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                                        News & Views Monday 10th March to Sunday 16th March 2014

Immigration: Detention [Nationals of DR Congo]

Lord Roberts of Llandudno to ask Her Majesty's Government how many nationals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are currently held within United Kingdom immigration estates and prisons.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): Published National Statistics show that there were 15 nationals of the Democratic Republic of Congo detained as at 31 December in the immigration estate.

As at 24 February, 18 nationals of the Democratic Republic of Congo were detained under immigration powers in prison.

This information has been extracted from National Offender Management Service (NOMS) reports which are taken from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.
House of Lords / 11 Mar 2014 : <>Column WA371

Immigration Bill Committee (3rd Day)
Relevant documents: 22nd Report from the Delegated Powers Committee, 8th and 12th Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights, and 6th Report from the Constitution Committee.

Amendment 48 - Amendment 49
Clause 15: Residential tenancy agreement
Amendment 50 - Amendment 50A
Schedule 3: Excluded residential tenancy agreements
Amendment 52
House of Lords / 10 Mar 2014 : <> Column 1552

Public Lecture on Migrants, the Media and The Law
Thursday 13 March 2014, 6.30pm
University of Law, 14 Store Street, London WC1E 7DE
Speakers include: Frances Webber - honorary Vice-President of the Haldane Society and Vice Chair of the IRR / Jon Burnett - assistant editor of IRR News

Garden Court Chambers Immigration Law Bulletin - Issue 362

Law Overridden to Penalise Refugees
Fifteen years after the High Court condemned the prosecution of refugees for using false documents in their quest for a place of safety and parliament provided a statutory defence, they are still being wrongly convicted and sent to prison.

The 1951 Refugee Convention is quite clear: penalties must not be imposed on refugees (including asylum seekers not yet recognised as refugees) found illegally on the territory, if their mode of entry is related to their quest for asylum. Article 31 was drafted specifically because genuine refugees with no valid travel documents may have reason to fear border guards, who might return them to the country they have fled. Although Article 31 has been interpreted in a way which does not prevent the short-term administrative detention of asylum seekers, its ban on penalties is supposed to prohibit their prosecution and conviction for illegal entry, including their use of false documents to enter the country of asylum.
Read more: Frances Webber for IRR, <>March 6, 2014

Fail And Prosper: How Privatisation Really Works
Want to make £10 million and more? Become an accountant. Learn how to make austerity pay. Ruby earns more than maybe anybody you have ever met. She is not an Oscar-winning movie star. She hasn't won Wimbledon. Ruby McGregor-Smith is an accountant who runs a company called Mitie (pronounced Mighty). She pays herself £1.4 million a year. Her Mitie shares, worth £2 million, bring another £60K in annual dividends. On the side, as a part-time director, she picks up £60K more. Last September she 'bought' more shares. They cost her absolutely nothing. She sold them straightaway, making £730,000 in a moment.

And now, thanks to British taxpayers, Ruby is about to get richer. On the eve of her 51st birthday last month, the Home Office gave her a gigantic contract: eight years' work, worth £180 million, running two immigration lock-ups in West London. Mitie got the job - holding 1,000 men at Colnbrook and Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centres - only three years after entering what Ruby calls the "market".

What's Mitie's experience? They run buildings for Lloyds Bank, clean Odeon cinemas, print and distribute documents, and maintain school buildings under Private Finance Initiative contracts. For almost three years they have run Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centre, near Oxford. It isn't going well. Last October one suicidal inmate set fire to his cell. The blaze spread quickly - there was no sprinkler system. Ten fire engines rushed to the scene; 180 people had to be evacuated. Seven years ago, after a similar fire in the same Campsfield block, Oxfordshire Fire & Rescue Services strongly recommended sprinklers. It didn't happen.
Read more: Clare Sambrook for Open Democracy, <>06/03/14

AAN (Veil) Afghanistan v. SSHD

(1) Where the face of a party or witness is substantially covered by a veil or other form of attire, it is incumbent on the Tribunal to strike the balance between the rights of the person concerned, the administration of justice and the principle of open justice. The Tribunal will consider options which should, simultaneously, facilitate its task of assessing the strength and quality of the evidence, while respecting as fully as possible the rights and religious beliefs of the person concerned.

(2) Such measures may include the following:

(a) A sensitive enquiry about whether the cover can be removed, in whole or in part.

(b) Where appropriate, a short adjournment to enable the person concerned to reflect and, perhaps, seek guidance or advice.

(c) The adoption of limited screening of the person and/or minimising the courtroom audience.

This is not designed to operate as an exhaustive list.

(3) In cases where a Tribunal considers that the maintenance of the cover might impair its ability to properly assess the person's evidence and, therefore, could have adverse consequences for the appellant, the Tribunal must ventilate this concern.

(4) Issues of religious attire and symbols must be handled by tribunals with tact and sensitivity.

Hunger Strike By 750 Immigrants At U.S. State Detention Centre

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has confirmed that 750 detainees at the Northwest Detention Center in Washington state have refused to eat and say they are on a hunger strike. An immigrant activist said the hunger strike started on Friday as a protest against deportations as well as conditions at the centre. The centre currently houses nearly 1,300 people being investigated for possible deportation. Activist Maru Mora said the hunger strikers are seeking better food and treatment as well as better pay for centre jobs.

An ICE spokesman, Andrew Munoz, said the agency respected the right of people to express their opinions without interference. The detainees are under continuous observation by centre staff and medical personnel. ICE detention standards state that a detainee who has not eaten for 72 hours is considered to be on a hunger strike.
Read more:, <>Saturday 8 March 2014

Pratima Das v. SSHD - (1) Mind (2) Medical Justice Interveners

1) This appeal concerns the circumstances in which a person who the Secretary of State for the Home Department has power to remove from the United Kingdom and intends to do so but who has a mental illness may be detained. Such detention, commonly called "immigration detention", is authorised by the Immigration Act 1971 ("the 1971 Act"). Detainees may be held either at Immigration Removal Centres or in prisons. The broad powers given to the Secretary of State are limited by common law principles reflecting the importance of the liberty of the individual and the right to be free from arbitrary detention. They are also limited by the Secretary of State's own policies about immigration detention. Those policies are now principally contained in a document, Enforcement Instructions and Guidance ("the policy"). This appeal concerns one of those policies, the guidance in §55.10 of the policy that those "suffering from a serious mental illness which cannot be satisfactorily managed within detention" are suitable for detention "in only very exceptional circumstances".

80. Miss Anderson submitted that there is no obligation to file witness evidence in relation to whether or not there is an entitlement to compensatory or nominal damages, and that question is a matter for the court to assess. She also urged the court not to punish the Secretary of State for not filing evidence, and referred to the scarcity of resources, the heavy litigation burden on the Secretary of State, and the need to prioritise resources on those currently detained. The latter submission may reflect the position in which this part of the public service finds itself, but it was not and could not have been an invitation to the court to give the Secretary of State a privileged position in litigation. There is equally no question of the court punishing the Secretary of State or treating her less favourably than other litigants. The judge stated the correct position clearly. He observed (at [21]) that:

"Where a Secretary of State fails to put before the court witness statements to explain the decision-making process and the reasoning underlying a decision they take a substantial risk". In general litigation where a party elects not to call available witnesses to give evidence on a relevant matter, the court may draw inferences of fact against that party Š. The basis for drawing adverse inferences of fact against the Secretary of State in judicial review proceedings will be particularly strong, because in such proceedings the Secretary of State is subject to the stringent and well-known obligation owed to the court by a public authority facing a challenge to its decision, [in the words of Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe in Belize Alliance of Conservation Non-Governmental Organisations v Department of the Environment [2004] UKPC 6 at [86])] 'to co-operate and to make candid disclosure by way of affidavit, of the relevant facts and (so far as they are not apparent from contemporaneous documents which have been disclosed) the reasoning behind the decision challenged in the judicial review proceedings. Š"

VIII. Conclusion
81. For the reasons given in sections VI and VII above, I would allow the appeal and remit the matter to the Administrative Court.

Full text, Refworld < >06/03/14

Last updated 15 March, 2014