Lawyers who took on Serco lock-change evictions win top gong at law awards



Fiona McPhail

A collaboration of lawyers who took on a multi-billion-pound national services company to defend the right to a home for 300+ asylum seekers has won the Judges Award at The Herald’s Law Awards of Scotland.

The asylum seekers were threatened with summary eviction by having the locks on their accommodation changed by Serco, working on behalf of the Home Office.

Glasgow Social Justice Lawyers (comprising Shelter Scotland, Latta & Co, JustRight Scotland, Govan Law Centre and Legal Services Agency) argued that summary eviction via lock-change is unlawful under Scots law. The group eventually secured around 150 interim interdicts to stop lock-change evictions taking place.

Fiona McPhail, principal solicitor for Shelter Scotland, part of the Glasgow Social Justice Lawyers team, said: “This award is testament to all the hard work and long hours put in by each and everyone involved in this collaboration. The housing and immigration solicitors, advocates, caseworkers, and interpreters should all be very proud of what was achieved.

“We thank The Herald Law Awards of Scotland for recognising our efforts. This was a grass-roots rapid response to try and stop this lock-change eviction programme which threatened a very vulnerable client group who don’t have the right to work or access benefits.

“Sadly, the Court of Session has now ruled that lock-change evictions are not unlawful and so the fight continues.”

Tags: awards



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