David Rhys Jones

David Rhys Jones is a policy advisor at the Helen Bamber Foundation. David has worked with refugees and asylum seekers for over 25 years. He has monitored the detention of torture survivors in the UK since the Detention Centre Rules were introduced in 2001. The Helen Bamber Foundation was founded in 2005 as a collective of human rights specialists who respond with compassion and creativity to the legacy of cruelty.

HM Inspector of Prisons report on Dover IRC and Rule 35

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons report on an unannounced inspection of Dover Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) between 3–14 March 2014 (published 7 July 2014) once again highlights critical concerns surrounding Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001. Dover IRC is generally commended, although its atmosphere appears to remain that of a prison rather than an immigration detention centre – the distinction may be a fine one. 

8th July 2014 By David Rhys Jones

Lay assessments of mental health: dangerous territory

The Centre for the Study of Emotion and Law (CSEL) has recently collaborated in a new article Non-clinicians’ judgments about asylum seekers’ mental health: how do legal representatives of asylum seekers decide when to request medico-legal reports? by Lucy Wilson-Shaw, Nancy Pistrang and Jane Herlihy, which considers decisions made by immigration lawyers in deciding whether to refer clients for psychiatric assessment. Legal aid restrictions mean that speculative medico-legal reports are out of the question but gauging one’s clients’ mental health is important for a number of reasons. Credibility invariably plays a part in applying the legal aid merits test, for example. Does poor mental health assist in the documentation of…

13th November 2012 By David Rhys Jones

Important judgment on value of medical reports

The Court of Appeal has reviewed the meaning of ‘independent evidence of torture’ and the correct approach to the analysis of medical reports in R (on the application of AM) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ 521. AM was unrepresented, her asylum application refused, her appeal lost and she was detained prior to removal. It looked pretty hopeless for her. Two medico-legal reports were nevertheless prepared by a registered nurse, working as clinical co-ordinator at the Helen Bamber Foundation, a fresh asylum claim was made and rejected and an application for judicial review followed. The Secretary of State rejected the fresh claim and discounted the reports because of…

8th May 2012 By David Rhys Jones

Historical trafficking cases

The case of R (on the application of Y) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 1075 (Admin) may change the way in which the Home Office approach ‘historical’ trafficking cases. Y left China, was smuggled into Sweden and then stayed in an unknown country.  She was raped about twice a month by three Snakeheads.  She was then brought to the UK made to do housework and raped. Others were released when they paid their ‘debt’ but Y could not; she had lied to the Snakeheads.  Finally, an arrangement was made with a man called M who paid some money for her release.  She was not sold to…

3rd May 2012 By David Rhys Jones

Turf war’s genesis

Pierce Glynn and Stephen Knaffler QC have broadened the path (pun intended*) with SL and Westminster City Council (The Medical Foundation and Mind intervening) [2011] EWCA Civ 954. The case concerns a failed asylum seeker who, following a period as street homeless and a suicide attempt, was admitted to hospital for several months as a voluntary psychiatric patient. Westminster Social Services assessed that on discharge he would need various services including weekly meetings with his social worker, the support of a “befriender” and counselling services from gay support groups but that this did not amount to “care and attention” and so there was no duty to accommodate him under s.21 of the National…

16th August 2011 By David Rhys Jones