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In The Press Articles

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Suffering from delays: How can you tell the age of an undocumented migrant? (EuroNews) (21 February 2019)

EuroNews has reported on the undocumented migrants who are suffering under the current age assessment processes which are used to determine whether they should be afforded international protection as a child. This is an issue which the documentary “Suffering from Delays” explores, interviewing current migrants in France, refugee organisations as well as legal practitioners who act on behalf of those who are seeking asylum. Director of Immigration at Duncan Lewis, Zofia Duszynska was interviewed as part of the documentary speaking about the way that age assessments are conducted and how young migrants are struggling to get the protection they need whilst they are still under 18 due to the delays caused by the slow and unreliable process used to assess the age of these migrants. She explains: “There are no standardised physical charts for children of all nationalities…all of the guidelines for bone development and educational development are based on western children who grew up in a western environment. So if you have a child who has grown up in a warzone, nutrition may not have been great, education may not have been great. It is very difficult to assess their age unless they can point to milestones.” According to Home Office statistics, a migrant is 3 times more likely to have their asylum claim approved whilst they are under 18. Zofia warns that once these young migrants turn 18, “…unless they succeed in their claim on its own merit, they are not going to be given protection as a child.” Cédric, a young refugee living in France, was legally recognised as a minor 2 years ago but after turning 18 he lost his minor status and was told to leave the children’s home he is housed in. He is now concerned for his future and whether he will be given settled status now that he is no longer a child.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office admits it unlawfully detained trafficking victim for six months (Independent) (14 February 2019)

In another instance of a victim of trafficking falling through the procedural cracks, the Independent has reported on the case of a Chinese woman who was detained by the Home Office for 6 months, despite being unsuitable for detention under the Home Office ‘Adult at Risk’ policy. The woman was initially found in a brothel by police in 2016, she was then detained at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre before being release a week later due to space issues. She was later discovered in a massage parlour in 2018 and re-detained for a further 6 months. Whilst she was held she demonstrated clear indicators of trauma which is indicative of having been trafficked and abused. A report from the detention centre psychiatrist described a general decomposition in her personality as well as depressive and psychotic traits that were not being appropriately managed in detention. Despite this she remained in detention for a further period of time. Two days before the High Court hearing, the Home Office finally accepted that her detention had been unlawful and that she was entitled to damages. As her solicitor, Shalini Patel had this to say, “The claimant should never have been in immigration detention. The Home Office’s own policies recognise that potential victims of trafficking are not usually suitable for detention. Sadly, the claimant’s experience is not atypical. This is just one snapshot of the failures of the Adults at Risk policy.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Detained migrants swindled out of £27 million in wages (Morning Star) (13 February 2019)

The Morning Star have begun a campaign, ‘No More Sweated Labour’, demanding minimum wage for detainees held in immigration detention centres across the UK. This is an issue which many have spoken out about, including clients that Duncan Lewis are currently acting on behalf in a judicial review brought to challenge the decision to freeze detention centre pay at £1 per hour. According to a freedom of information request by the Morning Star, over the last 10 years detainees have earned just £5m. If they had been paid minimum wage, the same hours would equate to £33.5m. Philip Armitage, who is part of the legal team preparing the judicial review, has been quoted: “These latest figures show the huge sums which are being saved by paying those held in immigration detention £1 per hour for their labour. Our clients worked up to 30 hours per week doing critical work for the maintenance of the detention estate, such as cleaning, because they were desperately in need of financial support. The situation is clearly exploitative and another scandalous abuse of Home Office power.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

G4S faces prosecution over smoking at immigration detention centre (Guardian) (11 February 2019)

Following the High Court ruling banning smoking inside immigration detention centres, as a direct result of litigation Duncan Lewis brought, the Guardian has reported on the G4S run detention centre, Brook House, which is still permitting the practice and has led to Crawley Council starting a criminal prosecution against the company. Whilst the detention centre no longer sells lighters or matches, detainees can still purchase cigarettes. The Guardian have reported that in order to light them they are going to dangerous extremes, including dismantling kitchen appliances or getting a spark from inserting shower gel covered hair pins into live plug sockets. A Senior Manager of the centre admitted in a recent G4S-commissioned report that nothing is being done to prevent the detainees smoking inside the centre, even making reference to their use of the illegal psychoactive drug, spice, without any staff intervention. Lewis Kett, a public law solicitor involved in the case that resulted in the smoking ban, commented: “It’s now been over a year since the high court ruled that the Home Office were knowingly evading the law by permitting smoking in detention centres. Despite this we have clients who have continued to complain that G4S has not cracked down on this. This is a serious public health issue and we welcome the news that this prosecution will proceed.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Some relief for legal aid lawyers as government concedes payment for backdated work (Free Movement) (11 February 2019)

James Packer has written for Free Movement on the recent publication of The Civil Legal Aid (Procedure) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 in response to litigation brought by Duncan Lewis Solicitors. His article highlights the important concessions that Duncan Lewis has achieved for legal aid providers, who will reap the benefit of payment for backdated work as of 20 February 2019. James writes ‘[t]he conditions under which the Legal Aid Agency now has a discretion to backdate a certificate are: 1. That the application for funding must be made as soon as reasonably practicable. 2. That it is in the interests of justice for work to be carried out before a decision is received. 3.That the Director is satisfied that a decision to backdate is appropriate, having regard to all circumstances.’ Toufique Hossain (Director of Public Law), Jamie Bell (Lead Solicitor) and Jeremy Bloom (Trainee Solicitor) prepared the case and Osbournes Solicitors were an interested party. Bindmans, Broudie Jackson Canter, Deighton Pierce Glynn, Legal Aid Practitioners Group, Leigh Day, and the Public Law Project provided evidence in support of the claim.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Convicted for peaceful protest (Amnesty International UK) (22 January 2019)

Amnesty International UK has shared the story of the Stansted 15; a group of activists who laid down in front of a chartered flight they believed to be about to enforce the removal of a number of people to Ghana and Nigeria in March 2017. It is this type of human rights activism that is at risk as a result of the legal action that has been brought against them. Initially they were charged with aggravated trespassing; however this was later changed to a terrorism offence which incurs a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. It is thought that if their sentence is carried out it will dissuade others from speaking out and challenging unlawful removals from the UK. Toufique Hossain, a public law and immigration director who frequently acts on behalf of immigration detainees at risk of removal, spoke on the Stansted 15’s actions in a documentary by feature film director, writer and composer Sue Clayton, entitled ‘Stansted Fifteen on Trial’. He stated: “…thanks to the Stansted 15 and because of their actions [Mercy*] was not removed to what would be a potentially life threatening [situation].” He commented on the UK’s current hostile environment policy and how it is limiting access to justice, “if those very desperate individuals can’t access justice, they can’t get lawyers because of the hostile environment and everything the hostile environment has done in reducing legal aid, reducing appeal rights and reducing the ability to access lawyers, then you will see people who want to help, who want to intervene and stop these people from effectively being returned to torture and to death. They will intervene in ways where lawyers can no longer assist.” *Please note her real name has been replaced to protect her identity.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

State violence against migrants: how immigration removal became normal and how we are challenging it now (Journal of Immigration, Asylum & Nationality Law) (16 January 2019)

Patrick Page, a senior caseworker in our public law department, and editor of the department’s ‘No Walls’ blog, has co-authored an article with the director of immigration and public law, Toufique Hossain, for the Journal of Immigration, Asylum & Nationality Law (the official journal of the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association) on the topic of state violence and the Home Office’s immigration removal policies. Westlaw members can access the full article here. Patrick and Toufique trace the development of the executive’s powers of administrative removal, from a historically liberal and cosmopolitan approach to the ‘deportation turn’ following 9/11, to the hostile environment of today. They then outline more recent challenges to removal policies, focusing ultimately on the challenge made by clients of Duncan Lewis to the current ‘removal window’ policy, whereby people are given little or no notice of their removal and are thus deprived of a fair chance to challenge their removal. More about this litigation and its outcome can be found here. Patrick and Toufique write: ‘While the power to remove is legislated for, the executive has creatively written policy "interpreting” the statute, granting itself powers which are not grounded in the word or spirit of this legislation, not to speak of the Rule of Law.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Stansted Fifteen on Trial (by Sue Clayton on Vimeo) (15 January 2019)

Public law and immigration director, Toufique Hossain has featured in the short film ‘Stansted Fifteen on Trial’ which has been created by UK feature film director, writer and composer Sue Clayton. The film documents the story of 15 individuals who staged a peaceful protest at Stansted airport in March 2017 to contest a flight carrying people facing deportation and extreme danger on return to their home countries. Following a 9 week trial which began in October 2018, the 15 protestors were found guilty of a terrorism offence under the Aviation and Maritime Security Act, for which the maximum penalty is life imprisonment, despite the fact that they did what they did to save lives, not endanger them. They await sentencing which is expected in February. Speaking about Mercy*, who was due to be removed to Nigeria the day of the protest, Toufique says “…thanks to the Stansted 15 and because of their actions she was not removed to what would be a potentially life threatening [situation].” He also comments on how the UK’s current immigration policies are limiting access to justice, “if those very desperate individuals can’t access justice, they can’t get lawyers because of the hostile environment and everything the hostile environment has done in reducing legal aid, reducing appeal rights and reducing the ability to access lawyers, then you will see people who want to help, who want to intervene and stop these people from effectively being returned to torture and to death. They will intervene in ways where lawyers can no longer assist.” *Please note her real name has been replaced to protect her identity.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis client who faced removal to DR Congo has been released from detention (Multiple sources) (14 January 2019)

A national of the Dominican Republic of Congo, Otis Bolamu, who fled persecution following accusations of being a spy and subsequently threatened with removal out of the UK on Christmas day, has been released from detention and allowed to return to his home in Swansea. A petition was shared with an aim to release Otis from detention after he was initially held under immigration powers on the 19th December 2018. 12,000 people signed to show their support and his removal was halted before he was finally release from detention on the 10th January. A number of different media outlets, including the BBC, Guardian, ITV News and Wales Online, have written on this case, speaking out about the injustice which has seen Otis refused leave to remain. Otis is a client of Public Law solicitor, Jamie Bell, who has been acting on his behalf to get Otis leave to remain. Jamie continues to work on processing Otis’ asylum claim to ensure he gets the international protection he needs. He has commented: “We are delighted that Otis returned home after his release from detention. He has received amazing support from so many in the Swansea community and this gave him hope when he was feeling lost. We now look forward to continuing to fight for Otis's right to stay in the UK as a refugee and will be working hard to prove his claim.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Chinese women trafficked to UK 'being failed by Home Office' (Guardian) (10 January 2019)

The Guardian have written on the statistics which have revealed that the detention of Chinese women in UK immigration detention centres, many of whom are victims of trafficking, has more than doubled since 2016. Women for Refuge Women have warned that a worrying number of Chinese women, a total of 112, had been detained in UK immigration detention centres in the 3 months prior to September 2018. Shalini Patel, a Public Law solicitor based at our Harrow office, states that often these women do not disclose that they are a victims of trafficking until some time has passed and once they are processed through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) they are refused due to late disclosure. Despite the fact that ‘late disclosure was a recognised symptom of trafficking’ and ‘the Home Office’s own policy recognises that victims of trafficking may disclose late due to trauma, an inability to express themselves clearly and a mistrust of authority’ victims are still misidentified. Shalini explains that the problem lies with the lack of action at an early stage: “What’s happening with these cases is that even if these women are picked up in brothels, restaurants, and massage parlours, where, clearly, police and immigration enforcement should be concerned that they may be victims of trafficking, they’re just not being referred to the national referral mechanism (NRM). And, in the rare cases that they are referred to the NRM, they receive a negative reasonable grounds decision. There are also long delays in providing decisions.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office tried to remove two Duncan Lewis clients over the Christmas period (Guardian) (7 January 2019)

Jamie Bell has spoken to the Guardian following the Home Office’s attempt to remove his clients over the Christmas period. One, a woman from South America is a potential victim of trafficking who is at risk of suicide – despite this she was scheduled for removal on Boxing Day. She wasn’t the only scheduled removal, with another of Jamie’s clients who was booked for Christmas day. He was successful in challenging his South American client's removal and was able to defer it by making urgent representations demonstrating that she is unfit to fly. The Congolese client’s removal was halted following a petition launched on his behalf. Jamie spoke to the Guardian about the Home Office’s practice to remove detainees over the festive period. He states: “The Home Office attempted to remove a potential victim of trafficking and domestic abuse who was segregated due to her active self-harm and suicidal ideation to the country where she was horrendously exploited. She was totally confused and terrified of returning, so much that she planned to take her own life. The policy of Christmas removals is one that severely impedes full and entitled representation. We struggle to see how arresting Otis Bolamu in a dawn raid at 4am on 19 December and telling him that he was to be returned on Christmas Day can be considered reasonable and proportionate action. We are very happy removal was deferred and we will have time to work on his further submissions. The holidays are supposed to be a time for joy and togetherness, not for the Home Office to take advantage to try to forcibly remove individuals to countries where they are fearful of return.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Activists urge jail for controlling partners (Eastern Eye) (7 January 2019)

Emine Mehmet, a director of family and childcare based at our Dalston branch, has been quoted in Eastern Eye discussing her experience representing women who have found themselves trapped in controlling and abusive relationships. Eastern Eye has written about statistics which have arisen that show Asian women are less likely to speak out and begin legal proceedings against their partners despite living with domestic abuse. Campaigners have suggested that sentencing domestic abusers to prison time would encourage more women to come forward and report mistreatment. Emine has stated: “The most important thing is educating women at an early stage that this behaviour is not acceptable. It can be difficult to break that cultural perception that it is shameful to report such behaviour. Also, any services that assist women in these circumstances need to be sensitive to cultural issues and offer early advice on protective orders and safe places to ensure women know these is support and protection available. I had a case which was an extreme example, where the woman was effectively kept as a modern-day slave and was not allowed any freedom at all. She sought help through medical services and was then placed in a hostel and given advice about protective orders which really helped.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Trafficking victim wins payout from Home Office after wrongful detention (Guardian) (18 December 2018)

The Guardian has written on the case of a client of Duncan Lewis who has received damages for unlawful detention as another victim of trafficking who has been let down by the hostile environment policy. The client is a former-child victim of trafficking who was brought to the UK in the 90s. After escaping the family that he was housed with, who abused and tortured him, he became homeless and suffered with addiction. He was later sentenced to a jail term for robbery, before being transferred to Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre where he attempted suicide and repeatedly self-harmed. It was only after instructing Duncan Lewis Solicitors that he was referred through the National Referral Mechanism as a potential victim of trafficking. His solicitor, Aleksandra Stankiewicz, took measures to enable his release and went on to represent him in his claim for unlawful detention. In September of this year, the Home Office agreed to award Aleksandra’s client £30,000 in damages for wrongful detention; however they are still considering deportation due to his previous convictions. Aleksandra has commented: “Our client’s case is yet another example of the home secretary failing to promptly identify, support and protect victims of trafficking. We welcome the home secretary accepting he acted unlawfully in detaining our client for over four months, albeit that he waited until the 11th hour to concede the inevitable conclusion in this case…Abdul is a victim of trafficking on conclusive grounds and he shouldn’t have his refugee status revoked. He has no links to Somalia and isn’t even sure that is where he is from.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The Housing Crisis this Christmas: 300,000 People Need a Home (Asian Voice) (17 December 2018)

Manjinder Kaur Atwal has written for Asian Voice on how the housing crisis is affecting the most vulnerable this Christmas, with more than 300,000 people said to be officially homeless after Shelter revealed statistics their report entitled ‘Homeless in Great Britain: The Numbers Behind the Story’. She writes that there is a common misconception that only those that have been forced to sleep on the streets are considered homeless. Under the homelessness test you are classed as homeless if you rely on friends/ family for temporary accommodation, live out of a hostel or night-shelter or live somewhere that is so overcrowded or unhygienic that it might be damaging to your health. Manjinder Kaur Atwal, a director/solicitor of housing based, alongside Amrita Bharj and other team members, works closely with Citizen Advice in Stevenage, Welwyn Hatfield, Milton Keynes, Hillingdon, Hayes, St Mungos and Harlow Law Clinic to help those seeking advice on a range of housing matters, including eviction notices, challenging local authority decisions and homelessness. She writes: ‘We at Duncan Lewis are aligned with a number of Citizens’ Advice centres across England and Wales, offering pro bono assistance to those requiring housing advice. Anyone who is seeking social housing can attend for free and speak to one of our specialist legal practitioners who regularly act on behalf of those dealing with homelessness. There can be times when local authorities have offered unsuitable accommodation for yourself, or a loved one. In this case, you are entitled to challenge the offer. We are able to assist with these matters and always act in our client’s best interests. ‘  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office unlawfully removed child asylum seeker from UK, High Court rules (Independent) (17 December 2018)

The Independent have written on the case of a child asylum seeker who was removed to Germany in April 2017; for the first time a landmark Upper Tribunal decision has ordered the Home Office to return him to the UK. Hannah Baynes of the Public Law department at Duncan Lewis is acting on behalf of this Afghan minor in challenging his removal. The boy had come to the UK via Germany, where they scanned his fingerprints. Under the Dublin III agreement, an asylum seeker must be returned to the country where they first claimed asylum to process their asylum claim their – however, child asylum seekers are exempt. The reason Hannah’s client’s removal was enforced was because the Home Office did not accept certain evidence towards his age assessment which proved that he was underage when they began removal proceedings, including an Afghan identity card and a testimony from his uncle who currently resides in the UK. The Home Office was also found to have acted unlawfully by giving him one day’s notice before removing him to Germany. Hannah has commented on the result of this ruling: “This is an important and unprecedented result and it means that my client will be able to have his asylum claim processed in the UK and to resume his recovery from his past experiences of torture in Afghanistan…The detrimental impact on my client resulting from being wrongfully removed to Germany and separated from his family and support network in the UK has been significant…I hope that the court’s decision here will make the Home Office wake up to the reality that their administrative errors have serious repercussions, affecting real people, and that proper consideration in the future will mean that other vulnerable children are not wrongfully removed from the UK.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Race and Gender Bias bar Lawyers from being Hired (Eastern Eye) (10 December 2018)

Duncan Lewis’ Civil Litigation Director, Sobashni De Silva recently featured in the Eastern Eye article ‘Race and Gender Bias bar Lawyers from being Hired’. Following a tweet by Rehana Popal - Britain’s only Afghan-born, female barrister – where she revealed that she was forced to drop a case after she was told by a solicitor that her client wanted a ‘white male’ representing them, senior Asian lawyers discuss similar experiences they have had due to their race or gender. They have called for more people in the industry to speak out about the discrimination they face. Sobashni is quoted commenting on her experience: “At all times the clients are directed to the appropriate strengths that should be embraced when appointing respective barristers and not be distracted by a false or misleading perception. It must be observed that the commercial bar is still predominantly white male, leaving little room for a valid observation; albeit more and more brilliant and talented female and ethnic groups are now beginning to enter the commercial sector of the bar.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Public Law Solicitor Lewis Kett discusses violence at Brook House immigration detention centre on BBC News at One (4 December 2018)

Duncan Lewis’ Public Law Solicitor, Lewis Kett was featured today on BBC News at One discussing the recently published critical review into Brook House immigration detention centre which is run by G4S. The security company commissioned the review after an undercover reporter for BBC Panorama filmed immigration detainees being verbally and physically abused by staff in September 2017. “I think the main issue in this report to be identified is understaffing - staff out of control – and it’s ultimately affecting detainee welfare.” Lewis commented.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The £25 Million Migrant Wage Gap Scandal (Vice) (3 December 2018)

As part of the Duncan Lewis team acting on behalf of immigration detainees caught in the £1 per hour wage scandal, Philip Armitage has been quoted in Vice talking about the practice which has been described as akin to ‘slave labour’. Philip, along with a team from the public law department at Duncan Lewis, are acting on behalf of individual detainees who have been providing essential roles for the immigration removal centres where they are held, whilst being paid far less than the national minimum wage. The Claimants are seeking to argue that the work is of critical importance for the maintaining the detention estate and that a maximum £1 per hour rate of pay is unlawful. Philip has commented: “The policy speaks to the way detainees are treated and how their dignity is not respected. They are basically cleaning their own detention centre for £1 per hour. It is time this exploitative practice is brought to an end."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office further amends removals policy in response to Upper Tribunal judgment (Free Movement) (3 December 2018)

Husein Meghji, of the Public Law Team at Duncan Lewis, has written for Free Movement on the Home Office’s decision to further amend their removal policy following a challenge brought by two asylum-seekers. The policy, entitled ‘Judicial reviews and injunctions’, otherwise known as the ‘Chapter 60 policy’, will now offer greater clarity to individuals and representatives in “removal window” cases (where the Home Office considers itself able to remove a person under immigration powers without further notice after expiry of an initial notice period). In R (FB and NR) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, the applicants were given permission to bring a judicial review against the policy. Following the judgment, the Home Office has been forced to further amend its policy (after two previous amendments this year since this litigation began in November 2017), releasing version 17 which introduces two new removal notices, RED.005 and RED.006. The latter will be used where individuals’ notice period has been extended to give them an opportunity to obtain legal advice and/or access the courts, and is intended to directly implement the Upper Tribunal’s findings in its judgment. Husein has written: ‘The outcome of the litigation has been the revision of the policy to introduce greater flexibility — including provisions to ensure consideration is given to whether deferral of removal is necessary on the facts — and new safeguards to ensure there is greater certainty for those who are subject to removal windows.’ The legal team for the Applicants was Toufique Hossain, Raja Uruthiravinayagan and Husein Meghji.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Why has the UK Government abandoned these children? (View Digital) (30 November 2018)

On the 23rd November, public law solicitor Jamie Bell attended the first Northern Ireland ILPA conference, held at Queen’s University Belfast discussing the Calais children and those who have not been given a right to international protection in the UK under the Dubs Amendment. Filmmaker Sue Clayton’s documentary entitled ‘Calais Children’ was screened the evening before the conference. The documentary was focused on the unaccompanied minor asylum-seeking Calais children and also featured Jamie and a team of legal practitioners who volunteered their time at the Calais jungle in 2016. It covers the team’s work in Calais prior to the closure of the Jungle as well as trips to France to visit child clients and the court case of ZS. Jamie is part of the team from Duncan Lewis acting in the key challenge against the Home Office in ZS, an unaccompanied minor, arguing that the selection criteria for asylum-seeking children applying to be transferred to the UK is unfair and opaque. Jamie spoke at the event in a Q & A panel alongside Sue Clayton to answer questions put to them by the attendees, made up of immigration practitioners in Northern Ireland.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Police Mistreatment During Strip Search (Asian Voice) (28 November 2018)

Graeme Rothwell, of the actions against public authorities department at Duncan Lewis, has written for Asian Voice on the recent case of Dr Koshka Duff, who claims mistreatment when she was stripped searched by police in 2013. Graeme explains that Dr Koshka’s arrest was as a result of her attempt to give a black teenager a legal advice card when he was ‘stop and searched’ by police; a search she had believed to have been done due to racial profiling. In fact, the teenager had been found in possession of a knife, which is a criminal offence so the search was lawful. Dr Koshka was then taken to the police station for obstructing and assaulting an officer where a strip search was conducted. Dr Koshka claims that she was mistreated during the intimate search. Graeme regularly acts for individuals in bringing claims against the police where there have been allegations of misconduct. He writes: ‘While the initial arrest may have been justified, Dr Duff’s account infers several breaches of PACE, the Standards of Professional Behaviour and COP guidance. If proven, that might affirm criminal liability.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

A secret court reverses the British government’s decision to make two men stateless (the Canary) (22 November 2018)

The Canary has written on the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) judgment which rules that the Secretary of State for the Home Office’s (SSHD) decision to revoke two men’s British citizenship whilst they were out of the country was unlawful. The SIAC came to this conclusion because the deprivation order actually made the two men stateless; though they were of Bangladeshi parentage, they did not have dual citizenship. The fact remains that the SSHD’s actions were not uncommon and this practice can occur without charge or trial. Fahad Ansari, who represented the two men, has commented: “Neither man has ever been arrested, let alone charged or convicted, of a terrorism offence either in the UK or anywhere else in the world. If there was evidence against them, why were they not arrested or charged prior to leaving the UK only to be deprived of their citizenship prior to their scheduled return date?.. The right to a fair trial includes the right to know the allegations and evidence against you. In SIAC, neither you nor your instructed representatives are shown a large part of the evidence. How can that not violate fundamental principles of due process?”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

UK blocked from making alleged extremists stateless by secret court in ruling that will set precedent (Independent) (22 November 2018)

The Independent has written on the case of two British born men of Bangladeshi parentage who were deprived of their British citizenship by the Home Office, making them stateless. Fahad Ansari, of Duncan Lewis, represented the two men in challenging the decision, which was heard in the Special Immigration and Appeals Commission due to the nature of the allegations made against the two Claimants. The court ruled that the Secretary of State’s decision to deprive the men of their British citizenship was unlawful because it had made the men stateless, which violated international law. Though the men were of Bangladeshi parentage, because they had not applied to have their Bangladeshi citizenship renewed after their 21st birthday, it was automatically repealed. They are amongst 100 individuals whose British citizenship was revoked last year, but in light of this judgment it is suspected that many will be bringing appeals or reopening their cases. Fahad states: “The practice of depriving individuals of their citizenship while they are abroad, without any form of due process, is nothing less than a return to the medieval penalties of banishment and exile.” Following this judgment, the government will be forced to review their approach to citizenship deprivations.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Parental Alienation (Albanian Post) (21 November 2018)

Ravi Kaur Mahey, Childcare Director at Duncan Lewis, discusses parental alienation in this month’s edition of Albanian Post. This comes following recent revelations that this autumn, new guidelines will be given to social workers who look after a child’s interests in family courts, meaning that for the first time, the possibility that a child has been deliberately turned against one parent by the other will be considered. Ravi writes; ‘There has been significant awareness of parental alienation in the last decade with some cases highlighting the issue, however, the fact remains that there is still much to do to properly identify such cases…There are many cases where proceedings have continued for years and the courts remain reluctant to take drastic action and change residence of the child back to the alienated parent”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Detainee abuse film sparks inquiry calls (Eastern Eye) (9 November 2018)

Lewis Kett, a solicitor in the immigration public law department at Duncan Lewis, has been quoted in Eastern Eye commenting on the mistreatment of immigration detainees in UK removal centres. Following the Panorama documentary on Brook House IRC which exposed ill-treatment by staff who were shown abusing detainees, campaigners have called for change. Lewis is leading a challenge on behalf of a former detainee who suffered alleged abuse whilst held in Brook House. As a direct result of this litigation, the Home Office made a U-turn decision, agreeing to commission an independent inquiry into Brook House which is to be conducted by the Prisons & Probation Ombudsman. Lewis states: “A key component of the UK’s investigative duty under Article 3 is that the investigation/inquiry should be done swiftly. Any mistreatment of detainees held under immigration powers should be thoroughly investigated and those responsible held to account.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Executor made personally liable for £340,000 tax bill (Asian Voice) (29 October 2018)

Caroline Roche, director of the wills and probate department at Duncan Lewis, has written for Asian Voice on Executor’s tax duties when transferring assets of an estate to beneficiaries. This comes following a recent case where an Executor neglected to settle the tax owed on a beneficiary entitlement prior to transferring it to the beneficiary, under the assumption that that beneficiary would pay the outstanding bill. When this was not done, the Executor was served a bill for the inheritance tax on that entitlement, at a cost of £340,000. Caroline writes: ‘On appeal, his claim was struck out on the basis that it is not a defence to be ignorant of one’s obligations as a Personal Representative…There appears to be a common misconception surrounding the role of an Executor/ Personal Representative. I often come across clients who consider themselves perfectly capable of administering an estate and, whilst this may be true, it is more often the case that when an estate is taxable, clients will come unstuck and contact a Solicitor since they have underestimated the complexity involved.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Local charity offering free legal advice for people with autism (Time 107.5FM) (26 October 2018)

Duncan Lewis is working with autism charity, The Sycamore Trust, alongside the University of East London (UEL) as part of the Romford Hub clinic, giving free legal advice to those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. The clinic runs every Wednesday from 10am in the Liberty Shopping Centre in Romford. A team from Duncan Lewis attend the clinic weekly from our housing, family and employment departments to advise on a variety of matters. As the Pro Bono Committee chair at Duncan Lewis, Emine Mehmet has been offering her services at the clinic since Duncan Lewis first became partner solicitors. Emine gained extra training so that she could best serve the clients that attend. Steve Dixon from the Sycamore Trust has said: “It’s a unique collaboration with the UEL and Duncan Lewis solicitors and we’re exceptionally grateful for their work, which is pro bono, and we’ve been able to help some of the most vulnerable people in the community…”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Calais child refugees refused sanctuary by Home Office ‘being exploited in UK’ (Independent) (24 October 2018)

The Independent has reported on the stark number of unaccompanied minors who have been exploited after they were refused access to the UK. Jamie Bell, of Duncan Lewis’ Public Law team, has been quoted in the Independent speaking about his client who was similarly failed by the Home Office. Jamie’s client is amongst many unaccompanied minors who had been living in the Calais jungle before the camp was dismantled in October 2016. Whilst there, he appealed to the UK to give him right to enter the UK under the Dubs amendment, but this was refused. He eventually made it across the border, where he was forced to sleep rough in London. It was after this that he was given access to medical treatment for a lung problem, which if it had been left untreated would have been fatal. Jamie explains that, “[his client] went through an incredible amount. He was refused transfer under the Dubs Amendment and left to survive by himself. He travelled on his own and the Home Office recognised him as a refugee anyway…The benefit of Dubs was supposed to be transferring vulnerable refugees to the UK, who were languishing in the Jungle and desperately needed assistance. This clearly wasn’t done and he had to help himself. If he hadn’t made it to the UK, he would have died."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

How can UK revamp its landmark anti-slavery law? (Multiple Sources) (23 October 2018)

A number of different sources have spoken out about the UK’s anti-slavery law and how it should be amended to ensure it is protecting those marginalised communities that are made a target of modern slavery. Thomson Reuters, the Bangkok Post and the Gulf Times have commented on experts’ opinions that business should be made responsible for enforcing anti-slavery practices at a time when the UK government is set to review the Modern Slavery Act 2015 amid accusations that it is not doing enough to protect victims. Experts have stated that it is high time victims should not be treated as the criminals, but those that enslave them should be held to account. Ahmed Aydeed, Director of Public Law at Duncan Lewis, has pointed out how the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 is falling short: "a lack of understanding of the legislation is leading to victims of trafficking not being identified or protected". He warns that this can make victims more likely to return to their traffickers, whilst others are being prosecuted in the UK and facing deportation.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Woman who was 'routinely beaten and raped' for decades unlawfully detained by Home Office (Independent) (19 October 2018)

The Independent have reported on the case of a Namibian national who was a victim of trafficking, who was unlawfully detained by the Home Office when she arrived in the UK. The extent of the failures are stark, in that the Home Office did not put her through the medical assessment when she was first detained, and after she disclosed that she had been a victim of slavery, they did not put her through the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). When she first arrived in the UK, she was granted a visitor’s visa. She was taken by enforcement officers to Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) when she was discovered to have taken up work, which is not permitted on that type of visa. The nurse at the centre, during her initial screening, did make notes that she may have been a victim of torture; however this was not followed up by a formal Rule 35 medical assessment for a number of weeks. UK immigration detention policy dictates that this should be done within 24 hours of arrival at an IRC. The woman is represented by Krisha Prathepan, of Duncan Lewis’ public law department, who continues to be instructed to assist with her trafficking and asylum claims. She states: “As the High Court judge said, it should be ‘very rare’ to refuse to refer a potential survivor of trafficking to the National Referral Mechanism ‘where an allegation of trafficking is made’…But the Home Office consistently refused to refer our client. Their refusals were based on what was deemed to be ‘irrelevant considerations’…The safeguards supposedly put in place by parliament and government policy-makers quite simply failed. I hope Home Office decision-makers will listen to the judge’s clear advice, that they should always be ‘alive’ to signs that someone may be a survivor of trafficking.” The Home Office have been ordered by the High Court to pay damages for this unlawful period of detention.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Government to launch consultation on no-fault divorce (Albanian Post) (18 October 2018)

Following the recent, notable divorce case of Owens v Owens in which the Supreme Court ruled that Tini Owens could not divorce her husband of 40 years despite being in a loveless marriage, Justice Secretary David Gauke is expected to launch a consultation on the proposed introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorces which would allow partners to divorce without either party being blamed for the breakdown of the marriage. Duncan Lewis’ Family and Childcare Director, Adeeba Naseem gives her professional opinion in Albanian Post. “Taking the blame out of the divorce process would be welcomed by many spouses facing the prospect of dealing with divorce proceedings.” She comments.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

New Visa Scheme Welcomes Entrepreneurs to the UK (Albanian Post) (27 August 2018)

Immigration Director, Tamana Aziz has written a piece for Albanian Post newspaper on the new visa scheme for entrepreneurs coming to the UK. This follows the recent announcement by Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, revealing that new ‘start-up’ visas designed for entrepreneurs coming to the UK will be implemented in spring 2019. This visa route will encourage eligible entrepreneurs to come to the UK and make the process easier and quicker for them. Consequently, the number of exceptional talent visas available will increase to 2000 per year.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Toufique Hossain features on TNT World (10 April 2018)

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The Times Lawyer of the Week (11 January 2018)

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

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

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

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