ASYLUM: SCANDAL OF THE WASTED MILLIONS; Huge Cost of Migrants' Bids to Stay in Scotland; APS5m Legal Aid Bill for Asylum Appeals

Daily Mail (London), December 30, 2011 | Go to article overview

ASYLUM: SCANDAL OF THE WASTED MILLIONS; Huge Cost of Migrants' Bids to Stay in Scotland; APS5m Legal Aid Bill for Asylum Appeals


Byline: Graham Grant Home Affairs Editor

CORRECTION: IN December, the Mail reported that more than APS5million was being spent on last-ditch legal bids - judicial reviews - by asylum seekers to remain in Scotland. We are happy to make clear that this figure reflects the combined sums spent on advice and assistance (APS3.5million), assistance by way of representation (APS1million) and legal aid (APS0.6million) to asylum seekers and immigrants. The cost of legal aid work on judicial reviews falls within the latter figure.

MILLIONS of pounds are being squandered on futile last-ditch legal bids by asylum seekers striving to remain in Scotland.

The Scottish Daily Mail has learned that as few as one in 200 of those who exploit the legal system by challenging rulings to throw them out is successful.

A soaring number of migrants - many of whom lied to enter the UK - are taking their case to Scotland's highest court after exhausting the Home Office appeals process.

A backlog of failed asylum seekers waiting to be deported means that about 60 per cent of those who lose appeals continue to stay here, living on benefits or vanishing entirely from the authorities' radar.

Last night, news that valuable court time is being eaten up by failed asylum appeals - pushing the annual legal aid bill for such cases to more than APS5million - renewed concern over the shambolic state of Britain's immigration system.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of MigrationWatch UK, said: 'This is clear evidence that lawyers are lodging appeals which have only the remotest chance of success in order to delay the removal of asylum seekers whose cases have already been rejected, sometimes at several levels of the process.

'We need much tighter financial controls to stop the vital process of judicial review being abused in this way.'

Despite having their initial application to remain in the country rejected by the Home Office, increasing numbers of migrants are continuing their fight by launching a string of appeals.

When all appeal options have been exhausted, they can go to the Court of Session, Scotland's highest civil court, but only a tiny fraction succeed.

According to newly released Scottish Government figures, the number of asylum and immigration judicial reviews at the Court of Session soared from 210 in 2009-10 to 266 in 2010-11, a rise of nearly 27 per cent.

This is up from only 95 in 2004, meaning the number has increased by 180 per cent in seven years. On average, more than 22 such hearings are now held every month.

But of the 266 judicial reviews launched in 2010-11, only nine were successful, a failure rate of nearly 97 per cent. In 2009-10, the failure rate was even higher - with only one migrant (0.5 per cent of the total) being successful.

Those whose see their appeal fail often easily avoid deportation. The Mail revealed this October that one in six asylum seekers in Scotland has vanished after losing their bid to stay here. UK-wide it has been estimated that 60 per cent of rejected claimants stayed on after losing appeals

Meanwhile, taxpayers are footing a huge legal aid bill for asylum seekers fighting deportation. …

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