UK Wide Action Against Immigration Detention Today Thursday 15th July
We’ve Had Enough of Home Office Harassment at Immigration Reporting Centres!
Join us today Thursday July 15 outside your local Immigration reporting centre.
To send a message of solidarity to all who are forced to sign – you are not alone, and you can get help
Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Solihull, London, Bristol and… your town?
Go to web page for times of assembly - https://is.gd/qF5FFh
Anyone who is waiting for a final decision on their application to live in the UK can be required to regularly travel to “sign on” at an Immigration Reporting Centre. Every appointment carries the risk of being randomly taken to a detention centre. These conditions amount to unfair, unjust and unnecessary harassment of migrants, and it has to stop!
Source: These Walls Must Fall, https://is.gd/qF5FFh
Mental Capacity and the Immigration System
What is mental capacity? This is relevant to immigration how exactly? What are you doing to address the problem? Assisting migrants who lack mental capacity to instruct a lawyer, or whose capacity fluctuates, can pose challenges. Without having clear instructions on a person’s immigration history and what they would like to do, it can often be impossible to provide legal advice and representation. Law Society guidance is also clear that solicitors can only continue to act with capacitious instructions, such as from a litigation friend.
What is Mental Capacity? The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) defines “mental capacity” as the ability to make specific decisions at a specific point in time. A straightforward example of someone who lacks mental capacity would be someone who is in a coma. Mental capacity can however be more difficult to assess. For example, those who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol may temporarily lose capacity to make certain urgent decisions. The MCA is a crucial piece of legislation which provides a systematic framework to safeguard a person’s right to make their own decisions about their own life in various different situations. The main thinking behind the MCA is the idea that people have the right to live as they choose. Just as people with capacity are able to make their own decisions about their lives, the MCA’s purpose is to support and enable — as much as possible — those without capacity to do the same. Put simply, the idea is that individuals should be able to become the author of their own lives.
Read more: Brian Dikoff , Freemovement, https://is.gd/lKtR3o
Home Office Pay Out £9.3m Compensation for Over 300 Cases of Unlawful Detention
The Home Office was forced to pay out a record in compensation for wrongful detention under immigration powers last year. Payouts amounting to £9.3m were made to 330 people – roughly £25,500 a day in the 12 months to April 5. This marked a 35 per cent rise on the previous 12 months, when ministers paid out £6.9m to 272 individuals. Home Office annual accounts show it has paid out £24.4m to 914 people wrongly detained in the past three years, compared with £8.5m to 289 people between 2015 and 2018. It amounts to a 216 per cent increase in the number of people compensated for wrongful detention and a 187 per cent rise in the total payout.
Bambos Charalambous, the shadow immigration minister, said the figures were “absolutely appalling”, adding: “Once again we have an example of the incompetence of the Home Office where they are wasting public money by breaking the law.” Charities and lawyers said the figures show the Home Office is failing to learn from its mistakes. They said it was all the more concerning given that under home secretary Priti Patel’s new plan for immigration, the Home Office proposes to start processing asylum seekers in off-shore centres, which charities say would “pave the way for a mass expansion of detention”.
Read more: may Bulman, Independent, https://is.gd/ko1hJ7
Stop Zimbabwe Deportation Flights – Sheffield Protest Friday 16 July
3:00 pm outside Vulcan House – bring your banners and placards.
150 undocumented Zimbabweans are to be deported from the UK on a private jet from Heathrow next week on Wednesday 21 July Those to be deported include undocumented people. Reports are coming in suggesting Zimbabweans have been snatched when they have turned up to report at centres, and taken from their homes – in Manchester, London, Southampton, and Wakefield – 28 people so far.
Vulcan House, Riverside Entrance, 6 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8NU
Source: South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG)
Crown Prosecution Service Deals Blow to Patel’s Borders Bill
Home Secretary Priti Patel's laws to thwart asylum seekers attempts to cross the Channel were dealt a blow, after the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would no longer prosecute migrants. The agreement made between prosecutors, police, Border Force, the National Crime Agency and the Home Office over "illegal entry" will also apply to those who arrive by lorry. Asylum seekers not involved in criminal activity aside from illegal entry should not be prosecuted as they are better dealt with by "removal". The guidance comes after Ms Patel unveiled the Nationality and Borders Bill, which would establish a new offence for asylum seekers intercepted in the Channel who lack authorisation to enter the UK.
The CPS guidance also details the circumstances in where criminal charges may be considered for people who bring migrants to the UK while risking their lives. The guidance adds that prosecutors should consider the “public interest factors” in charging migrants who enter illegally. It states: “Asylum seekers often have no choice in how they travel and face exploitation by organised crime groups. The guidance therefore advises that passengers of boats and other vehicles should not be prosecuted unless they are repeat offenders or have previously been deported — and should instead be dealt with by administrative removal channels.”
Source: Scottish Legal News, https://is.gd/JMl0kg
Double Win for Refugees Seeking Backdated Benefits
The Court of Session in Scotland and the High Court in England and Wales have both ruled that newly recognised refugees have a right to claim backdated child tax credit. The cases are Adnan, Petitioners  CSOH 63 and R (DK) v Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs  EWHC 1845 (Admin). I’ll look at both cases but latterly focus on the English decision since that was the most recent judgment and considered some new arguments which were not raised in the Scottish proceedings. Unusually, I’ll skip the facts because these cases were purely about the law.
The essence of both cases is that a refugee can claim backdated child tax credit so long as: they make a claim within one month of receiving their status, and their claim covers a period which includes 31 January 2019. Let’s break this down. Refugee status is a declaratory status. To give an example, a British person is still British even though they may not have a passport. A refugee is still a refugee even if they haven’t been officially recognised as such yet. The rationale for backdating child tax credit is that a refugee has, in effect, been a refugee all along. This translates into treating an application for backdated tax credit as having been made on the same day that the asylum claim was submitted. That was permitted under the Tax Credits (Immigration) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003 No. 653), so long as the claim was made within one month of being granted refugee status.
Read more: Bilaal Shabbir, Freemovement, https://is.gd/RvL94J
Home Office Spent £370,000 Settling Patel Bullying Claim
Former permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam accepted the six-figure sum earlier this year after launching legal action against the Home Secretary. He dramatically resigned in February last year, accusing Ms Patel of a “vicious and orchestrated” briefing campaign against him, claiming constructive dismissal and accusing her of bullying subordinates. An employment tribunal was due to hear his case in September. The Home Office’s annual report and accounts for 2020-21 confirm he received a payout of £340,000 plus legal costs - taking the spend to at least £370,000 plus VAT of an anticipated £6,000. Although the figures were previously reported, neither Sir Philip’s representatives nor the department would publicly disclose the amount at the time.
The document, published on Thursday, said: “Sir Philip Rutnam resigned from his post as Permanent Secretary of the Home Office on 29 February 2020 and subsequently began legal proceedings against the department. “On 4 March 2021, the Home Office and Sir Philip signed an agreement to settle these proceedings. As part of this settlement, the Home Office made a special payment of £340,000. A contribution to his legal costs was also made of £30,000 plus VAT.”
Source: Flora Thompson, Independent, https://is.gd/bgSZTE