We have some good news and some bad news. Let's get the bad out of the way first.
We met with the lawyers. Bindmans LLP have stated categorically that if we keep pursuing legal action against the Home Office, it will be very difficult to win, including the risks outlined below.
The Home Office did give “fair warning” to employers about the law. This is one paragraph written in their statement from 2011 and although it's buried and people don't tend to read updated legislation plans, it would hold up in court in their favour.
In their impact assessment, the Home Office states that anyone coming to work here should not expect to make their life here in the UK. To our dismay, this sentence is just that, a sentence, and is also buried.
The lawyers highly advised against moving forward as we (Josh and Shannon) would be personally liable for any fees incurred (that we did not raise in donations). These were estimated to initially run at £40k, but as of yesterday were told it would run upwards of £100k. And if we lost, ALL of the Home Office legal fees would also be in our debt.
Their research and assessment was that we wouldn't be able to raise enough money to pick substantial holes in the Home Office paperwork, only perhaps if we had a million pounds and a team of economists. The Home Office would also ensure to fight tooth and nail to try and counter everything we raise and we likely wouldn't have the judge on our side. Such is the nature of "justice".
We appreciate Bindmans LLP for doing an excellent job in their research and being up front.
The donations we have received so far have been incredibly generous. Thank you for believing in us. We plan to discuss with CrowdJustice if we can have the remaining funds (approx £2.5k), but they may absorb this into their own charity.
HERE IS WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO
Despite all of this, we were given a few suggestions by our lawyers on how to continue.
We have also come up with a new focus for the campaign: YOU
We have decided it is in our best interests to help the people directly who are affected by this even more. By working on getting our name out there, campaigning and via social media, we want to develop a strong network for people to join and find support and answers to their questions.
We are obviously not lawyers ourselves, counselors or government officers, but we have learned SO MUCH during this journey and have become the go-to resource for information. We would like anyone affected to join our community, tell us their story, and we will help send them in the right direction for the help they need in each case. We are currently curating a “Resource list" for Tier 2 workers on the site, and will continue proactively seeking out more people who are affected, as we are still not convinced everybody is aware of this law and its potential impacts on their lives.
The second action we are taking will be to start campaigning from the top down. That is - the top of the country and work our way down with support from untapped resources in those areas. We predict this is the area that will be most affected by the law and we also have the most active Governmental supporters in (i.e. the SNP). This will hopefully percolate through the country so our campaign can support more people, as well as make a noticeable influence from within Parliament, as the law starts affecting these communities and we gain more support.
We were hoping it wouldn't come to this, but we are not giving up. We see this as an opportunity to keep going and to keep fighting for what we and way more than 100,000 of you think is fair.
Yes, we are angry. Yes, we are passionate. But we must channel this into our work.
Please keep sharing our materials and continuing to support our network. We are not stopping. We only just got started.