News & Views Monday 29th July to Sunday 4th August 2019


Home Office Spent £268k on Deportation Flights That Never Flew

The Home Office has spent a quarter of a million pounds on charter flights to deport people in the last three months without a single plane leaving the runway in that period, it has been revealed.

In March this year, the Home Office was forced to suspend the use of charter flights for the first time following the launch of a high court challenge by the charity Medical Justice. The charity argued that the Home Office’s policy of not informing people of exactly when they would be removed was unlawful because it failed to give people time to instruct lawyers and gather new evidence which might prevent their removal.

At a preliminary high court hearing about this case in March 2019, Mr Justice Walker issued an injunction ordering the Home Office to suspend its policy of removing migrants from the UK without adequate warning until the policy could be fully considered by the court. He said: “There appears to be grounds for real concern about access to justice.” The injunction required the Home Office to give 72 hour’s notice and full flight details. A full hearing was held in June 2019 and judgment is awaited.

It is understood that the Home Office’s use of charter flights resumed on 11 July.

The three-month suspension of the flights has been revealed in Freedom of Information requests obtained by the organisation ‘No-Deportations’.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

Priti Patel's Record on Human Rights Prompts 'Extreme Concern'

Campaigners wary of new home secretary, who backed Theresa May’s hostile environment aim

Priti Patel’s appointment as home secretary has been met with an outpouring of “extreme concern” over her hard-right record on key issues covered by her new brief.

Patel – who was forced to resign from government two years ago after it emerged that she had held secret, unofficial meetings with Israeli ministers, businesspeople and a senior lobbyist – will be responsible for immigration, crime and policing, counter-terrorism and drugs policy.

The Essex MP, whose Gujarati Indian parents migrated to the UK in the 1960s from Uganda just ahead of Idi Amin’s decision to deport all Asians, has voted for a stricter asylum system, stronger enforcement of immigration rules, and against banning the detention of pregnant women in immigration jails.

She backed the key components of Theresa May’s hostile environment policies, presented in the immigration bills of 2014 and 2016, such as rent, work and bank account checks, all of which led to members of the Windrush generation being wrongfully told they had no lawful right to live and work in the UK.

Read more: Jamie Grierson, Guardian,

Commission Refers Conviction of Mr C an Iranian National to CoA

Mr C is an Iranian national who was involved over a number of years with anti-government activity in his country. He was imprisoned on a number of occasions and tortured. In March 2011, in fear of his life, he fled overland to Turkey. From there he travelled by sea to Greece where agents/ people traffickers took his Iranian passport and provided him with a false burgundy coloured document.  In September 2011 he used that false passport to board a flight from Greece to Manchester. During the flight he gave the false passport back to the agent. After landing he told airport staff he had no passport and he was arrested. Four days later he appeared at Trafford Magistrates’ Court, where, having been advised to do so by a solicitor, he pleaded guilty to the charge of failing to provide a valid immigration document contrary to section 2(1) of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants) Act 2004. He was jailed for four months.

In November 2017 Mr C applied to the CCRC for a review of his case. On arrival in the UK in 2011, Mr C said he wished to claim asylum on the basis that, if he returned to Iran, he would be killed because of his involvement in anti-regime demonstrations and online anti-government activity. Early in 2012, the Home Office granted asylum and leave to remain for five years. In January 2017, Mr C applied for indefinite leave to remain, but was refused and instead granted leave until 2020. The refusal of indefinite leave was directly related to the 2011 travel documents conviction now being referred for appeal by the CCRC.

Having reviewed the case in detail, the CCRC has decided to refer Mr C’s conviction for appeal
because it believes there is a real possibility that the subsequent appeal will succeed. The referral is made on the basis that Mr C had a statutory defence under section 2(4)(c) of the 2004 Act in relation to the charge of failure to produce an immigration document and that that defence is likely to succeed on a fresh hearing (i.e. an appeal at Crown Court)[1].

Mr C was not legally represented in his application to the CCRC. His identity has been concealed because of ongoing security concerns. In reaching its decisions the Commission has considered the case of R v Mehmet Ordu [2017] EWCA Crim 4 because it is possible that the court may find that defence advice in these cases was wrong only because of a subsequent change of law. In any event the Commission has taken the view that, even if the appeal court finds the defence advice was wrong at the time, substantial injustice may still be considered. This is because, while this may be considered a relatively minor conviction, its longer term implications for the applicant are arguably significant.

Source: CCRC,

British Nationality Act 1981 (Remedial) Order 2019

This Order amends the British Nationality Act 1981 (c. 61) ("the 1981 Act") to remove incompatibilities with a right under the European Convention of Human Rights.

Section 41A(1) of the 1981 Act provides that an application for registration as a British citizen under certain provisions of that Act, by a person aged 10 or older, must not be granted unless the Secretary of State is satisfied that he or she is of good character. Declarations of incompatibility in relation to section 41A have been made by the courts in two cases due to unlawful discrimination against various categories of people who would have automatically become UK citizens (or had a route to apply for citizenship) had their parents been married to one another at the time of their birth.

In the case of Johnson v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKSC 56, the Supreme Court made a declaration of incompatibility in relation to paragraph 70 of Schedule 9 to the Immigration Act 2014 (c. 22), which amended section 41A(1) of the 1981 Act to apply a good character test to applications for registration under sections 4F to 4I of the 1981 Act.

In the case of R (on the application of David Fenton Bangs) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (claim number CO/1793/2017), the Administrative Court agreed a consent order by which a declaration of incompatibility was made in relation to section 47(1) of the Borders Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 (c. 11), insofar as it introduced into the 1981 Act a new section 41A applying a good character test to applications for registration under section 4C of the 1981 Act.
In Johnson, the Supreme Court held that that it was unlawfully discriminatory to impose a good character test upon persons who would, but for their parents' marital status, have automatically acquired citizenship at their birth.

In Bangs, it was agreed that applying the good character test to applications for registration under section 4C of the 1981 Act was also unlawfully discriminatory.
In order to remove the incompatibility identified in these two cases, article 2(1) and (2) amends section 41A of the 1981 Act, with the effect that a good character test no longer applies to an application for registration as a British citizen made under section 4C or 4G to 4I of the 1981 Act.

In contrast to sections 4G to 4I, section 4F does not concern persons who would have automatically acquired UK citizenship at their birth, but for their parents' marital status. Rather, it provides a registration route for persons who would have a current entitlement to be registered as a British citizen under sections 1(3), 3(2) or 3(5) of, or paragraphs 4 or 5 of Schedule 2 to, the 1981 Act, had their parents been married to one another at their birth. Registration under sections 1(3), 3(2) and 3(5) is subject to the good character requirement. The effect of article 2(3) is that a good character test applies only to section 4F applications where the provision under which the person would be entitled to be registered as a British citizen, but for their parents' marital status, is section 1(3), 3(2) or (5).
The Order also makes consequential amendments to the Immigration Act 2014 (c.22) and the British Nationality (General) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/548).

An impact assessment has not been produced for this instrument as no impact on the private or voluntary sector is foreseen.

Read the full order:

Sajid Javid Speaks Out On Section 67 Leave

On 23 July 2019, the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid made an official written statement in the House of Lords on a number of issues related to immigration. One of the issues covered in his statement related to Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 ("Section 67").

In his speech, the then Home Secretary tackled the challenge of dealing with unaccompanied children seeking sanctuary in the UK but who do not qualify for international protection in line with the Refugee Convention 1951 or humanitarian protection leave.

The 'Dubs' amendment, also known as Section 67, requires the Secretary of State to 'make arrangements to relocate to the United Kingdom and support a specified number of unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe'.

Under the current rules, children who qualify for Section 67 leave have the right to study and work in the UK, and access public funds (claim benefits and housing support) and healthcare, provided they meet the residence requirements. In addition, they would be granted a total of 5 years' continuous leave.

Importantly, however, Section 67 leave is currently only granted to those children whose refugee or humanitarian protection applications have been refused. The change discussed by the then Home Secretary would allow those transferring to the UK under Section 67 to receive this status immediately, guaranteeing their status in the UK as soon as they arrive. Children whose asylum status is under consideration will also be granted this leave automatically and all those who are granted leave under Section 67 will still be able to claim asylum in the UK.

This amendment to the rules will provide more security to the 480 unaccompanied children the UK government has committed to transferring to the UK under Section 67.

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

Gay Woman Unlawfully Deported to Uganda Blocked from Flight Meant to Bring Her Back to UK

A gay woman who was unlawfully deported from the UK was blocked from returning to the UK after the British government failed to issue her with documentation to board the flight.
The 26-year-old, known only as PN, was told by airline staff that she could not board the flight scheduled to bring her back to Britain in the early hours of Monday, because the Home Office had not provided written evidence of her visa waiver.

The Ugandan national has told The Independent she was gang-raped and has lived in perpetual fear since being sent back to Uganda in 2013. She also talked about the trauma of getting pregnant and having a child, who is now four months old, as a result of the sexual assault.

The British government was earlier this month ordered by the High Court to help her return to the UK on the grounds that its decision to reject her asylum claim had been unlawful, because it was reached by an unfair process which did not give her sufficient time to obtain evidence.

She is one of thousands of asylum seekers whose immigration cases were decided under the Home Office’s “detained fast-track” system, which was introduced in 2005 and came to an end in 2015 after the High Court ruled that it was “structurally unfair”.

Read more: May Bulman, Independent,

Immigration Detention Reform

The Immigration Minister has given an update on the improvements and continuing reforms being made to immigration detention The immigration detention estate is around 40% smaller than it was in 2015, the Immigration Minister announced today (Tuesday 23 July).

This is a key aspect of the series of reforms the government is making across the detention system in response to Stephen Shaw's second review into the welfare of vulnerable people in detention, published a year ago. The reforms include promoting and encouraging voluntary return and introducing a pilot to support vulnerable women outside detention while their cases are resolved. Practical changes have also been made to Immigration Removal Centres, such as reducing the number of beds and rolling out the use of Skype.

The reforms have meant that there is a higher ratio of staff to detainees in removal centres and there has been a more than 30% reduction in the number of people in detention. Nokes said: I am committed to going further and faster in reforming immigration detention. Over the past year we have reduced the number of detainees, improved detention decision-making and bolstered the safeguards in place to protect the vulnerable. We have put in place the foundations that will enable us to continue the changes Stephen Shaw envisaged last year and I will continue to ensure that the health and wellbeing of detainees is the number one priority.

I know there is more to do and I'm committed to making real change so we have detention and removal policies which are fair and humane for everyone. In addition, we are piloting automatic bail referral of detainees to the First-Tier Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber after 2 months in detention. The pilot is due to conclude in August. We have also increased face-to-face engagement with detainees.

There are new engagement teams in the removal centres improving induction and links between detainees and their caseworkers. This also supports the management of detainees' wellbeing and the identification of any signs of mental or physical deterioration. Last July, the former Prisons and Probation Ombudsman for England and Wales, Stephen Shaw, published a report which assessed government progress in responding to his 2016 review on the welfare of vulnerable individual in detention. The Home Secretary welcomed his report and committed to a series of reforms in response.

All Courts and Tribunals Have Inherent Jurisdiction to Grant Access to Documents

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that all courts and tribunals have an inherent jurisdiction to grant access to court documents in a judgment reaffirming the principle of open justice. Lady Hale, delivering the judgment, urged the bodies responsible for framing the court rules in each part of the UK to "give consideration to the questions of principle and practice raised by this case".

The judgment was handed down in a dispute between Cape Intermediate Holdings Ltd and the Asbestos Victims Support Group Forums UK, in which the Media Lawyers Association intervened. The case concerned a decision by Master McCloud to allow the Forum to obtain copies of a trial bundle related to a six-week trial in 2017 in which Cape was the defendant and which ended in settlement.

In July 2018, the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by Cape, holding that the documents which a non-party could be allowed to access were more limited than the Master had held, but upholding the Forum's entitlement to copies of a large range of documents.

Refusing an appeal by Cape, Lady Hale said: "The constitutional principle of open justice applies to all courts and tribunals exercising the judicial power of the state. It follows that, unless inconsistent with statute or the rules of court, all courts and tribunals have an inherent jurisdiction to determine what that principle requires in terms of access to documents or other information placed before the court or tribunal in question. "The extent of any access permitted by the court's rules is not determinative (save to the extent that they may contain a valid prohibition).

It is not correct to talk in terms of limits to the court's jurisdiction when what is in fact in question is how that jurisdiction should be exercised in the particular case." In a post-script, she added: "We would urge the bodies responsible for framing the court rules in each part of the United Kingdom to give consideration to the questions of principle and practice raised by this case. About the importance and universality of the principles of open justice there can be no argument. But we are conscious that these issues were raised in unusual circumstances, after the end of the trial, but where clean copies of the documents were still available.

We have heard no argument on the extent of any continuing obligation of the parties to co-operate with the court in furthering the open justice principle once the proceedings are over. This and the other practical questions touched on above are more suitable for resolution through a consultative process in which all interests are represented than through the prism of an individual case."