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In The Press Articles

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Grenfell Tower Lessons Learned: Landlords urged to Remove Cladding or Face Legal Action (Asian Voice) (16 October 2018)

Manjinder Kaur Atwal has written for Asian Voice on the new housing regulations in place, in light of recent findings of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. It has been found that the ACM cladding, which was used in Grenfell Tower, was one of the contributing factors which resulted in the death of so many of its residents. Manjinder warns that if landlords or developers do not comply with the removal of this cladding from their properties, they could face council enforcement action. She writes: ‘There are still many more private sector landlords who own properties which are unlikely to comply with the current building regulations taking into account this dangerous cladding…if you would like to know your rights and responsibilities concerning the removal of ACM cladding or you have had council enforcement action served on you, contact Manjinder on 020 3114 1269, or email her on manjindera@duncanlewis.com.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

When push comes to shove!! – Lawyer unfairly dismissed and discriminated against pregnant nanny in Musilipah v Dhennin (Asian Voice) (16 October 2018)

Joshua Platt, a trainee employment solicitor, wrote for Asian Voice on the recent ruling which saw Ms Musilipah successfully claim unfair dismissal and discrimination against her former employer, Mr Dhennin. Ms Musilipah had worked for Mr Dhennin and Mrs O’Sullivan as a nanny and housekeeper from January 2017, before she discovered she was pregnant in August of that year. A few weeks later she informed her employers, which was only 4 days before they served her a letter of termination. The pair claimed it was because one of their children would be joining nursery so Ms Musilipah was no longer needed. Joshua explained that the tribunal judge had no choice but to find the claim in favour of Ms Musilipah and that her pregnancy had been a material factor in the decision to dismiss as there was a diminished need for her services, but it was not clear that her duties would have ceased entirely. He writes: ‘This case serves as an important reminder to employers that a tribunal can draw inference of discrimination where knowledge of pregnancy is hidden and inaccurate evidence is given to explain the mistreatment.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Social media’s divorce role (Eastern Eye) (16 October 2018)

Meena Kumari, a director of family and childcare at Duncan Lewis, has been quoted in Eastern Eye talking about the role that social media is playing in family law cases. She warns that social media is being increasingly used to prove or disprove claims against the other party, and that those involved should be aware of the risks of using social media. She comments: ‘“In divorce cases [social media] has been used to corroborate additional assets and lifestyle. In domestic abuse, it has been used to prove the behaviour of a perpetrator. In cases concerning children it has affirmed the relationship with children and the unhealthy lifestyle of the parents.”’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Brook House IRC inquiry to commence after Duncan Lewis client’s claim prompts Home Office U-turn decision (Multiple Sources) (15 October 2018)

Multiple sources have reported on this case, following the Home Office’s decision to commission the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman to conduct an independent Article 3 ECHR-compliant investigation into abuse of detainees at Brook House IRC, as prompted by a claim brought against them by MA, a client of Duncan Lewis, and BB. This claim followed the airing of a BBC Panorama documentaryin September 2017 which followed an undercover reporter posing as a detention officer in Brook House. His footage showed both MA and BB suffering serious mistreatment at the hands of detention staff. The Guardian has commented on the decision to begin the investigation, which comes after increased pressure has been placed on the Home Office to review the serious mistreatment of detainees. Free Movement has reminded that the second Shaw Review on immigration detention, which was released earlier this year, condemned the treatment of detainees in immigration detention centres, whilst the BBC reflects on the Panorama documentary which exposed the reality of this abuse from the perspective of the undercover officer, Callum Tulley. Lewis Kett and Nicholas Hughes, of the Public Law team at Duncan Lewis, are instructed by MA. Lewis has this to say: “Our client was suicidal, vulnerable and helpless. He was pinned down, strangled and degraded by officers who were supposed to be responsible for his care. They conspired to cover it up, obviously thinking that the scarce oversight of their work meant it would never come out. Only the brave decisions of an undercover officer allowed this to be exposed.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Revealed: two suicide attempts every day in UK detention centres (Guardian) (15 October 2018)

Lewis Kett, of Duncan Lewis’ Public Law department, petitioned for a Freedom of Information (FoI) response revealing the number of people in immigration detention that are considered ‘Adults at Risk’ who remain locked up. It showed that the number of detainees receiving “Rule 35(3)” reports had increased year-upon-year in the last four years indicating that the Home Office were routinely detaining more victims of torture. This was despite the Home Office’s ‘Adults at Risk in Immigration Detention' policy being introduced in September 2016 with the express intention of trying to reduce the number of vulnerable persons in detention. The FoI also showed that the “Rule 35” process, a trigger for reviewing detention of vulnerable persons, was not being sufficiently utilised for detainees who were deemed to be a suicide risk. And yet another FoI obtained by the advocacy group “No Deportations” revealed that the rate of suicide attempts has gone up in the last few months, with 159 attempts in total. 22% more than were previously recorded. Lewis informed the Guardian: “This freedom of information response shows that the number of recognised vulnerable people in detention is increasing…This includes survivors of torture as well as those about whom there are serious concerns that they are a suicide risk. The ‘adults at risk’ policy was introduced two years ago to reduce the number of vulnerable detainees. The evidence shows it’s having the opposite effect.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Liberty and Dublin III: the unlawful detention of asylum seekers (Justice Gap) (15 October 2018)

Krisha Prathepan has written for the Justice Gap on the 4th October 2018 ruling in Hemmati & Ors [2018] EWCA Civ 2122 which saw 5 appellants bring a claim against the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) for unlawful detention. Krisha was instructed by two of the four appellants in the test case, alongside Bahar Ata, who represented two others. Krisha tells of Mohammed’s story, an Iraqi national who was forced to flee his home country for fear of persecution from ISIS. Mohammed first arrived in Austria, where he struggled to survive, before coming to the UK in 2015. He was then held in immigration detention, pending transfer under Dublin III regulations which stipulate an asylum seeker can be sent back to the first safe country they enter for an assessment of their asylum claims. The regulations also state that said asylum seeker may only be detained if there is a significant risk of absconding. He brought a claim against the SSHD arguing that his detention was unlawful. The Court of Appeal in a 2:1 judgment ruled in favour of Mohammed, maintaining that the SSHD had acted unlawfully in detaining all 5 appellants whilst their claims were considered against the Dublin III regulations. Krisha writes: ‘In Al Chodor, the CJEU held that member states should define, in law, the objective criteria used to decide that the person subject to transfer is likely to abscond. This case was handed down on 15 March 2017…The Court found that between 1 January 2014 (when Dublin III came into effect) and 15 March 2017 (when the Home Office published the regulations mentioned above), there was no criteria or definition for ‘significant risk of absconding’ in domestic law, which means that the detention of the appellants during this period was unlawful and they may be entitled to damages.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Windrush scandal victims: A lawyer's advice (BBC) (12 October 2018)

Duncan Lewis’ Immigration Director, Tamana Aziz, is featured on the BBC website giving legal advice to those affected by the Windrush scandal. Tamana offered advice to both those in the UK and those abroad, encouraging them to seek legal advice from a lawyer or to contact the Home Office helpline. “If you've been affected by the Windrush scandal my advice is that you should put [in] a compensation claim. Make sure that you have checked the eligibility requirement and make sure that you have got your biometric resident permit – that’s your settled status from the Home Office – and then, when you’re putting [in] your compensation claim, make sure that you’ve included all your losses, including emotional losses, and what you’ve suffered in the past years.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Legal aid access and no family separations: an immigration detention wishlist (Guardian) (11 October 2018)

The Guardian have collected data from a select group of organisations and legal practices, including Duncan Lewis Solicitors, in order to get a grasp on the real issues with the UK’s immigration removal practices today. They used this to put together what they are calling a ‘wish list’ of changes that these NGOs and law firms believe should be made in order to make the situation better for thousands of immigrants who are caught up in these practices. Toufique Hossain, a Director of public law and immigration at our Harrow office, has spoken out about the injustices that are being allowed whilst current immigration policies are still in place: “There is meant to be a presumption to liberty; it is at the cornerstone of our society. It has been left to brave detainees, facing overwhelming tides of legal aid cuts, to challenge the arbitrary and indefinite detention in disgraceful conditions…Time and again they are vindicated by the courts. None of this has troubled successive home secretaries. That is because racist detention policies have been cynically deployed to ensure administrative convenience on the way to expedient political success.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Clients of Duncan Lewis see success in landmark Dublin III Court of Appeal case (Multiple Sources) (10 October 2018)

Duncan Lewis has been instructed by 4 of the 5 appellants in a test case challenging the provisions of the Dublin III regulations. In this landmark case, the Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the appellants, finding that the Secretary of State for the Home Department may have been unlawfully detaining hundreds of asylum-seekers in UK immigration removal centres (IRCs) in recent years. The Guardian, Independent and Scottish Legal News have all written of the case, which concerns the way Articles 28 and 2(n) of Dublin III regulations have been interpreted. Under the regulations, any asylum-seeker who seeks international protection in the UK after passing through a safe country may be removed to that country to process their claim there. Whilst the removal is put in place, many have been held in detention in IRCs across the UK. The court has ruled that by definition, those having their claims considered under the Dublin III regulations should only be detained in IRCs if they are at serious risk of absconding. Significantly, the 5 appellants did not meet this requirement when they were held in detention. It is thought that there are many more who may have been affected by this practice and be eligible for damages. Bahar Ata and Krisha Prathepan, of Duncan Lewis Public Law department, acted on behalf of 4 appellants in this case. Bahar states: “[This is] yet another example of [the Home Office]…unlawfully detaining asylum seekers, without proper consideration of their claims”. Krisha anticipates that “[t]his landmark judgment [will have] huge implications for those who were detained under the provision in the Dublin regulation [Dublin III]…It is deeply concerning that the Home Office’s unlawful conduct may have led to the detention of so many people without any lawful basis. In effect, the Home Office has unlawfully detained hundreds or even thousands of individuals seeking international protection.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis asylum-seeker client refused housing in the North-East of England due to Home Office agreement (Guardian and Breitbart) (1 October 2018)

The Guardian has revealed a practice which is preventing asylum-seekers in the North-East of England from accessing accommodation. It appears that local authorities have been refusing applications from asylum-seekers because they have been authorised by the Home Office to enforce the ban on ‘“foreign nationals with known criminality”’. The story has also been covered by Breitbart, which points out that a North-East Migration Partnership (NEMP) spokesperson appears to support the claim that an agreement not to take on certain asylum-seekers on social grounds exists. It became apparent that this was the case after the Home Office sent details of this ban to Sheroy Zaq, a public law solicitor at Duncan Lewis, who is acting on behalf of an asylum-seeker. Other sources have also implied that the refusals by local authorities may also be motivated by discrimination due to far-right sentiments. Sheroy has spoken out about his client who has been directly affected by this practice, having remained in detention for a further 6 months until their release was enabled: “The existence of this agreement must be seen as the home secretary bowing down to the repugnant, Islamophobic demands of the far right…To use ‘social cohesion’ as a reason for depriving foreign nationals of their liberty is squarely discriminatory and as such we are challenging this agreement on exactly that basis.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Government is urged to bring back Post-Study Work visa (Asian Voice) (18 September 2018)

Tamana Aziz has written for Asian Voice on the Tier 1 Post-Study Work visa which previously allowed international graduates to stay in the UK for up to a year after they graduate in order to obtain UK work experience. Since this visa was discontinued in 2012, international graduates now have to apply for the (General) Tier 2 visa, which has stricter requirements; not least, employers taking on applicants of this visa type will have to have a Tier 2 sponsor licence. Universities UK urges the government to consider bringing back the Post-Study Work visa to ensure the UK maintains its standing as an international destination for students to come to study, alongside competitors, Australia, the US and Canada. As a solicitor and Director specialising in immigration law, Tamana has a vast practice assisting clients who wish to apply for UK immigration status. She writes: ‘Under this [Tier 2] route, students must find a job with a salary of at least £20,800 with an employer who has a Tier 2 sponsor licence after completing their course, or set up a business with £200,000 investment as an (Tier 1) entrepreneur, which most find difficult to obtain. The only exceptions are PhD graduates who can stay for a year after obtaining their degree.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

BRITAIN’S ‘MODERN SLAVERY’ CRISIS (Eastern Eye) (17 September 2018)

Zofia Duszynska has been quoted in Eastern Eye commenting on her experience representing modern slavery victims, who have been forced into modern slavery conditions in the UK. This comes after fresh statistics have revealed that a large number of modern slavery victims brought to the UK are of Indian, Pakistani, or Bangladeshi origin. Charity Unseen has reported that 95 potential victims of slavery were recorded to have been of Indian origin in 2017; the 6th most common nationality exploited in this way. It is thought that these new figures may help push for more to be done to increase awareness, in a bid to ensure more traffickers are brought to account, and victims are protected. Zofia warns that there are many reasons why potential victims may have been susceptible to exploitation: “At the root of all trafficking and slavery situations is the exploitation of an unequal relationship and the abuse of a position of vulnerability. This is why we do see victims of modern slavery from India and Pakistan who have been trafficked into all the typical forms of exploitation – whether they are exploited for multiple purposes and kept in isolated environments or kept in a single location…Often it is poverty and homelessness, either in their home country or in the UK, which has been the push factor compelling individuals into exploitative situations…”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Afghan father who sought refuge in UK 'shot dead by Taliban' after being deported by Home Office (Independent) (14 September 2018)

Whilst in the process of appealing the Home Office’s decision to deport Zainadin Fazlie, his family were notified that he has been shot and killed two years after being sent back to Afghanistan. The family’s solicitor, Nasir Ata of the immigration department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, explains that the appeal had a very real chance of success considering the fact that Mr Fazlie had committed a minor offence which led to his deportation, and that his wife and four children still remain in the UK. In the lead up to the appeal hearing, the Home Office maintained that Mr Fazlie could give oral evidence via video chat, whilst physically remaining in Afghanistan, even though his legal team had been struggling to communicate with Mr Fazlie via telephone. This is because, under the rights of this type of appeal, Mr Fazlie could only appeal his deportation from outside UK jurisdiction, which the Home Office insisted was to be preserved, even though Afghanistan is an internationally recognised warzone. This was in contradiction to the constitutional right to a fair trial, whilst also paying no regard to the risk of irretrievable harm to Mr Fazlie. When Mr Fazlie originally came to the UK in 2000 he was given indefinite leave to remain after the Taliban gained control of his home town in Maidan Wardak province. He and his wife made a home here and remained in the country with their four children for 16 years, until Mr Fazlie was convicted of an offence. Mrs Fazlie explains her husband committed the offence at the peak of his depression, which he had begun to seek help for in the UK. This help was taken away when he was removed to the Afghan capital of Kabul, which Mrs Fazlie says was ultimately his death sentence. Nasir Ata states: “I last spoke to [Mr Fazlie] around March this year. He told me it was difficult and that he was in danger from the Taliban. He said he had to pick up guns to protect himself. I struggled to get hold of him after that…We had a good chance at the hearing on 28 of this month, but it was too late. There are a lot of practical difficulties with bringing someone back. The main issue was the fact that he wasn’t given the opportunity to appeal the decision from the UK.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

More than 100 pregnant women detained in UK removal centres since major review called for ban (Independent) (12 September 2018)

Patrick Page, a Senior Caseworker in the Public Law department at Duncan Lewis, has been quoted in the Independent speaking out about the fact that the Home Office have continued to ignore doctors, lawyers and civil servants by detaining pregnant women. Between July 2016 and 30 June 2018, 104 pregnant women have been held in immigration detention, and only 20 were actually removed from the UK. This is despite the fact that, in January 2016, senior civil servant Stephen Shaw published a review recommending a complete ban on the detention of pregnant women. The fact that so few were removed only serves to ratify Patrick’s comment that the detention of pregnant women does nothing but “instil fear”, whilst also posing severe risks to their mental and physical health, as well as that of their unborn child. Patrick comments: “Having represented women in this situation, I know that 100 detained pregnant women means 100 shocking arrests, 100 degrading and disorienting journeys to detention centres, 100 experiences of poor or non-existent antenatal care in detention, of poor food and thin mattresses; 100 pregnant women worrying that their stress will affect the health of their unborn baby, 100 women who will carry this ordeal with them forever…Ultimately, detention itself is inhumane, and the detention of pregnant women is just one of its more repugnant features.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis challenge to £1 hour immigration detainee wages widely reported (The Times, Guardian, Sky News) (10 September 2018)

The Public Law team at Duncan Lewis, led by Toufique Hossain and Philip Armitage, is bringing a challenge against the Home Office £1 per hour wage regime on behalf of immigration detainees held in immigration removal centres. It has been widely reported by The Times Brief, Guardian and Sky News that the detainees, who are functioning in a number of skilled roles, are only paid a fraction of the minimum wage external agencies would be expected to earn. As cleaners, barbers and kitchen assistants, the detainees are performing integral roles for the smooth running of the removal centres in an effort to earn money so that they may pay for simple necessities. Earlier this year, the wage came under review with the suggestion that it should be increased in line with inflation to £1.15, but the Home Secretary dismissed it. The legal team state: “Our clients work up to 30 hours per week in order to raise funds for essential toiletries, phone credit and even to send money home to their families. They feel exploited to do such essential roles for only £1 per hour, with no possibility of a raise in pay. Without our clients carrying out this work, it would have to be done by external employees at national minimum wage rates.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Fitness to Practice landmark ruling in Bawa-Garba v General Medical Council (Asian Voice) (6 September 2018)

Alex Peebles, Director of Public Law at Duncan Lewis, has written for Asian Voice on the landmark ruling which has seen Dr Bawa-Garba reinstated to the medical register after she was removed from it in a High Court judgment earlier this year. The junior doctor had fitness to practice proceedings brought against her after the death of Jack Adcock who died when sepsis went undetected whilst he was under her care. She was charged with gross negligence manslaughter in a criminal court in 2015 which imposed a two year suspended sentence, with a one year suspension from practice. This Court of Appeal decision to quash January’s High Court ruling has reinstated this one year suspension, allowing Dr Bawa-Garba to return to her practice once it has been complete. Alex writes: ‘This decision will have a lasting impact on future fitness to practice claims, in clarifying the different roles of criminal courts and disciplinary tribunals in cases concerning gross negligence manslaughter.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Viscount accused of assaulting teenage girlfriend in row over cooking tongs (Telegraph and Daily Mail) (24 August 2018)

Rory Laide, Solicitor in our Crime Department based in Harrow, features in the Telegraph and Daily Mail. In defence of his client at Westminster Magistrates Court, Mr. Laide detailed the impact of negative social media posts being created about his client whilst court proceedings are ongoing. A viscount has been charged with assaulting his girlfriend after an argument over a pair of cooking tongs. The defendant, Lord Ruthven, was accused of throwing his partner, Ms Tyrrell, against a wall when she attempted to use a pair of cooking tongs. He has denied the one charge of assault against him. Lord Ruthven has said he and his partner are in the process of splitting up and “she can’t handle it”. Ms Tyrell will provide evidence behind a screen when the trial begins at Hendon Magistrates' Court. The news of this allegation has led to negative and offensive social media posts being written about Mr Ruthven. His solicitor, Rory Laide, has said: "There have been posts on social media in derogatory terms concerning Mr Ruthven. He has reported them to the police".   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Adults without a will: seek specialist advice (Asian Voice) (21 August 2018)

Caroline Roche, Wills and Probate solicitor and Director at Duncan Lewis, has written for Asian Voice on the recent results of the Kings Court Trust survey which reveals that more than half of adults do not have a will. The figures also suggest that there is a growing trend of individuals seeking out other means to draft their will, including online services, which risks the will proving to be invalid upon the death of the testator. She reminds that it is important for those looking to have their will drafted to seek out qualified regulated services to ensure that they will be protected should there be any problems with the will. She states: ‘Instructing a solicitor can offer greater protection in that regard. The most prudent approach for anyone considering making a will is to instruct a specialist solicitor and ideally to make a will before awaiting a triggering event such as illness.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Homeowners look out for Japanese Knotweed (Asian Voice) (6 August 2018)

Chinedu Orogbu, Director of Housing based in Duncan Lewis’ Dalston office, has written for Asian Voice on the nuisance plant, Japanese knotweed, which neighbours are now able to sue over if the plant encroaches on their land. Chinedu explains that whilst many landowners do not know how to recognise the plant on their property, it is important to look out for it as it is an incredibly invasive and destructive plant (click read more to see image). Claims made against neighbours for allowing Japanese knotweed growing on their land to enter onto a neighbour’s property can be brought under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and is covered by Private Nuisance Law. Chinedu explains how Private Nuisance Law enabled two homeowners to claim against Network Rail for allowing Japanese knotweed to spread onto their properties: “In this regard the Court of Appeal in the case of Network Rail Infrastructure Limited v Stephen Williams and Robin Waistell [2018] EWCA Civ 1514 has held that encroachment of Japanese knotweed onto the Claimants land from property owned by Network Rail constituted a nuisance for which the Claimants were entitled to damages. The rationale for so holding was that presence of and encroachment of the Japanese knotweed onto the claimants land/properties had diminished their ability to enjoy the amenity and utility of their properties.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

FGM travel ban ‘keeping family apart for 16 years’ (The Times) (1 August 2018)

The Times Brief has discussed a first for the Court of Appeal, wherein an FGM case has had its request to appeal approved by a judge. The appeal was first brought by the mother of the child (‘X’), who is white British. When her legal aid was revoked her solicitor, Ravi Kaur Mahey, persisted with her case on a pro bono basis. Following this, the mother withdrew her appeal to allow the father to take her place to challenge the Female Genital Mutilation Protection Order (FGMPO). Both the mother and the father of X wish for the order to be challenged, which currently bans X from leaving UK jurisdiction until she turns 16 in 2032. The father is Egyptian and currently resides in Egypt. He has been unable to join the mother and his child in the UK because of immigration issues. The challenge is particularly significant since the High Court judge made the order knowing that the father would be unable to have contact with his daughter. Ravi, who continues to represent the mother, states: “The issue here was the blanket travel ban the court imposed, preventing the child from travelling until 2032. This denied the child and her parents the chance of any family life together as a unit. It is clear that the High Court judge did not explore in detail all other options which would allow family reunification, even if for short periods of time.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Abuse survivors ‘reported over immigration status’ (Eastern Eye) (24 July 2018)

Zofia Duszynska has commented on the harsh implementation of the ‘hostile environment’ policy which has seen 27 police forces report those who come forward as victims of trafficking and modern slavery, and victims of domestic and physical abuse to immigration authorities. Many warn that this puts vulnerable people in a position which would prevent them from seeking help for fear of being arrested and removed from the UK. Both the National Police Chief’s Council and the Home Office state that these individuals should be treated as “victims first and foremost” in spite of this practice. As an immigration solicitor and Director at Duncan Lewis, Zofia regularly acts for victims of trafficking and slavery held under immigration powers, many of whom have suffered significant abuse. She states: “They were encountered by police, but rather than being treated as victims of crime, were arrested and detained in immigration removal centres. In many cases, prosecution of the victims of trafficking has been pursued, rather than the investigation and prosecution of those at the top who rented the properties and benefited from the exploitation. Our clients are fearful of approaching the police for help as they have been told by their traffickers they will face prosecution and deportation – as well as punishment by the traffickers. Sadly, we see many cases where this has occurred.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Social housing and the UK immigration policy right to rent rules (Asian Voice) (24 July 2018)

Dianne Cowie has written for Asian Voice on the UK immigration policy which is impacting on foreign nationals’ housing choices. Recent changes in the law, including the right to rent requirements, has made it compulsory for landlords to ask tenants for documents proving their right to live in the UK. This has put those caught up in the Windrush scandal in a difficult position, whilst they are in the process of applying to regularise their status. Dianne warns that some private landlords are applying the right to rent rules unfairly, by discriminating against anyone who is a foreign national and denying them accommodation. She reminds that social landlords also have an obligation to ensure their staff are well versed in the right to rent rules to make sure that those who are in fact eligible for housing are given access. It is important that those foreign nationals who have been denied accommodation and are unsure of their rights seek professional legal help. Dianne writes: ‘When faced with this situation legal advice can and should be sought. Applicants can access free advice through pro bono advice clinics run by solicitors, Duncan Lewis, in Streatham, Mitcham and Morden Citizens Advice Bureaus. We can also provide advice using alternative funding and can assess legal aid eligibility.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Trump donor firm accused of ‘slave labour’ made £1m profit (The Ferret) (24 July 2018)

US private prison firm, GEO group, has come under fire once again after profits reveal just how much they have made at the expense of the detainees held at Dungravel IRC, who they are paying £1 an hour to provide essential services, including hair dressing, cleaning and gardening. The Ferret reminds us that the firm were a key donor to the Trump campaign in 2016, during which year they were at a deficit of more than £2m. In 2017 they profited almost £1m, whilst the detainees held were made to work for a pittance. The government is under fire for allowing private prison firms such as GEO to treat detainees as slaves since rates of pay are determined by the Home Office. Toufique Hossain, Director of Public Law at Duncan Lewis, is challenging this policy on behalf of a number of detainees held at Dungravel. He states: “It should be a source of national shame that our government is allowing private companies like the GEO Group to outsource their responsibilities to detainees for £1 per hour. Not only this, the Home Office has banned detainees from earning a penny more. Detainees are having to cut hair, clean floors and scrub toilets among other things, during their detention, as they struggle to afford toiletries and phone credit to speak to the outside world. We are challenging this disgraceful policy in the Courts so that the Home Office are forced to uphold the basic dignity of working detainees.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

UK under fire over slavery measures after 'disturbing' case of trafficked boy (Guardian) (6 July 2018)

Last year the highest number of victims of trafficking and modern slavery were reported in the UK. The Guardian argues that this demonstrates that Theresa May’s policy to tackle slavery and human trafficking is not being implemented as a result of issues with the framework used to identify, support and protect victims of trafficking. In the case of TDT, a 15 year old Vietnamese victim of trafficking, the Court of Appeal declared that the former Home Secretary had violated his Article 4 by releasing him from her custody without putting in place measures to protect him from his traffickers. This was the first instance that a domestic court has found there to be a breach of duty to protect a potential victim of trafficking, which will have a significant influence on the way future cases can be brought. Ahmed Aydeed of Duncan Lewis, who regularly acts for victims of trafficking was asked for his opinion on the importance of this judgment & the effectiveness of the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). Ahmed stated that “It’s clear that our system is failing victims and potential victims of trafficking by not identifying and assisting them early enough…This [TDT] judgment emphasises the importance of assisting victims as soon as there is credible suspicion, as opposed to the home secretary just sitting on his hands awaiting decisions by his department, which take weeks or months”. He further stated that there are “significant issues” with the framework designed to identify, support and protect victims of trafficking. “The court of appeal clearly appreciate these duties more than the home secretary, who chose to defend his conduct instead of agreeing to put safeguarding measures in place”. Ahmed has a number of challenges before the high court challenging the systemic deficiencies within the NRM.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Outrage Amid ‘Prohibitive’ Cost of Visa and Passport Application Fees (Eastern Eye) (6 July 2018)

Vicash Ramkissoon has commented on the rising fees incurred by migrants making applications for visas, passports and settlement in the UK. Eastern Eye points out that the fees have more than doubled in most cases in the last 10 years, with the Home Office making profits of 800% on some applications. As a solicitor and Director of Business Immigration at Duncan Lewis, Vicash encounters many client skilled workers and their families entering the UK at the expense of their pocket. He explains: “Costs are much higher when applying for settlement in the UK and a family of four would be charged an extortionate amount of almost £10,000 to make an application for indefinite leave to remain.” He points out that this can force families to make unwise decisions because they simply cannot cover the cost. “Many have no choice in paying such costs, having settled here with their families, and are often faced with using credit cards or taking out loans to pay for Home Office fees…In extreme cases, only some members have applied initially to save costs, which can lead to the risk of breaching immigration rules for the other family members, especially when their visas have expired.” If the application fees weren’t enough in themselves, Vicash points out that migrant workers are being struck with what he describes as a “stealth tax” in the form of the mandatory immigration health surcharge (IHS), which is imposed on those who would already be contributing to the public purse through tax and national insurance.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Virgin Atlantic still assisting Home Office with deportations after announcing it would stop (Independent) (4 July 2018)

On 29 June, airline Virgin Atlantic announced that it would stop helping the Home Office carry out involuntary deportations of foreign nationals. In spite of this, the Independent have revealed that the airline will keep transporting foreign nationals as part of immigration removal proceedings until 1 August. The removal of a Nigerian national was due to take place just a day after they announced their plans. Hannah Baynes, assisted by Helen Seeger, of the Duncan Lewis Public Law department, is representing the Nigerian client who was due to be deported on Saturday’s flight. Helen called Virgin Atlantic on 30 June but was told that they would only stop assisting removals from 1 August. Our client’s removal was halted when Helen submitted further representations and additional medical evidence towards his asylum claim. Nonetheless, it is predicted that there will be more like him who will be removed this month before Virgin Atlantic stop removing foreign nationals on their flights. Helen states: “These are not always people who have had adequate legal representation or a chance to put their claims together properly. It’s great that [Virgin Atlantic are] changing their minds but I’m baffled as to why they have to do it in a month’s time.” Director of Immigration & Public Law, Toufique Hossain warns that because those served with a deportation notice are not given their flight details in advance it is impossible to know how many will be removed in the month of July. He comments on Virgin Atlantic’s decision: “It is somewhat unusual for [Virgin Atlantic] to put out a politically driven statement - as this was not a business decision, it was political - but for them to say that comes into effect in August is very strange.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Instruct a Personal Injury Solicitor sooner rather than later (Asian Voice) (25 June 2018)

Ifrah Ahmed has written for Asian Voice on the issues surrounding the potential time limits for pursuing a personal injury claim. Many people are unaware that most claims must be settled or initiated within three years from the date of the accident. Exceptional cases, such as clinical negligence claims, asbestos exposure and accidents which have caused hearing loss, can be brought after this three year time limit as often the symptoms of the injury occur a long time after the injured party initially suffered medical negligence or was exposed to a toxin. Other exceptions to the rule include a claim brought from a child or someone who lacks litigation capacity. As a Personal Injury solicitor, Ifrah points out the benefits of instructing a solicitor to bring a claim on your behalf as soon as possible. Early initiation of a claim can ensure witnesses can recount recent events, as memory fades and witnesses can be more difficult to trace over time. To wait risks essential evidence as CCTV footage is usually only kept for 1 month, employers or manufacturers involved can move or close down and the law can change frequently, meaning claims brought sooner rather than later have a greater chance of success. Ifrah explains: ‘We advise that you see a solicitor as soon as possible. If you are hesitant about pursuing a claim, then a solicitor will be able to deal with the many issues above and advise you fully.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

UK authorities deny chemotherapy to asylum seeker (Medical Brief) (18 June 2018)

After a six week delay, an Ethiopian national has begun her urgent cancer treatment on the NHS. Her chemotherapy for ‘metastatic breast cancer in her abdomen and bone cancer in her spine’ was delayed because the Home Office advised the treating hospital that she was not eligible for NHS care unless she could pay in advance. Ms Mulat fled Ethiopia due to a fear of persecution. She arrived in Greece in 2013 where she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, before seeking asylum in the UK in July 2015. Under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act she was given free NHS healthcare and a weekly support allowance. This was revoked in February of this year when her asylum claim was refused. On 25 April, Ms Mulat submitted further evidence to the Home Office, which warned that she would be at risk of imprisonment were she to return to Ethiopia. She is now receiving the treatment that she needs but the reason for this change in position of the Home Office and the Hospital is not clear. She is represented by Jeremy Bloom, of the Public Law department at Duncan Lewis. He states: “We are delighted that our client will be receiving the life-saving cancer treatment that she so urgently needs, but it is shocking this treatment was delayed by nearly six weeks.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Former immigration detainees granted permission to challenge Home Secretary’s failure to call public inquiry following their abuse in detention (Guardian & Independent) (13 June 2018)

Two former detainees of Brook House IRC have been given permission to bring a judicial review against the Home Secretary’s failure to call an Article 3-compliant public inquiry into the abuse they experience whilst detained, as revealed in the BBC Panorama documentary. Mr Justice Holman granted permission for a full Judicial Review of the decision to take place which has now been listed for mid-October. Mr Justice Holman was particularly persuaded by concerns from the Equality and Human Rights Commission who have now written to the court to request permission to intervene in this case. One of the former detainees bringing the judicial review, who was seen being throttled by a G4S staff member in the Panorama footage, is represented by Lewis Kett, solicitor in the Public Law department at Duncan Lewis. Lewis states: “Our client was a vulnerable and traumatised young man, not yet out of his teens, who had sought refuge in the UK to escape persecution in Egypt. What he did not expect was to be tortured and re-traumatised by agents of the UK government who were supposed to be responsible for his care in detention…Detention staff at Brook House were only caught and punished because they were unaware of secret filming and accounts from detainees suggest this abuse could go much wider. The only way to get to the bottom of the facts and ensure abuse like this does not happen again is for a full forensic public inquiry.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Gay asylum seeker faces deportation from UK to Nigeria (Guardian) (13 June 2018)

A gay asylum seeker came to the UK to avoid persecution in his home country Nigeria. Nigeria is one of many places where an increasing number of gay asylum seekers are fleeing to claim international protection in the UK. Mr Raji was discovered by his ex-wife and she notified the authorities. He suffered attacks from non-state actors including numerous written and verbal threats against his life. Despite this his claim has been rejected by the UK Home Office and he has spent 6 months in an immigration removal centre pending his removal. After the First Tier Immigration Tribunal rejected his application he was placed on bail and he has applied to appeal their decision. Bhaveshri Patel-Chandegra, an immigration solicitor at Duncan Lewis, said: “The court has looked at his case and nullified all his evidence that he is at serious risk if removed to Nigeria but there’s been no evidence that his documents aren’t genuine.” Mr Raji has evidence of the threats on his life but because the perpetrators are considered non-state actors the Home Office have denied that he would be at risk of harm were he to return. The application to appeal this decision has since been refused.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Government under fire for 'outrageous' treatment of modern slavery victims facing deportation from UK (Independent) (12 June 2018)

A Vietnamese man is set to be removed from the UK this week despite the fact that the Home Office has recognised that he is a victim of trafficking and modern slavery. Mr Nguyen was brought to the UK by traffickers who forced him to work on a cannabis farm. He fears that were he to return to Vietnam he would be killed by his traffickers. Labour MP Vernon Coaker reminds that this approach is contradictory to the Government’s plan of action to combat modern slavery and trafficking in the UK. Many who are recognised by the Home Office as victims of trafficking are given some form of discretionary leave to remain. Following this the Home Office should then grant a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), however often it is up to the individual to apply for formal status to enable them to access work, welfare benefits, education and healthcare. In the meantime they are left in limbo and there is still a chance that the Home Office will refuse to grant a BRP. MP Coaker states that by treating vulnerable individuals who are confirmed victims of trafficking in this way and issuing removal proceedings the Home Office are sending out a hostile message, which puts others off coming forward for help. Mr Nguyen’s solicitor, Bhaveshri Patel-Chandegra, states: “So many people get put off reporting because word gets around and they think if this is how I’m going to be treated, why should I claim? There needs to be a change in the [Home Office] policy. People are being recognised as victims but then left without [formal] status. They’re left with nothing. What’s the point in being recognised as a victim if they’re not going to have any kind of [status] support?” Bhaveshri has been engaged for the past two days in trying to stop Mr Nyugen’s deportation. She assisted him in submitting a Judicial Review yesterday and they have submitted amended grounds today. Bhaveshri is awaiting written confirmation from the Home Office that Mr Nyugen’s removal has been deferred.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Hostile environment policy which affected thousands of foreign students in the UK (Asian Voice) (11 June 2018)

The Home Office have employed a strategy to unfairly revoke thousands of foreign students’ visas who they allege have cheated on the Test of English for International Communications. Following a BBC Panorama documentary in 2014 exposing cheating in the test which foreign students must pass as one of the visa requirements, the government began an investigation using English Testing Services which indentified more than 33,000 invalid tests. This led the governement to revoke more than 7000 student’s visas by 2016, basing their decision on an automated voice analysis system, which proved to be wrong in 20% of cases.Tamana Aziz, as a Director and solicitor in the immigration department at Duncan Lewis, has extensive experience representing individuals wrongly removed from the UK. She writes that any students affected by this policy should get in touch: 'We recommend all students who were affected by this policy and removed/deported from the UK to seek legal advice. They may have a case against the government for unlawful curtailment of their leave and removal from the UK.'   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office prevented asylum seeker's urgent cancer treatment (Guardian) (8 June 2018)

A 38 year old Ethiopian national who is claiming asylum in the UK has had her urgent cancer treatment delayed by almost 6 weeks as she was assessed incorrectly as not being eligible for an exemption from the NHS Charging Regulations which apply to Overseas Visitors. This is yet another instance where hospitals have been forced to ask for a person’s proof of right to remain in the UK to assess their eligibility and been unable to give that individual the care they urgently need. After arriving in Greece in 2013, Ms Mulat was diagnosed with breast cancer and she went on to seek asylum in the UK in July 2015. Under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act she was given free NHS healthcare and a weekly support allowance. This was revoked in February of this year when her asylum claim was refused, leaving her unable to access chemotherapy treatment. On 25 April, Ms Mulat submitted further evidence to the Home Office, which warned that Ms Mulat would be at risk of imprisonment were she to return to Ethiopia as she is a member of Ginbot 7, a pro-democracy group which has recently seen 30 members sentenced to 15-18 years by the Ethiopian court. Despite these further submissions, which made her an asylum seeker and therefore exempt from charges under the NHS Charging Regulations,, the Home Office incorrectly advised the hospital that she was not entitled to treatment on the NHS. Jeremy Bloom, Ms Mulat’s legal representative states: “Hospitals, the Home Office and the Department of Health don’t seem to understand how to apply the relevant eligibility and exemption criteria, and what evidence to seek from people in situations like this…Communication with patients is also totally unclear; patients are rarely told in writing whether they will be charged or refused treatment under the regulations, or what evidence they need to provide…The NHS charging regulations are another part of the ‘hostile environment’ which is having unintended consequences for vulnerable people in need of protection.” The Hospital has now agreed to treat her, but it is not clear on what basis they have made this decision.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

‘PERMIT TECH VISA CHANGE’ (Eastern Eye) (7 June 2018)

Eastern Eye has written on the UK-India CEO Forum which was held on 18th April 2018 at Francis Crick Institute, wherein UK and Indian Business leaders talked about tax regimes, trade and investment. Lord Gadhia was quick to suggest that the UK was losing out on hiring IT specialist from Asian because of tougher visa rules. Many solicitors believe the rules need to be reviewed as it is impacting on many different industries and hindering UK international recruitment opportunities. In order to employ a Tier 2 visa applicant from outside the UK, employers must prove that they are unable to fill that position with a British national. If a Tier 2 applicant has more points, they will receive first priority. In 2016, an applicant needed 21 points to meet the visa requirements. As of March 2018 applicants need 56 points, nearly 3 times that amount. Vicash Ramkissoon, Business Immigration Director at Duncan Lewis, warns that the worst is yet to come: “The monthly cap on skilled workers is now likely to be exceeded five times in a row. This will hit tech companies the hardest, given the current shortage of skilled staff in the sector. If this trend continues, it is likely that the UK will lose its international appeal for attracting the brightest talent in the industry, especially software en­gineers from the Indian subcontinent.” He believes transparency and collaboration is the answer: “This situation calls for an open dialogue between the Home Office and the tech sector to propose solutions, such as adding ‘in demand’ IT roles to the shortage occupation list or making them exempt from the annual cap altogether. The most practical solution would be to assess trends over the last few months where the monthly quota has been exceeded and to consider increasing the following monthly allocation in line with demand from all business sectors. However, this is unlikely, given the current obsession with controlling net migration.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Asylum seekers unlawfully held in removal centres for months despite courts’ ruling they can be released, lawyers warn (Independent) (1 June 2018)

The Independent discusses the harsh reality that many immigrants are held in detention after they have had their bail approved due to the Home Office’s failure to provide alternative accommodation. The Home Office have attempted to justify this by claiming that emergency accommodation is not “dissimilar” to the conditions in detention. The problem does not exclusively affect asylum seekers released on bail, some given the right to remain in the UK are held in detention long after their release date because the Home Office have failed to source accommodation. In other cases some are released without anywhere to go, leaving them homeless. Toufique Hossain, solicitor and Director in the Public Law and Immigration departments at Duncan Lewis, deals with this on a regular basis. He states: “[The] Home Office is failing to provide accommodation in time. There are massive delays in them providing the accommodation, we’re talking months…Immigration judges decide all the conditions are right for the person to be released…But then we’re seeing nothing…If they’re fortunate enough to get a decent lawyer who will issue unlawful detention proceedings, they can get an order from the high court saying the Home Office must provide accommodation…and it does miraculously find accommodation… In the meantime, people languish in detention at the cost to the taxpayer. The harm caused to people who have a legitimate right to be released is inexplicable.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lawyers fighting for asylum for gay Leeds woman at risk of deportation to Uganda (Leeds Live) (1 June 2018)

A Ugandan national has had her removal halted after she gained more than 8500 signatures through a petition brought by LGBT campaigners and the Home Office agreed to give her legal team at Duncan Lewis time to prepare fresh claims. Ms Namuzungu fears prison and persecution were she to be removed to Uganda since being gay is considered a criminal offence in her home country. She has instructed Marina Khan, a solicitor in the immigration department, to prepare representations in support of her fresh claim for asylum in light of new evidence. Marina states: “The client exhausted all appeal rights in the UK and thus the Home Office intended to remove the client from the UK. Our client sought our assistance on 24 May 2018 and on 25 May 2018 we were instructed that removal directions were set to Uganda at 21.55hrs on 29 May 2018. Our client required our assistance to send further submissions as a fresh asylum claim owing to a risk under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Refugee Convention. As we were instructed within 24 hours of her removal representations were submitted to the Home Office seeking a deferral of removal based on Home Office guidance on judicial reviews and injunctions published on 21 May 2018. The new guidance recognises that: ‘Legal representatives need access to relevant documents and case papers in order to properly advise their client.’ We were of the view that the Home Office’s failure to provide the documents would render the removal unlawful as her asylum claim is on the basis that she would be at risk on return because of her sexual orientation. It is evident from Uganda’s country information that homosexual activity is illegal and not tolerated in Uganda. It is deemed illegal and those found to be LGBT persons can face discrimination and legal restrictions in Uganda. We are currently in the process of preparing detailed representations in support of the client’s fresh claim for asylum in light of her new evidences to be considered by the Home Office.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis obtains reprieve against removal of foreign national on the basis of possible mistaken identity (Asian Voice) (31 May 2018)

Howard Cheng, Immigration solicitor based in our Lewisham branch, has written for Asian Voice on representing a Somali national who claims to be from Mogadishu, the captial of Somalia. Immigration officials had been directed by the Home Office to remove Howard’s client to Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, on the basis that he is the same person as that which they were authorised to remove by the Somaliland authorities, even though that person has a different middle name. Howard explains: ‘Although a seemingly trivial detail, the true extent of the difference can only really be fully appreciated if one understands the naming conventions in Somali culture. The significance of the “middle” name in Somali naming convention is that it is usually one’s father’s name, and therefore a different “middle” name would mean that it would be a different person altogether, due to the identification of someone else being named as the father.’ The Home Office have offered settlement agreeing to withdraw their certification of the matter which has allowed Howard’s client to appeal the removal. The case is on-going.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Child slavery victim sues Home Office after sexual assault at Morton Hall (Guardian) (30 May 2018)

A victim of trafficking and modern slavery from Vietnam has instructed Ahmed Aydeed, Rachael Davis, and Karen Staunton, of the Public Law team at our Birmingham branch, in bringing a civil claim against the Home Secretary and the Ministry of Justice. The client was tortured, raped and forced into debt bondage when trafficked to the UK. On arrival, he was forced to work in a cannabis factory, where he was later arrested for cannabis cultivation. Although he displayed evidence of having been a victim of trafficking and modern slavery, the police failed to refer him to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). As a minor, he was released into the custody of the local authority where he absconded from their care. It was his subsequent arrest for suspicion of illegal entry which resulted in an interview with an immigration official who finally referred him to the NRM. The Competent Authority made a positive reasonable grounds decision in support of his account as a victim of trafficking, however the Home Office did not inform the police, CPS or the Crown Court so the criminal proceedings continued. He was convicted and detained in a Youth Offenders Institute where he served 4 months of an 8 month sentence, before being transferred to Morton Hall IRC. When held there, another detainee sexually assaulted H and made an attempt to rape him. There is no evidence that any attempt was made to investigate this incident or the allegation made by our client. Duncan Lewis is bringing a claim against the Home Secretary and the Ministry of Justice, who run Morton Hall IRC, for negligence, breach of statutory duty and the ongoing failure to initiate any internal investigation or referral to the police for a criminal investigation of the allegation of sexual assault. Ahmed explains: “This is a vulnerable victim of slavery who was a child at the time of his exploitation – who was locked inside a cannabis house and then criminalised, incarcerated in a young offenders’ institution and then illegally detained in immigration detention where he suffered a highly traumatising assault, which was then never investigated. Our client’s treatment undermines the government’s rhetoric on its commitment to protecting victims of slavery and its own guidance on how child trafficking victims should be supported. Is this really how we treat those who have experienced slavery in the UK?”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Guest Post: Waive Immigration Fees For Soldiers From Overseas (Free Movement) (18 May 2018)

Vinita Templeton has written for Free Movement on how Commonwealth soldiers who have served in HM Forces are forced to pay extortionate fees for their right to remain in the UK. Recently, newly appointed Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced that Afghan interpreters who assisted the British troops in Afghanistan would have their fees waivered for their application for indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Former Home Secretary, Amber Rudd also announced that those from the Windrush generation would not have to pay immigration fees to gain ILR. Vinita questions the fact that Commonwealth soldiers who are discharged from the army have yet to receive a similar waiver even though they have served in Her Majesty’s armed forces, and many deployed to fight in war torn countries. Vinita writes: ‘The government is finally facing up to the injustice to British Citizens from the Commonwealth and Afghan interpreters who have given service to British troops. It is now time to acknowledge the invaluable role of Commonwealth soldiers in the armed forces, and the inequality of treatment they continue to suffer by the government they so faithfully served.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Sulaiha Ali’s client faces removal after reporting a serious crime (BBC and RT) (16 May 2018)

A young woman who was trafficked to the UK by her partner, a British citizen, was subject to domestic abuse before being arrested when an on-looker reported it to the police. As a migrant who entered the UK illegally, she has no immigration status, so when her partner was reported and she was taken to hospital the police arrested her and she was taken to an immigration removal centre. Her partner treated her like a slave and would beat her, claiming that is why he brought her here. She was afraid of going to the police when the abuse began because she knew she would be made the subject of immigration proceedings. The Victoria Derbyshire freedom of information request revealed that more than 50% of 45 police forces in the UK report suspected illegal entrants to the Home Office, even when they were the victim of a crime themselves. Sulaiha Ali, of the immigration department at Duncan Lewis, warns that this is a common occurrence and it is putting vulnerable individuals at risk. Many fear reporting a crime that they have been subject to since they risk removal. Green Party Leader, Caroline Lucas, warns that crimes may go unreported as a result of Theresa May’s hostile environment policy. In this case, Sulaiha has managed to halt her client’s removal and she is assisting her with her application for asylum. Sulaiha criticises the fact that the Home Office has prioritised her client’s removal and immigration status over the on-going criminal enquiry against her trafficker. She states: "It's shocking to know that victims of crime are being seen and treated as criminals just because of their status."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

A&E – How long do I have to wait? I’m going home (Asian Voice) (16 May 2018)

Nilma Shah, of the personal injury and clinical negligence department at Duncan Lewis, has written for Asian Voice on the case of Darnley V Croydon Health Services NHS Trust. Mr Darnley attended A&E with a head injury, at which point he was told by the receptionist that the wait to be seen would be 4-5 hours, which was inaccurate. After 19 minutes, he decided that the wait would be too long and he left. In reality he would have been seen after 30 minutes. He returned in an ambulance in a serious condition. The delay in treatment caused partial paralysis and long-term disabilities. Mr Darnley brought a claim for negligence on the basis that the receptionist was incorrect when relaying the expected wait time and that the hospital should have seen him in 15 minutes. According to NICE guidelines, a patient presenting with a head injury should be seen within 15 minutes of arrival. Had Mr Darnley waited, he would have been seen after 30 minutes. It was ruled that there was no duty on the receptionist to provide a wait time as they serve a purely clerical function and that the NHS Trust did not breach their duty of care. Nilma explains: “The case also failed on causation as Mr Darnley decided to leave without informing staff…[t]his case presents an important lesson – if you attend A&E be warned that if you are told to wait 4-5 hours this may be incorrect and you are likely to be seen sooner. Hospitals are meant to see 95% of patients within 4 hours.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office softens line on “no study” restrictions for refugee children (Free Movement) (10 May 2018)

Hannah Baynes, a solicitor in the Public Law department, has been quoted in Free Movement discussing the revised Home Office guidelines on immigration bail restrictions with regards to refugee’s access to study. As a result of changes to bail guidance by the Home Office in January 2018 many young asylum seekers received the Bail 201 forms containing restrictions on studying, regardless of their individual circumstances. After pressure from campaigners and litigation led by a team of legal practitioners in Duncan Lewis’ Public Law team challenging this issue, the Home Office has released a revised version of the conditions, revoking the study restrictions for children and young adult refugees. Free Movement has also reproduced the table of revised study conditions for others awaiting a decision on their status. In response to these changes, Hannah states: “[This] is very positive news for young asylum seekers for whom studying gives them a purpose whilst they fight for their right to stay in the UK…We have seen multiple cases of vulnerable individuals who have been prevented from studying as a result of the unlawful and unjust conditions imposed by the Home Office. Many of these individuals are care leavers who had been at risk of losing their vital support because of the restriction on studying. We are hopeful but remain concerned about who this guidance may apply to in the future and it remains to be seen how long it will take before the BAIL 201 forms which imposed these conditions will be reissued.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lewis Kett talks on BBC North West about former British Army Afghan Interpreter Client (9 May 2018)

Mr Bari, a former British Army Afghan interpreter, fled to the UK to claim asylum after he was threatened by the Taliban. Despite this Mr Bari’s application for asylum and subsequent appeals have been rejected, so he has instructed Lewis Kett, of Duncan Lewis’ Public Law department, to bring a judicial review against the Home Office’s decision to reject his application. As part of his application, the Home Office have accepted that Mr Bari was a British Army Afghan interpreter and that he had been threatened, but they submit that there is not risk were he to return to Kabul. A number of former British Army Afghan interpreters have been relocated to the UK under the Ministry of Defence’s relocation visa, which is available to those who were made redundant on or after 19 December 2012. Mr Bari had quit his job and fled to Kabul in 2010 after initial threats were made to him and his family. It was after the threats continued in Kabul that he sought asylum in the UK. As a result, he is not eligible for relocation under this visa and despite evidence from former employers supporting his claim that he would be at risk from the Taliban if he returned to Kabul, he is threatened with forced removal from the UK. Lewis explains that: “We have sought new evidence to support that [Mr Bari] would be of sufficient profile in Kabul to be targeted. Now the Home Office at the tribunal has accepted that he was an interpreter, they’ve accepted that he was originally threatened, but they’ve not accepted that he is at risk in Kabul.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lewis Kett talks about former British Army interpreter client on RT (9 May 2018)

Former British Army interpreter, Mr Bari, has been denied asylum in the UK and fears removal to Kabul as he warns that “death is all that awaits” him in Afghanistan. Lewis Kett, Public Law solicitor at Duncan Lewis, is representing Mr Bari in bringing a judicial review challenge to the rejection of his application and talks on RT World about the policy which has seen some Afghan interpreters relocated to the UK for international protection under the Ministry of Defence Relocation visa. RT reveals than only 400 former interpreters from Afghanistan have been settled in the UK under the scheme whilst over 600 remain in Afghanistan. A number of former interpreters who functioned in that role prior to the 2012 activation of this visa are not eligible for relocation. Mr Bari was an interpreter for the British Army from 2008 to 2010, which means he cannot apply for the visa despite the fact that the Home Office have accepted that he was a British Army Interpreter and that he was originally threatened by the Taliban, however they do not accept that he is at risk if he was to be returned to Kabul. Lewis explains that, “a lot of people like Mr Bari weren’t working in 2012 because they were threatened and targeted by the Taliban and had to quit their jobs and flee. It’s not fair that he’s had to make this journey to the UK to escape these threats to be told to go home. [The Home Office are] saying it’s safer for him to relocate [to Kabul]. We have evidence from former employers – not just the British Army, but he was also working in Kabul when he originally received threats and relocated there – that suggests he was threatened in Kabul and if he goes back there, the same will happen again. He will be targeted.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office official tells man facing deportation: 'My job is to piss you off' (Guardian) (9 May 2018)

The Guardian has revealed footage filmed by a 39 year old man when he was attending a reporting centre. In the video, the man, who suffers from mental health problems, is being goaded by an immigration officer, which Fahad Ansari, of the Public Law & Immigration team at Duncan Lewis, explains was in reference to the ‘hostile environment’ Theresa May has created. Fahad is representing the man in his appeal against the deportation order signed by the Home Office, which was activated after he had completed a 13 month prison sentence for criminal damage and blackmail. Despite having spent only one month of his entire life in Pakistan and having had indefinite leave to remain in the UK since he was 18, the Home Office instigated deportation proceedings against him because he had not yet naturalised as a British citizen. His parents and siblings are all naturalised British citizens resident in the UK. He has now voluntarily left to live in Pakistan, claiming the harsh UK immigration regime which denied him the right to earn a livelihood, to rent a property, and to access the NHS, forced him out. Fahad states: “The challenging environment mentioned by the immigration officer appears to be a reference to Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ policy. The rationale behind this policy is to create an environment so utterly soul destroying to live in that people will voluntarily leave the UK.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

High court blocks Amber Rudd attempt to deport witness (Observer) (8 May 2018)

A High Court judge has prevented the removal of a Jamaican national and detainee at Brook House immigration removal centre, after former Home Secretary, Amber Rudd pursued his deportation. Mr Van Horn came to the UK when he was 14 in 1984 and was placed in immigration detention after was charged with attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent in 2012. He believes he has been “persecuted more than normal” because he is a key witness to a recent death and suicide from his previous residence at Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincolnshire. In October last year another detainee, Mr Spencer, suffered a stroke and died. Mr Van Horn insists that Mr Spencer complained of feeling unwell before the stroke but was not given medical attention. As a witness to this, Mr Van Horn is considered to be an interested party in the on-going investigation, which is why the High Court judge rejected Mrs Rudd’s attempt to remove him. Mr Van Horn also wrote to the manager at Morton Hall when he believed an Iraqi detainee should be on suicide watch. The man is believed to have killed himself last November. If Mr Van Horn was removed from UK jurisdiction, there is no guarantee that he would be able to return to give evidence at the inquest. His solicitor, Toufique Hossain, a partner level Director at Duncan Lewis, warns that Amber Rudd’s actions in this case have been “dangerous”. He states: “There is to be an inquest to determine whether the Home Office caused or contributed to the death of a person in her custody. Our client is a potential key witness to that inquest, whom [Mrs Rudd] has sought to remove from the territory. Such action by the [former] secretary of state offends fundamental principles concerning the rule of law…”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Former British Army interpreter fears removal to Afghanistan if he is denied asylum (BBC and Daily Mail) (3 May 2018)

Lewis Kett, a solicitor in the Immigration and Public Law department at Duncan Lewis, is representing former Afghan interpreter for the British Army, Mr Bari, in a judicial review challenge against the rejection of his application for asylum. Mr Bari has received death threats in Afghanistan as a result of his work as an interpreter for the British Army. He believes that if his application for asylum in the UK is not accepted and he is sent back to Afghanistan he will be killed. The Home Office have allowed all British Army interpreters who worked from 2012 onwards to stay. Since Mr Bari was employed prior to that period, he does not automatically have leave to remain in the UK under this policy. Lewis states: “The Home Office has accepted that he was an interpreter, they have accepted he was originally threatened but they have not accepted he is at risk in Kabul."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Young asylum seekers ‘face blanket study ban’ (The Observer) (1 May 2018)

According to new restrictions detailed in the Immigration Act 2016 regarding immigration bail, young asylum seekers have been told that they will be unable to continue their studies whilst their application for asylum is being considered. This adds to the restrictions already imposed as part of immigration bail, including reporting to the police and Home Office, not taking up a job and living/ remaining at a specific address. According to a Home Office spokesperson, specifically there are no immigration laws preventing asylum seekers from studying – it is only when their appeal rights are exhausted or they have committed an immigration offence that they are not permitted to study. Mohammed* is a client of Hannah Baynes, a Public Law solicitor at Duncan Lewis. He arrived in the UK at 15 and is currently 22, studying GCSE Maths and English as a second language. He was recently served with this notice updating his bail conditions. After Hannah secured a Court Order on his behalf, suspending the restriction on him studying, Mohammed was able to sit his ESOL exam the following day. The Home Office has since reissued his bail conditions without a condition restricting him from studying, in recognition of this wrongful restriction. Hannah warns that it is this lack of consideration for individual circumstances that makes this blanket ban so concerning. Hannah is currently involved in challenges to restrictions on studying imposed as part of bail conditions, which affect many asylum seekers. She warns that without due notice, many young asylum seekers may be unaware of what the changes mean and continue to study. Hannah states: “The Home Office are simply issuing new paperwork without explaining that changes have been made…That means that if people do not notice and keep studying then they are in danger of breaching their bail conditions.” These breaches could have adverse implications on the way that the Home Office considers their cases going forward. *His name has been changed to protect his identity.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Albert Thompson and the Windrush Generation: NHS Treatment Still Uncertain (BBC and Guardian) (20 April 2018)

Albert Thompson*, client of public law trainee solicitor, Jeremy Bloom, remains uncertain as to whether he will be made to pay for his cancer treatment even though Theresa May has promised that he would get the care he needs. Albert arrived in the UK at the end of the Windrush-era which saw those arriving from the commonwealth given indefinite leave to remain. Albert arrived in December 1973, just after the cut-off date for this government backed scheme. The government has received criticism for destroying a number of landing cards which recorded the arrival dates of many in the Windrush generation, which is now causing issues when they attempt to prove their immigration status. Both Praxis, a London Immigration charity, and Albert’s legal representative, Jeremy, have not been contacted with any clear guidance on what the PM’s promise will mean for Albert. Whilst Albert continues taking medication prescribed by his GP, he needs radiotherapy to treat the prostate cancer, which he was told he could not receive without either proof of leave to remain or paying £54,000. Jeremy explains that this is not an exclusive problem and that many are left uncertain whilst they attempt to prove their eligibility to remain in the UK: “And as far as we have been told, nothing has changed. It’s not just about Albert. People who can demonstrate that they’ve been here for decades should not be told that they need indefinite leave to remain or else they have to pay in advance for their NHS treatment.” *His name has been changed to protect his identity.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Jeremy Bloom features on ITV discussing Albert Thompson’s plea for cancer treatment (20 April 2018)

ITV News has spoken out about Prime Minister Theresa May’s promise that Albert Thompson*, client of public law trainee solicitor, Jeremy Bloom, will receive the care he needs. Albert is suffering with prostate cancer, however as the result of new NHS charging regulations, he has been told by the Royal Marsden that he will need to prove he has indefinite leave to remain or pay in advance before he can receive the treatment. He could not produce the documentation as the Home Office has no record of him. It is not certain whether his records were destroyed by the Home Office themselves in 2010 when the Home Office’s Whitgift Centre in Croydon was closed and a number of landing cards which recorded the arrival dates of many in the Windrush generation were disposed of. Albert arrived in the UK at the end of the Windrush-era which saw those arriving from the commonwealth given indefinite leave to remain. Albert arrived in December 1973, just after the cut-off date for this government backed scheme. Albert’s legal representative, Jeremy, has not been contacted with any clear guidance on what the PM’s promise will mean for Albert. Whilst Albert continues taking medication prescribed by his GP, he needs radiotherapy to treat his cancer. Jeremy explains that though this indicates a turning point in Albert’s case, it is still unclear whether he will receive the treatment without having to pay as his immigration status remains unchanged: “It is difficult to know exactly what the nature of that decision has been. It is possible that it is a decision by the hospital is that they now deem his treatment to be immediately urgent or necessary, but it not clear to us at this point what decisions have been made.” *His name has been changed to protect his identity.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Knives & Offensive Weapons – New Sentencing Guidelines: A Sign of the Times (Asian Voice) (17 April 2018)

Crime Director, Nicholas De Freitas, has written for Asian Voice explaining how the new sentencing guidelines for possession of bladed articles and/or offensive weapons will change the way offenders are penalised. The new guidelines will take effect from 1 June 2018 and will include acid as an offensive weapon. Additionally, the guidelines propose an increase to the minimum custodial sentence afforded to offenders, meaning anyone caught in possession could be jailed for 18 months, which is three times the length of the current jail term. As a Higher Rights Advocate, Nicholas has experience in a wide range of criminal proceedings, representing both private and legal aid eligible clients. He states: ‘The Sentencing Council have introduced these guidelines to deter young people from carrying weapons by sending out a very public message that if you are in possession, you are going to prison.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Opelo Kgari: Government thwarted in second bid to deport woman brought to UK from Botswana (Independent and Mmegi) (13 April 2018)

A 27 year old woman named Opelo Kgari, who arrived in the UK with her mother from Botswana when she was 13, has had her removal halted for the second time. Opelo has been on hunger strike whilst in detention in support of detainee rights. Her mother, Florence, a client of Duncan Lewis Public Law Director Bahar Ata, was also detained in Yarl’s Wood and was recently served with a removal notice as well. In Botswana Florence was a victim of torture and gender-based violence which recognises her as a vulnerable individual as defined in Shaw’s Adults at Risk policy. In spite of this, the Home Office served both Florence and her daughter a removal notice. Shortly before her daughter, Opelo, was removed she had her phone taken from her and was unable to speak to her solicitor. Opelo was then taken to Heathrow airport with the intention to remove her to Botswana. She was at the airport when the injunction came through and her removal has been deferred. In Florence’s case, her solicitor, Bahar, was able to secure an injunction against her removal not two hours after she was informed that she was being taken to the airport, on the basis that she is a vulnerable individual. Bahar states: “[My client] is accepted to be a victim of torture and gender-based violence and the policy is clear that removal window procedure should not be used in such cases, due to the vulnerability of a person in Florence’s position.” A Home Office spokesperson has confirmed that on Monday 9 April “a last minute injunction against the removal of Florence and Opelo Kgari [was secured], although their immigration status remains unchanged. We have noted the injunction and are carefully considering its implications.” Duncan Lewis are now instructed by Opelo as well Florence, and are representing both mother and daughter in challenging the refusal of their Human Rights claims.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

“No DSS”: How Landlords are Failing Private Renters on Welfare Benefits (Asian Voice) (13 April 2018)

Manjinder Kaur Atwal, Director of Housing based in our head office in Harrow, has written for Asian Voice on how private landlords are discriminating against renters who receive housing benefits by advertising that they will not accept DSS renters. She explains that this term refers to the Department for Social Security – a government department which is no longer active – which broadly refers to people in receipt of welfare benefits. Some solicitors warn that in cases where recipients are eligible for housing benefits due to a disability, by advertising “No DSS” landlords may be in breach of the Equality Act 2010. It is thought that the number of landlords willing to rent to housing benefit tenants has reduced recently due to issues with welfare benefit cuts, and/or problems with Universal Credit. However, in some instances the landlord does not rent to welfare benefit recipients because their insurance or mortgage terms stipulate this. Manjinder states: “One other issue is that instead of social housing stock increasing, it is in fact being reduced. Local Authorities and Housing Associations should therefore be encouraged to build and acquire properties available to tenants receiving benefits.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Case Study on Ahmed Aydeed as Junior Lawyer of the Year in the Law Society Excellence Awards 2017 (12 April 2018)

The Law Society has published a case study on Ahmed Aydeed, the winner of Junior Lawyer of the Year as part of the Law Society Excellence Awards 2017. As a Director of Public Law & Immigration based in our Birmingham branch, Ahmed has demonstrated an outstanding ability to represent clients in complex human rights and asylum matters since joining Duncan Lewis in 2012 and qualifying as a solicitor in 2015. Ahmed has been at the forefront in the battle against the procession of asylum claims, and the administrative detention of highly vulnerable asylum seekers under the fast track process (DFT), and the criminalisation & detention of victims of trafficking. The resulting decisions from these public law challenges have benefited thousands of detained asylum seekers & victims of trafficking. The Law Society applauds his ‘inspirational dedication to his clients’ which has seen him represent so many vulnerable individuals through legal aid. The Law Society Excellence Awards recognises the achievements of the best legal practitioners across the UK. Director Toufique Hossain and solicitor Lewis Kett, both of Duncan Lewis’ Public Law & Immigration departments, were highly commended in the Human Rights and Junior Lawyer Awards respectively in the 2017 Excellence Awards. Ahmed expresses his ‘delight’ at this honour. “For me, winning the Law Society Excellence Award was recognition of the importance of legally aided public law… I am driven by the vital importance of making quality public law legal aid representation accessible throughout the UK; I am appalled at the proliferation of “legal aid deserts”. I am building up a team of highly motivated and bright young minds and have already gathered a team of 11 in Birmingham. I hope that my profile and recognition by the Law Society as Junior Lawyer of the Year will encourage people from diverse backgrounds to enter law and pursue their ambitions.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Nicholas Hughes features on RT discussing the government’s policy on rendition & torture overseas (12 April 2018)

As a Public Law and Immigration Trainee Solicitor at Duncan Lewis, Nicholas Hughes has experience in a wide variety of Judicial Review and asylum matters, including cases involving victims of political persecution and torture, challenging the unlawful detention of LGBTI persons, statelessness, victims of trafficking, and deportation matters. RT invited Nicholas to discuss the government’s proposed rewrite on their guidelines on rendition and torture overseas for secret services. He explained that when the guidelines were first written after the 9/11 bombing in 2001 it was perceived that making such a policy public knowledge would have risked inciting further radicalisation. In 2010 officials rewrote the guidelines promising to resolve previous issues. Following a report by the Intelligence Service Commissioner (ISC) Sir Mark Waller in 2016, in which he was critical of the wording of the previous guidance, these guidelines have been redrafted once more. The ISC recommended that the government consult human rights groups “in order to improve transparency and accountability”. The government has received criticism for failing to contact any of the rights groups suggested by the ISC to date, and the concern is that the government may be ‘watering down’ what is considered acceptable. When asked whether we are aware of current methods for extracting information, Nicholas admitted that whilst it is not entirely clear the full extent of what takes place, some methods can be defined as physical torture. Issues arose with the previous guidelines as a result of what constituted ‘torture’, what actions were considered to be ‘mistreatment’ and what would be ‘unlawful detention.’ Nicholas goes on to say that were the government to consult human rights groups and be open about the process of updating the guidelines then a clearer and more transparent guidance can be produced.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Toufique Hossain features on TNT World (10 April 2018)

In the ‘Off the Grid’ feature entitled ‘Haven of Despair’, TNT World discusses the state of immigration detention in the UK. More than 77,000 asylum seekers currently reside in the UK – an increase of 50% in the last 5 years – and 22% of these are detained in immigration removal centres (IRC) across the country. These IRCs operate by implementing indefinite detention, meaning a detainee will be held until removal can be instigated or their detention is successfully challenged. Toufique Hossain is a Director of Public Law and Immigration & Asylum at Duncan Lewis and he states that many detainees were victims of torture or persecution in their country of origin. He warns that these vulnerable individuals should not be detained as it can cause them to relive trauma, affecting their mental health and wellbeing. Former client Abdul Albashir talks about his experience of abuse. He was imprisoned for protesting against government policies in his home country and subsequently tortured. He bears more than 260 scars as proof of that torture which was verified by a medical professional. This is the type of evidence which is put together as part of the Rule 35 report which is carried out to determine whether a detainee is suspected to have been a victim of torture, has suicidal thoughts or their health would be adversely affected by being detained. Despite the fact that Abdul was found to be a vulnerable individual, he was held in detention with a risk of removal for more than 6 years after entering the UK at the age of 18. In light of this, Duncan Lewis represented him in his claim for unlawful detention. Toufique states: “People who are under immigration powers are detained in the UK. Many of those are vulnerable people…The Law should protect [vulnerable] people from detention. The Home Office should accept that those people should not be detained.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Huffington Post reports on the 'Disturbing' Forced Deportation Audio (10 April 2018)

The Home Office has been pressed to investigate forced deportations from Britain after audio recordings by Huffington Post UK captured an incident in which a detainee was screaming out in pain whilst on commercial flight. The recording was made on a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul, displaying a 20-minute incident between a man, known as Abdul, and at least five border police officers. Guards can be heard shouting at him after they forcibly place him onto the plane. When they are unable to calm him down, they are forced to remove him from the flight. Families and young children were witnesses to the distressing incident and when asked about the event expressed shock at what they had seen. It is not yet known why Abdul was being forcibly deported, or what has happened to him since. Labour’s Yvette Cooper said the audio was disturbing, and said the process needs to be “managed carefully and people need to be treated with dignity” and called on the Home Office to urgently investigate what she described as “very disturbing evidence”. A Home Office spokesperson said: “Detention and removal are essential parts of effective immigration controls. It is vital these are carried out with dignity and respect”. Sheroy Zaq, an immigration solicitor at Duncan Lewis, said the recording represents “yet another example of the dehumanisation of foreign suffering at the hands of the Home Secretary. There is no attempt to preserve the dignity of those being removed by force, nor is there any consideration of the impact that such treatment has upon the victim or, indeed, those who are forced to witness such desperately distressing incidents”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Brexit and How it will affect Business Immigration (Asian Voice) (3 April 2018)

Tamana Aziz, a Director of Immigration specialising in Business Immigration law under the Points Based System has written for Asian voice on how Brexit will affect businesses and the wider affect it will have on free movement. She reassures that legally not much has changed with the EEA regulations; however, she warns that Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) may be the most affected moving forward. Dr Ross Brown led research on the impact of Brexit on SMEs, which revealed that the negative consequences of Brexit will ultimately mean reduced capital investment. As the most significant enterprises for economic growth, this may have wider reaching implications for the UK. Tamana has extensive experience representing businesses and individuals with immigration applications under EU Law. She states: ‘As an EEA national, if you have been living in the UK exercising your treaty rights for 5 years or more, you should apply for a permanent residence card now before we exit in March 2019. Once you have held a permanent residence card for at least 12 months you will be eligible to naturalise as a British national.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Client of Duncan Lewis denied cancer treatment causes widespread outrage (Guardian, Independent, Metro) (16 March 2018)

Albert Thompson* has been told he must pay £54,000 to received radiotherapy or produce evidence of his right to reside in the UK. Mr Thompson has lived in the UK for more than 44 years, has three children born in the UK and has been working as a mechanic, paying his taxes, for more than 3 decades. Multiple sources have detailed the extent of public outcry over this moral injustice. The Times and the British Medical Journal have also commented on the severe consequences of delaying Mr Thompson’s life-saving treatment over the fact that does not hold a British passport. More than 57,000 people have signed a petition on change.org to allow Mr Thompson to be treated, whilst his legal representative, Jeremy Bloom, a caseworker in the Public Law team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, has had numerous offers of donation to ensure Mr Thompson case can proceed. Jeremy secured Mr Thompson Emergency Case Funding and Theresa May has promised to review his medical bill after Jeremy Corbyn raised it at prime minister’s questions. Jeremy Bloom is anxious to process Mr Thompson’s claim quickly to make sure he can get the urgent treatment he requires. He states: “Clinical decisions have been made that radiotherapy would be the best course of action for his condition. It was only since the changes to the NHS charging regulations that this treatment has been classed as ‘not urgent or immediately necessary’. Does the NHS propose to wait until he gets sicker and sicker, and then reclassify the treatment as immediately necessary?” *His name has been changed to protect his identity.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

From a Syrian war zone to work experience in Parliament: One refugee's story (ITV News) (16 March 2018)

Former unaccompanied minor and client of Duncan Lewis Immigration Director Zofia Duszynska, has spoken to ITV about his time at the Calais Jungle before it was destroyed. Ismael spent 13 months in the Jungle, after enduring a harsh journey from Syria. Thanks to the Dubs amendment, which was brought about by Lord Dubs, one of 669 children brought to the UK from Czechoslovakia in 1939, Duncan Lewis - alongside Safe Passage - were able to apply for permission to allow Ismael to enter the UK as a child refugee. Ismael is now studying for his politics degree at a university in London and has begun a work placement at parliament under Lord Dubs himself. Now Ismael wants to help the many others who were part of the litigation that weren’t given permission to transfer to the UK, by working alongside Lord Dubs to campaign in the House of Lords to bring more refugees here. The article states: ‘Lord Dubs says the UK could be doing more to help child refugees’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Women starve for their basic humanity in IRCs (New Internationalist) (15 March 2018)

A number of detainees at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre (IRC) have been on a collective hunger strike since 21 February in protest against inhumane conditions they experience whilst detained. As a human rights and asylum solicitor and Director of public law and immigration, Toufique Hossain has seen the dire conditions his clients are forced to live in inside IRCs across the UK. He has spoken out about the £1 hour wages for the skilled work provided by detainees as akin to slavery and warns that the majority of women detained are fleeing from sexual violence, as part of forced prostitution as a result of trafficking or due to rape or sexual persecution. The very fact that these vulnerable individuals are detained is against the Home Office’s Adults at Risk policy which is supposed to protect these vulnerable asylum seekers from re-traumatisation within detention. The women on hunger strike ask for an end to indefinite detention – the UK is the only country in Europe which does not have a cap on detention – an end to the detention of vulnerable individuals, and a stop to the £1 hour wages for skilled workers. Toufique points out: “They are made to feel like liars or criminals,” he says. “We say it should be up to the Home Office to do proper checks to see who has been subject to sexual violence.” However detainee, Theresa, fled Uganda for fear of sexual persecution as a gay woman and has been told that the Home Office require proof of her sexuality which is something so has been unable to do, which is why she is still held and remains on hunger strike.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

RLS-Athens and Duncan Lewis Solicitors reunite asylum seeking family of five in the UK (Refugee Legal Support) (14 March 2018)

Duncan Lewis and Refugee Legal Support (RLS) are both nominated for their commitment and dedication to their practice in the Pro Bono Award at Lexis Nexis Awards 2018, due to take place on 15 March. Both organisations have worked together as part of a joint project which was piloted last year and recently successful brought a family back together in the UK. Marios Kontos, trainee solicitor in the immigration department at Duncan Lewis, worked alongside RLS in bringing an asylum seeker’s wife and three children to the UK after they arrived in Greece. The family had been separated since Marios’ client sought refuge in the UK prior to his family’s arrival in Greece, where they were held in Athens. It was after Duncan Lewis assisted the claim for family reunification, which the Greek Asylum Service had put forward under the Dublin Regulation, that the UK Home Office agreed to assume responsibility of the dependents. In spite of significant delays in affecting the transfer, RLS intervened and ensured that the Greek Asylum Service got the family to the UK before the expiry of the transfer deadline. Marios believes that the collaboration between Duncan Lewis and RLS was essential in reuniting the family in the UK: “the synergy between the two organisations brought a long-awaited end to the heart-breaking separation of the family."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Sharia law review recommends civil marriage alongside religious ceremony (LexisNexis) (13 March 2018)

In light of an independent review into sharia law when applied in England and Wales, published by the Home Office, LexisNexis details the recommendation that has been made to make it compulsory for civil ceremonies to take place alongside the religious ceremony to ensure Muslim women are protected by UK law. The review was launched by Prime Minister Teresa May in 2016, the Home Secretary at the time, which found that many Muslim communities rely on sharia councils to settle marriage disputes, leaving Muslim women with no rights at the breakdown of their marriage. The report recommends legislative changes, a push to raise awareness of the issue and the introduction of a regulatory body to provide a code of practice for all UK based sharia councils. Aina Khan OBE, the head of the Islamic Family Law department at Duncan Lewis, leads the campaign “Register our Marriage” which asks that the Marriage Act 1949 be amended to make it so that all religious marriages must be held alongside a civil ceremony. She points out that: “by linking Islamic marriage to civil marriage – as happens in all Muslim countries – Muslim women are given the full protection of civil family law.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Londoner denied NHS cancer care: 'It's like I'm being left to die' (The Guardian) (13 March 2018)

Client of Jeremy Bloom, a caseworker in the Public Law department at Duncan Lewis, has been denied cancer treatment due to a question over his immigration status even though he has lived in the UK for 44 years. Mr Thompson* was first diagnosed with lymphoma in 2008, had surgery for prostate cancer in January 2017 and was told that he would begin post-op radiotherapy in November 2017. Before attending his introductory appointment, he was told he would be unable to receive the treatment unless he paid in advance or proved his permission to be in the UK. Thompson married in the UK, he has three children who are British Citizens and has been employed as a mechanic, paying his taxes for more than 30 years. Jeremy Bloom, who is representing Mr Thompson, has confirmed that Exceptional Case Funding has been granted meaning the team can further his immigration case. The team is also looking into potential challenges to the application of the NHS Charges to Mr Thompson: “The Home Office routinely fails to recognise people’s permission to be here, regardless of whether a person has been living in the UK, registered with numerous other government departments, paying taxes and contributing to society for decades…This case is particularly serious because of [Mr Thompson’s] urgent health needs, and the time that it will take for him to regularise his status here through making the appropriate immigration application. Meanwhile, he is being denied potentially life-saving treatment.” *Mr Thompson’s real name has been protected.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Former Trustee Aina Khan speaking at All Pakistan Women’s Association Gala for International Women’s Day at the Chelsea Harbour Hotel London, on 10 March 2018 (13 March 2018)

As a former trustee, Aina Khan OBE has spoken at the All Pakistan Women’s Association UK Gala about her campaign “Register our Marriage” which asks the Marriage Act 1949 to be amended to make it compulsory for all religious marriages to be registered through a civil ceremony. Aina points out that at the breakdown of a marriage many women have no rights or legal protection, leaving them vulnerable. By spreading awareness at this annual event on International Women’s Day, Aina is fighting for the change in legislation to protect all faith marriages under UK law. She states: “Increasingly in the last few years we’ve got a trend of Muslims just having religious marriages and not registering, which means they’ve got no legal rights and I will do everything I can to get legislation changed so that those women are protected.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

To All Businesses: How the New Debt Recovery Protocol Affects You (Asian Voice) (6 March 2018)

As a business, it is important to be aware of the changes to the debt recovery protocol that came into place in October 2017 which will affect how you claim a debt from an individual. This will not change the way you claim debts from other businesses, unless that business is a sole trader. Rachel Upton, Civil Litigation solicitor at Duncan Lewis has put together a comprehensive guide explaining how the new debt protocol encourages early engagement and communication in order to avoid costly court proceedings. Rachel writes that by “introducing a time-frame for parties to correspond prior to issuing proceedings…it allows time to negotiate and attempt settlement which helps to avoid the need to issue court proceedings.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis represents Afghan minor in legal challenge against refugee policy (the Guardian) (5 March 2018)

Duncan Lewis are representing an Afghan minor, ZS, in bringing a legal challenge against the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) for refusing his asylum claim as a former refugee of the Calais jungle. Like many unaccompanied minors who sought asylum in 2016 before the camp was demolished, the boy has been let down by the government despite the fact that the Dubs Amendment promises to offer a safe and legal route to refugee children travelling alone. Last month, the government agreed to extend the eligibility deadline for refugee children arriving in Europe, so that all that arrived up until 18th January 2018 will be considered under the Dubs Amendment. Krisha Prathepan, the boy’s solicitor said: “[ZS] is clear that his only hope is to come to the UK so that he can begin to rebuild his shattered life. By ignoring her statutory obligations under the Dubs amendment, the home secretary has not only failed ZS, but thousands of other unaccompanied refugee children who remain on mainland Europe, many living without shelter in these freezing conditions and at risk of exploitation. We hope this challenge will force the UK government to carry out its moral and legal duties towards these children.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

We’ve seen the contract between the UK government and G4S. This explains a lot. (The Canary) (26 February 2018)

The current contract between the UK government and G4S to run Brook House immigration detention centre will come to an end in May, and the security firm is apparently bidding for renewal. Patrick Page, a senior caseworker in the Public Law Department at Duncan Lewis, reveals the true nature of this contract and how it has let down clients of the firm. Last year BBC Panorama aired undercover footage of one of our clients, under the pseudonym of ‘Abbas’, being strangled by G4S staff whilst detained in Brook House. Patrick and his colleagues have now seen the G4S-government contract for Brook House. In his article, Patrick exposes the agreement for encouraging G4S to cut running costs at the expense of the dignity of detainees who are locked up in overcrowded cells and forced to use unscreened toilets. The money saved is divided between G4S and the government. Patrick also reveals that the terms of the contract arguably act as an incentive for G4S to cover up complaints and falsify incident reports, since, as the contract stipulates, these will be met with financial penalties. The article concludes with a warning: in the invitation to tender for the new contract of May 2018 the government calls for a provider who can help “maximise the efficient use of its immigration estate.” Patrick interprets this in the light of the previous contract: ‘forget the dignity of detainees; we’ll pay you to do our dirty work if you can do it on the cheap.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Solicitor Aina Khan OBE (Asian Voice) (23 February 2018)

Islamic Family law solicitor, Aina Khan OBE, has been celebrated in this exclusive interview in Asian Voice. At Duncan Lewis, Aina is a specialist in Islamic Family and Sharia law and deals in matters relating to international disputes, family law, inheritance and Islamic finance. This is why she implores that more UK firms need to specialise in this area of law to ensure that they are meeting the demand. You will have heard in recent news that Aina is calling for change in UK law to make it compulsory for all faith marriages in the UK to be registered under civil law in her campaign “Register our Marriage”. This is to help protect those in unregistered religious-only marriages, who currently have no legal rights in the UK. Aina expresses her gratitude in receiving an OBE for “the protection of women and children in unregistered marriages”: “This confirms that the Prime Minister and the Queen have endorsed the work I have done to ensure that these vulnerable people are not left destitute and homeless after being abandoned. I have run the campaign with volunteers and we have never received funding from any source. Women contact me regularly to say that they are now making sure their marriages are registered. It is therefore especially gratifying to know that this work, done at evenings and weekends, often leaving my husband and children to travel around the UK spreading awareness, has changed lives.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Stalking: when “course of conduct over a period of time” constitutes an offence (Asian Voice) (21 February 2018)

Nick De Freitas writes for Asian Voice to explain how the term “course of conduct over a period of time” has been influenced by the recent stalking case, R v Bahram Hekmat. We, as a society, may have a tendency to assume that in order to prosecute someone for the offence of stalking; the offence must have taken place on more than one occasion and for a lengthy period of time. With that view in mind you may be surprised to hear that a recent case saw a man sentenced to 9 months for stalking a 13 year old child across a single 15 minute period. As solicitor and Director in the crime department, Nick states that as a result of this conviction: “the floodgates will inevitably widen as Stalking offenders continue to be prosecuted according to the newly narrowed period within which the course of conduct can take place.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

UK under pressure over Afghan asylum seekers amid civilian deaths (The Guardian) (20 February 2018)

Toufique Hossain, comments on the shocking number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan over the last year. According to the report by the UN assistance mission in Afghanistan, there were more than 10,000 casualties for the fourth year running. More than 25% of deaths were as a result of attacks directed at civilians. According to these figures, any asylum seekers which the Home Office returns to Kabul are at risk of harm. This is against the Home Office’s Country Guidance Policy. The Policy recognises that Afghanistan is the second most dangerous country in the world after Syria, according to the Global Peace Index 2017. As a Director and solicitor who represents Afghan clients in appealing their removal, Toufique has this to say about the Home Office’s “perverse” practice: “[It is] obviously at odds with their current action, which is to refuse people protections claims on the basis that they can return to Kabul...They’re accepting that apart from Syria, this is the next most dangerous place, but we’re still sending 18-year-olds to [Kabul].”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Corruption and misleading media reports are making a huge refugee emergency in Africa worse (The Canary) (20 February 2018)

34,000 refugees have crossed Lake Alberta to Uganda since the beginning of the year, due to an outbreak of fighting in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Uganda is struggling to cope with the influx of Congolese refugees due to insufficient funds and governmental corruption. Patrick Page, a senior caseworker in the Public Law department at Duncan Lewis, writes about his first-hand experience of the refugee crisis in Uganda. Patrick and Toufique Hossain visited a number of refugee settlements in the East African country last year. These settlements are now officially full. Unfortunately, corrupt government officials continue to take bribes to register new residents, to whom they allocate land taken from incumbent residents. With less workable land, families are struggling to survive. As a direct result of the corruption scandals plaguing Uganda, the international community has been reluctant to send funds, which makes the refugee emergency worse. After the latest exposure of corruption in Uganda the UK -which sends around £100m a year - threatened to withhold aid. Patrick is concerned that most media reports fail to mention the endemic corruption in Uganda. He suggests that this is because many journalists are hosted by the Ugandan government and may also be motivated, misguidedly, not to jeopardise international aid: “In the short term this positive narrative guarantees the flow of funding on which thousands of refugees and officials depend. But in the long term, this wilful blindness encourages a lack of accountability. This surfaces in the form of corruption scandals which threaten funding at crucial moments like this one.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Judge showed `thought and respect´ in handling Muslim prayer case, says lawyer (Daily Mail) (15 February 2018)

Lewis Kett, a solicitor in the Public Law department at Duncan Lewis, is quoted on the Daily Mail discussing the recent High Court judgment which ruled that the Home Office were indirectly discriminating against Muslim detainees by forcing them to pray in “extreme conditions”, which is “highly discouraged” in the tenet of their religion. Lewis represented the claimants in this case, alongside Sheroy Zaq, Director Toufique Hossain, Puja Nandi, Dania Jawaid and Lottie Hume, all of Duncan Lewis’ Public Law team. The ruling requires the Home Office to review its “lock-in” policy which keeps detainees in their room for more than 13 hours a day, meaning Muslim detainees have no choice but to practice Islam in unsanitary, overcrowded and poorly ventilated conditions. Mr Justice Holman did not specify the time period within which the Home Office should have completed said review. Lewis explains that: “We still believe the lock-in regime itself is unlawful because there is no statutory justification for it. And we’ll be reviewing the situation of other clients… The High Court have certainly taken on board the importance of the conditions required for Muslim prayer…Ultimately, though, it is now down to the Home Office in its review to show the same amount of respect and thought.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Jamie Bell features on RT discussing Indefinite Detention (8 February 2018)

Jamie Bell, a solicitor in Duncan Lewis’ Public Law department, has spoken on RT about the proposed cap on the period within which someone may be detained in UK Immigration Removal Centres. This comes after shocking figures have been released which reveal that 27’000 people were held in immigration detention last year, costing the UK Government more than £500m in 4 years. Jamie explains that by failing to cap the period of detention, many detainees are held for longer than a reasonable period of time. It is his position that between 1 month and 4 months is too long to be held and that his clients have been psychologically damaged by remaining in detention for a lengthy periods of time. Jamie states: “The purpose of immigration detention is to remove. If they cannot be removed within 28 days then they shouldn’t be detained…The UK is the only country in Europe which has indefinite detention…People come to the United Kingdom to seek sanctuary and instead of being provided sanctuary, they are being locked up in detention for indefinite periods of time.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

'Criminalised, detained, deported': UK accused of failing trafficked children (The Guardian) (8 February 2018)

The Guardian explores the way in which the Government is failing to provide international protection for children trafficked into the UK. Many are brought to the United Kingdom at a very young age and, once free of their oppressors, seek asylum. *Stephen has had his claim refused after spending years forced to work in a cannabis factory from the age of 10. His appeal has attracted a great deal of attention due to the rise in concern that the Modern Slavery Act 2015 is failing to protect, children as one of the most vulnerable victims of modern slavery. Ahmed Aydeed, Public Law Director at Duncan Lewis, points out that in some cases the Home Office is still trying to deport those they have identified as victims of trafficking. There are no statistics which detail the number of trafficked children who are given asylum over those who are not, nor the number that are removed once they reach the age of 18. The risk of removal is that many have not lived in that country for many years and there is a chance that they will be retrafficked once there. Ahmed states: “We have worked on dozens of cases where, without our intervention, child trafficking victims would have been deported back to Vietnam, a country where many of our clients haven’t lived for years and haven’t any support or family to return to…We know from working with many clients who have been trafficked into cannabis farms or nail bars or brothels here in the UK that there is an enhanced risk of retrafficking when they arrive back in Vietnam…We supposedly have good legislation and guidance on how to protect victims, but we’re still seeing child trafficking victims routinely criminalised, detained and deported.” *The name has been changed to protect identity.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

More than £500m spent on UK immigration detention over four years (Independent) (6 February 2018)

The Independent has shared shocking figures of the UK’s expenditure on immigration detention, with more than £500m spent across a 4 year period, £16m of which was spent on compensation for unlawful immigration detention claims. This comes in support of criticism that the UK is the only EU country which has no statutory time limit for immigration detention. Toufique Hossain, Solicitor and Director in the Immigration and Public Law departments at Duncan Lewis, states: “We have represented thousands of clients who have been detained unnecessarily. These men and women, who pose no threat to society, are often released after months or even years in detention. This is all funded through the public purse. Having been unlawfully detained, our clients are then eligible for thousands of pounds in compensation. The financial cost to the tax payer is unjustifiable, and the human cost is fathomless. Whether this wasteful state of affairs is the result of incompetence or indifference, the Home Office should be held to account.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Keeping a roof over your head: getting the right advice and support is critical for those on Universal Credit (Asian Voice) (6 February 2018)

Dianne Cowie, a Director and Solicitor for the Housing department at Duncan Lewis, writes for Asian Voice on how Universal Credit is changing the way claimants access their benefits. Dianne points out that Universal Credit simplifies the process, combining six benefits into one, paid monthly. She also warns that the restricted date of receipt can create problems for some claimants in that they do not receive their benefit for several weeks. Previously benefits went straight to the claimant's landlord as rent, but under the new system the claimant must wait until they receive their monthly Universal Credit before being able to send it on to their landlord, meaning there can be some delay in paying rent owed. In some cases, claimants are getting into rent arrears and landlords are bringing possession proceedings against them. Dianne states: ‘In such circumstances it is always sensible to seek legal advice. As solicitors we can defend tenants and our involvement can make landlords think twice, ensuring they act within the law.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

UK government slammed in the High Court for failing to consider the rights of Muslims in detention (The Canary) (5 February 2018)

Patrick Page, a senior caseworker in the Public Law Department at Duncan Lewis, writes for The Canary on the High Court ruling on 1 February. The case saw two claimants, both clients of Duncan Lewis’ Public Law team, successfully challenge the Home Office on conditions in the G4S-run Brook House immigration detention centre. There, detainees are locked up in unsanitary, poorly ventilated and overcrowded cells for over 13 hours a day. Muslim detainees are forced to pray near an open toilet, in conditions “highly discouraged” in Islam. The High Court Judge, Mr Justice Holman, found that the Home Office had failed in its duty to consider how the regime discriminates against Muslim detainees. Mr Rahman also successfully challenged the Home Office’s “pragmatic” approach to smoking in the centre, which poses a serious health risk to detainees. The Court found the language of “pragmatism” to be “knowingly evasive” and the approach to be unlawful. Patrick writes: ‘Mr Justice Holman concluded that the UK government had ‘indirectly discriminated’ against Muslim detainees. The “blunt truth and reality”, the judge said, “is that the Secretary of State for the Home Department has never previously thought about differential or discriminatory effect [of such detention conditions] on practicing Muslims.”’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Puja Nandi on Brook House Discrimination (RT) (5 February 2018)

Puja Nandi, a trainee solicitor in the Public Law team at Duncan Lewis who represented the two claimants in the successful High Court challenge on conditions in Brook House immigration removal centre, has spoken on RT about the indirect discrimination by the Home Office in subjecting Muslim detainees to unsanitary conditions within which they must pray. Puja discusses the conditions in Brook House which has seen detainees locked in unsanitary, overcrowded cells for more than 13 hours a day, in conditions “highly discouraged” in Islam. Puja states: “Part of our challenge was to challenge the fact that Muslim detainees in Brook House are forced to carry out their prayers in these unclean, unsanitary conditions and one of the tenets of the Islamic faith is to carry out your prayers in clean conditions and it’s only in extreme circumstances that you should be praying in these conditions. So the fact that the Home secretary has allowed these extreme circumstances to exist is not right.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis wins High Court challenge on behalf of clients detained in unlawful conditions at Brook House (BBC, Guardian, Independent) (2 February 2018)

Duncan Lewis’ Public Law team were instructed by two former detainees of Brook House IRC to lead a challenge against the Home Office for the conditions in Brook House which saw them locked up for more than 13 hours a day in unsanitary, poorly ventilated and overcrowded cells. It has been widely reported that yesterday, 1 February, the High Court ruled that the Home Office’s lenient policy on smoking inside cells is unlawful and the “lock in” regime is in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and in violation of fundamental human rights. The two Claimants argued that the conditions inside Brook House meant they were unable to practice Islam properly as they were forced to pray next to unscreened toilets. Mr Justice Holman ruled that by allowing this, the Home Office are indirectly discriminating against these detainees and their right to practice their religion. He also ruled that allowing smoking inside cells is an illegal policy. The Claimants were represented by Duncan Lewis’ Public Law team, including solicitors Lewis Kett and Sheroy Zaq, Director Toufique Hossain, trainee solicitors Puja Nandi, Dania Jawaid and caseworker Lottie Hume. Lewis states: “We welcome the findings that the home secretary has had absolutely no regard to the potential discriminatory effect of the lock-in regime at Brook House on Muslim detainees and their right to properly practise their religion. Our clients have been forced to pray next to unsanitary and unscreened toilets in cramped conditions. The home secretary must now immediately take steps to remedy this.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Man with mental health issues who sewed his lips together being 'unlawfully' held in detention (The Independent) (30 January 2018)

A mentally ill client of Asif Anwar, Immigration Law solicitor at Duncan Lewis, is being held in an immigration detention centre despite his position as a vulnerable individual as defined by the Shaw’s Adults at Risk policy. The client, Zayed Khan, sought asylum in the UK after fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan, only to be detained to the detriment of his well-being and mental health. This comes after the 10th October 2017, when Duncan Lewis’ successful challenge to the government’s definition of torture under their Adults at Risk policy changed the way torture victims may be identified, to ensure all vulnerable individuals are not re-traumatised through detention. As a potential victim of torture himself, according to a medical report, it should follow that Mr Khan’s detention is unlawful. The Independent details the horrific extent of Mr Khan’s neglect which has seen him self-harming in protest against his continued detention. Twenty days after he reportedly sewed his lips together, Mr Khan remains in detention on ‘suicide watch’, without access to any professional psychological or psychiatric help. Asif Anwar, as Mr Khan’s solicitor, is doing everything he can to pursue his client’s immediate release. Asif states: “Several attempts were made to release Mr Khan from detention prior to this horrific incident. The Secretary of State was aware that he was a potentially vulnerable asylum seeker and has exacerbated the deterioration of his mental health by maintaining his detention…It is concerning how little was done to prevent the incident from happening, particularly as instructing solicitors had notified the Secretary of State of Mr Khan’s will to self-harm.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Birmingham solicitor shortlisted for British Muslim Awards (The Birmingham Press) (26 January 2018)

The Birmingham Press have praised Duncan Lewis Immigration solicitor, Javeria Ijaz, who has been named a finalist in The British Muslim Awards 2018 in the category ‘Services to Law.’ Javeria has been a specialist in Immigration, Human Rights and Asylum law since 2008 and is established in all immigration matters. She provides advocacy on behalf of clients seeking asylum in the UK before the UK Immigration and Asylum Chamber and works with both privately and publicly funded organisations across the West Midlands. Javeria will attend the British Muslim Awards 2018 on the 31st January, alongside other innovators in business, charity, sports, arts and culture. Javeria states: “I feel proud I have three identities, a woman, a Muslim and a lawyer, and as a finalist I am able to celebrate all three together through this award.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

UK government and G4S in court after forcing immigration detainees to defecate in front of cellmates (The Canary) (25 January 2018)

Patrick Page, a senior caseworker in public law at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, writes for The Canary about a challenge brought by the firm on behalf of detainees at Brook House detention centre. The detainees argue that the lock-in regime and ‘hellish’ conditions at the centre are in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and in violation of fundamental human rights. The case was heard in the High Court on the 23rd and 24th January. Detainees such as *Mehdi are locked in overcrowded and unsanitary cells for more than 13 hours a day, with no choice but use the unscreened toilet in front of their cellmates. Muslims are compelled to pray in this squalor. “Essentially”, Patrick states, “this is about human dignity, and the organisation Liberty has intervened in this case to argue just that. It has told the court that a failure to provide dignified conditions can result in a violation of human rights. ‘Insufficient resources’ is simply not an excuse.” *Mehdi is not our client’s real name. He wanted to share his story while remaining anonymous.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Disclosure in Criminal Proceedings – Miscarriages in Criminal Justice are real and this is one area that we should have got it right (Asian Voice) (23 January 2018)

Rubin Italia, Duncan Lewis’ Crime Director based in Harrow, writes for Asian Voice on the failings in disclosure by the police and CPS which are causing miscarriages in justice. As a Director and Solicitor in criminal defence, Rubin represents clients in a number of complex criminal matters including drug related offences, sexual assault cases and those involving high profile fraud offences. To provide clients with the best advice and support during proceedings, it is essential that he is privy to all disclosure, which the disclosure officer for the prosecution is required to prepare. Rubin explains that as a result of poor practices in disclosure, vital non-sensitive unused material can be left undisclosed or revealed late in the proceedings, causing cases to be dropped. This means that some cases may never be accurately resolved and miscarriages in justice are of a greater risk. Rubin writes: “The laws which preceded the disclosure rules were placed due to historic miscarriages. If these are not followed by the police or CPS, we may return to those days.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

‘It's like hell in here’: detainees challenge inhumane conditions in Brook House detention centre (Liberty) (18 January 2018)

Patrick Page, a senior caseworker in public law at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, writes for Liberty detailing the appalling conditions faced by detainees in Brook House detention centre. Patrick recounts how *Mehdi, client of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, was locked up for more than 13 hours a day, with two others, in a cell comprised of a small locked window, an open toilet and the detainees’ beds. Duncan Lewis is challenging the Home Office on the lock-in regime and conditions at Brook House on the grounds that they breach the Equality Act 2010 and violate fundamental human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. In reaction to this challenge, all the claimants have been released from detention, but the case is on-going and will be heard in the High Court on 23 and 24 January. Liberty, which campaigns for civil liberties and human rights, has intervened in court with a focus on the right to dignity. Liberty argue that ‘detention should be a measure of last resort, and that it should take place in appropriate, sanitary and non-punitive conditions.’ ‘If successful’ Patrick writes, ‘these challenges may fundamentally restructure the way detention centres operate […] Though released, Mehdi does not want anyone else to suffer the same ordeal: “Brook House is not an immigration removal centre. I am telling you it is a prison. It is disgusting.”’ *Mehdi is not our client’s real name. He wanted to tell his story, but to remain anonymous.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Dungavel detention centre in slave labour shame as asylum seekers paid just £1 an hour for work (Daily Record) (15 January 2018)

Toufique Hossain, Public Law and Immigration Director at Duncan Lewis, discusses the unfair treatment of detainees in Immigration Detention Centres like Dungravel in Scotland, which sees detainees working for just £1 an hour. The figures are even more shocking since, as the article reveals, Dungravel is run by one of America’s top private prison companies, GEO Group, which donated a significant amount to Donald Trumps’ campaign for presidency. The fact remains that the detainees are providing services that are essential for the running of the detention centre, like many all over the UK. If the detainees were not providing the labour, these Immigration Detention Centres would have to source the services externally, with no option but to pay the going rate. Toufique and the Duncan Lewis Public Law team are bringing a legal challenge to the low-paid work scheme in a bid to bring detainees’ wages in line with the national minimum wage. Toufique states: “Our clients and other detainees are doing work essential to the management of the immigration removal centres like Dungavel, much of it banal and tiring. They are working as cleaners, barbers, laundry workers, litter-pickers and food servers. This work would otherwise need to done by workers paid at least the minimum wage.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The Times Lawyer of the Week (11 January 2018)

The Times have interviewed Sonali Naik, recently appointed QC, of Garden Chambers, as The Times Lawyer of the Week. The feature makes special mention to the recent case concerning two Albanians who’s British Citizenships were made valid once more following The Supreme Court ruling revoking the Court of Appeal judgment, which nullified those Citizenships on the grounds that they applied as Kosovan nationals. Sonali was instructed by Duncan Lewis’ Public Law solicitor Naim Hasani, who had represented the two Appellants since 2013. The article states: ‘The long-established Court of Appeal case law – of 26 years- was against us. Naim Hasani at Duncan Lewis, Stephen Knafler, QC, of Landmark Chambers, Helen Foot at this chambers and I were able to overturn it. This case is about the importance of the rule of law and due process.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Indian-origin scientist awarded top Royal honour (Asian Voice) (10 January 2018)

Asian Voice highlights the important work and dedication of British Asians who the Queen has featured in her New Year Honours list, which rewards their outstanding contribution to services in the UK. Aina Khan, Duncan Lewis Islamic Family law Director, has been named amongst those receiving Royal honours, in the form of an OBE. This she has been awarded in recognition of her work in aid of the protection of women and children in un-registered marriages. Aina is also the founder of “Register our Marriage” through which she campaigns for the amendment to The Marriage Act 1949 to make it compulsory for all faiths to register their marriage.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Ministry of Justice amends current legal aid system for victims of domestic violence (Asian Voice) (9 January 2018)

The Ministry of Justice have reformed the current legal aid system for victims of domestic violence, effective from 8th January 2018. Since April 2013, the terms of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 have meant that many victims lacked eligibility for legal aid funding. Eligibility was dependent on certain family matters, including evidence of domestic abuse provided within the given timeframe, or if social services have concerns for a child’s welfare due to the Respondent’s behaviour. The Legal Aid Agency had previously extended a 2 year timeframe for evidence of domestic violence to 5 years, which will now be eliminated in accordance with the system changes. Having access to legal aid will ensure victims have representation in court and aren’t subject to facing their abuser alone. Angela OConnor, a Childcare Solicitor for Duncan Lewis, penned this article, which highlights how the changes will accommodate victims of domestic abuse when accessing legal representation. She also states: ‘In my view, although these changes are welcome, there is still a way to go in ensuring that the most vulnerable are able to access legal aid.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Immigration centres accused of slavery over £1-an-hour pay (The Times) (8 January 2018)

Toufique Hossain, Public Law and Immigration Director, has commented on the treatment of immigration detainees being paid £1 an hour for work done inside immigration detention centres as indicative of slavery. The work consists of a range of in-house services that would require external agencies or individual skilled workers to fill the roles were detainees not providing the services themselves. Toufique comments in The Times article: “They are working as cleaners, barbers, laundry workers, litter-pickers and food servers. This work would otherwise need to be done by workers paid at least the minimum wage. If this isn’t slavery, I don’t know what is.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Two Albanians are not deported despite lying to get citizenship (Telegraph) (5 January 2018)

The Supreme Court has passed a judgment preventing Dinjan Hysaj and Agron Bakijasi, both Albanian nationals, from being deported for fraudulently gaining British citizenship. The Albanian nationals had sought asylum in Britain during the 90s by claiming to be of Kosovan descent. The Home Office was brought to the attention of their misrepresentation when Hysaj was jailed for a violent dispute in 2011, and when Bakijasi’s partner revealed his real nationality in Kosovo. Their citizenships were deemed nullified by The Court of Appeal but this was further challenged by the appellants’ solicitor, Naim Hasani of Duncan Lewis, who found that completely revoking their citizenship on the grounds that they lied about being of a different nationality was not strong enough to nullify their citizenships. As a result, The Supreme Court has accepted the validity of their British citizenships under the principle that the argument for the nullity of their false identities is quite implausible, on that basis that the appellants did not commit the fraud by impersonating someone else. This case has highlighted a loophole in citizenship cases based on the legal difference between identity theft and false pretences.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Aina Khan celebrated in The Guardian, The National, Eastern Eye and The Law Society Gazette for OBE (2 January 2018)

Aina Khan, Islamic Family Law specialist at Duncan Lewis and founder of “Register our Marriage” has been applauded in the press for her OBE award in honour of her services to the protection of women and children of unregistered marriages. Aina’s career in Islamic Family law has already spanned 25 years, supporting families in marriage and divorce proceedings, with specialist knowledge of Sharia law. Her extensive experience has enabled her to develop the Register our Marriage campaign asking for the Marriage Act to be amended to require all faiths to register their marriage in the UK. Aina states: “a child of immigrants can be a British citizen, can have a professional career and be given an award that has been handed out for a century…I am from a Muslim Pakistani background and this award is good news for Muslims, Pakistanis and for women breaking through the glass ceiling.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Anger as Kilburn paedophile Harold Anthony jailed for three and a half years (Brent and Kilburn Times) (28 December 2017)

Sunjay Versani, High Court Advocate within Duncan Lewis’ crime department, represented Harold Anthony throughout his criminal proceedings – having provided initial advice at the police station and appearing to represent him at his the final Crown Court sentencing. Mr Anthony was accused of sexually assaulting his 6 year old great niece and indecently assaulting the little girl’s mother some 15 years earlier when she herself was a child. Mr Anthony pleaded guilty to the provable offences before the Court and one other instance of similar offending which he himself disclosed. As a result of meticulously prepared and robust mitigation, and the provision of right and proper advice, Mr Anthony received a three and a half year sentence in total. The sentence in other circumstances could have yielded a sentence between 8-7 years. The article states: ‘Anthony has also been put on the sex offenders register indefinitely, Scotland Yard said.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

At 11th hour, Laghman resident allowed to stay in UK (Pajhwok Afghan News) (24 December 2017)

The Home Office have deferred the removal of an Afghan asylum seeker, client of Jamie Bell, Public Law and Immigration Solicitor at Duncan Lewis. After Jamie Bell issued judicial review proceedings, the Home Office have stayed the removal, which was due to take place on Christmas day. The asylum seeker’s medical report deems his scarring and evidence of injury are consistent with torture, which may be used in order to claim his protection to be provided in the UK. Jamie states: “We believe that our client, a torture survivor, has a strong claim for protection in the UK and are fighting for his right to stay. We now turn our attention to securing his release from detention at IRC Brook House so he can spend the holiday season at liberty.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Why are British Muslim marriages unprotected by law? (Al Jazeera News) (24 December 2017)

In discussing the topic of religious-only marriages and the lack of legal protection when those marriages are unregistered under UK law, the Al Jazeera News looks at a number of case studies where issues have arisen when the law has left divorcees/ widows stranded. Aina Khan, Duncan Lewis’ Islamic Family Law specialist, is campaigning to have all faith marriages be required to register their marriage with a civil ceremony to protect all parties should the marriage dissolve through bereavement or divorce. However, there is evidence that a large number of people are opting to get the religious-only marriage without the civil ceremony in order to avoid long winded divorce proceedings, which mimics co-habiting couples who choose to live together without any formal or legal recognition. This too can prove problematic, however it is a lifestyle choice more and more couples are opting for. The article states: ‘Campaigners such as solicitor Aina Khan, and Conservative peer Baroness Caroline Cox argue that legislative change should see all religious marriages needing to be registered. However, other research suggests the solution is not this simple.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lake owner who put up sign banning Polish and 'Eastern bloc' fishermen from using the site removes it after his family received threats (Daily Mail) (24 December 2017)

The owner of the fishery who placed a sign banning ‘Polish or Eastern Bloc Fishermen’ from using his lake has removed the sign following threats. Polish angler, Rado Papiewski, instructed Alex Peebles, Public Law solicitor at Duncan Lewis, to begin legal action against the owner of the lake on the grounds that it breached the Equality Act since it discriminated against people of those descents described. The owner stated that he intended to use to sign as a deterrent to anglers he believed would steal fish from his lake, since the laws on fishing differ in Eastern Europe from that of the UK, which requires anglers to return fish caught to prevent over fishing. Rado Papiewski is the founder of Building Bridges, which he created to educate foreign anglers on UK fishing laws in order to properly integrate them into the UK’s national fishing community. Mr Papiewski was able to raise more than £10,000 on his Crowd Justice website to support the legal process, which Duncan Lewis Solicitors will update on in the new year. The article states: ‘The Equality and Human Rights Commission deemed the sign was unlawful and warned it would take 'enforcement action' if necessary.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Drink Driving Campaign Set to Launch (Asian Voice) (23 December 2017)

Neil Sargeant, Duncan Lewis’ Motor Law specialist, writes for Asian Voice offering advice to UK drivers this festive period. As a time of year where many overindulge, UK constabularies have launched their campaign to catch those who get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, in an effort to make UK roads safer this Christmas. Neil states: ‘Whilst it can be reasonable to assume you are under the limit after consuming a small quantity of alcohol, everybody is different. Your age, sex, height and weight can affect how quickly your body metabolises alcohol. Err on the side of caution – the safest thing to do after drinking is not drive.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

UK to deport Afghan torture survivor on Christmas Day (The Guardian) (23 December 2017)

An Afghan asylum seeker who fled torture has been threatened with removal by the Home Office, due to take place on Christmas day. Jamie Bell, Public Law and Immigration solicitor at Duncan Lewis, has been quick to lodge a judicial review against his client’s removal. After a doctor completed a thorough examination, it was reported that the man in question is an adult at risk, as defined by Shaw’s policy. The Home Office has accepted that the man was a victim of torture, however has pursued his removal in order to reduce the time spent in detention. Jamie appeals that his client is at risk of persecution if returned to Afghanistan due to westernisation as he has lived in the UK for more than 11 years and that his previous experience as a victim of torture would make him a target. Jamie states: “This symbolises the complete lack of humanity in the government’s approach to refugees…The Home Office has taken Christmas, a time for compassion, as an opportunity to remove someone to a war zone, thinking it would be difficult to challenge them. They are wrong, on every level.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Marios Kontos features in Essex Human Rights Centre Newsletter (22 December 2017)

Marios Kontos, Trainee Immigration Solicitor at Duncan Lewis and alumni of the University of Essex, features in their Essex Human Rights Centre December newsletter in the Alumni in Focus section, where his work in Immigration Law is discussed. Specifically, the feature talks about his use of human rights principles when regularising the immigration status of his clients, especially those considered to be vulnerable. It is these principles which mark out the sensitive and essential work done by Immigration Law professionals. Marios is ‘also a coordinating member of Refugee Legal Support Athens, which sends immigration lawyers to Greece to provide legal advice and representation for asylum seekers.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis Solicitors’ Public Law Solicitor Naim Hasani wins landmark Judgment in The Supreme Court, overruling nullity of British Citizenship for two Albanian Nationals (21 December 2017)

Naim Hasani, Public Law and Immigration Solicitor at Duncan Lewis, wins a longstanding Judicial Review case retracting the previously nullified British citizenships of two Albanian nationals, changing the way nullity can be claimed in cases concerning British Citizenship. It has been ruled that now nullity can only be accepted on the grounds that the Applicant placed their application for citizenship immitating an actual person’s identity which is not their own. The Court of Appeal judgments, supported by The British Nationality Act 1981, nullified the citizenships the Albanian Nationals had been given on the grounds that they falsified their country of origin. Naim represented the Appellants in arguing that they had never taken on the identity of another person and had applied for citizenship as themselves. The Supreme Court accepted their appeals and the original Court of Appeal judgment was set aside: ‘The Supreme Court held that the decisions of the Secretary of State that the Appellants’ British citizenships were nullities (i.e. that they were not and had never been British citizens) were wrong in law.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Krisha Prathepan features on BBC Asian Network Reports (20 December 2017)

Krisha Prathepan, Immigration and Public Law solicitor at Duncan Lewis, features on BBC Asian Network Reports discussing Labour MP, David Lammy’s report on how to tackle discrimination against black and ethnic minorities by the police, in prisons and in the courts. The report puts forward many recommendations on how to eradicate the bias evident in the UK criminal justice system. The BBC reveals that 14% of the UK population is comprised of people of black and ethnic minority backgrounds, whilst they make up 25% of the UK prison population. The report sets clear targets on how to make changes which will diversify the justice system from within, however, fails to set targets on getting more black and ethnic minorities into the judicial system, as judges and magistrates. Krisha Prathepan states: “Judges and magistrates should represent the wider community; if targets can achieve this, it can only be a good thing.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Fishery could face legal action for sign banning east European anglers (Guardian) (19 December 2017)

Alex Peebles, Public Law solicitor at Duncan Lewis, is instructed by Polish angling enthusiast, Rado Papiewski, in taking action against a fishery in Oxfordshire which is discriminating against Polish anglers and those from other eastern European countries. It is something Rado feels most affronted by since he runs a project named Building Bridges, which specifically educates those anglers from eastern Europe, who would be familiar with the practice of keeping their catch when fishing, as oppose to the UK law which requires those fishing for leisure to throw back the fish for conservation. Rado believes the project is necessary to make sure those coming to the UK to fish understand the laws present and integrate into the fishing communities in the UK. The fishery in question has displayed a sign which explicitly prohibits anglers of ‘Polish or eastern bloc’ decent, alongside dogs and children, which Alex Peebles warns is in violation of the Equality Act 2010. Alex states: “The sign displayed by the business demonstrates clearly that they are refusing to provide their services to certain people, purely on the basis of their race and/or nationality…Race and nationality are protected characteristics under the Equality Act.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Police threaten to deport Polish man seeking help after attack (The Guardian) (7 December 2017)

A client of Fahad Ansari, Public Law and Immigration solicitor at Duncan Lewis, has been detained in an immigration detention centre with the threat of removal, after reporting a crime to the police. Polish national Miroslaw Zieba has been living in the UK with his wife, who was also involved in the attack. The pair was accosted by masked men in their flat who were escorted by their landlord. Mrs Zieba was hurt in the incident. After being seen in hospital, the Ziebas reported the crime to the police, at which point Mr Zieba was handed over to immigration officials. Mr Zieba is threatened with removal to Poland and is instructing Fahad Ansari to appeal the decision. Mr Ansari states: “This will not only send shockwaves throughout communities within the UK but is also likely to be perceived by criminals as a green light for them to target foreign nationals who may be too afraid to report the crime to the authorities. This is the sadly predictable result of Theresa May’s attempts to create a ‘hostile environment’ for foreign nationals in Britain.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

I'm detained, and it’s killing me (The Law Society) (6 December 2017)

Ahmed Aydeed, Director of Public Law at Duncan Lewis’ Birmingham office, writes for The Law Society on immigration detention and its impact on the thousands of men, women and children that are indeterminately detained every year for administrative convenience. He writes about the abuse in detention centres, the flawed system of detention and the draconian actions taken by the Home Secretary. He condemns the completely inhumane ‘Detained Fast-Track’ (DFT) system, which ran from 2005 until 2014. This saw the detention of those who were considered to have weak asylum claims, whilst their claim was considered in an accelerated time frame – often leaving them without the chance to seek legal advice before their claim was settled. Significantly, Ahmed points out that many of his clients have suffered re-traumatisation in detention, in spite of the ordeals that have forced them from their own country to seek international protection. Ahmed writes: “In the case of Zafar, where the Home Secretary was yet again found to be acting unlawfully and ordered to pay substantial damages for the unlawful detention of my client, I recall Mrs Justice Andrews telling counsel for the Home Secretary that he was attempting to “defend the indefensible” and that, however he phrased the legal submissions, it “remained indefensible”. I am pleased the court recognised the injustice in this case but migrants continue to be imprisoned in the UK.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Outside the rules: how immigration detainees in prison are let down (Inside Time) (4 December 2017)

Patrick Page, Senior Public Law Caseworker, writes for Inside Time on the issues faced by detainees who are held in prisons under immigration powers. Such detainees are not afforded the same rights as those who are held in immigration detention centres. For instance, they are not allowed access to mobile phones or the internet, meaning they are at a disadvantage when trying to obtain advice or information from Home Office caseworkers, lawyers or charities. Patrick focuses on the fact that immigration detainees held in prison are not afforded the same safeguards as those in detention centres, such as the Rule 35 medical assessment. As Patrick writes, “Rule 35 is especially important. Under this rule, doctors [in detention centres] are required to assess whether a detainee is particularly vulnerable in detention, and to send a report of the assessment to the Home Office…These reports can either result in the Home Office taking the initiative to release the individual, or can help lawyers obtain both release and compensation on the basis that they were unlawfully detained.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Asylum seekers face appeals 'lottery' (BBC) (29 November 2017)

The BBC looks at the results of the survey conducted by the Victoria Derbyshire show, which reveals the percentage of appeals allowed in different hearing centres across the country. The disparity between results exposes the inconsistent nature of asylum appeals across the UK, meaning appellants are at risk of receiving an unfair result. Laura Smith, Duncan Lewis Public Law supervisor, discusses her experience of the appeals ‘lottery’ system. She expresses her lack of surprise that the results reveal such inconsistencies across the country. Laura often advises clients to move to an area where the hearing centre has a more favourable percentage of appeals allowed. She explains that in some cases lawyers will lie about their client’s address in order to have their case seen at a hearing centre like Taylor House which allows 47% of appeals. In comparison, Yarl’s Wood allows just 21% of appeals. Laura is quoted: "It's the kind of arbitrary decision-making which I see across the systems all the time…that two cases with merit can have completely different results, based on different judges and different hearing centres."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Laura Smith features on the Victoria Derbyshire show on the BBC (29 November 2017)

Laura Smith, Public Law and Immigration Supervisor at Duncan Lewis, appears on the Victoria Derbyshire show discussing the reason why ‘Asylum seekers face appeals 'lottery'’ in the UK. The main question asked in the episode is why there is such disparity between the amounts of successful appeals in different areas of the country. Laura discusses her client’s case, which was not successful in the appeal against his removal from the UK when represented by previous solicitors, nor when Laura brought his case to Harmondsworth hearing centre, however, on hearing his case at Taylor House, the appeal was allowed. Both hearing centres display a stark contrast in appeal results, with just 24% of appeals allowed at Harmondsworth and 47% of appeals allowed at Taylor House. Laura warns that this sometimes causes solicitors to lie about the location of their client’s address to enable them to be seen at a more favourable centre. She states: “It is the kind of arbitrary decision making which I see across the system all the time; that two meritorious cases can have completely different results based on different judges and different hearing centres.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Strasbourg dismisses compensation claim for not allowing asylum seeker to work (Free Movement) (28 November 2017)

James Packer, Public Law Director at Duncan Lewis, writes for Free Movement about Daniel Negassi v the United Kingdom (application no. 64337/14) which concerns an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding a breach to the applicant’s right to a private life under Article 8 of ECHR. James explains that the applicant, Daniel Negassi, based his appeal on the grounds that preventing him from working - pending a decision on his asylum claim - was in direct breach of Article 8. The court dismissed his complaint based on the fact that he did not suffer “significant disadvantage” since the consequences following the decision to prevent him from working were not seriously adverse. James comments on the case by expressing his disappointment that the complaint was dismissed, “…by the time Mr Negassi commenced his judicial review, and before he received his offer of employment, the Court of Appeal had already ruled (in R (ZO) and MM) that people in his position ought to be allowed to work in accordance with the earlier version of paragraph 360 of the Immigration Rules. There was no stay on the effect of that decision, and the restriction to “shortage occupations” was only brought in several months later after the concurring judgment of the Supreme Court…”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Alex Peebles on BBC Radio 4’s The Money Box (27 November 2017)

Alex Peebles, Public Law solicitor at Duncan Lewis, discusses the legal challenge he is leading on behalf of locum doctors and nurses caught up in the IR35 dispute. Alex explains that the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) online tool on the HMRC website, used by employers to determine the status of all individual workers based on particular factors, is flawed in that it does not take into account all factors. Significantly, CEST does not test for the mutuality of observation (MOO) which is designed to identify the existence of an employer relationship. MOO directly links to the application of IR35 to the individual’s case. In absence of this the results may be biased, meaning a worker can be recognised as within IR35 when they are not. Presenter Paul Lewis asks why locum or contracted workers should receive better tax than other employees within their sector. Alex responds by pointing out that when assessed some workers have been accepted by HMRC to have some engagements that have not been caught by IR35. Alex states: “It seems a little strange then that [locum and contracted workers] are now in a position because of a change – not in the underlying basis of IR35 – but in responsibility for making the assessment, that all of a sudden they find themselves in a much worse off tax position.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office systematically ignores medical advice to keep mentally ill immigrants in detention (Independent) (27 November 2017)

Toufique Hossain, Immigration and Public Law Director at Duncan Lewis, is quoted in The Independent discussing the Home Office’s detention of mentally ill immigrants, which is in direct contradiction to the Adults at Risk policy intended to protect vulnerable immigrants from the trauma of detention. The Independent highlights the research conducted by charity Bail for Immigrant Detainees (BID) which has found many mentally unwell detainees have been held in Immigration Detention Centres against policy guidelines. Toufique hopes that the BID report will help set the record straight in defining those who are vulnerable and should not be detained. Toufique is quoted: “It has been clear since the Adults at Risk policy was introduced, supposedly as a response to the damning Shaw Report, that it is simply not fit for purpose…The policy has given the Home Office further justification to detain vulnerable individuals; including victims of torture, rape, trafficking and those with serious physical and mental health issues. We have represented dozens of men and women who should never have been detained.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Aina Khan speaks on BBC’s Woman’s Hour (23 November 2017)

Duncan Lewis’ Islamic Law specialist, Aina Khan, speaks on Woman’s Hour at the BBC about the concerns that 90% of under 40s’ Nikah marriages are not being legally recognised in the UK. This is because a Nikah-only wedding does not legally validate the marriage, without the couple opting to register the marriage in a separate civil ceremony. Aina explains that this affects a number of faiths in the UK, with only Anglican, Jewish and Quaker marriages having to register their marriage according to The Marriage Act 1949. She explains that other faiths must volunteer to register, either by having a civil ceremony or by choosing to marry abroad where the marriage is legally recognised. She explains that she began the campaign “Register our Marriage” four years ago in order to: “1) make The Marriage Act apply to all faiths and 2) educate all the communities so that they register their marriages.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – Has recent publicity raised concerns in this area? (Asian Voice) (23 November 2017)

Rubin Italia, Duncan Lewis’ Crime Director based in the Harrow Office, writes for Asian Voice on the legal implications of sexual harassment claims in the workplace. Due to a recent rise in high-profile cases circulating on the media, Rubin warns that when allegations such as these are shared publicly, before a formal investigation can take place, this can risk swaying the judgment one way or another. He states: ‘Both the victims and the perpetrators are better served by a robust, transparent investigation coupled with a similar court process. This way true allegations are processed and the perpetrators are prosecuted accordingly.'   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Aina Khan features in Channel 4 documentary “The Truth About Muslim Marriage” (23 November 2017)

Duncan Lewis Islamic Law specialist, Aina Khan, features in “The Truth About Muslim Marriage,” a Channel 4 documentary which investigates British Muslim marriages across the UK. The survey conducted was designed to help ascertain exactly how many British Muslim women, who are married, do not have a legally binding marriage in the UK and to find out how large a problem it truly is. The traditional Islamic wedding is the Nikah; however, a couple marrying in the UK by this ceremony will not have a legally recognised marriage unless they volunteer to register it through a separate civil ceremony. Aina talks about her experience as a Family Lawyer instructed by clients who have been affected by these restrictions to the law. Aina has been petitioning for a change in law in her campaign “Register our Marriage” which asks for an amendment to The Marriage Act 1949 to require all faith marriages to be legally registered. In most Muslim countries, the Nikah must coincide with the civil registration which legally recognises the marriage, but the UK does not require this for the wedding to go ahead. 60% of Nikah married women surveyed said that they had not had the civil ceremony to register their marriage. This is where the problem lies, since after the break-down of their marriage, they have no legal protection in the UK. Aina states: “The government is aware of the problem but they ask for data; they have no data. So I am hoping very much that when we are able to show the government the statistics that people will have some sympathy.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Aina Khan discusses campaign “Register our Marriage” to change UK Law to include all faith marriages (Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail) (22 November 2017)

Duncan Lewis’ Islamic Law specialist, Aina Khan, is featured in a number of publications discussing the problems many British Muslim women face when trying to access legal rights following a nikah wedding, since the UK does not legally recognise these as marriages without having had a civil ceremony alongside. The Independent Voices article points out that British Muslim women have fewer rights in the UK than in Islamic countries due to these restrictions. The Daily Mail highlights cases where women have been left destitute after their nikah marriages broke down because their marriages were not legal in the UK; something they were unaware of before seeking help. The Guardian reports on the results of a survey led by Channel 4, revealed in the documentary “The Truth About Muslim Marriage” (shown Tuesday 21 November) which highlights that 61% of Muslim women with a nikah marriage have not had a civil ceremony to legalise their marriage in the UK. Aina features in the documentary talking about the issues from her perspective as an Islamic Law specialist, whilst promoting her campaign "Register our Marriage." The campaign asks The Marriage Act 1949 to be amended to require all faiths to register their marriages. Aina wants to raise awareness whilst petitioning for a change in the law. Aina states: “All faiths must be governed by the rule of law. We shouldn’t have to opt in to a system; the default position should be that all marriages must be registered.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

A Year On, What Happened to the Children of the Calais Jungle? (The Bill of Middlesex) (22 November 2017)

Patrick Page writes for The Bill of Middlesex in a reflective piece on the changes which have taken place following the visit of lawyers from Duncan Lewis to the Calais ‘Jungle’ to advise and assist unaccompanied refugee children on their applications to be relocated to the UK under the ‘Dubs Amendment’. The ‘Dubs Amendment’ to the 2016 Immigration Act required the UK Government to ‘make arrangements to relocate to the United Kingdom and support a specified number of unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe’. In response to applications from such refugee children, the UK Government published the ‘Calais Eligibility Criteria’, strangling the Dubs Amendment with a prohibitively narrow definition of ‘refugee child’, before rejecting the vast majority of these applications. Most of these children remain in France in precarious conditions. Patrick explains how the Duncan Lewis Harrow Public Law Team are bringing a Judicial Review against the rejections of their clients’ applications: ‘We have seen the internal government decision notes for one of our clients: they amount to a 2 page tick-boxing exercise, dismissing his case with the scribble: ‘REJECT NO FAM.’”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Brook House asylum seekers in legal fight over lock-in procedures (The Guardian) (20 November 2017)

Duncan Lewis Solicitors represent five claimants in their challenge to the “lock in” procedures used by the G4S run immigration centre Brook House, as reported by The Guardian. The judicial review is intended to challenge the treatment of detainees on the grounds that the living conditions inside the centre are in breach of their fundamental human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. The claimants submit that the practice of locking detainees into their cells for over 13.5 hours a day and the unsanitary conditions within the centre are unlawful. Lottie Hume, caseworker in Duncan Lewis’ Public Law department, is quoted in The Guardian saying: “Our clients speak with damning consistency on life in the centre: the draconian lock-in regime, appalling room conditions, overcrowding, limited healthcare, poor hygiene facilities, segregation, an abusive staff culture … the list is endless. These issues are not isolated; they are a complex mess that the Home Office can no longer ignore”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Brook House: A national disgrace (The Justice Gap) (20 November 2017)

Lottie Hume, Public Law caseworker at Duncan Lewis, writes for The Justice Gap about the Home Office’s failings concerning the treatment of detainees in immigration detention centre Brook House. Lottie discusses the Panorama led exposé which revealed the inhumane treatment inflicted on detainees in Brook House. Duncan Lewis represents a number of detainees who support the findings which includes the practice of locking detainees in their cells for extended periods of time without access to sanitary facilities, as well as being subject to overcrowded cells and the use of segregation. Lottie writes: ‘An individual raising a concern in Brook House is unlikely to be listened to. But there is weight in their collective voices. Detainees have lodged a High Court challenge to the lock-in regimes and the appalling living conditions. The Home Office has no choice but to listen.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

ACID ATTACKS – AN ISSUE OF IDENTITY (Asian Voice) (15 November 2017)

Selina Nahar, a caseworker in Duncan Lewis’ Crime department, writes for Asian Voice on the topic of acid attacks and how a large number of attacks occur in gang-affected areas. It is evident that violent crime within gangs has taken a shift away from knife crime in favour of using erosive substances since they have a reduced chance of getting caught. Selina writes: ‘Acid is un-detectable, there’s no DNA left as evidence, which is arguably one of the reasons why many attackers are not caught…innocent defendants may be implicated especially when no DNA is present; it leads to an open system where anyone can be wrongly convicted.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Cuts have put many elderly and disabled people beyond the reach of our legal aid (The Guardian) (13 November 2017)

In the Public Leaders Network feature in The Guardian, Jemma Garside, Community Care Director, discusses cuts to legal aid and how it has affected her clients. Jemma points out that even though Duncan Lewis is the largest provider of legal aid in the UK, the number of clients that are eligible for legal aid has rapidly decreased since legislation came into place in April 2013, meaning she often has to turn people away. With 20% fewer legal aid providers; there are a number of people referred to Jemma who are from far afield, meaning advice is given remotely. This can be incredibly difficult for clients who are more vulnerable. Jemma explains: “Advising a disabled person remotely over the telephone can be very challenging…I recently helped one young woman who had been told by her local authority that she would be receiving less help each day to meet her personal care needs…When I called to discuss her 15-page care plan she couldn’t hold the telephone for more than a quarter of an hour, so we could only discuss one or two pages at a time.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Victim support: Ahmed Aydeed (The Law Society Gazette) (7 November 2017)

Ahmed Aydeed, Director of Public Law in Duncan Lewis’ Birmingham office, has featured in The Law Society Gazette following his win as Junior Lawyer of the Year at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2017. His work defending the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers has seen him at the “forefront in the battle against the unlawful detention of migrants in the UK, the unlawful processing of asylum claims through the Detained Fast Track system and, in particular, the criminalisation of trafficking victims, torture victims and unaccompanied child refugees.” Ahmed criticises the government’s recent disregard of the Dubs amendment (section 67) of the Immigration Act 2016, which was intended to allow entry of 3000 unaccompanied refugee children into the UK, compared to last year’s total of just 350. Discussing the cruel treatment of homeless EU nationals, Ahmed comments: “[The Home Office] is detaining rough sleepers who are EU citizens and deporting them. It has got hold of information from homelessness charities to help it identify the nationality of rough sleepers, which isn’t at all how the charities’ data was designed to be used. It then deports the people it has detained on the grounds that they are abusing their treaty rights.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Prosecutions for telling the truth: part deux, with added Hardial Singh (Free Movement) (7 November 2017)

James Packer, Director of Public Law at Duncan Lewis, features in Free Movement discussing the decision to dismiss the appeal made in the case of JM (Zimbabwe) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, in which JM had been found to have been unlawfully detained. James notes that Julie Anderson, for the Secretary of State, made the appeal on the grounds that the judge had not determined the “reasonable period” after which detention becomes unlawful, in relation to the Hardial Singh principal, however this was dismissed. James worked alongside Kate Newman, Public Law solicitor, in representing JM throughout this case. James concludes: ‘the preparation for the appeal was so shambolic that the court required the head of the Government Legal Department to write personally to the lead judge accepting that the failures were inexcusable and giving an assurance that there would be no repeat. We shall see.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office detaining sexual violence victims in breach of its own guidelines, finds report (The Independent) (1 November 2017)

Toufique Hossain, Director of Public Law and Immigration, is quoted in the Independent’s report on research conducted by charity Women for Refugee Women. The findings have revealed that out of those women detained 85% were victims of sexual assault or other gender related abuse. Toufique discusses the Home Office’s disregard for the mental health and well-being of woman detained in immigration detention centres that have experienced sexual or gender-based violence. This comes after a High Court ruling deemed the Home Office’s ‘Adults at Risk’ policy, on torture victims only qualifying as vulnerable adults if they have received torture from a state actor, to be unlawful. Toufique is quoted: "When confronted by survivors of sexual and gender-based violence the Secretary of State turns her face and detains them. It has long been established that such survivors should not be detained because they are particularly vulnerable and are at a higher risk of being re-traumatised in detention."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Driving Test Evolution (Asian Voice) (30 October 2017)

Neil Sargeant, Motor Law specialist at Duncan Lewis, talks in Asian Voice about the impending changes to driving tests, which will come into place from 4th December 2017. Neil points out that these changes are designed to incorporate modern driving techniques, including the use of a sat-nav during the test, as oppose to relying on the examiner’s directions. Neil observes: ‘It was often said that lessons taught you to pass your test but you learn to drive afterwards, meaning each driver develops their own driving habits once they pass. Using satellite navigation during the test makes sense as most new drivers will use them. They will get used to that “distraction” during their lessons, which will ensure greater road safety.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Pound coin chaos as parking machines and shops fail to meet Royal Mint deadline (Telegraph) (20 October 2017)

Neil Sargeant, Motor law specialist at Duncan Lewis, discusses the legal ramifications drivers face as a result of being unable to pay for parking with the new one pound coin, since councils have failed to update some of their parking meters. Following the end of its circulation at midnight on Monday 15th October, the old one pound coin has been seen in some major retailers and fast food restaurants, with a large amount of parking meters still unable to accept the new one pound coin. Due to the unique shape and design of the new one pound coin, drivers are having their new pounds rejected, meaning they are more likely to go without paying and receive fines because of it. The delay in councils updating machines, which could happen as late as February 2018, could amount to up to 200,000 more parking fines as a result. Neil points out that those receiving fines due to old machines have a better chance to have an appeal approved, however, he states: "Machines not working properly is a defence which can be used successfully in an appeal, however it may not always work…” Neil confirms that: “The Council have a responsibility to ensure customers have the ability to pay for parking. Meters that are not working properly have proven to be grounds to appeal a ticket previously however it may not always work so far as the new pound coin goes. As the old coins have gone out of circulation the machines should really be ready to take the new one and I think many councils will waiver tickets initially on this basis. However, after an initial transition period and as more time goes by, local councils may decide that people should be aware that parking meters may not accept the new pounds and should make sure they have an alternative payment method.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lewis Kett interviewed on RT (20 October 2017)

Lewis Kett, Public Law and Immigration solicitor at Duncan Lewis, speaks on RT about the recent High Court ruling stating that the Home Office’s previous definition of torture was unlawful, since it limited vulnerable people to only those who had received torture by state actors. One claimant, a Vietnamese woman, had been beaten, cut and burnt by loan sharks who her parent’s owed money to. After escaping that torture and claiming asylum in the UK, she was detained because the abuse she had received did not meet the definition of torture since it was inflicted by non-state officials. In the wake of this ruling stating that the Home Office’s previous definition was unlawful, Lewis anticipates that many detainees released due to the change in the definition will have grounds to claim damages for wrongful detention. Lewis states: “…the reason this [Adult’s at Risk] policy came into place in the first place was following a review by a senior civil servant Stephen Shaw and the whole idea following his review was that …a wider range of vulnerable detainees …should not be in detention centres and the idea of the Adults at Risk policy was to have a much more wide ranging policy in which those people can be adequately identified and if suitable be released, however, it looks like…the Home Office attempted to restrict one of the key vulnerability mechanisms which [identified] victims of torture so that only state actor [torture victims] could be treated as vulnerable – [which] essentially reduced the numbers by hundreds in terms of who could be qualified as eligible for release.” Following the successful challenge to this definition of torture, Lewis states that the Home Office will need to properly revise the Adults at Risk policy to identify all vulnerable persons in detention.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Toufique Hossain recognised as Lawyer of the week in The Times (19 October 2017)

Toufique Hossain, Director of Immigration and Public Law at Duncan Lewis, is featured as lawyer of the week in The Times. Toufique discusses his work with five claimants who had suffered torture before entering the UK whom he represented in the recent case against the Home Office’s definition of torture, which was ruled unlawful by the High Court. Toufique notes that the successful ruling was gained through the collaborative efforts of Bhatt Murphy solicitors and charity Medical Justice, Stephanie Harrison, QC, and Chris Butler, alongside the Duncan Lewis Immigration and Public Law teams. Toufique recalls his best decision in law was to take on a training contract which enabled him to help the marginalised, whilst he states that if he could he would end immigration detention, considering the ‘barbaric and shameful’ nature of the practice. He states: ‘My chief executive has let me build a team of brilliant young lawyers - it’s a difficult time to be a legal aid lawyer, yet I sit amongst the best of them.’  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Grenfell fire: Police block release of key documents on cladding warning (Independent) (19 October 2017)

Alex Peebles, solicitor in Public Law and Court of Protection at Duncan Lewis, has commented on the Kensington and Chelsea Council’s (RBKC) decision to without information regarding the action taken to mitigate fire risks at Grenfell Tower before the fire happened. It is understood that the Metropolitan Police advised RBKC to withhold any correspondence collected concerning the risk the cladding posed as a fire hazard, as warned by the London Fire Brigade, approximately two months before the fire. It should be noted that the Metropolitan Police’s advice did not constitute an order to withhold information. The RBKC argue that where Freedom of Information is concerned, the public interest to withhold the information is greater than the public interest to reveal it, since the criminal investigation is still ongoing. Alex Peebles points out that: “The information cannot be withheld just because there may be risks associated with its disclosure. The council or the police must be prepared to give detailed reasons that explain why the disclosure would or would be likely to cause prejudice to others.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Syrian Minor challenging Home Office’s decision to remove him to Bulgaria after reuniting with family (19 October 2017)

Mohammed Mirzo, a client of Vinita Templeton, Director of Immigration Law at Duncan Lewis, is facing removal to Bulgaria after being reunited with his family after a long separation. The Home Office are seeking to remove him to Bulgaria on the basis that Bulgaria previously granted Mohammed refugee status. Amongst reasons cited to justify removal, the Home Office claims that Mohammed has failed to prove that he has an established family life with his claimed family members – even though he was released by immigration officers into the care of his family from his day of arrival in the UK and has lived with them with recourse to asylum support or any other form of public funds. He is emotionally dependent on his family after suffering a very traumatic period in Bulgaria. Vinita Templeton argues that her client would not be safe returning to Bulgaria, where he previously experienced torture and abuse, whilst detained amongst adults, despite being an unaccompanied minor. The Rule 35 Report completed after Mohammed’s medical examination confirmed that his account of being beaten by the police in Bulgaria was consistent with torture. The Home Office agreed to release Mohammed from Campsfield IRC after receiving this medical report, however, there has been no confirmation yet that removal to Bulgaria will be cancelled. Vinita warns that once removed to Bulgaria, Mohammed may be treated as an asylum seeker once again, since Bulgarian law provides that individuals who leave the country for more than three months and explicitly reject the protection granted will lose their status. If returned to Bulgaria, Mohammed would have to again seek international protection which would leave him vulnerable to further abuse. Vinita is quoted: "They [The Home Office] believe he would be safe there, but he suffered a series of traumatising experiences – including being detained in solitary confinement and handcuffed at a time when he was still a child…He is terrified, absolutely terrified, of going back there. For somebody to be terrified of a supposedly safe country, that is just terrible."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lewis Kett interviewed on BBC South East Today (19 October 2017)

Lewis Kett, solicitor in Duncan Lewis’ Immigration and Public Law departments, talks in regards to the treatment his client has sustained whilst detained at Brook House Immigration Detention Centre. Lewis asks for a judicial led inquiry in order to expose the failings of not just the individual detention staff members who have abused detainees, but G4S as the private security firm which runs Brook House and the Home Office for allowing abuse like this to take place. Following September’s panorama investigation into Brook House, the Director Ben Saunders has resigned, but there is still much to be done to protect detainees and hold those responsible for this abuse accountable. It comes at a crucial time when the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has written directly to the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, to also call for an independent inquiry into the alleged abuse at the immigration detention centre, on the grounds that it may breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The EHRC's chief executive, Rebecca Hilsenrath, said she expected a response to the request within 14 days. Lewis is quoted: “We think an independent and impartial judicial led inquiry is the only way to get to the bottom of what has happened here in terms of not just accountability to individual detention officers, but for the Home Office and G4S for actually allowing this to happen.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Damages for Grenfell fire victims may total just £4 million - Reuters analysis (Reuters) (19 October 2017)

Rebecca Thomas, Director of Clinical Negligence and Personal Injury law at Duncan Lewis, has been quoted in Reuters analysis of the likely damages recoverable by the Grenfell fire victims. Reuters compares English law on damages claims to that of US law, which is generally more generous in cases such as this. Significantly English law does not allow claimants to pursue punitive damages claims against companies that may be responsible for the damage sustained, meaning the four companies linked to the fire - Arconic Inc. and Whirlpool Corp. (US) alongside Harley Facades and Rydon Group (UK) – will not be subject to punitive damages, even if they are found to be criminally responsible. Reuters sought legal advice from personal injury lawyers to confirm that their methodology when calculating the predicted £4 million in damages is correct. Rebecca Thomas states: “The British judicial system is not renowned for being generous,” which is reflected in the way English law calculates compensation, ‘Grenfell claims would probably be less than 30,000 pounds per property because compensation is based on the market value of personal belongings rather than replacement value, and the flats destroyed had only one or two bedrooms.’ Rebecca Thomas has confirmed that this estimate relates to those who died and damage to property only and does not include damages for those residents who sustained personal injuries who survived the fire.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Tortured, Raped And Detained: How Linh Was Betrayed By The Home Office (Huffington Post) (16 October 2017)

Patrick Page, a caseworker in Immigration and Public Law at Duncan Lewis, writes in the Huffington Post on how a client was unlawfully detained by the Home Office in Yarl’s Wood IRC after escaping abuse in her home country. Linh is amongst other detainees who were detained under the previous legal definition of torture which stated that if someone was tortured by a non-state official and that it was not inflicted by government or state officials, it was not legally considered torture for the purposes of medical examinations. Patrick discusses the recent decision by the High Court to deem this definition of torture to be unlawful: “On Tuesday [10th October] the High Court unambiguously told the Home Office that their distinction between state and non-state torture, when assessing particular vulnerability to harm in detention, ‘has no rational or evidence base.’ Linh and the other claimants had been unlawfully detained.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Torture victims were wrongly imprisoned in UK, high court rules (Guardian) (11 October 2017)

The Public Law and Immigration teams at Duncan Lewis challenged the Home Office’s definition of torture which has unlawfully detained victims of torture in UK detention centres. The High Court ruled in favour of the challenge on 10th October 2017. Mr Justice Ouseley told the Home Office that their policy had ‘no rational or evidence base.’ The unlawful definition required a torture victim to have received torture by state actors in order to be considered victims of torture. Those vulnerable persons who experienced non-state torture were unlawfully detained under this policy. Toufique Hossain, Public Law and Immigration Director at Duncan Lewis is quoted: “What is particularly shocking in this case, is that the secretary of state developed a policy, completely at odds with responsible medical opinion and established legal standards, that treated people who suffered abhorrent torture differently, simply on the basis of who their torturer was.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

No I don't want it: judge quashes professional negligence claim (Asian Voice) (9 October 2017)

Anthony Okumah, Director of the Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, is featured in this week’s Asian Voice, writing about the Court of Appeal’s (COA) decision to dismiss the professional negligence case of Graham Thomas v Hugh James Ford Simey Solicitors (2017), which the judge claims ‘should never have come to court.’ The Claimant was a Mr Graham Thomas who, in 2000, had instructed the Respondent, Hugh James Ford Simey Solicitors, to pursue a vibration white finger (VWF) claim following a 1999 statutory scheme set up by the Department of Trade and Industry. Anthony explains how following discussions with Ms Kinsey, who worked for the Respondent, Mr Thomas accepted a general damages offer and decided he did not want to pursue special damages. However, eight years later, after watching a Mellor Hargreaves Solicitors advertisement, Mr Thomas decided to bring forward a professional negligence claim against the Respondent, claiming that had he been properly advised he would have made a special damages claim which was dismissed. Anthony discusses the appeal and highlights the importance of assessing cases before bringing them to court, he writes; ‘I agree with the COA’s decision. Lord Justice Jackson, expressed regret that the claim ever reached court. It’s important for claimant professional negligence solicitors to assess a case properly before bringing it to court.’  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Jayesh Jethwa interviewed on BBC Wiltshire (3 October 2017)

Jayesh Jethwa, Trainee Solicitor in Duncan Lewis’ Private & Business Immigration department talks on Marie Lennon’s BBC Wiltshire show about spousal VISAs in the UK. Andrew, A UK national, married Kim an Australian national, but has since been unable to live with his wife in the UK since they do not meet the financial requirement stipulated under the Immigration Rules – the Home Office argue if Andrew was to be granted he would be at risk of becoming a burden to the UK welfare system. Jayesh discusses the attributes that the Home Office requires non-EEA national spouses to have in order to qualify for entry clearance under the spouse provisions, as well as amendments that have come into place under the recent MM (Lebanon) determination in the Supreme Court, which may positively affect prospective spousal applications similar to Andrew and Kim’s situation. Duncan Lewis often advise on complex entry clearance matters such as this. In this particular case the couple have opted to live in Australia due to the difficulties they faced when applying for a UK spousal VISA. However, other individuals facing a similar predicament may be able to rely upon changes brought in under MM (Lebanon) which notably include; a third party guarantor and a prospective job for the migrant upon entering the United Kingdom. Duncan Lewis are adept with the most recent law governing this ever-changing area of Immigration.  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Retired senior judge warns of the lack of safeguards in the power of attorney system in England and Wales (Asian Voice) (25 September 2017)

Helen Cummings, a trainee solicitor in Public Law and Court of Protection at Duncan Lewis, has featured in Asian Voice, discussing the risks relating to power of attorney procedures in England and Wales. Helen details a case where an elderly gentleman appointed a neighbour as his enduring power of attorney (EPA), resulting in financial abuse. Since the case, changes have been made, with lasting power of attorneys (LPA) replacing enduring power of attorneys (EPA). Helen writes: “The power-of-attorney (PoA) process can reassure those lacking mental capacity and their loved ones. It also carries great risks, including financial abuse – e.g. the coercion of an elderly person into signing deeds, wills or PoA documents.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Manjinder Kaur Atwal on RT UK (25 September 2017)

Manjinder Kaur Atwal, Housing Director and Solicitor at Duncan Lewis, talks on RT UK about the Government’s low level of spending on social housing. Manjinder points out that her clients have been dealing with issues of homelessness because of unaffordable housing. People on a low income are being evicted or forced to move outside their boroughs because they cannot afford their rent. Manjinder states that the reason why so many people on low incomes are in this position is because the Government has failed to invest in social housing.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Immigration detainee allegedly choked by G4S guard demands public inquiry (Guardian) (25 September 2017)

A Brook House immigration detainee and client of Harrow’s public law team at Duncan Lewis, has launched legal action against the Home Office after being physically and verbally abused by a G4S staff member. The client is not alone, with a total of nine detainees making cases against the Home Office. The client wants the video evidence recently captured on BBC Panorama’s undercover recordings to be used in the inquiry. Toufique Hossain, director of public law at Duncan Lewis is quoted: “When people are ill treated – in this country, within the government’s detention estate – in a way that breaches fundamental rights that are absolute in character, urgent and radical steps must be taken. We will press for this in the courts.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

This Is Not News: Our Clients In Brook House IRC Have Been Complaining About Abuse From G4S Detention Officers For Years (Huffington Post) (19 September 2017)

Patrick Page, Senior caseworker in Immigration and Public Law at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, writes for the Huffington Post on the recent G4S panorama investigation which has highlighted the abusive behaviour of some detention officers. Patrick reveals the extent to which his own clients have suffered, even prior to this investigation, making a point of the desperate need for intervention. Whilst Patrick’s clients are mistreated, alongside others like them, the staff themselves normalise the abuse, making CallumTulley’s stand even more pertinent. Patrick writes: “Callum Tulley’s brave reporting has shed some light on abuse carried out in detention centres, nine G4S officers have been suspended, and Twitter is all a-chirrup with calls for radical detention reform and the imposition of a time-limit (the UK being the only EU country not to have one), but we cannot allow this to be yet another outrage that fades from public consciousness against the backdrop of Brexit and Trump.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Employment tribunal classes bicycle courier as a ‘worker’ in latest decision on “gig economy” employment rights (Asian Voice) (12 September 2017)

Anthony Thompson writes for Asian Voice on an employment rights case in which “gig economy” former employee of Addison Lee, Chris Gascoigne, petitioned for his right as a “worker” to be entitled to holiday pay. Addison Lee disputed the former employee’s claim, insisting he was an independent contractor, thus “self-employed.” The London Central Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of Gascoigne as a “worker” who is entitled to holiday pay. Anthony Thompson discusses the future of “gig” industries after this court decision has confirmed that those working under this bracket of employment are “workers” and not independent contractors. Anthony writes: “The case follows similar verdicts against Uber, City Sprint, Excel and eCourier, and reinforces the rights of people working in the gig economy, who until recently had been unprotected and neglected in the context of key employment rights. It was also recently decided that couriers of emergency blood supplies and passports are ‘workers’ and entitled to improved employment rights.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

UK high court blocks deportation of man who accuses G4S of abuse (8 September 2017)

A client of Sheroy Zaq, Public Law Solicitor at Duncan Lewis, has been prevented from being forcibly removed by a high court judge in support of the pending investigation into G4S.The Guardian details how the asylum seeker was subject to personal abuse from the staff, whilst witnessing other incriminating acts imposed upon other detainees, making his case essential to the investigation. Sheroy Zaq adds: “This case concerns a man who was persecuted in his country of origin. He has since been subjected to further inhumane and degrading treatment within immigration detention, the responsibility for which falls squarely at the feet of our home secretary and G4S.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Tariff expired! Call for judicial review to address discrimination against tariff expired Irish indeterminate foreign national prisoners (Inside Time) (25 August 2017)

Maeve Thornton was published in inside time arguing that the current TERS system needs to be amended to give Irish Indeterminate Foreign National Prisoners and Indeterminate Foreign National Prisoners the same rights. As it stands, Irish Indeterminate Foreign National Prisoners will only be deported in exceptional circumstances, whereas other Indeterminate Foreign National Prisoners automatically become eligible for deportation after 2 years of their sentence without reference to the parole board. Maeve writes “the refusal to deport Irish Nationals only in the most exceptional circumstances is unique to Irish Nationals only and at odds with the fairness attributed to all other nationals from other EU countries. The effort involved for an Irish National Prisoner to have regular contact with family members whilst serving a custodial sentence is extremely difficult … The financial cost for some families to visit their imprisoned relative in the UK is often crippling or prevents them from coming”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Judge condemns Amber Rudd for ignoring orders to release torture victim (Guardian) (25 August 2017)

A client of Duncan Lewis has been held in detention despite an immigration tribunal and the high court ruling that he should be released. The government have held the position that they have not been able to find suitable accommodation for the asylum seekers on the basis of his mental health issues (mental health issues that have been incurred as a result of torture in his home country and in Libya during his passage to Europe). A judge however, has criticised how Amber Rudd has handled the case and commented that the home secretary has provided “less that satisfactory reasons” for the delay. Hannah Baynes is quoted "The Home Office needs to realise that deprivation of liberty is a serious abuse of fundamental rights, even more so when it involves a torture victim. We have seen delays of this kind far too often. The Home Office needs to act more competently and more expeditiously when it comes to complying with orders of the court".  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Married or co-habiting? Understanding your rights (Asian Voice) (8 August 2017)

Paul Nuttall wrote an article for Asian Voice commenting on the common misconception that couples who live together, but are not formally married, have about their rights. He clarifies that contrary to the belief of some “common law” spouses do not have the same kind of legal rights and obligations that married spouses do. He explains how couples who live together can hold property, differentiating between ‘Joint Tenants’ and ‘Tenants in Common’. He writes ‘If you are married and you divorce, the joint assets and the family home are all divided according to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The court has wide reaching powers to vary the ownership of property. With Cohabitees the court looks only at direct contribution and intention, and this is governed by the Trust of land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. This is much stricter and does not take into account a parties needs in any way. It is important that before you enter into property ownership with a partner that you consider your options carefully and don’t let love blind your decision making, particularly where you have raised the majority of the funds for the deposits!’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Married or co-habiting? Understanding your rights (Asian Voice) (8 August 2017)

Paul Nuttall wrote an article for Asian Voice commenting on the common misconception that couples who live together, but are not formally married, have about their rights. He clarifies that contrary to the belief of some “common law” spouses do not have the same kind of legal rights and obligations that married spouses do. He explains how couples who live together can hold property, differentiating between ‘Joint Tenants’ and ‘Tenants in Common’. He writes ‘If you are married and you divorce, the joint assets and the family home are all divided according to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The court has wide reaching powers to vary the ownership of property. With Cohabitees the court looks only at direct contribution and intention, and this is governed by the Trust of land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. This is much stricter and does not take into account a parties needs in any way. It is important that before you enter into property ownership with a partner that you consider your options carefully and don’t let love blind your decision making, particularly where you have raised the majority of the funds for the deposits!’  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Bespoke Law Services increasing access to justice for autistic clients (Solicitors Journal) (4 August 2017)

A number of clinics have been popping up across of the UK designed to provide access to legal advice to those suffering from autism. Staff at these clinics receive specialist training in how to deal with clients who suffer from autism including redrafting documents to make them easily understandable, providing a sensory environment to help clients feel at ease and adapting advisors interview approach. The clinics aim “to make the premises more accessible to the autistic community; to develop specialist legal provision for autistic people; and to contribute to policy conversations about access to justice for people with autism.” Duncan Lewis will be offering legal advice at Romford Autism Hub Legal Advice Clinic once a week starting this October.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Bespoke Law Services increasing access to justice for autistic clients (Solicitors Journal) (4 August 2017)

A number of clinics have been popping up across of the UK designed to provide access to legal advice to those suffering from autism. Staff at these clinics receive specialist training in how to deal with clients who suffer from autism including redrafting documents to make them easily understandable, providing a sensory environment to help clients feel at ease and adapting advisors interview approach. The clinics aim “to make the premises more accessible to the autistic community; to develop specialist legal provision for autistic people; and to contribute to policy conversations about access to justice for people with autism.” Duncan Lewis will be offering legal advice at Romford Autism Hub Legal Advice Clinic once a week starting this October.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office breached woman’s human rights in Yarl’s Wood ‘punishment room’ (Guardian) (3 August 2017)

The High Court has found that the Home Office was in breach of the Human Rights act after placing Duncan Lewis’s client in segregation for over 24 hours without consent. This is a landmark case as it is the first time the Home Office has been challenged regarding its use of segregation in detention centres. In order to hold a detainee for over 24 hours in segregation the detention centre must get authorisation from the Home Secretary. In the case of our client the officer in charge failed to do this. Lewis Kett is quoted: “This is the first ever challenge to the use of segregation in immigration detention and this, at the very least, the first time the high court has found someone’s segregation in immigration detention to be unlawful and in breach of human rights legislation. The Home Office will now have to make clearer checks before extending segregation beyond 24 hours. Removal from association has become the norm rather than a last resort. It’s a power over the powerless and it is being abused.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Yarl’s Wood: Home Office locked up woman in ‘freezing’ punishment room for 28 hours in breach of law (Independent) (3 August 2017)

Duncan Lewis’s client, a Kenyan asylum seeker who is seeking asylum on the basis of her sexuality after a history of torture at home, was locked up in segregation for a period of 28 hours, despite the detention centre not receiving authorisation from the Home Secretary to hold her beyond the initial 24 hour period. She was segregated despite being compliant with officers and committing no crime. Lewis Kett, the client’s Solicitor described the ruling as “breakthrough” as it is the first time segregation in detention has been challenged.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office threatened with legal action over ‘Right to Rent’ scheme (Asian Voice) (25 July 2017)

Saniya Taqi was published in Asian Voice writing about the legal action being threatened against the government over the compulsory immigration checks required under the ‘Right to Rent’ scheme. The purpose of the immigration checks, implemented by then Home Secretary Theresa May, was to deny housing to undocumented migrants, thus encouraging them to leave the UK. Furthermore, it was made a criminal offence not to carry out immigration status checks. The consequence of this has been that, according to a mystery shopping survey, 58% of landlords either ignored or rejected inquiries from black British potential tenants, whilst having little success in encouraging undocumented migrants to leave the UK/ Saniya writes "The government urgently needs to revaluate the effect the right to rent scheme is having on vulnerable tenants who are struggling to find accommodation before it is implemented to other parts of the UK."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Legal Aid and the Grenfell Tower disaster (Asian Voice) (25 July 2017)

Manjinder Kaur Atwal was published in Asian Voice writing about the failings of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LAPSO) 2012 to protect residents of Grenfell Tower who had raised concerns prior to the devastating fire. The Act resulted in severe cuts to legal aid, thus depriving those who need it most of access to justice. It has transpired that residents of Grenfell Tower attempted to seek legal help regarding concerns regarding the safety of the building, however due to the lack of funding available were unable to do so. Manjinder writes ‘It is felt by many that legal aid cuts have fundamentally changed our justice system in ways that could be damaging to the lives of vulnerable people. Following the devastation at Grenfell Tower, people will be questioning whether the fire could have been prevented had there been greater access to legal aid to enable the concerns to be remedied through legal redress, and whether increased legal funding could prevent similar disasters from occurring in the future.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Is Greece ready to receive asylum seekers under the Dublin system? (Essex Human Rights Centre) (24 July 2017)

Marios Kontos, a Trainee in the Duncan Lewis Immigration Department, wrote a blog in aid of refugee week to document the conditions of the receptions centres in Greece under the Dublin system, a process whereby asylum claims are supposedly streamlined on the basis that asylum seekers submit their claim in the first EU country they arrive in. Marios writes: "It has been more than six years since the European Court of Human Rights issued the landmark judgment on M.S.S. v Belgium & Greece, when Greece’s reception conditions were found in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights … Although it is arguable that Greece has taken steps to restructure its asylum system, these efforts are hardly enough to address the concerns raised in M.S.S. … criticism of the Commission’s recommendation has been more emphatically based on testimonies of asylum seekers stranded on Lesvos and other Aegean islands. Their main complaints are lack of access to food, healthcare and appropriate accommodation at the camps, where asylum seekers died during this year’s harsh winter”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The Punishment Room: Challenging the Abusive Use of Segregation in Immigration Detention (Liberty) (20 July 2017)

Patrick Page has been published in Liberty telling the story of a client's experience of segregation and abuse in Yarl's Wood Detention Centre, going on to discuss the damaging psychological effects of solitary isolation on asylum seekers, many of whom have been subject to various modes of torture and inhumane treatment. He writes "Pamela is one of thousands of detainees being placed in isolation for dubious reasons. The Detention Centre Rules 2001 allow such segregation when “necessary in the interests of security or safety”. They stipulate that in a privately-run detention centre such as Yarl’s Wood (managed by Serco), solitary confinement can only be authorised by the Home Secretary or – in urgent cases – a manager of the centre. Pamela’s segregation was not in the interests of security or safety. It wasn’t urgent, and it wasn’t authorised by the Home Secretary. The vague nature of government policy on solitary confinement, combined with a lack of oversight of its use, has created a dangerous vacuum, opening the practice up to abuse."  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Housing Disrepair: How to take action (Asian Voice) (19 July 2017)

Dalia wrote an article for Asian Voice this week detailing the issues around housing disrepair including: what a landlord is obliged to repair, what tenants can claim compensation for and how Duncan Lewis can help. She writes: “If you are living in a rented property, it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that your home is fit for purpose by carrying out any necessary maintenance and repairs. Failures to do so means properties fall into a state of disrepair, and this be damaging to the health and welfare of tenants”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Jamie Bell’s ‘Eight Months On, A Reflection On The Calais Jungle’ (Huffinton Post) (17 July 2017)

Jamie Bell was recently featured on the front page of the Huffington Post website, for his blog “Eight Months On, A Reflection On The Calais Jungle”. Jamie discusses his memories from visiting the Calais refugee camp in October 2016, shortly prior to its destruction, and his experiences in the eight months following. Jamie wrote: “I wanted to write this article to give my story as a lawyer who tried his hardest to help the most vulnerable group in the world, unaccompanied asylum seeking children. It was difficult to write and the events of the past eight months have had a significant impact on me.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Immigration detainees are challenging the Home Office’s £1 an hour wages (Guardian) (12 July 2017)

Immigration detainees are currently exempt from the UK’s minimum wage legislation, but ten detainees, with the help of Duncan Lewis Solicitors, have launched a legal challenge against the Home Office. The Home Office has defended the low-paid work, claiming it is on a voluntary basis and provides “relief from boredom”. Toufique Hossain, Director of Public Law and Immigration, is quoted: “We have put the Home Office on notice that their policy in relation to paid work in removal centres is unlawful. The Home Office are imposing £1 an hour as a maximum wage, that cannot be increased irrespective of worker performance, and for work that is essential to the day-to-day running of these centres, is yet another repugnant feature of immigration detention and it needs to be changed with immediate effect. The Home Office has said they are considering a review of this policy. If they do not make changes urgently, we will issue proceedings in the high court.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis’ Summer Party and Networking Event featured in Asian Voice (12 July 2017)

Duncan Lewis’ successful summer party was featured on Asian Voice’s website. Duncan Lewis Solicitors hosted a successful and enjoyable Summer Party and Networking Evening on Wednesday 28th June. The event at Tower Hotel was attended by their staff and several guests that included Mr Justice McCloskey, Immigration & Asylum Chamber President, Barristers from multiple chambers and guests from charities and other organisations   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Manjinder Kaur Atwal interviewed on RT (12 July 2017)

Manjinder, of Harrow’s Housing Department, was interviewed by Russian international television network RT about how Duncan Lewis Solicitors can help the residents of the Grenfell Tower fire. Manjinder explained that Duncan Lewis are offering legal advice to those caught up in the tragedy, visiting hotels and B&Bs where residents are being accommodated temporarily. Manjinder explained the concerns many residents have about the accommodation they are offered being unsuitable, and the dangers of turning down an offer of permanent accommodation and being deemed intentionally homeless.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Tom Clark interviewed by Blick about Boris Becker’s Bankruptcy and what it means (12 July 2017)

Civil Litigation’s Tom Clark was recently interviewed by Swiss Newspaper Blick about the bankruptcy of Boris Becker and Becker’s legal rights. Tom was asked if it is possible for authorities to seize Becker’s assets in different countries, referring to properties that Becker has in Spain and Switzerland. Tom explained: “If a foreign bankruptcy estate wishes to submit a claim in a Swiss bankruptcy proceeding, the foreign bankruptcy proceeding must first to be recognised in Switzerland. In a recent decision of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, the Court ruled that the decision of a foreign court will not be recognised in Switzerland to justify the submitted claim of a foreign creditor if the foreign proceedings were initiated after the date bankruptcy proceedings were opened over the Swiss debtor. Therefore, it may be the case that Mr. Becker’s trustee would have to make an application in the Swiss courts to recover such property.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Gabor Nagy and Channel 4’s ‘Dispatches’ (12 July 2017)

Gabor Nagy recently assisted Channel 4 for an episode of their award-winning investigative current affairs programme.The episode: ‘Dispatches – How to Get a British Passport’ looks at both undocumented children who were born and/or raised here and the struggles they face as they try to become citizens. It also looks at how Brexit could throw a new generation of children into a similar situation. Gabor was recommended to producer Datshiane Navanayagam by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, and he provided information and assistance relating to the law, funding issues and case studies. The programme was made ‘Pick of the Week’ in the Sunday Times.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Vinita Templeton on BBC 3 (12 July 2017)

One of Vinita’s cases was featured on BBC3 documentary “Don’t Deport Me, I’m British” It is an emotionally charged documentary following the stories of three young men who came to Britain as children, have grown up her and feel British. But upon becoming adults, these men discover that they are no longer welcomed in the UK by the British Government. Vinita’s client is 20 year old Bashir, who has lived in Cardiff for eleven years, but is now fighting deportation to Afghanistan. Bashir could face deportation despite having not been to Afghanistan since he was aged nine and he witnessed his father’s murder by the Taliban. Vinita is striving to show that Bashir has become too westernised to live safely in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, Vinita had to tell Bashir, or “Bash”, that his case had been refused by the Home Office, as they did not accept that Bash was westernised with a settled home life in Cardiff. Bash’s case is still ongoing.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Alex Peebles comments on criminal charges and the Grenfell investigation (Financial Times) (12 July 2017)

Investigations into the Grenfell Tower fire in West London will be led by a public inquiry and a police probe. With the death toll currently at 80, there will also be inquests into the deaths, and potentially a wide range of civil claims. The Financial Times raised the following questions about the upcoming investigations: Who will chair the public inquiry? What will the public inquiry look like and how long will it take? Is the Grenfell fire all about the cladding? Can Grenfell survivors or relatives bring their own cases? And will criminal charges be brought? To the last question, Alex Peebles was quoted: “Public inquiries cannot determine civil or criminal but their findings and conclusions could be used in a criminal or civil case.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis successfully challenged Upper Tribunal Rules (5 July 2017)

James Packer and Kate Newman have been featured by Free Movement following their successful challenge to the Upper Tribunal. Until now litigants have had their cases struck out for minor technical breaches of the Tribunal Rules without the Tribunal having any regard to the strength of the litigants’ claims; this has often placed litigants at risk of removal. Duncan Lewis has challenged this and the Tribunal has amended its practice.


Kate Newman wrote: “Astute practitioners may have noticed that recently the wording on both the letter provided when issuing a claim and form T485 has altered. The requirement to provide the UT with an effective T485 remains in place…but the consequence of automatic strike out is no longer stated.” Read more…

  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Jamie Bell comments on the leaked footage of an Afghan asylum seeker being forcibly removed and slapped and punched by immigration officials (Middle Eastern Eye) (26 June 2017)

Whilst on a Turkish Airlines flight passengers witnessed an asylum seeker from Afghanistan being slapped by immigration officials who were removing him to Afghanistan despite the man saying he had refugee status in Italy. The video footage shows officials pushing the mans head against the wall whilst he shouts “I can’t breathe … please”. Jamie Bell comments “It is very upsetting to see that immigration officers are physically assaulting detainees in order to forcibly remove them to a deeply insecure and unstable country … we are surprised that the Home Office persist in forcible removing Afghans when we understand that a Country Guidance is to be imminently listed consider the safety and reasonableness of removal to Kabul” .  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

If you want to know the reality of being a refugee, read these claims from Britain's current asylum seekers (Independent) (26 June 2017)

Patrick Page was published for the second time in the past month, this time he gave a voice to the testimony’s of four Duncan Lewis clients, all asylum seekers, all who had suffered at the hands of the British authorities. Patrick wrote about the plight of Joseph, Pamela, Mohammad, Umar describing the circumstances leading them to need to claim asylum in the first place and their subsequent treatment whilst in the asylum system in the UK. He writes “Joseph first saw a dead body when he found his father’s decapitated corpse. Pamela was removed by immigration officers as she got out the shower, Mohammed was threatened by the Taliban after working as an interpreter for the British in Afghanistan. Umar is a gay man who faces persecution in his home country…”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Helen Cummings discusses the Court of Protection and Huntington’s Disease (Asian Voice) (26 June 2017)

Helen Cummings was featured in Asian Voice this month discussing a mother’s request to the Court of Protection to have her daughter’s life supporting treatment withdrawn. The woman concerned believes her daughter’s dignity is being compromised by her continued treatment for Huntington’s Disease, which she has had for over 20 years. Helen writes "Mental incapacity can be defined as a person's inability to make decision owing to them being unable to understand the information relevant to the decision, being unable to retain that information, being able to weigh the information as part of the decision making process and being unable to communicate his or her decision. Huntington's disease can affect a person's communication and cognition, and with time a person with Huntington's disease will often become less responsive, more withdrawn and less aware of their surroundings. Therefore the Court of Protection is required to make decisions in this matter."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

"Locked in Limbo" (European Network on Statelessness) (2 June 2017)

“The waiting is the worst part of detention. It’s like you don’t have any control any more, you just sit and wait. You wait for someone else to tell who you are and what is your country.” Lewis Kett recently partook in the recent European Network on Statelessness (ENS) Conference in Budapest following the launch of the report "Protecting Stateless Persons from Arbitrary Detention: An Agenda for Change". On his return he wrote about the issue of statelessness and his analysis of why the UK (and its European counterparts) is slow-moving and complacent in its attempts to address the issue of statelessness.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The Charlie Gard case and Mitochondrial Depletion Syndrome (Asian Voice) (2 June 2017)

Petia Georgieva appeared in Asian Voice this month discussing the case of Charlie Gard – a baby born with an inherited rare disease called mitochondrial depletion syndrome (MDS). As a result of MDS, Charlie has been left with irreversible brain damage and unable to move. Whilst Charlie’s parents have raised money in the hope of taking him to the United States for treatment, the High Court Judge believes Charlie should be moved to palliative care. Petia explains: “However, on 11 April 2017, the High Court Judge, Mr Justice Francis held that the best interests of the child prevail and should be taken into account. With this in mind, he held that Charlie needs to be left to die peacefully, and that he should not be put through more pain and suffering.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Vaginal Mesh Implants: Duncan Lewis Solicitors represent a victim of vaginal mesh implant (Asian Voice) (31 May 2017)

Divya Anand appeared in Asian Voice this month discussing the legal action being taken against the NHS and manufacturers of vaginal mesh implants by hundreds of women who suffered complications from them. Divya explained the complications that can emerge: “Although mesh implants have been used successfully in many other parts of the body, when inserted in the abdomen, the implants can react differently, cutting into the vagina. Implications of the mesh perforating into the vagina range from mild discomfort to debilitating and life-changing pain.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The way asylum seekers are treated in the UK is a silent scandal (Guardian) (31 May 2017)

As part of the Guardian series 'public servant: my letter to the public', Patrick Page wrote a letter in response to the outcry from a Home Office caseworker who feared the government was failing asylum seekers in their darkest hour. The Guardian series aims to give a voice to staff who work in public services and are facing mounting pressure created by government cuts to funding and rising demands. Patrick wrote: 'We might be on different sides of the table, but legal aid lawyers like me feel the anxiety of the Home Office caseworkers who lose sleep over a failing system'  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Muslims demand end to instant divorce (The Times) (17 May 2017)

Aina Khan was quoted in the Times this weekend over the push within the British Muslim community to end marriage and divorce practices that are harmful to women. As it stands in the Muslim community a man can end a marriage by saying ‘talaq’ three times. Due to the high proportion of British Muslim marriages that are unregistered this can leave women in a very difficult position. It is not uncommon for a husband to say talaq in the heat of an argument and later regret it, however in the eyes of relatives the divorce is now valid. Aina is campaigning to update the Marriage Act 1949 to make it a legal requirement for “all faiths [to] register their religious ceremonies”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office using outdated guidance to deport Albania asylum seekers (Guardian) (11 May 2017)

Leading up to October 2011 courts relied on expert evidence found in Country Guidance case MK (Lesbians) Albania CG [2009] UKAIT, to determine whether homosexuals, victims of domestic abuse and victims of human trafficking should be sent back to Albania (the evidence used in the case determined that there were conditions under which it was safe for their return). However, in October 2011 the court of appeal found that this evidence could no longer be relied upon. Despite this the Home Office continued to use this case as the basis for deportation for the following five years. This error by the Home Office was highlighted in a ruling handed down in by the court of appeal in a case concerning a client of Duncan Lewis. Vanessa Delgado, the Solicitor with conduct, is quoted: “It’s so frustrating that so many Albanian asylum seekers have been let down since 2011 because the Home Office has behaved in this improper way. They have got dirt on their hands of these cases and have not acted correctly”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis sends team of Solicitors to ILPA Athends Legal Advice Project (3 May 2017)

The Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (IPLA) invited Duncan Lewis to join a group of solicitors and translators who were helping to improve the reception conditions of asylum seekers in Greece. Marios Kontios, Sondos Arafa and Zofia Duszynska worked with solicitors and barristers from 4 other law firms to aid refugees with their asylum claims as the quality of the initial claim that tends to be make or break in the success of the case. As a result of the current low quality, overstretched resources available at reception points, asylum seekers are frequently being denied their rights.  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis sends team of Solicitors to ILPA Athens Legal Advice Project (3 May 2017)

The Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (IPLA) invited Duncan Lewis to join a group of solicitors and translators who were helping to improve the reception conditions of asylum seekers in Greece. Marios Kontios, Sondos Arafa and Zofia Duszynska worked with solicitors and barristers from 4 other law firms to aid refugees with their asylum claims as the quality of the initial claim that tends to be make or break in the success of the case. As a result of the current low quality, overstretched resources available at reception points, asylum seekers are frequently being denied their rights.  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Should victims of domestic abuse be cross-examined by their abusers? (27 April 2017)

Genet Amare appeared in Asian Voice this week discussing proposed changes in legislation whereby alleged perpetrators of domestic violence will be banned from cross-examining their victims. A change that would bring the family courts in line with the criminal ones. She is quoted “I was recently involved in a case where … the applicant father was a litigant in person … the same abusive father who had subjected my client to acts such as: kicking and ounching her repeatedly; throwing a plate at her causing injury to her hand; ripping a clump of hair from her scalp and countless acts of verbal abuse spanning 8 years; was permitted (much to my client’s terror) to cross-examine her despite there being findings made against him in respect of domestic abuse”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Court of Appeal decides Supreme Court ruling in Hesham Ali is already redundant (Freemovement) (27 April 2017)

Public Law Director James Packer has recently been involved in a case at the Court of Appeal which narrowed the scope of the Supreme Courts landmark judgement in the case of Hesham Ali [2016] UKSC 60 - a case which sought to clarify whether, when ruling on deportation, judges have to follow guidelines set out by s.117 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, or form their own views on the issue. The case of Hesham Ali ruled that they could form their own views. However, the case of NE-A (Nigeria) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 239 ruled that case guidance Hesham Ali [2016] UKSC 60 only applies to cases where Immigration Rules are applied and not cases 'decided under the statutory human rights consideration introduced by the Immigration Act 2014'.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Jamie Bell and the Duncan Lewis Immigration Team comment on a G4S warning issued to asylum seekers (Independent) (25 April 2017)

A letter from G4S has been issued to asylum seekers warning that they “may be detained and deported away from the UK” if they demonstrate “unacceptable behaviour” whilst living in accommodation provided by G4S. Duncan Lewis Immigration Solicitors expressed their concern over G4S issuing such warnings based on the actions of one individual. Jamie Bell, of Duncan Lewis’ Public Law and Immigration Department commented “G4S do not have the right to recommend deportation and have no involvement in the immigration cases of anyone who lives in their properties. It is a misrepresentation of their powers.” Jamie expressed further concerns: “Making empty threats like these can be potentially psychologically damaging to those who have acute fear of return.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis client, disabled asylum seeker Kelechi Chioba, to be sent to Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre (Independent) (21 April 2017)

Kelechi Chioba was beaten and abused by her family in Nigeria who believe she is a “curse”. The 36-year-old suffers from polio, mental health problems and is queer – as a disabled queer person she believes that it is not safe for her to return home. However she is now set to be sent to the UK’s most notorious detention centre, rife with rumours of sexual violence towards inmates, and is being threatened with deportation. Duncan Lewis' Jamie Bell is quoted “we will now fight for her right to stay in the United Kingdon where she can be open about her sexuality free from persecution … Kelechi has been told she will be detained, something which has caused her significat psychiatric distress. We strongly believe that she is not suitable for detention and will do whatever we can to prevent this”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Aina Khan speaks at Register Our Marriage Conference (Telegraph and Argus) (12 April 2017)

Aina Khan, Head of the Islamic Department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, held the 'Register Our Marriage' road show on 7 March 2017, organised by Bradford's Muslim Women's Council. The road show was invited back to Bradford by popular demand after it was first held in 2015. A packed hall of men and women, young and old, took part in a stimulating discussion about the rapidly growing number of unregistered marriages in the Muslim community, which is leaving increasing numbers of people with no rights under British Law. Aina Khan said 'the marriage laws need to be updated to require all religious marriages to be legally registered. At present, nobody knows for sure if their UK religious marriage is legal or not - it appears more than 80% of marriages are not'.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Ashwati Menon discusses waiting periods in A&E(Asian Voice) (11 April 2017)

Ashwati commented on the systematic problems facing the NHS and the chronic lack of hospital beds in England’s A&E departments. The issue of having an aging population who are increasingly entering hospital with more complex deeds, combined with a lack of resources means that England now have fewer beds per capital than China, Estonia and Turkey. This has meant that hospitals are failing to see patients within the four hour target set out by the NHS, which can result in patients being put at serious risk. Ashwati comments “As people are becoming more informed there has been a decrease in unnecessary A&E visits, therefore it is arguably more concerning that hospitals are still failing to meet the four-hour rule. This demonstrates that the problem does not lie in people wrongly using A&E services, but in fact in a serious lack of resources in an increasingly stretched NHS”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Sheroy Zaq interviewed by BBC Persia (4 April 2017)

Sheroy was interviewed live on BBC Persia discussing the violent attack on a young asylum seeker in Croydon over the weekend. He commented that it is important the Home Office take into account the added physical and mental vulnerabilities of this child following the assault when investigating and dealing with the aftermath of the incident. Particularly considering that he sought refuge in this country to escape the exact kind of treatment he has just received. He further added that the prevalence of anti-immigrant rhetoric, particularly that of the British government, is undoubtedly creating hostility between communities within the UK and creating a culture that spurs hate crimes of this nature.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Hannah Baynes quoted in RT regarding mistreatment of client (4 April 2017)

A disabled client of Duncan Lewis' Public Law Solicitor Hannah Baynes had her wheelchair taken of her by the immigration authorities whilst on her way to be deported. She then alleges that she was wrapped in a restraint belt reaching from her waist to her breasts, which was then attached to a chain, by which she was dragged around. Lovelyn Edobor is a victim of trafficking from Nigeria who suffers from advanced osteoarthritis in both knees and chronic generalized arthritis. Hannah is quoted: “My client has sever mobility issues, and the way the Home Office official denied her a wheelchair and used a belt and a chain to pull her along when manoeuvring her around the airport is completely deplorable.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Removal of the Five Year Limit for Domestic Abuse Claims is a Victory for Victims (Asian Voice) (30 March 2017)

It was recently announced that the government will scrap time limits for obtaining written evidence of domestic abuse. There is also going to be an expansion of the types of evidence that can act as proof. This is a victory for all victims of domestic abuse, and will go a long way in ensuring that vulnerable people are eligible for legal aid even if a period of time has passed since incidents of abuse. Laila Bhunnoo commented: “The full extent of the changes are eagerly awaited by solicitors, charities, victims and all organisations working with domestic violence victims.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Hannah Baynes comments on the treatment of disabled victim of trafficking (The Guardian) (30 March 2017)

Lovelyn Edobor was forced into a waist restraint belt and dragged “like a goat” by the Home Office and as they tried to remove her from the UK. The 49-year-old from Nigeria suffers from advanced osteoarthritis in both knees and chronic generalised arthritis and she uses a wheelchair. Edobor was not allowed use of her wheelchair whilst she was taken to Heathrow airport, and she was rough-handled and deprived of her dignity. Hannah Baynes said “I am very concerned about the treatment of my very vulnerable client by Home Office officials when attempting to remove her to Nigeria on Saturday evening.” Baynes continued “We ask that the Home Office provide an explanation for the inhuman treatment of our client by their staff.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Toufique Hossain interviewed about the Calais children's case against the Home Office (Channel 4 News) (20 March 2017)

A number of the children from Calais represented by Duncan Lewis are taking the Home Office to the High Court on the basis that their conditions for entry to the UK were too strict. Toufique is quoted: ‘it’s extremely concerning; there are a number of children in these centres who are still deeply vulnerable, deeply traumatised’. Duncan Lewis believes these children have very strong grounds to be transferred to the UK. These children are left in a difficult limbo and do not know where to turn.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

MoD compensation plans shutting armed forces personnel and their families out of the Justice System (Asian Voice) (17 March 2017)

The MoD have proposed to stop ex combatants ability to pursue a civil case against management in cases of negligence on the battlefield under the principle of combat immunity. However many feel that this move will only narrow legal redress for military personal and their families and allow the MoD (who are already criticised for having a closed attitude to admitting mistakes) to negate any form of scrutiny. Ashwati Menon is quoted: "Soldiers should not be excluded from bringing claims against the MoD as this will remove the level of independent scrunity which ensures the MoD are accountable when mistakes are made that result in injury or death".  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

MoD compensation plans shutting armed forces personnel and their families out of the Justice System (Asian Voice) (17 March 2017)

The MoD have proposed to stop ex combatants ability to pursue a civil case against management in cases of negligence on the battlefield under the principle of combat immunity. However many feel that this move will only narrow legal redress for military personal and their families and allow the MoD (who are already criticised for having a closed attitude to admitting mistakes) to negate any form of scrutiny. Ashwati Menon is quoted: "Soldiers should not be excluded from bringing claims against the MoD as this will remove the level of independent scrunity which ensures the MoD are accountable when mistakes are made that result in injury or death".  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Aina Khan comments on the rise of sharia marriage councils in the UK and the worries of misogynistic practice (Guardian) (15 March 2017)

In the eyes of many in the Muslim community in order for a marriage to be dissolved it must be dissolved in the eyes of God. For many this means going through both the civil courts and Sharia Council. For women this can very much be a process of ‘luck of the draw’ as to how they will be treated and under what circumstances they will be granted a divorce. For those legally married under UK law there are legal protections in place, however for many women if they are not granted a divorce by the sharia council they feel they are still married in the eyes of God. However, there has been a worrying increase in the number of couples who only have a religious ceremony, and not a civil one, which leaves women at the mercy of sharia councils. Aina Khan comments: “In the past five years there has been a steep increase [in couples having only religious marriages]. It used to be about half [of my clients], now it has crept up to 80% … Instead of a prenuptial agreement, men are refusing a legal marriage. Women are worried about losing their rishta [marriage proposal] so they say: ‘OK’.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Eleri Haf Davies forms part of a delegation sent by Colombia Caravana to report on the Human Rights crisis in Tumaco (14 March 2017)

Eleri joined a group of lawyers determined to unearth the interlocking socio-economic and political web that has allowed this part of the world to fall to the hands of warring paramilitary forces. Upon her return she reports: "The pacific port of Tumaco has the highest homicide rate in Colombia and is infamous for being the largest centre of cocaine production in the world. Of the 203,971 inhabitants, 75% are registered victims of armed conflict ... The residents live in houses on stilts in neighbourhoods that stretch onto the septic Pacific tide, which threatens daily destruction. The displaced population on being forcibly expelled from their land had no choice but to build on rubbish pits."  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Syrian Refugees at risk of being sent back to countries where they have been abused (Guardian) (13 March 2017)

Under the Dublin agreement refuges and asylum seekers are required to seek asylum in the first EU countries they enter as they flee war, abuse and persecution. This law entitles other EU countries to send asylum seekers and refugees back to the EU country they first came into contact with. However in the case of many Syrian refugees, who finally managed to reach their families in the UK, these countries represent nothing, but fear, torture and brutal detention centres. The guardian has revealed in countries such as Bulgaria and Hungary refugees were beaten, held in cages and even waterboarded whilst on their journeys feeling the horrors of the civil war. Duncan Lewis’ recent win in a case which prevents forced removals to Hungary on the basis that it would place those involved at risk of removal back to their country of origin, is mentioned. Krisha Prathepan is quoted: “We intend to challenge any resumption of returns to Greece, as that country’s asylum system remains dysfunctional and the risk of refugees being returned from Greece to the very countries in which they faced persecution remains as high as ever”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Housing Benefit Tenants are struggling to find Private Rented Accommodation (Asian Voice) (8 March 2017)

Increasing numbers of people are needing to claim housing benefit in order to make ends meet and cover their rent as the cost of rent continues to rise. However, this comes in junction with increasing numbers of landlords having a ‘No DSS claimants’ policy. Landlords have a number of concerns relating to tenants who claim housing benefit including concerns that rent will not be paid on time; anti-social behaviour; rent not being paid at all. Additionally many lenders will only give landlords a mortgage on the provision that they do not rent to those on housing benefit. Saniya Taqi commented: "a number of landlords who have a mortgage to pay fear that they will not be paid rent on time if the tenant is on benefits. This will then result in landlords having to evict tenants due to rent arrears and this can be a very complicated procedure … The condemnation of tenants on housing benefits has resulted in more tenants becoming homeless as they are struggling to find accommodation themselves"   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Chairman Syed Rafique and Solicitor Jaswinder Kalsi recognised for their contributions to their professions (Asian Voice) (8 March 2017)

Jaswinder Kalsi and Chairman Syed Rafique were mentioned in Asian Voice this week. They were acknowledged for being named as one of the Sikh Networks 350 leading Sikh women and winning the award for Services to Law at the British Muslim Award respectively. For more information on Jaswinder’s recognition please click here. To see the full details of Mr Rafiques award, please follow this link.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis’ client Shiromini Satkunarajah has deportation halted hours before she was due to leave the UK (Guardian). (1 March 2017)

Shiromini Satkunarajah, originally from Sri Lanka, has been in the UK since she was 12 and is currently on track to achieve a first in electrical engineering from Bangor University. However, last week Shiromini and her Mother were arrested and informed their asylum application had been turned down. After a public outcry, hours before they were due to leave, their removal was deferred. Raja Uruthiravinayagan is quoted: “It appears that these positive developments came about only because this case has seen a groundswell of public opinion and made a clarion call to the secretary of state. We hope that the secretary of state has not taken these steps with the view to temporarily assuage public outrage. We are inviting the secretary of state to restore a modicum of justice and fairness in our broken system and grant our client and her mother a more stable form of leave to remain in the United Kingdom on a long-term basis. We hope that there will not be prolonged litigation in this case during the period when Shiromini is studying.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Raja Rajeswaran Uruthiravinayagan quoted defending client Shiromini Satkunarajah over removal from UK (BBC) (1 March 2017)

Shiromini and her mother, originally from Sri Lanka, fled the civil war with Shiromini's Father who has subsequently died. Raja comments on the process: "We were in the process of filing an emergency judicial review when we got indication the deportation had been deferred. Shiromini and her mother have only been released on 'temporary admission'. This doesn't mean she's been given formal leave to stay in the UK. What we have to do now is send a pre-action protocol letter to the Home Secretary and give her 14 days to reply and consider the decision."  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Client of Duncan Lewis Edward Conteh is deported to Belgium under controversial law (BuzzFeed) (1 March 2017)

Edward Conteh, a client of Duncan Lewis’ Public law solicitor Raja Rajeswaran Uruthiravinayagan, has been deported to Belgium as a convicted killer by use of the controversial law called joint enterprise. Despite neither participating in, nor witnessing the murder of sixteen year old Nicholas Pearson in 2011, Conteh was charged with manslaughter and has been categorised as a foreign national prisoner. Raja Rajeswaran Uruthiravinayagan has stated that “there is a very good basis to say that our client may have been a victim of substantial injustice”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Government takes steps towards Personal Injury sector reform (Asian Voice) (11 February 2017)

In the 2015 Autumn Statement the Lord Chancellor announced the changes he planned to make to Personal Injury claims, which are now coming into force and could effect people's ability to make successful Personal Injury claims. Alla Kingswood noted "The Government is moving swiftly to implement these reforms ... and it is now likely they will take steps to turn it into legislation. Therefore, if you have recently suffered a minor injury, which was not your fault and for which you are entitled to compensation, it is of the utmost importance that you act quickly"  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Ahmed Aydeed is interviewed on the Calais cases legal challenge against The Home Office (BBC News/RT) (3 February 2017)

Ahmed Aydeed, Supervising Solicitor with Duncan Lewis Solicitors, was recently invited on various platforms to discuss the legal challenge launched against the Home Office over its handling of asylum applications. "It's about the decision by the Secretary of State for the Home Department to refuse 28 unaccompanied minors/ refugees from entry to the UK. This decision was taken without the presence of an appropriate adult and without any notification given to us." The BBC News headline is 'JUNGLE' CHILDREN LEGAL CHALLENGE. Click on the images to watch the interviews in full  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Sondos Arafa is interviewed on the Home Office’s refusal of the Calais minors’ asylum applications (BBC Arabic) (2 February 2017)

Trainee Solicitor, Sondos Arafa, interviewed on BBC Arabic, discusses the legal action, launched by our Public Law/Immigration team, against the Government regarding the Home Office’s refusal of the Calais minors’ asylum applications. This was Sondos’ debut on TV concerning Duncan Lewis' Calais cases .She specialises in asylum and human rights work and have particular expertise in cases involving stateless persecution, asylum-seeking children, human trafficking and exclusion from the Refugee Convention. Click Image for interview  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The High court rules more than 10,000 asylum seekers treated unfairly in Duncan Lewis Solicitors' legal challenge against the Home Office (Guardian) (26 January 2017)

More than 10,000 asylum seekers can ask to have their cases heard again after a high court ruling that they were treated unfairly, but many have already been forcibly removed from the UK and may never get to hear about the decision. Mr Justice Ouseley declared on Friday that rules on asylum appeals in place until 2014 were unlawful and ultra vires – beyond the power of the Home Office. Duncan Lewis Solicitors' Ahmed Aydeed, part of the team which brought the legal challenge against the Home Office, said: “It is deeply concerning that potentially thousands of asylum applicants may have had their claims wrongfully decided, all of whom were detained by the homesecretary, and many of whom were returned to persecution and serious harm.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Calais Jungle child Samir, passes away at 17 after Home Office stall in providing proper decisions (Guardian) (19 January 2017)

Samir was one of the 1,900 children registered by the Home Office who sought sanctuary in the UK. Like hundreds of other youngsters still in France the day his application was registered with the Home Office, he thought his struggle to reach the UK was coming to an end. According to the documents lodged in the high court by Toufique Hossain, leader of the Duncan Lewis team working to bring a group of Calais children to safety, “it appears that no written decision exists, nor do any minutes or notes of decision making relating to the refusal of the boys’ claims." Hossain said: “The Home Office continue to stall in providing proper decisions in respect of our clients. They have also failed to reconsider evidence of the Afghani boy, including psychiatric evidence detailing the child’s extreme vulnerability. We had no choice but to apply to the court for further relief today. It is heartbreaking to know that children who fled trauma and persecution, who endured the horror of the Calais camp, have now been let down so badly by the UK government.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis Solicitors' Eleri Haf Davies discusses "Tumaco: Colombia's Forgotten Territory" (The Bill of Middlesex) (16 January 2017)

In August 2016, Duncan Lewis’ Public Law Trainee Eleri Haf Davies was invited to join the International Jurists Commission, Caravana Colombia, to undertake research into the human rights situation in Colombia. Here, Eleri features on the front page of The Official Journal of the Middlesex Law Society and answers questions in an interview relating to her incredible achievement. Eleri discusses the "Human Rights crisis" in Tumaco and reveals the treatment of women and the prison conditions in the territory. "The final report was launched on 18th November 2016 at The Law Society on Chancery Lane."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

High cost of living and low wages leaves those in 'in work poverty' struggling to make ends meet this holiday period (Asian Voice) (10 January 2017)

Asif Anwar, a Trainee Solicitor working in the Housing Department for Duncan Lewis Solicitors, features in Asian Voice this month discussing the 1 in 8 workers living in poverty who have high rents to pay out of a low income, leading to the holiday period and subsequent months being very difficult to survive. The number of families who are living in temporary accommodation or considered homeless has continued to rise for five consecutive years with evictions by landlords reaching a ten-year high. This is happening, despite the fact that the number of working-age adults in full-time employment is at an all-time high. Dr. Peter Kenway, director of the New Policy Institute, noted that “an adult in poverty today is much more likely to be young, working and a tenant living in the private rented sector than 15 years ago”.  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis Solicitors' Immigration Public Law team are featured on a range of platforms concerning their Calais cases (Various Sources) (5 January 2017)

Duncan Lewis Solicitors' Immigration Public Law team features on a range of platforms concerning their Calais cases and regarding the Home Office’s refusal of the Calais minors’ asylum applications. Sources include: The Guardian, The Independent, Sky News, Buzzfeed News, Daily Mail Online, Daily Sabah Europe, Euro Weekly, The Local, Financial Tribune, The Manila Times, RT News, Yahoo News and BBC Arabic. Members of the Immigration Law team featured include: Toufique Hossain, Jamie Bell, Sondos Arafa and Ahmed Aydeed.  Read more...

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