PCS Union and Care4Calais Challenge the Home Office Pushbacks Policy
Duncan Lewis Solicitors is representing the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and Care4Calais in a judicial review claim challenging the lawfulness of the Home Office’s policy of redirecting migrant boats out of UK waters and back to France (the Pushbacks Policy).
The Claimants challenge the policy on the grounds that the Immigration Act 1971 does not provide a power for the Home Office to compel vessels to travel from UK waters to France and that the Policy will inevitably give rise to breaches of Article 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment).
PCS is the largest trade union representing civil servants, and its members include around 80% of the Border Force officials who will be tasked with implementing the Pushbacks Policy. PCS is concerned that the Pushbacks Policy is unlawful, unworkable and morally reprehensible, that it will create a serious risk to the lives of people trying to reach the UK and to Border Force officials and that it will have adverse mental health impacts on the Border Force officials forced to implement it. They are concerned that the policy will be impossible to implement in a safe way because the Border Force are unlikely to be able to properly assess at sea whether a boat can be safely turned around. If the policy is unlawful, it might also expose PCS members to personal civil or criminal liability.
Read more: Duncan Lewis, https://rb.gy/z9giqo
Institutional Accommodation Unsuitable for Housing Asylum Seekers and Causes Harm
A report published last month by the charity Asylum Matters took a critical look at the Home Office's use of institutional accommodation to house asylum seekers. It finds that accommodation such as hotels, hostels and former army barracks is unsuitable for people seeking refugee protection and causes mental and physical harm. The report was produced jointly with Action Foundation, Birmingham Community Hosting, Birmingham Refugee and Asylum Seekers Solidarity (BRASS), Life Seeker's Aid Charity, and Stories of Hope and Home.
The six organisations carried out in-depth interviews with fourteen refugees and asylum seekers who had recent experience of long stays in institutional settings, including hotels, hostels, former military barracks and initial accommodation sites. "Although individuals' experiences were different, there were a number of common themes which surfaced again and again in the stories they told. This report follows those common themes as people first came into contact with institutional accommodation, and then tried to come to terms with the impact of living in these settings," Asylum Matters said. Fifteen common themes are examined in the report, including feelings of anxiety, being unwanted and not being free. In particular, those interviewed for the report said they felt that they were being deprived of fundamental liberties.
Read more: EIN, https://rb.gy/acwqqy
Crown Prosecution Service - ‘Misunderstood’ Law on Illegal Entry Into UK
Three asylum seekers who were jailed after they were intercepted crossing the English Channel had their convictions overturned this week by the Court of Appeal, which held that the Crown Prosecution Service misunderstood the law on facilitating illegal entry into the UK. All three were alleged to have steered a boat carrying migrants from France towards the UK and were convicted of an offence of assisting unlawful immigration under section 25 of the Immigration Act 1971. They were sentenced to between two and six years’ imprisonment.
The Court of Appeal said it is necessary under section 25 for the prosecution to prove that someone ‘facilitated the “entry” without leave into the United Kingdom of a non-EU citizen’. Where a person disembarks at a port and remains within its ‘approved area’, they do not ‘enter’ the UK. However, investigators adopted ‘a heresy about the law’, which was ‘passed on to those who prosecuted them, and then further passed on to those who were defending them and finally affected the way the judges … approached these prosecutions’, Lord Justice Edis said. Giving judgment, Edis LJ said that an asylum seeker who ‘merely attempts to arrive at the frontiers of the United Kingdom in order to make a claim is not entering or attempting to enter the country unlawfully’.
Read mroe: Sam Tobine, Law Gazette, https://rb.gy/s4brmb
Legislation From 2021 That Lessens Your Rights
In every parliamentary session, Bills are introduced to make incremental or monumental changes to the legal framework within which our society functions. This year, several significant pieces of legislation have encroached on our human rights. To wrap up 2021, we have broken them down for you. Numerous Bills introduced or passed over the last year pose a threat to our human rights. We have narrowed them down to the eight most rights-reducing pieces of legislation that have been passed by – or are still passing through – the UK Parliament in Westminster: Judicial Review and Courts Bill (JRCB) - Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill (HEB) - Assisted Dying Bill (ADB) - Online Safety Bill (OSB) - Elections Bill (EB) - Nationality and Borders Bill (NBB) - Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSCB) - Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act (CHISA)
Read more: Hannah Shewan Stevens, Each Other, https://rb.gy/fynira
Black children are also now more than twice as likely to be growing up poor as white children, according to the Labour party research, which was based on government figures for households that have a “relative low income” – defined as being below 60% of the median, the standard definition for poverty.
And over the last decade the total number of black children in poor households more than doubled – although that increase is partly explained by the overall size of the cohort increasing too. The proportion of black children living in poverty went up from 42% in 2010-11 to 53% in 2019-20, the most recent year for which the data is available.
The figures were released to the Guardian by the Labour party, which described them as evidence of “Conservative incompetence and denialism about the existence of structural racism”.
In the UK, Ageism is the Most Prevalent Form of Discrimination
Ageism is widespread in society and can be found everywhere from our workplaces and health systems to the stereotypes we see on TV, advertising and in the media. In the UK, ageism is the most prevalent form of discrimination amongst all age groups, with one in three people experiencing age-based prejudice or discrimination. The way people currently talk about ageing and older age is largely negative. To change this conversation we need to stop reinforcing these beliefs – and tell a new story. Small changes to the ways that we speak and write about ageing and older age, if applied consistently, could have a big impact.
The UK’s population is undergoing a massive age shift. In less than 20 years, one in four people will be over 65. The fact that many of us are living longer is a great achievement. But unless radical action is taken by government, business and others in society, millions of us risk missing out on enjoying those extra years.
Read more: Centre for Aging Better, https://rb.gy/hzwgsy