At last night’s The Lawyer Awards, national charity Refugee Action was named winner of the coveted Ethical Initiative of the Year award.
Partnerships Officer Gemma Masingiri received the award on behalf of Refugee Action at a ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel.
The award was for Refugee Action’s Access to Justice project. The innovative project was set up in 2012 to investigate gaps in legal aid provision for asylum seekers.
Access to Justice explored how many asylum seekers were being wrongly deemed ineligible for legal aid for their asylum appeals. The project helped those people challenge such refusals and find a solicitor.
Commenting on the award Dave Garratt, Chief Executive of Refugee Action, said:
“Challenging injustice is at the heart of what we do at Refugee Action. We are very proud that this important work has been recognised through this award.
“Access to Justice revealed that many asylum seekers still aren’t able to access the legal help they so desperately need. The legal right to seek asylum is a cornerstone of the 1951 Refugee Convention. Yet, in the UK vulnerable people who are seeking protection are being denied legal aid to appeal a refusal of asylum.
“For many people seeking asylum, this leads to destitution on UK streets or forced removal to the country they fled. This urgently needs to change, and we hope this award draws attention to the problems asylum seekers face in their search for justice.”