Campaigners have expressed fears for the welfare of asylum seekers in Glasgow who can now be evicted from their homes after a legal challenge ended in disappointment.

The UK Supreme Court has refused permission to appeal in a case that challenged the contractor’s plan to change locks and put people out on the streets.

While the case, Ali v Serco Group Plc, was going through the legal process many other eviction cases in Glasgow involving the group and asylum seekers were on hold until a final decision was reached.

READ MORE: Council tax payments can be delayed

Now the court refused an appeal on the grounds that the application does not raise an arguable point of law.

The case was being taken forward by Govan Law Centre who said it was now looking at any further steps it could take to protect people from eviction.

Serco, the private facilities company, which had the contract for housing asylum seekers until last September, said it had already paused any eviction actions because of the coronavirus crisis.

Mike Dailly, solicitor advocate for Govan Law Centre, said: “We are deeply disappointed with this decision, but our immediate concern is for the health, safety and well-being of our clients and everyone in Serco accommodation in Glasgow during the COVID-19 crisis.

READ MORE: Glasgow Times home delivery is back

“We hope Serco will act responsibly and in the wider public interest in the present circumstances.”

Campaigners for asylum seekers and refugees were disappointed by the decision and said those who are vulnerable need protection.

Robina Qureshi, Director of Positive Action in Housing, said: “At a time when every government, housing and financial institution is working to ensure people do not get put out of their homes, it is deeply disappointing that Serco has now been given carte blanche by the U.K. Supreme Court to evict refused refugees from housing in Glasgow.

“We hope that Serco will not act out lock change evictions at this time of emergency when more vulnerable people are at increased risk of homelessness”

Serco had the contract from the UK Home Office to house asylum seekers for seven years from 2012 to 2019.

In 2018 it caused controversy and anger when it announced it was intending to change locks of around 300 properties housing asylum seekers who it said has been refused leave to remain and as such were not entitled to public funds, leaving Serco with the costs.

The contract was then transferred last September to Mears Group but did not include handing over properties of those where the lock changes were still an issue.

Jenni Halliday Serco Contract Director for Asylum Accommodation and Support Services, said:

“We are pleased that the Scottish Supreme Court has refused this leave to appeal and that our legal position has once again been confirmed.

“Serco has ceased repossession activity some weeks ago as a result of the Covid19 situation.”


Shops are closing. Newspaper sales are falling. But we’ve chosen to keep our coverage of the Coronavirus crisis free because it’s so important that the people of Glasgow stay informed during this difficult time.

To help us get through this, we’re asking readers who can afford it to contribute either £3, £5 or £8 a month to the Glasgow Times.

If you choose to sign up, we’ll also take away all the adverts – and deliver a digital version of the print paper to your device. Click here to help Save Your Times: