InThePress Articles

 

Duncan Lewis:InThePressJudge 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:InThePressJamie 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:InThePressMore 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:InThePressKeeping 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:InThePressUK 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:InThePressPuja 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:InThePressDuncan 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:InThePressMan 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:InThePressBirmingham 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:InThePressUK 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:InThePressDisclosure 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:InThePressDungavel 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:InThePressThe 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:InThePressIndian-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:InThePressMinistry 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:InThePressImmigration 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:InThePressTwo 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:InThePressAina 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:InThePressAnger 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:InThePressAt 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:InThePressWhy 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:InThePressLake 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:InThePressDrink 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:InThePressUK 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:InThePressMarios 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:InThePressDuncan 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:InThePressKrisha 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:InThePressFishery 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:InThePressPolice 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:InThePressI'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:InThePressOutside 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:InThePressAsylum 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:InThePressLaura 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:InThePressStrasbourg 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:InThePressHome 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:InThePressAlex 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:InThePressAina 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:InThePressSexual 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:InThePressAina 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:InThePressAina 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:InThePressA 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:InThePressSamim Bigzad: Minister accused of giving MPs false information on why Home Office 'violated court order' to deport asylum seeker (The Independent) (22 November 2017)

 

In response to MP Brandon Lewis, who has spoken out about Samim Bigzad’s enforced removal to Kabul in September, Jamie Bell, Duncan Lewis Public Law solicitor instructed by Samim, points out that there are stark disparages between the accounts. Brandon Lewis claims that the reason they were unable to take Samim off the plane after they got the injunction ordering Samim to be returned to the UK was because the doors to the plane were shut and to get Samim’s luggage removed from the flight would have caused significant delays. Mr Lewis claims that intervening at that point went beyond what the court injunction was asking them to do. Speaking on the matter, Jamie points out that the accounts from the Home Office and from Samim himself do not match up to Mr Lewis’ account. As Samim’s solicitor, Jamie Bell is attempting to bring Contempt of Court proceedings against HS Amber Rudd and the Home Office for disregarding the injunction. Jamie stated: “It is for the courts to determine whether the Home Secretary acted in contempt of court by removing Samim, despite an order staying his removal, and by subsequently failing to return him to the UK.” .   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePressBrook 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:InThePressBrook 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:InThePressACID 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:InThePressCuts 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:InThePressVictim 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:InThePressProsecutions 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:InThePressHome 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:InThePressDriving 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:InThePressPound 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:InThePressLewis 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:InThePressToufique 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:InThePressGrenfell 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:InThePressSyrian 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:InThePressLewis 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:InThePressDamages 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:InThePressTortured, 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:InThePressTorture 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:InThePressNo 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:InThePressJayesh 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:InThePressRetired 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:InThePressManjinder 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:InThePressImmigration 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:InThePressJamie Bell on BBC Newsnight (21 September 2017)

 

Jamie Bell, Public Law and Immigration Solicitor at Duncan Lewis, took part in an interview on BBC’s Newsnight discussing his client’s treatment by the Home Office, which led to his removal to Kabul. Samim Bigzad, Jamie’s client, has since been returned and sits alongside Jamie Bell in the interview. Samim was due to take a connecting flight from Istanbul to Kabul at 10:30pm on Tuesday 12th September, but the Home Office were informed of a High Court order stating that Samim was to be returned to the UK half an hour before the flight was to depart. Initially Samim was told that he would not be taking the flight, but he was then told to remain on the flight in spite of the court order. Jamie discusses the potential consequences of the Home Office’s contempt of court and Samim explains why he fears going back to Kabul. .   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePressSamim Bigzad returned to the UK: media coverage (20 September 2017)

 

Following on from Samim’s removal to Kabul, in spite of a High Court judge’s rule to return him to the UK, the asylum seeker was returned on Sunday 17th. Jamie Bell, Samim’s solicitor in the Public Law and Immigration department at Duncan Lewis, has worked tirelessly to have Samim returned, in accordance with the High Court’s orders, and has begun contempt of court proceedings against the Home Office. Various media outlets have documented the case, including the Independent, the Guardian and the BBC, all of which call out the actions which led to Samim's enforced removal. Jamie Bell is quoted in the BBC: “This has been a very long and difficult week. For everyone involved it's been both emotionally and physically draining. But seeing Samim arrive back…made it all worthwhile. He couldn't quite believe he was back and allowed to walk away free. He kept putting his head on the ground and saying how happy he was to be back. When he saw his foster family and his friend from KRAN [Kent Refugee Action Network] he was so happy...” .   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePressThis 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:InThePressSamim Bigzad: Home Office 'violates court order' to deport Afghan man [and] Failed Ramsay Assylum Seeker ‘must be returned to UK’ (BBC and The Independent) (14 September 2017)

 

Samim Bigzad, a client of Jamie Bell, Public Law and Immigration solicitor, has been sent to Afghanistan despite lawyers securing the injunction to have him returned to the UK. The Home Office forced the asylum seeker to board a plane from Gatwick to Istanbul on Tuesday morning. Lawyers petitioned for a last minute injunction to prevent Samim from getting on the connecting flight to Kabul, which was granted. Jamie is quoted: “The Home Office confirmed they had received the order at 10pm and said they would enact it immediately…[t]hey had half an hour before the flight was due to depart to implement the order but for unknown reasons they did not do so.” .   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePressEmployment 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:InThePressUK 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:InThePressTariff 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:InThePressJudge 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:InThePressMarried 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:InThePressMarried 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:InThePressBespoke 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:InThePressBespoke 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:InThePressHome 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:InThePressYarl’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:InThePressHome 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:InThePressLegal 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:InThePressIs 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:InThePressThe 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:InThePressHousing 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:InThePressJamie 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:InThePressImmigration 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:InThePressDuncan 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:InThePressManjinder 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:InThePressTom 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:InThePressGabor 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:InThePressVinita 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:InThePressAlex 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:InThePressDuncan 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…

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Duncan Lewis:InThePressJamie 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:InThePressIf 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:InThePressHelen 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:InThePressThe 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:InThePressVaginal 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:InThePressThe 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:InThePressMuslims 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:InThePressHome 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:InThePressDuncan 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:InThePressDuncan 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:InThePressShould 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:InThePressCourt 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:InThePressJamie 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:InThePressDuncan 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:InThePressAina 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:InThePressAshwati 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:InThePressSheroy 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:InThePressHannah 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:InThePressRemoval 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:InThePressHannah 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:InThePressToufique 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:InThePressMoD 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:InThePressMoD 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:InThePressAina 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:InThePressEleri 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:InThePressSyrian 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:InThePressHousing 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:InThePressChairman 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:InThePressDuncan 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:InThePressRaja 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:InThePressClient 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:InThePressGovernment 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:InThePressAhmed 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:InThePressSondos 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:InThePressThe 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:InThePressCalais 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:InThePressDuncan 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:InThePressHigh 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:InThePressDuncan 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...