‘Deep disappointment’ as Supreme Court refuses appeal in Serco case

Home Office asylum accommodation provider Serco can legally carry out lock-changes evictions on refused refugees in Glasgow after an appeal case was rejected by the UK Supreme Court.

‘Deep disappointment’ as Supreme Court refuses appeal in Serco case

The Court refused permission to appeal in the case Ali v Serco Group Plc after deciding that the application does not raise an arguable point of law.

The ruling brings an end of the appeal route for the case of Kurdish Iraqi national Shakar Ali, and permits other eviction cases from Serco accommodation that were on hold pending the outcome of this appeal.

The long-running legal battle began in July 2018 when Serco announced that it would evict 300 people from their homes if they were no longer eligible for asylum support. The company was forced to pause the evictions after the legal challenge was brought by Govan Law Centre (GLC).

After the Inner House of the Court of Session’s decision that the lock changes were not unlawful, GLC then sought permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

Following the latest ruling, Govan Law Centre said it will now consider what further steps, if any, it can take.

Mike Dailly, solicitor advocate for Govan Law Centre, said: “We are deeply disappointed with this decision, but our immediate concern is for the health, safety and well-being of our clients and everyone in Serco accommodation in Glasgow during the COVID-19 crisis. We hope Serco will act responsibly and in the wider public interest in the present circumstances.”

The appeal had been backed by homelessness and human rights refugee and migrant rights charity Positive Action in Housing which has raised concerns over those at risk of losing their home during a national health crisis. 

Robina Qureshi, director of Positive Action in Housing, said: “At a time when every government, housing and financial institution is working to ensure people do not get put out of their homes, it is deeply disappointing that Serco has now been given carte blanche by the UK Supreme Court to evict refused refugees from housing in Glasgow. We hope that Serco will not act out lock change evictions at this time of emergency when more vulnerable people are at increased risk of homelessness.”

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