In a judgment handed down on 15 July 2020, Holman J told the Secretary of State that they “must now look beyond Serco to other providers, or even, on a case-specific basis, simply go out in into the community, anywhere in England and Wales, and rent some appropriate accommodation in which this claimant can now live….considerations of “public procurement” cannot stand in the way of discharge of those duties”.
The Claimant suffers from a respiratory condition that places him at a higher risk from Covid-19. He was detained under immigration powers on 19 January 2020. On 22 April 2020, the Home Office wrote to the Claimant and confirmed that the Covid-19 Panel had identified him as being vulnerable to Covid-19. He was placed on a vulnerable adult care plan and identified as a Level 3 Adult at Risk. The Defendant maintained that his continued detention was appropriate.
On 22 May 2020, the Claimant was granted Bail in Principle by the First-tier Tribunal on the condition that accommodation is sourced by the Defendant and approved by his offending manager. Judge Dempster of the First-tier Tribunal noted that the Claimant is a particularly high risk individual and detention is “unsafe for him”. On 5 June 2020, the Defendant accepted that the Claimant was eligible for Schedule 10 accommodation. Duncan Lewis was instructed and challenged detention contending that it was unlawful and that the Defendant had failed to act with reasonable diligence to secure his release.
Holman J held that on the application of the principles in Hardial Singh, the Secretary of State cannot continue to lawfully detain the Claimant and that this was recognised by her officials, as long as January 2020. He held that “the Claimant has now been detained for far too long since the point at which it was crystal clear that he could not be removed”. HHJ Holman ordered that the Claimant must be released by 29 July 2020 to self-contained accommodation even if it means that the Defendant “simply go out in into the community, anywhere in England and Wales, and rent some appropriate accommodation in which this claimant can now live”.
The Claimant was represented by solicitor Krisha Prathepan and trainee solicitor Suzanne Abdulhadi, of Duncan Lewis Solicitors’ public law department, instructing Ms Agata Patyna of Doughty Street Chambers.