News & Views Monday 12th October to Sunday 18th October 2015

Dover Immigration Removal Centre Set For Closure
An immigration removal centre housed in a former prison in Dover will be shut down. The Home Office said the facility on the Western Heights would be returned to the auspices of the Ministry of Justice. It can hold just over 300 people, such as failed asylum seekers, while they await removal from Britain. A Home Office spokesman said detaining and removing people who did not have the right to remain in the UK, with dignity and respect, required “an estate of modern, secure centres located with easy access to the airports from which removals take place. We keep our detention estate under constant review and have decided the site at Dover should no longer be used as an immigration removal centre. All detainees will be transferred to other immigration removal centres,” he added. The centre’s 200 staff were

Read more: Chris Jhonston, Guardian, 15/10/2015

Deportation: Sentenced Prisoners (Deport First Appeal later)

Gavin Newlands: [11080] - To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people deported under the deport first, appeal later policy have subsequently appealed their case; and how many such appeals were successful.

James Brokenshire: From July 2014 to August 2015, more than 1,700 foreign national offenders have been removed under the deport first, appeal later powers, with many more going through the
system. Of these, 426 have made an appeal against their deportation and 13 (0.7%) have been successful.

Total Number of FNOs deported for the period July 2014 to August 2015 - 1,780

Number of FNOs who have appealed against their deportation for the period July 2014 to August 2015 – 426

Number of FNOs who have been successful in their appeal for the period July 2014 to August 2015 – 13

Stretch Limo Hired For Asylum Seekers
A Home Office contractor has apologised for the "clearly inappropriate" decision to hire a stretch limo to take a group of asylum seekers from London to Manchester.  Serco said the move had not cost the taxpayer any extra money and that it was a one-off. Seven African men were transported in a 16-seat Hummer from a hotel to their new homes, the Daily Mail reported. They had been staying in the hotel while their claims were processed. New procedures have been introduced to prevent it happening again, Serco said. The asylum seekers were staying in the village of Longford near Heathrow, which has been used as a temporary stopping-off point for new arrivals.

Pub landlord Rana Saif told the Mail: "The limo was here for about half an hour. I thought it must be a stag do. There were seven migrants, all young African men. The driver said he was going to take them to Manchester and he was being paid £3,000. He said the Home Office would pay him." A Home Office spokesman said Serco was responsible for arranging the transport and there was no additional cost to the taxpayer.

Charter Flights Q2/April, May, June 2015

 Thank you for your e-mail of 18 August 2015 in which you asked for information regarding charter flights during April, May and June 2015. The answers to your questions fall to be dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and in response I will answer your questions in order. 

1. Number of males removed   -  459 

2. Number of females removed   -  15 

3. Number of escorts   -  921 

4. Number of flights in total   -  10 

5. Number flights to each country / number removed to each country 

Albania – 4 flights, 195 Albanian nationals returned 

Morocco – 1 flight, 1 Moroccan national returned 

Nigeria/Ghana – 1 flight, 42 Nigerian nationals and 19 Ghanaian nationals returned 

Pakistan – 4 flights, 217 Pakistani nationals returned 

6. Number of children, if any -  No children were returned on charter flights during April, May and June 2015. 

Immigration Appeal Hearings Delayed Up To Nine Months
Immigration appeal hearings are being put back as far as next summer as the courts struggle to deal with a mounting workload. The Gazette understands that HM Courts and Tribunals Service has drawn up a list of ‘priority’ cases to ensure the most urgent issues are dealt with. Cases involving children or detention are given top priority, with cases involving deportation and spouse or partner appeals from abroad given bottom billing. In an email to practitioners sent last week, subsequently recalled but seen by the Gazette, a courts service chief admitted the delays were ‘unacceptable’.
Alison Harvey, legal director of the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, agreed there is now a serious problem with substantive hearings being adjourned or postponed. ‘They result in distress and anxiety for clients, their family members and their employers,’ she said. ‘Graduated fixed fees for legal aid work in immigration cases, and the purses of clients paying privately, are put under pressure as lawyers must manage a case over an extended period.’
Read more: Law Gazette, 12/10/2015

Home Office Bans ‘Luxury’ Goods for Syrian Refugees in UK
The Home Office warned councils against providing Syrian refugees with “luxury” items days before the home secretary, Theresa May, delivered an uncompromising speech limiting the right to claim asylum in Britain.

Local authorities were sent new draft guidance on refugee resettlement in the week before May’s anti-immigration speech on Tuesday, rhetoric that critics said articulates the government’s increasingly hostile attitude towards refugees and asylum seekers.

The Home Office guidance states that councils should not offer white or brown goods that might be deemed nonessential to resettled Syrians as part of the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme. Items that appear not to be allowed include fridges, cookers, radios, computers, TVs and DVDs.
Read more: Henry Zeffman and Mark Townsend, Guardian, 11/10/2015

Early Day Motion 491: Caste Discrimination
That this House recognises that caste-based discrimination potentially affects tens of thousands of UK residents; therefore views with considerable concern the delayed implementation of section 9(5) of the Equality Act 2010; and so calls on the Government to implement that subsection as soon as reasonably practicable, but in any event before 31 December 2015.
House of Commons: 12/10/2015

Home Office threat to imprison claimant if he left his home: Unlawful

Gedi, R (On the Application Of) v SSHDt [2015] EWHC 2786 (Admin) (09 October 2015)

1. This application for Judicial Review is brought by leave of Mr. Justice Kerr granted after reconsideration of the papers on 3rd August 2015. By the same order, he extended time pursuant to CPR 3.1(2)(a). In it, the claimant challenges the lawfulness of bail conditions (a curfew monitored by electronic tagging) imposed by the defendant during deportation proceedings under section 32(5) of the UK Borders Act 2007, "the 2007 Act". I shall refer to the defendant as the Secretary of State for the Home Department ("SSHD").

False Imprisonment
65. During period 3, for nearly four months, the claimant was subject to a curfew and tagging when he should not have been. Letters to enforce the curfew were sent, but he was not arrested and not otherwise punished.

66. I have been addressed as to the law by reference to Clerk & Lindsell 21st Edition 15-23/15-28. This is because both sides accept that it accurately states the law. The SSHD submits that she had no intention to detain the claimant in his home between the hours of 00:00 and 06:00 (or during the earlier time regime) and therefore that this element of the tort is not made out. In the light of the warning letters I reject that submission. They were calculated to ensure that he stayed at home during that time in fear of imprisonment if he did not. The tag on his ankle and the equipment in his home demonstrated to him that the SSHD meant business when issuing those threats.

67. False imprisonment is the unlawful imposition of constraint on another's freedom of movement from a particular place, see paragraph 15-23 of Clerk & Lindsell. I have used the expression "house arrest" above. It appears to me that for the State to threaten a person with imprisonment if he leaves his home is plainly a sufficient constraint to constitute this tort and it is now conceded that those threats during this period were without lawful justification. It appears to me that the elements of this tort are made out during this period.

68. It is agreed that damages will be assessed at a subsequent hearing and that there will be a hearing in the near future at which the form of Order consequent on this judgment will be determined as the parties are not in agreement about that. Therefore at this stage I make no further order except that I direct that any application for permission to appeal against this decision may be made at the next hearing and extend time for that purpose.

UK CIG • Victims of modern slavery – frontline staff guidance

UK CIG • Sudan: treatment on return

UK CIG • Sudan: Treatment of persons involved in 'sur place' activity in the UK

UK CIG • Iran: Christians and Christian Converts

UK CIG • China: Fear of punishment on return to China for crimes committed in other countries ('Double Jeopardy')

UK CIG • China: Background Information, including actors of protection and internal relocation

UK CIG • Country Information and Guidance - Albania: Trafficking

UK CIG • Country Information and Guidance - Eritrea: National (incl. Military) Service

UK CIG • Country Information and Guidance Eritrea: Illegal Exit

EDM 497: Relief Of Pain Using Medicinal Herbal Cannabis
That this House notes that medicinal herbal cannabis is used successfully for the relief of pain, and muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord damage, for those not helped by other medications, chronic neuropathic pain, for example caused by a damaged nerve, facial neuralgia, chronic pain following shingles, and weight loss and debilitation due to cancer and AIDs; further notes it is also effective in relieving nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy or radiotherapy when other treatments fail, also extreme epilepsy in children, and therapy-resistant glaucoma; notes that herbal cannabis is used for medical purposes in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Israel, Spain, Canada and more than 20 US states; and calls on the Government to reschedule cannabis from schedule 1 to schedule 2 which would recognise its medicinal value and enable GPs to prescribe much cheaper cannabis medicines than Sativex which is extremely expensive.

House Of Commons: 12/10/2015

Last updated 16 October, 2015