Interim support for asylum seekers must take into account their individual circumstances and needs a judge has said in a ruling on ZV, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 3562 (Admin) handed down on 21 December 2020.
Our client had claimed asylum but the SSHD had held that the asylum claim was inadmissible on account of her being an EU national. This inadmissibility decision has been subject to a separate challenge, which remains ongoing.
The Home Office was pursuing deportation proceedings, and a statutory appeal had arisen against this on EEA law, humanitarian protection and human rights grounds. These appeal proceedings are also ongoing.
Our client became destitute and had a history of substance misuse, and was clearly in need of asylum support. She also had a decision by the Single Competent Authority accepting that she is a victim of modern slavery/trafficking.
She was trafficked into prostitution for 8 years, subject to enforced heroin use, gang-raped and re-trafficked and subjected to ill-treatment throughout by her trafficker. She has attempted suicide.
The grounds for judicial review go on to identify that the claimant "has been assessed to be 'a psychiatrically unwell woman … suffering from significant symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder with psychotic symptoms and additional post-traumatic traits', and has developed a drug addiction".
An application for asylum support was unsuccessful, the SSHD contending that she was not an asylum seeker, on account of the inadmissibility of her claim.
Out of hours interim relief was obtained, following which the SSHD provided her with support, and continued to do so, following a further interim relief hearing before Mr Justice Fordham on 21 December 2020, which resulted in a reported judgment in favour of our client. Following the obtaining of interim relief out of hours, the SSHD adopted a position that support was being provided under the Immigration Bail provisions of the Immigration Act 2016, rather than providing support to her as an asylum seeker, under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
During 2021, the judicial review was withdrawn by consent, an agreement having been reached between the parties as to the support that was to be provided to our client.
The matter was important as it resulted in a reported judgment at the interim relief stage, wherein Justice Fordham gave guidance on four ‘needs’ that were to be taken into account when the SSHD was to provide support on an interim relief basis. These needs had included: (1) for our client to be able to access her medication from a chemist, where her medication was supervised; (2) for our client to be able to continue to attend ‘monthly keyworker sessions’ that she was attending with the NHS; (3) for her to be able to attend hospital treatment; and (4) for provision to be made for her visiting her friend, who provides emotional support.
Justice Fordham had particularly commended the work of our department in representing the client and for doing ‘their utmost to secure protection for the interests of a vulnerable client’.
Our legal team: public law director Ahmed Aydeed instructing Raza Halim, of Garden Court Chambers.