News & Views Monday 2nd August to Sunday 8th August 2021


Home Secretary Priti Patel Coughs up £35,000 Damages

The Claimants’, CP and AMB are confirmed victims of human trafficking/modern slavery. The Secretary of State for the Home Department refused to grant the Claimants’ discretionary leave to remain as victims of trafficking/modern slavery based on their personal circumstances. Both Claimants’ suffered from PTSD and depression as a result of their trafficking experiences. There was clear medical evidence that the Claimants’ immigration limbo aggravated their mental health, impeded recovery and prevented them from effectively engaging with necessary therapy.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors, brought judicial review proceedings on behalf of CP and AMB. The Defendant conceded in both cases, agreeing to reconsider the discretionary leave to remain decision and admitted liability that she was in breach of the Claimants’ rights pursuant to Article 14 ECHR. Shortly after the Defendant’s concession, CP was granted asylum which ended his immigration limbo. The Secretary of State also awarded £35,000 in damages plus costs.

AMB was subsequently granted discretionary leave to remain for 12 months to allow him to engage in trauma therapy. We are currently in the process of negotiating damages. These judicial review proceedings are part of a number of similar cases challenging the Secretary of State’s for the Home Department’s failure to grant discretionary leave to remain to survivors of trafficking, where the stay in the UK of an asylum-seeking survivor of trafficking is “necessary” pending the final determination of the asylum claim because there is a statutory bar to removal.

Source: Duncan Lewis Solicitors,

Home Office set Up Fake Website to Deter Asylum Seekers

The Home Office set up a website targeting asylum seekers with “misleading” claims to deter them from journeying to Britain, The Independent can reveal. It created a fake organisation called On The Move, complete with a logo and glossy branding, which claims to “provide migrants in transit with free, reliable and important information”. Links to the website were pushed out to asylum seekers in France and Belgium as part of a social media campaign that cost the government £23,000 over five months. The website, using a .org domain commonly associated with charities, contains no government branding and the “about us” section does not disclose any link to the Home Office. Research by The Independent shows the website was set up in April 2020, using a private registration tool that conceals the owners’ personal information.

It invites asylum seekers to email On The Move with questions, without knowing that they would be contacting the British government. The website, which remains online, tells readers the UK “regularly returns people who enter via irregular routes” but in reality, Britain has not been able to deport asylum seekers to EU countries since 1 January because of Brexit. It also claims that steering a dinghy across the English Channel “is a crime”, although controversial prosecutions of boat pilots have recently been limited.

Read more: Lizzie Dearden, Indpendent,

?No-Notice Citizenship Deprivation Ruled Unlawful

A couple of years ago we reported on new regulations allowing the Home Office to give someone notice that their British citizenship was being taken away by email — or by simply placing a letter on file. In R (D4) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 2179 (Admin), the High Cout has ruled those regulations unlawful. Section 40(5) of the British Nationality Act 1981 requires the Home Secretary to give written notice to someone being deprived of their citizenship. As Mr Justice Chamberlain points out: as a matter of ordinary language, you do not ‘give’ someone ‘notice’ of something by putting the notice in your desk drawer and locking it. No-one who understands English would regard that purely private act as a way of ‘giving notice’. That is so even if there is no reasonable step that could be taken to bring the notice to the attention of the person concerned.
As such, the relevant rule — regulation 10(4) — is straightforwardly ultra vires. Parliament did not give the Home Secretary the power to make rules on the notice requirement that effectively do away with the requirement. In an unexpected twist, though, Chamberlain J went on to “suspend the effect” of his ruling. Joshua Rozenberg reckons that what’s going on here is that “Chamberlain is a very shrewd judge and he has found a way — just about — of allowing Home Office lawyers a little time to find a way out of the mess they got themselves into” by serving alleged terrorists with ineffective deprivation notices.

Source: Freemovement,

Continuing Conflicts That Create Refugees - Auguast 2021

Deteriorated Situations: Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, Cuba, Haiti, Syria, Tunisia

Conflict Risk Alerts: Ethiopia, Zambia, Armenia, Azerbaijan
Ethiopia’s spreading Tigray war is spiraling into a dangerous new phase, which will likely lead to more deadly violence and far greater instability countrywide. Fighting along the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the deadliest since the Autumn 2020 war, could escalate further. More violence could surge in Zambia as tensions between ruling party and opposition supporters are running high ahead of the August general elections.

Resolution Opportunities: None

Source: International Crisis Group,

More Than 50 Died in Home Office Asylum Seeker Accommodation in Past Five Years

More than 50 people have died in Home Office asylum seeker accommodation in the last five years, with the number increasing steeply over the past 18 months, the Guardian has learned. Three babies are recorded to have died, as well as three people who died as a result of Covid and four who killed themselves. Some of the deaths were because of health conditions such as heart problems, cancer or stroke. The 51 deaths, recorded in Home Office data and provided through a freedom of information request, date back to April 2016 with the most recent documented in June 2021. The causes of 31 of the 51 deaths, however, remain unconfirmed. There are about 60,000 people in Home Office accommodation, where the average age is considerably younger than the general population.

The information, provided in two responses to the Scottish Refugee Council and passed to the Guardian, marks some of the deaths as non-suspicious but offers no explanation for others. The Home Office says this is because a note explaining the cause of death was not recorded on their incident database. There has been a sharp increase in deaths in the last 18 months. The Home Office does not provide a year-on-year breakdown of the deaths in the FoI response, but does state that between February and June 2021 there were seven deaths. A separate FoI request by the Guardian revealed that there were 29 deaths in 2020. This suggests there were 15 deaths between 2016 and 2019.

Read more: Diane Taylor, Guardian,

Supreme Court Upholds Home Office Age Assessment Policy

The Supreme Court has upheld the policy of treating asylum seekers who claim to be children as adults if two Home Office officials think that the person looks significantly over 18. The case is R (BF (Eritrea)) v SSHD [2021] UKSC 38. It should be read alongside R (A) v SSHD [2021] UKSC 37, which was heard at the same time and involved similar legal issues, but in the context of a different Home Office policy on sex offender notification requirements.

The policy in question applies to initial decisions made by Home Office officials, before a full age assessment conducted by a social worker can take place. It is very important that even at this early stage children are not wrong classified as adults. Perhaps most significantly, being classified as an adult makes immigration detention much more likely, as the powers for detaining children are very limited.

The major issue before the court was how it should review government policies which generate a risk of unlawful conduct, even though they could be applied to make lawful decisions. The Supreme Court stated in clear terms that there is no legal duty to design policy in a way that minimises the risk of unlawful decision-making. It said that people who end up subject to an unlawful decision should challenge the decision itself, rather than the policy behind it. The judgment will make it more difficult to challenge Home Office policy on a range of issues.

Read more: Freemovement,