News & Views Monday 25th January to Sunday 31st January 2016

Detention of Mother & Three Children in ‘Cedars’ - Unlawful

Onos v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 59 (Admin) (26 January 2016)

1. This is a challenge to two decisions

    i) to remove the Claimant and her three children to Nigeria under section 10 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 ('the 1999 Act') and

    ii) to detain the Claimant and her three children pending their removal.

2. The first decision is said to be unlawful because

    i) the Claimant had an in-country right of appeal which was a barrier to removal,

    ii) the Defendant did not pay sufficient regard to the welfare of the Claimant's children, contrary to section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 ('the 2009 Act'), and

    iii) the Claimant is entitled to indefinite leave to remain ('ILR') because she has lived in the United Kingdom for more than 20 years.

3. The challenge to the second decision is on two grounds:

    i) the Claimant had an in-country right of appeal at the time she was detained, and

    ii) the decision involved a breach of the Defendant's policy in relation to the detention of families.

4. Permission to apply for judicial review was granted by Patterson J on the papers on 18 August 2015. At the hearing, the Claimant was represented by Miss Jones, and the Defendant by Mr Westaway. I am grateful to both for their helpful oral and written submissions.


75. The Claimant is entitled to a declaration that the entire period of her detention was unlawful. She is entitled to no more than nominal damages, however, for the first 72 hours of that detention, but she is entitled to compensatory damages for the extent to which her detention exceeded 72 hours. I will give the parties an opportunity to make written submissions about this, but my provisional view is that any assessment of damages should be adjourned for a reasonable period in order to enable the parties to try and agree the amount of those damages, and that if such an assessment is necessary, it should be transferred to the Queen's Bench Division. The Claimant is not entitled to aggravated damages, or to damages under article 5 of the ECHR which exceed those to which she is entitled at common law.

Published on Baili, 26/01/2016

Grounds for Revoking Refugee Status – Updated Guidance Jan/ 2016

Refugee status may be revoked for one or more of the reasons set out in the Immigration Rules. If more than one of the following provisions applies, then revocation on all grounds must be considered and addressed as part of the decision:

• Refugee Convention ceases to apply (Paragraph 339A(i)-(vi))

• exclusion from the Refugee Convention (Paragraph 339AA)

• misrepresentation of facts decisive to the grant of refugee status (Paragraph 339AB)

• danger to the UK (Paragraph 339AC(i)-(ii))

Asylum policy instruction/Version 4.0

Bisexual Asylum Seeker Wins Home Office Fight to Remain In UK

A bisexual asylum seeker who said he feared he would be killed if he was deported to his native Jamaica has been granted the right to remain in the UK after a three-and-a-half-year legal battle with the Home Office. Orashia Edwards, who lives in Leeds, had his claim for asylum rejected after a judge ruled he had been “dishonest” about his sexuality. But Edwards, who was in a relationship with a man through much of his subsequent appeal, argued that he was treated unfairly because of misconceptions about bisexuality and that widespread media coverage of his case in Jamaica would endanger his life. Reacting to the confirmation of his refugee status, Edwards, 33, said: “I’m delighted. For the past three years I’ve had trouble eating, trouble sleeping, problems with depression, but now I can finally move forward with my life.

Read more: Owen Duffy, Guardian, 23/01/2016

Is an Outstanding Appeal Abandoned if person is Forcibly Removed From UK

SR (Algeria) v SSHD [2015] EWCA Civ 1375 (17 December 2015)

1. This appeal concerns whether an immigrant who is removed from the United Kingdom at a time when she had an appeal on foot in relation to her immigration status is deemed to have abandoned her appeal. This turns on a short point of statutory construction.

7. Before SR's application for an extension of time and permission to appeal could be considered in this court, SR was removed back to Algeria by the Secretary of State on 13 June 2015. To state the obvious, this was not a voluntary departure on SR's part.

8. On 24 June the Court of Appeal Office received a letter from SR dated 14 June to inform the court of her new address in Algeria. This was sent in response to a previous request from the office to let them know of any change of address. It is clear from this letter that SR wishes her appeal to proceed. She has no intention of withdrawing it.

9. However, the question arises, as a preliminary issue on the appeal, whether SR's appeal must be treated as abandoned by virtue of section 92(8) of the 2002 Act, as substituted by paragraph 47 of Schedule 9 to the Immigration Act 2014 with effect from 20 October 2014. Section 92(8) provides:
  "Where an appellant brings an appeal from within the United Kingdom but leaves the United Kingdom before the appeal is finally determined, the appeal is to be treated as abandoned unless the claim to which the appeal relates has been certified under section 94(1) or (7) or section 94B."

14. In my judgment, section 92(8) does not have the effect that SR's appeal be treated as abandoned.

15. The phrase "Where an appellant brings an appeal from within the United Kingdom but leaves the United Kingdom before the appeal is finally determined" defines the circumstances in which the appeal is to be treated as abandoned. In my view, the word "leaves" used in this context means "voluntarily leaves the United Kingdom". It does not cover a situation in which an appellant is removed against her will by the Secretary of State.

17.    A different view of the meaning of the word "leaves" as it appeared in section 104(4)(b) of the 2002 Act was taken by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal in MA (Afghanistan) [2004] UKIAT 00216, which considered that it bore the wider meaning canvassed above and thus covered both voluntary and involuntary departures from the United Kingdom. In my opinion, that is not correct. For reasons closely similar to those set out above in relation to the new section 92(8), I think the better view is that the word "leaves" in section 104(4)(b) bears the same narrow meaning as it does in section 92(8) and thus covers only voluntary departures from the United Kingdom.

18. For these reasons, section 92(8) has no application in the present case. SR's appeal remains on foot and is not to be treated as abandoned. Her application for an extension of time and for permission to appeal should now be considered on the papers in the usual way.

Published on Bailii, 25/01/2016

Asylum Seekers 'Forced to Wear Coloured Wristbands'

Asylum seekers in Cardiff are being issued with brightly coloured wristbands that they must wear at all times, in a move which echoes the “red door” controversy in Middlesbrough and has resulted in their harassment and abuse by members of the public. Newly arrived asylum seekers in the Welsh capital who are housed by Clearsprings Ready Homes, a private firm contracted by the Home Office, are being told that they must wear the wristbands all the time otherwise they will not be fed. The wristbands entitle the asylum seekers, who cannot work and are not given money, to three meals a day. It follows the news that asylum seekers in Middlesbrough had complained their houses were targeted after people realised all front doors were painted the same colour red by the private firm responsible for housing them, G4S.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian, 24,01/2016


EDM 1004: Religious Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Indonesia

That this House notes with concern reports that the Indonesian province Bangka-Belitung has banned Ahmadi Muslims from conducting religious activities; further notes that, according to local Indonesian media, over the last few years those who follow the Ahmadiyya faith have often faced intimidation, violence and religious censuring; recognises that freedom of religion is protected under the Indonesian constitution; deplores the escalation of religious intolerance against this charitable and peaceful strand of Islam; urges Indonesia to revoke the 2008 Joint Ministerial decree against Ahmadi Muslims, and to uphold freedom of religion for all; and calls on the Government to make representations to authorities in Indonesia in support of freedom of religion.
House of Commons: 25/01/2016

Visa Scheme Exposes Workers to Abuse

Domestic worker visas are leaving women vulnerable to conditions of abuse that amount to modern slavery, according to an independent review commissioned by the Home Office. The current system ties overseas domestic workers to the foreign employer who brought them into the UK. Approximately 17,000 visas were issued under the scheme last year, with the large majority of applications coming from the Gulf States. Workers have no legal right to change their employer, and are liable to deportation if they escape their situation. Campaigners argue that such restrictions expose women to the risk of serious ill treatment, with domestic workers being subjected to physical and sexual violence, deprivation of food and non-payment of wages. The review of the scheme reinforces these concerns, finding “no evidence that a tie to a single employer does anything other than increase the risk of abuse and therefore increases actual abuse.” It recommends that workers be permitted to change employers and remain in the UK for up to two and a half years. he Government has stated that it is “carefully considering the report’s recommendations” and would announce its response “in due course.”
Read more: UK Human Rights Blog, 25/01/2016

Self-Harm in Immgration Detention Q3 July/Aug/September 2015

There has been one death within the detention estate during Q3. This occurred at The Verne IRC in August 2015

Two children detained in the Cedars in Q3 were deemed to be at risk of Self-Harm

Incidents of Self-Harm Requiring Medical Treatment Q3 July Through September 2015
Total August Sept Octo
Quarter 3
Brook House 4 0 1 3
Campsfield House 6 1 1 4
Colnbrook 3 0 1 2
Dover Closed
Dungavel 0 0 0 0
Harmondsworth 10 4 4 2
Haslar                   Closed
Morton Hall 17 2 3 12
The Verne 15 7 4 4
Tinsley House 1 1 0 0
Yarl's Wood 9 3 3 3
Larne 0 0 0 0
Pennine House 2 0 0 2
Cedars 0 0 0 0
Subtotal 67 18 17 32
Individuals on Formal Self-Harm at Risk in Q3 July Through September - 2015
Total Oct Nov Dec
Brook House 0 29 31 37
Campsfield House 46 13 16 17
Colnbrook 111 30 37 44
Dover                    Closed
Dungavel 45 10 16 19
Harmondsworth 155 57 51 47
Haslar 0 Closed
Morton Hall 73 19 19 35
The Verne 68 20 35 13
Tinsley House 27 8 10 9
Yarl's Wood 73 24 21 28
Larne 3 0 2 1
Pennine House 3 0 0 3
Cedars Pre-departure 2 0 2 0
Subtotal   703 210 240 253


Last updated 29 January, 2016