On 27 June, Patrick Page, a senior caseworker in the public law department at Duncan Lewis spoke at Parliament about his experience advising and assisting children in the Calais ‘Jungle’ on their applications to come to the UK under the ‘Dubs Amendment’. After the screening of ‘Calais Children: A Case to Answer’, Patrick remembered how, when he and his colleagues spent time in the Jungle, the children they spoke to were ‘trying’ every night to board lorries, risking their lives to enter the UK; some had been trying for over a year and had bruises and cuts to show for it. Conversely, when Patrick and his team returned to the UK, they were required only to show their passports to the border guards, and half an hour later they were in Dover. He concluded that until countries like the UK opened their borders, tens of thousands of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children would continue to remain in limbo, vulnerable to exploitation.
The screening was introduced by Lord Dubs, who had pushed the eponymous amendment through Parliament in May 2016 in order to compel the UK Government to ‘make arrangements’ to relocate unaccompanied refugee children to the UK. Lord Dubs spoke of his disappointment following the response of the Home Office, which had promised to honour the ‘letter and spirit’ of the amendment. The initial amendment went through the House of Lords to welcome 3,000 such children to the UK. The final amendment did not specify a number, but the UK Government has so far only accepted around 250, with plans to accept a meagre 480.
Directed by Sue Clayton, Calais Children documents the UK Government’s betrayal of the minors who applied to come to the UK under the Dubs Amendment. Clayton portrays the experiences of the children, in the period of tentative hope when they were applying to come to the UK under the Dubs Amendment, to the utter despair of having their applications rejected without reasons. She follows their journeys from the chaos of the Jungle, to snow-laden reception centres in far-flung corners of France, and back to the informal ‘mini-Jungles’ near Calais where many of the children now struggle to survive. The film also follows the work of the Duncan Lewis public law team, who worked in the camp assisting the children in their ‘Dubs applications’, and are currently challenging the Home Office refusals in litigation in the High Court.
The event was hosted by Lord Roberts of Llandudno, who spoke of the disappointment of communities and organisations who had made preparations to welcome thousands of children from Calais with open hands, only to be told that their help wasn’t needed as very few children would be relocated. Clarks Shoes, he recounted, had offered to donate thousands of pairs of shoes to these young people; thousands of young people who never got to the UK. Lord Roberts emphasised the importance of activists, lawyers and politicians working together to ensure justice for these children.
Patrick has written about the work of Duncan Lewis in Calais on the firm website and in the Bill of Middlesex. Public Law Solicitor Jamie Bell has also written a reflection on this work the Huffington Post. The litigation (ZS and others) has also been covered in The Guardian, BBC and Independent.
Patrick Page is a senior caseworker in the Immigration and Public Law department at Duncan Lewis, committed to challenging and exposing the unlawful and inhumane treatment of asylum-seekers at the hands of the Home Office. He has written extensively on a range of matters concerning human rights, asylum and immigration law for The Guardian, The Independent, The Huffington Post, The Canary and on the Liberty and Duncan Lewis websites. Patrick is also editor for the newly established ‘No Walls’, an open forum dedicated to discussions on human rights and refugee issues, hosted and run by the Duncan Lewis Public Law Department.
Please contact Patrick on email@example.com or 020 3114 1337.
Duncan Lewis Public Law Solicitors
The Duncan Lewis Public Law department continues to be recommended by Legal 500 for its depth of experience in immigration and civil liberties challenges and is acknowledged as having a "stellar reputation in handling test cases". The Legal 500 2017 edition applauds Duncan Lewis for its specialism in judicial review and Court of Appeal cases.
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