News & Views Monday 22nd April to Sunday 28th April 2019


Brook House IRC Lock-in Challenge

Three Duncan Lewis clients have been granted permission by the High Court to challenge the conditions and regime they were held in at Brook House immigration removal centre (IRC), a centre for immigration detainees but designed to Category B prison standards. These conditions include locking detainees in their cells for up to 13 hours overnight in conditions the Claimants say are unsanitary, poorly ventilated and which breach their rights to observe their religion.

The claims follow on from the successful judgment of R (Hussein & Rahman) v SSHD [2018] EWHC 213 which found that the use of the lock-in regime amounted to indirect discrimination against two Muslim detainees (also represented by Duncan Lewis) in that it forced them to practice Islam by praying next to unscreened toilets in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions. Following that judgment the Home Office were forced to complete an impact equality assessment where they held that although the regime could disproportionately impact Muslim detainees, it was justified on the basis of the operational need to maintain a safe and quiet centre throughout the night.

Read more: Duncan Lewis,

Fresh Asylum Claims Plunge After Home Office Insists Claimant’s Travel Hundreds of Miles

The number of people fleeing death and persecution who have made fresh claims for asylum in the UK has plunged after the Home Office insisted they travel hundreds of miles to do so. Destitute asylum seekers have been forced to make journeys of up to 500 miles each way – sometimes costing more than £100 – n order to submit further evidence to their claims after a policy change in 2015 meant the process could only be carried out in Liverpool.

A new analysis of government figures shows that since the policy was changed, the number of people making fresh claims has more than halved, plummeting from 162 in 2014 to just 70 in 2017. The overall number of people applying for asylum has risen by 6 per cent in the same period. Asylum seekers can submit new evidence if their application is refused and their appeal rights have been exhausted, at which point the Home Office decides whether it will be considered as a fresh claim. During this process they are not eligible for government support and are not allowed to work, meaning many become destitute.

Read more: May Bulman, Independent,

11 Charter Flights (Escorts and Removals) Q1 January/February/March 2019

1. Number of males removed 312.

2. Number of females removed 15.

3. Number of escorts 893.

4. Number of flights in total 11.

Destination Number of flights Number of returnees

Albania 4 167

Pakistan 2 39

Nigeria & Ghana 2 34

Switzerland/Germany 1 30

France/Germany 1 28

Jamaica 1 29

9 Charter Flights (Escorts and Removals)  Q4 October/November/December 2018

1. Number of males removed 342.

2. Number of females removed 9.

3. Number of escorts 737.

4. Number of flights in total 9.

Destination      Number of flights     Number of returnees

Albania                     6                                  256

Pakistan                   2                                    69

Nigeria & Ghana      1                                    26

This information was requested on the 16th January 2019. The Home Office disclosed the data on 24th April 2019, only after the Information Commissioner compelled them to do so.

V.M. v. the United Kingdom (no. 2) - Violation of Article 5 § 1

The applicant, Ms V.M., is a Nigerian national who was born in 1977 and lives in Uxbridge (England, UK). The case concerned the applicant's complaint about her detention under immigration regulations.

The applicant was placed in detention pending possible removal under immigration rules from August 2008 to July 2011. In 2016 the European Court found a violation of Article 5 § 1 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights related to the period from 19 June 2009 to 14 December 2009 (V.M. v. the United Kingdom). The current application concerned 22 July 2010 to 6 July 2011.

The applicant sought judicial review of her detention for that period, which was refused by the High Court and the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal found in 2014 that some of the reviews of her detention had been unlawful as they had not taken account of all the available medical evidence. Nevertheless, even properly conducted reviews would not have led to an earlier release.

In 2016 the Supreme Court upheld the Court of Appeal's decision. It also agreed that the period of unlawful detention would only have entitled her to damages of one pound sterling and it had therefore been appropriate to refuse to allow a judicial review to go ahead.

Relying in particular on Article 5 § 1 (f) (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention, the applicant complained that her detention had been arbitrary as the authorities had failed to act with appropriate "due diligence".

Violation of Article 5 § 1

Just satisfaction: 3,500 euros (EUR) (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 10,700 (costs and expenses)

Source: ECtHR,

Does A Residence Permit Enable You to Claim Public Funds in the UK?

Practitioners are often asked whether those with leave to remain in the UK can claim public funds. Almost all categories of leave to remain are granted on condition that the applicant shall have no recourse to public funds. What does this mean? The issue is not simple as there are exceptions to the rules.

The current Home Office guidance on the topic (as of today, 24 April 2019) can be used as a rule of thumb. It states: "[T]here are exceptions for some benefits and if you are in any doubt, you should contact the department or agency that issues it. This will often be the Department for Work and Pensions or HM Revenue & Customs.

Public funds include a range of benefits that are given to people on a low income, as well as housing support. These are:

income-based jobseeker's allowance - income support -child tax credit - universal credit - working tax credit - a social fund payment - child benefit - housing benefit - council tax benefit - council tax reduction - domestic rate relief (Northern Ireland) - state pension credit - attendance allowance - severe disablement allowance - personal independence payment - carer's allowance - disability living allowance - an allocation of local authority housing - .local authority homelessness assistance

Public funds do not include benefits that are based on National Insurance contributions. National Insurance is paid in the same way as income tax and is based on earnings. Benefits to which a person is entitled as a result of National Insurance contributions include:

contribution-based jobseeker's allowance - incapacity benefit - retirement pension - widow's benefit and bereavement benefit - guardian's allowance - statutory maternity pay"

This note is provided for guidance purposes only and cannot be relied on as formal legal advice. It should be noted that the Home Office have frequently changed the categories relating to public funds, so you should always check the most up-to-date information available.

Read more: Gherson Immigration,

Adult Dependent Relatives: 5 Common Questions

If you are British or settled in the UK, and have a member of your family abroad who is in serious need of long-term personal care, you may wish to apply for them to join you under the adult dependent relative category of the Immigration Rules. In this blog we will briefly answer the most common questions on the subject of adult dependent relatives.

1 - Which degree of family member can apply?

The relative is eligible if they are a non-European Economic Area national and either the:

Parent aged over 18 years; Grandparent; Sibling aged over 18 years; or

Son or daughter aged over 18 years of a person in the UK who is British or settled.

Read more: Mcgill & Co,