Yes. Thousands of detainees a year find themselves locked away in solitary confinement, a prison within a prison, without lawful justification.
In the case of Muasa we launched the first successful challenge to the Home Office use of removal from association (segregation/solitary confinement) in detention and the lack of oversight in its application, resulting in an abuse of power. The powers are granted in Rule 40 of the Detention Centre Rules.
Our client, the claimant, is a Kenyan asylum-seeker who was due to be removed from the UK despite there being independent evidence that she was a victim of torture following a childhood of abuse in Kenya.
In July 2017, the High Court ruled that the Home Office had acted unlawfully and in breach of our clients human rights by locking her up in segregation for too long while she was in detention.
The litigation also helped influence the publishing of the Home Office’s new policy on segregation. While, we maintain, the new policy falls short of the radical changes required, it provides clearer guidance on the circumstances in which segregation may be used, and includes express provision for detainees or their representatives to challenge segregation.