly funded legal representation for asylum seekers, the Immigration Advisory Service (IAS), was placed in administration last month in acrimonious circumstances. Another 8,140 asylum and immigration cases are now in limbo. Asylum seekers such as Teklebrhan are used to living in a poverty trap; now they are caught in a legal trap.

Most people fleeing danger do not arrive with ID and paperwork to support their claims. Many are too traumatised to tell the coherent chronological story of their flight from oppression that the authorities demand, and so their claims are, at first, rejected. Once rejected, in most cases they lose their accommodation and other state support. They are classified as "destitute", a condition designed to deter others from seeking asylum in Britain. Still not permitted to work, they must survive on charity, find themselves a solicitor who can access legal aid, unearth new evidence and submit a fresh claim. One further hurdle recently added to the system is that asylum seekers who submitted their first claim more than four years ago must now travel to an office in Liverpool to personally hand in a fresh claim. The train or bus fare is beyond the means of many.

Teklebrhan's IAS caseworker had just commissioned an expert report when the charity closed. Teklebrhan does not know the name of the expert. So his paperwork, and the new report, is locked away. It may take months to retrieve. "It is too frustrating," he says softly. "I don't think the Home Office in this country can do human rights. I'm not a bad man. I'm not doing anything wrong."

Willy Igilima, an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is in a similar predicament. Igilima's original claim was turned down in 2007; his second claim was mistakenly turned down after the UK Border Agency lost his original paperwork. Homeless, and living off charitable food parcels in London, his hopes rest on a letter sent from the Congo to his IAS caseworker that prove his claims of being tortured for being an opponent of President Joseph Kabila. The trouble is that this letter is now somewhere in the locked offices. So far he has had no reply from a letter he sent to the IAS administrators. "I don't know if it's the UK government's policy to make asylum seekers struggle. Because most [politicians] are rich they think everybody is able to buy something or get a solicitor but we need help from them. That's why we are here," he says. "There's no justice."


The IAS closed because the Legal Services Commission, which provided it with a £15m annual grant, discovered it had incorrectly claimed legal aid payments totalling several million pounds. "The IAS was a good firm. We did good work and people really appreciated that," says Wilcox. She was not aware of over-claiming at the IAS but points out that legal aid entitlement rules are "exceptionally complicated". Other legal professionals agree. A group of prominent lawyers including Gareth Pierce and Louise Christian accused the LSC of using "a smokescreen of financial irregularities" to close the organisation. According to the LSC, however, it was the charity's trustees who ultimately took the decision to go into administration and the LSC has been left to pick up the pieces.

Harvey is convinced the bill will not save money. Unable to afford lawyers, immigrants will represent themselves. Their hearings will be more muddled and will take longer. They will need more help from the judges – "and judges aren't cheap," says Harvey. The government has carved up what qualifies for legal aid in a complicated way and individuals will challenge this – costing more money. As well as cutting costs, the government should look at what is value for money, believes Harvey. Without financial help, people with a legal right to stay in Britain may get turned away. Bad decisions will put people's lives at risk.
 この「DIY law」に関しては、こちらを。

Legal aid cuts will bring more DIY cases into courts – which will grind to a halt


Dutch parliament gives temporary reprieve to teenager facing deportation

Dublin regulation leaves asylum seekers with their fingers burnt



Milly Dowler parents join Yeates's landlord to oppose end to no win-no fee agreements


The letter says: "We are all ordinary citizens who found ourselves in a position of needing to obtain justice by taking or defending civil claims against powerful corporations or wealthy individuals.

"We would not have been in a position to do this without recourse to a 'no win, no fee' agreement with a lawyer willing to represent us on that basis. As was made clear to each of us at the beginning of our cases, we were liable for tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds if we lost.

"Without access to a conditional fee agreement (CFA), which protected us from this risk, we would not have been able even to embark on the legal journey."

Sally Dowler said: "At the outset we made clear that if we had to pay the lawyers, we could not afford to bring a claim; or if we had any risk of having to pay the other side's costs, we couldn't take the chance. If the proposed changes had been in place at that time we would not have made a claim. Simple as that, the News of the World would have won, because we could not afford to take them on."

Dr Evan Harris, from the Hacked Off campaign which is working with the signatories to save CFAs in libel and privacy cases, said: "If these reforms go ahead in their current form the government will be making justice impossible for all but the rich. That may suit the tabloid interests and libel bullies but it's not fair."





- ハマちゃん




2011.11.17 Thu 16:53 URL [ Edit ]

- 守屋

ハマちゃん さん







2011.11.19 Sat 07:00 URL [ Edit ]


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