Refugee and Migrant Justice, formerly known as the Refugee Legal Centre, has gone into administration today. As a lawyer specialising in immigration and family work I have no idea what this means in commercial terms and whether it is now too late to save the organisation. What I do know is that this is a very sad day for refugees and asylum seekers and it could be a disaster in terms of legal aid coverage for some of the most vulnerable and maligned individuals in the UK.
There are what might in some cases be inappropriately be termed Guilty Men no longer employed by the Legal Services Commission who are responsible for changing the funding payment rules — the date of payment, not the amount or fact of payment — that have caused fundamental survival issues right across the not-for-profit sector. This was done to massage the accounts and improve the cash flow of the Legal Services Commission, not for any other reason. They should be ashamed of what they have done, supposedly in the name of access to justice. Instead, some ‘factory firms’ are making significant profits by giving poor qualify representations and getting away with doing as little as possible (and often less than that) on cases for which they are paid a fixed fee.
My thoughts are also with the hugely committed and skilled staff at RMJ.