In response to the Constitutional Affairs Committee’s report into changes to funding for asylum and immigration appeals Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We urge ministers to give careful consideration to the persuasive and forceful conclusions the report makes. By making it harder for asylum seekers to get legal representation, and therefore get a fair hearing on their claim, there is the very real risk that people will be returned to their country of origin to be tortured or killed. That is a prospect no decent society or responsible government should ever contemplate.
“Access to good quality legal representation is essential for asylum seekers at all stages of the process. We require lawyers to help us move house and get divorced, yet the Government suggests we do not need them when we have fled tyranny and are frightened for our lives.
“As this and other reports have pointed out, if the government is serious about cutting down on the number of appeals and avoiding delay in the asylum system, it should concentrate on improving its initial decision-making and get more decisions on asylum claims right first time.”
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Links and information:
The Campaign Against the Legal Aid Cuts (CALAC) has been taking submissions on the effects of the legal aids cuts. Their report is due out on 28 April 2005. For further information, contact Liberty on firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a copy of the Refugee Council Submission to CALAC, click HERE.