BBC Panorama exposes the culture of abuse in immigration detention

Panorama, Undercover: Britain’s Immigration Secrets is required viewing for anyone interested in immigration in the UK. It is also deeply uncomfortable viewing. It documents an undercover investigation into Brook House, one of the UK’s 13 Immigration Removal Centres. The episode shows detainees subjected to severe violence, taunting, and mistreatment. A widespread culture of disdain towards the detainees among staff permeates the detention centre. The investigation sheds light on alarming issues surrounding immigration detention, which have been subject to criticism and legal challenge since the beginning of the proliferation of detention in the UK. This tweet from the Panorama account gives a sense of the programme: WATCH: undercover footage shot by...

6th September 2017 By Thomas Beamont

£48,000 damages awarded to torture survivor for injuries suffered during deportation attempt

Following a seven-day hearing in the High Court, Mr Felix Wamala, a Ugandan national, was awarded £48,000 in damages for the actions of private security guards contracted by the Home Office in seeking to remove him from the UK. This is the case of Wamala v Tascor Services Ltd [2017] EWHC 1461. The judgment is a mammoth one, weighing in at 558 paragraphs plus annexes. Mr Wamala’s claim concerned the use of force, and the threatened use of force, against him by employees of Reliance, now known as Tascor Services Ltd. Tascor is a subsidiary of Capita. As they say on their website: As part of Capita PLC, we have the...

17th July 2017 By Nath Gbikpi

Independent Monitoring Board release critical report on charter flight removals

The Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) has published its annual review of the treatment of returnees during charter flights. It reported four headline concerns: firstly, that force and restraint had been used without due checks and for too long; secondly, that escorts employed by contractors were in charge of selecting which returnees may speak to the Chief Immigration Officer for advice on their legal rights during the flight, and that on one flight the advice itself was delegated to the escorts; thirdly that returnees were taken to Stansted Airport at night on certain flights; and finally that those who wished to use the toilet either on the coach or the aeroplane...

10th July 2017 By Paul Erdunast

European Court of Human Rights finds vulnerable Zimbabwean national unlawfully detained by Home Office

In a recent decision from Strasbourg, the European Court of Human Rights has found the UK Home Office unlawfully detained a Zimbabwean national. The Court found that the UK authorities had failed to act with sufficient “due diligence” in progressing the Applicant’s case, leading to him being detained for over two and a half years in an immigration removal centre. The case is S.M.M. v. THE UNITED KINGDOM (Application no. 77450/12). Background The applicant was born in Zimbabwe. He arrived in the UK in May 2001 and was granted six months’ leave to enter as a visitor. Fast forward to 2007, (a few driving offences and a failed asylum claim...

3rd July 2017 By Rebecca Carr

Zimbabwean national unlawfully detained after Home Office fails to serve immigration decision

Substantial damages of £10,500 have been awarded to a claimant who was unlawfully detained for a period of 70 days. The Home Office had failed to serve the Claimant with notice of a decision on his application to vary his leave to remain in the UK before detaining him, rendering his detention unlawful. The case is R (on the application of) Godwin Chaparadza v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWHC 1209 (Admin). Background The Claimant, a Zimbabwean national, entered the UK on 5 September 2004 with leave to remain as a student. His leave to remain was extended on a number of occasions, the last such extension...

7th June 2017 By Rebecca Carr

Indefinite detention does not breach ECHR says European Court of Human Rights

Arben Draga v United Kingdom (Application no. 33341/13) Unlike most other European countries, there is no time limit on immigration detention in the UK. In addition, the law does not provide for an automatic judicial review of the lawfulness of detention. Instead, detainees must proactively challenge the lawfulness of their detention. In an admissibility decision of 18 May 2017, the European Court of Human Rights found that this system does not violate the European Convention of Human Rights, an in particular article 5 on the right to liberty. Factual background Arben Draga is a Kosovan national residing in the UK. He was granted refugee status and indefinite leave to remain in December 2001....

30th May 2017 By Nath Gbikpi