Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit – Urgent: We need your help

On 28th June 2010 we received news of the decision by the Legal Services Commission to cut our legal aid contract to provide immigration legal advice and representation from October 2010. See our statement below.

It amounts to a 70% cut in the amount of legal aid we can provide.

We will not take this lying down, and we need you to help us to fight this.

We work with some of the most vulnerable people for whom the asylum system has already done an injustice. Daily we see people who have been un-represented because they weren’t able to get legal advice, or they got advice for their asylum claim but when it came to appeal their legal representative turned them away – because the work isn’t profitable.

This is what you can do

Come to our public meeting at GMIAU on Monday 19th July at 6.30pm. Everyone is welcome.

Write to:
1. Your local MP. You can use the ‘contact your politician’ function on the front page of our website
Please do it now and let us have copies of your replies.

Point out to your MP what a valuable service we provide and how they rely on organisations, including GMIAU, to help their constituents. Without us their queues will get longer and their work will get harder. Get them to pledge their support.

2. Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MPÂ
Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
London SW1H 0AL
c/o Sally.Jones@ Justice.gsi. govuk

3. Damian Green MP, Minister for Immigration, Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1 4DF c/o Emily.Warren2@ homeoffice.

Please send copies of any letters and replies to denise@gmiau. org

Take it up with your trade union or professional association. Skilled and experienced caseworkers across the country will lose their jobs as a result of this.

Become a supporter of GMIAU
Support the work of GMIAU by getting friends and colleagues to sign up as a supporter and offering to do work for us (all assistance with legal action welcome), donate or fund raise. Email denise@gmiau. org to sign up.

For further detail on any of the above contact Denise McDowell, Director denise@gmiau. org or ring 0161 741 2646

Statement about our position since the announcement of the outcome of the legal aid contracts for immigration

This is the latest evidence of damage to the advice sector by the LSC. After three years of preparation, and several delays, the outcome of the national tendering round seems to have hinged upon whether an organisation ticked a box to say that they had applied for a level 3 caseworker to gain 1 point. This is so ludicrous as to be almost laughable. Except that of course it’s not funny at all.

The LSC have damaged immigration legal aid beyond repair.

This will mean that people needing quality representation will be detrimentally affected. It will mean that there will be even more people standing un-represented before the courts.

Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit remains committed to providing a high quality service to people affected by immigration control. Whilst the cut in matter starts will affect the number of people we can see who are funded through legal aid we remain as committed as ever to the people we are here to serve – people affected by immigration control. Over the next few weeks and months we will be taking action to manage this situation including seeking to secure alternative funding to continue the work. Your support is crucial.Denise McDowell
Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
1 Delaunays Road
Crumpsall Green
Manchester M8 4QS

Tel: 0161 740 7722
Direct Line: 0161 741 2646