CAMPAIGNERS are considering a Supreme Court appeal after losing their fight against Home Officer contractor Serco’s controversial lock-change programme.

Serco provides housing for around 150 asylum seekers in Glasgow, and many who have been denied the right to remain could now face eviction without a court order under the ruling by the Court of Session.

Robina Qureshi, Director of Positive Action in Housing, claimed that: “Serco is stating that they will lock out 20 people a week” and other activists called the decision “a form of housing apartheid”.

A judge dismissed the case in April, but asylum seekers appealed against that at Scotland’s highest civil court, which yesterday backed the previous decision and said evictions without court orders are not unlawful.

Govan Law Centre originally brought the case against Serco and the appeal in the name of a Kurdish Iraqi national Shakar Ali.

Mike Dailly, from the centre, said she was now considering an appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

“I would hope she would think ‘well I’ve got nothing to lose’, but we’re going to have to talk to her and go through it all. From reading the judgement I think we’ve got good grounds to appeal.

“The fact that the Human Rights Act can’t apply is an absolute shocker, the has profound implications. It means the Government could sub-contract out of the European Convention on Human Rights by using a private company.”

Robina Qureshi said: “What this decision has done is to legally institute a form of housing apartheid in the city where one section of our community have their human and housing rights upheld. And another very vulnerable community can be dragged from their homes at any time and turfed out on to the streets without recourse to work, support or a roof over their heads.”

Sabir Zazai, chief executive of the Scottish Refugee Council, said: “This galling verdict leaves hundreds of men and women in Glasgow at risk of lock-change evictions and immediate street homelessness.”

Among those affected are Khadija Anwar, from Kenya, and her husband Muhammad Anwar, from Pakistan.

The couple, who are in their 70s, have been in the asylum system for eight years.

She said: “How can they just lock our door and think that we are going to stay out on the road in this cold? It’s so stressful. What are they going to do with us? I hope they are not just going to throw us out. This has been dragging on for years and we want to have a peaceful life.”

Julia Rogers, from Serco, said: “We have listened to the public concerns that the process to take back the properties they were living in might be unfair or illegal, but we now have clear judgments from Scotland’s highest court that our approach is completely proper and within the law.”

New contractor Mears, which largely took over from Serco in September, has agreed to improve the support for asylum seekers and replace lock-change evictions with a court process.

Judith Robertson, chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission said they had concerns about the ruling and added: “Governments should not be able to divest themselves of their human rights obligations by outsourcing the provision of public services.”

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “We will now consider the implications of the judgment ... and how best we can support those affected.”