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In The Press Articles

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Yorkshire villagers furious at secret migrant detention plan (Observer) (3 May 2022)

Villagers are concerned about a proposed immigration facility in North Yorkshire they suspect is to be secretly used as a detention centre, the Observer has reported. Residents believe that despite only being billed as a ‘reception area’ the Home Office is planning to detain some of the 1,500 asylum seekers it intends to house there for longer than officially stated. An official government fact sheet dated 14 April offers no mention of the potential for long-term detention, saying only that asylum seekers will receive a safeguarding call if they are not back by 10pm. The Home Office has said that “service users” at the facility “will not be detained, however they are expected to be on site overnight”. However, our public law solicitor Lottie Hume told the Guardian: “The only reason to have a hybrid detention-accommodation facility is for the Home Office to effect removal at a rate which will erode due process and restrict ability to seek help from others.” Linton-on-Ouse residents told the paper they felt their village ‘would never be the same.’  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Channel “pushbacks” policy abandoned (Free Movement) (28 April 2022)

The controversial “pushback” proposal to return migrant boats in the English Channel to France has been quietly dropped by the Home Office ahead of a High Court challenge by Duncan Lewis. The plan would have allowed Border Force patrols to intercept boats and send them back to France but was said to be both illegal and inhumane, contrary to Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Duncan Lewis Solicitors was instructed by Care4Calais and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) and the judicial review was due to get underway this month. Public law solicitor Jeremy Bloom said: “We are convinced that the Home Secretary has withdrawn the policy because she knew that she would lose in court if she went to trial. The court would have found that she does not have a power under existing legislation to do this.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Courts condemn Home Office and CPS in two separate trafficking cases (The Guardian) (18 March 2022)

The original case against the Home Office was brought by Duncan Lewis Solicitors on behalf of a 33-year-old Vietnamese woman, who was a victim of sex trafficking. Public law director, Ahmed Aydeed, representing the trafficking victim, said: “This ruling will have a huge real-world effect as thousands of victims of trafficking in similar circumstances will be granted leave to remain.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Victim of brutal domestic abuse loses appeal against deprivation of British citizenship (Free Movement) (10 March 2022)

A barbarically treated woman has lost her appeal against a decision to remove her British citizenship, despite a panel recognising the trauma she suffered, writes Duncan Lewis Solicitors’ Consultant Fahad Ansari in Free Movement. Despite acknowledging that the mother of three (U3) was horrifically abused and posed no national security threat, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) would not overturn the decision. U3 was born in the UK and possessed both British and Moroccan citizenship. At 21, she travelled to Syria with her husband which led the Home Office to believe she was aligned to ISIL and presented a security threat. In April 2017, the then Home Secretary Amber Rudd removed her citizenship. The SIAC heard appeals against both the citizenship decision and a refusal to grant entry clearance to the UK. However, despite accepting that U3 was raped, controlled and beaten, specifically for refusing to go to Syria, the SIAC dismissed her appeals. The SIAC said it could not substitute its own decision for that of the Home Secretary and could only interfere if the decision was flawed. Commenting on this case, immigration consultant Fahad Ansari said: “This is a perverse decision, which suggests the SIAC is completely hamstrung.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office faces legal action over claims women at risk of deportation being refused in-person legal advice (The Justice Gap) (25 February 2022)

The Home Office is facing the prospect of a judicial review after the campaign group Women for Refugee Women (WRW) found that detainees at Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre could only access legal advice by telephone. This is despite Home Office assurances that in-person advice could be accessed by detainees, many of whom are vulnerable victims of trafficking and other human rights abuses, ‘on request’. WRW has instructed Duncan Lewis Solicitors and we say that the failure to provide access to in-person legal aid not only damages the women’s legal cases but amounts to discrimination, as men in similar situations do have this opportunity. Duncan Lewis’ public law solicitor Shalini Patel, said: “The Home Secretary’s decision to detain women at Derwentside, despite the issues with access to face-to-face legal advice is extremely concerning. Her own policy recognises that survivors of trafficking and/or gender-based violence may have additional difficulties with self-identifying and disclosing their trauma and yet she has continued with a women’s detention centre, in the knowledge that its location would severely restrict the detainees’ fundamental right to access of justice.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office tells Afghan and Yemeni asylum seekers they can return safely (The Guardian) (13 January 2022)

Duncan Lewis is representing a 21-year-old Afghan refugee who was told it is safe for him to return, despite more than 600,000 people fleeing the Taliban since January 2021. The client was 16-years-old when he fled forced conscription by the Taliban and came to the UK. A Home Office letter, dated 15 December 2021, states that the Taliban are now the de facto authorities in Afghanistan. It adds: “It is not considered that they [the Taliban] would still have an adverse interest in a low level person such as you.” Our public law solicitor Jamie Bell said: “In the context of the ever deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, it is deeply concerning that the Home Office have seemingly indicated, without foundation and in breach of their own policies, that Afghanistan may be safe for those who have been previous victims of the Taliban.” A 36-year-old from Yemen and a 25-year-old Syrian asylum seeker have also received similar threats. The Home Office’s own guidance warns of the dangers of returning refugees to countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen. UNHCR recommends avoiding to forcible returns to all three countries.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

‘Serious failings’ during rescue may have contributed to Channel deaths (The Guardian) (20 December 2021)

Duncan Lewis Solicitors is acting for bereaved family members calling for a public inquiry into whether “acts or omissions” by British agencies resulted in human rights breaches that contributed to unnecessary deaths. Relatives of two of the men lost at sea want an independent public inquiry to establish the full facts of what happened on the night of November 24, when 27 refugees died in the Channel. Our public law solicitor Maria Thomas representing the relatives, said: “We have submitted pre-action correspondence to the British government requesting that a public inquiry is established to determine whether the acts or omissions of the British agencies involved in coordinating and executing the search and rescue mission on 24 November resulted in breaches of the European convention on human rights. Independent expert evidence obtained on behalf of our clients indicates that there may have been serious failings, which could have contributed to the significant loss of life.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Trafficking victims entitled to back payments after court ruling (The Guardian) (17 December 2021)

A Government policy which left vulnerable people without basic necessities such as toothpaste and sanitary products has been ruled unlawful by the High Court. The Home Office axed financial support payments for thousands of trafficking victims who had claimed asylum and were being accommodated in hotels. Our public law director Ahmed Aydeed, who brought the case on behalf of victims, said it was the right decision but told the Guardian: “We will never know how many survivors were re-trafficked and fell back into debt bondage due to the home secretary’s unlawful action.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Windrush: high court rules claimants’ human rights breached by Home Office (The Guardian) (17 December 2021)

The High Court has ruled that the Home Secretary breached the human rights of two members of the Windrush generation when she refused to recognise them as British citizens. In R (Vanriel and Tumi) v the Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 3415 (Admin), Mr Justice Bourne held that the Home Secretary had a discretion to disapply the requirement of the British Nationality Act 1981 that a person must have been in the UK for 5 years before making an application for citizenship (“the 5 Year Rule”). The Court held that the failure to exercise this discretion amounted to a breach of the Claimants rights to private and family life and their rights not to be discriminated against (Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights). Our public law solicitor Jeremy Bloom quoted: "Our clients were locked out of the UK for years by the Home Office through no fault of their own, then told that they did not qualify for British citizenship because they did not meet the residency requirements".  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Traumatised and alone – why are we still sending survivors of abuse to detention centres? (The Metro) (8 November 2021)

The Metro reports on our client Adetola* and her asylum case. Her solicitor Shalini Patel comments: ”The problem with the current system is that survivors of trauma, abuse and exploitation are being treated as immigration offenders first, and then victims, which has long term consequences on them”. She explains that although detention centres are required to have a legal aid advice rota where different firms come in and provide advice, the system changed a few years back and the contract was given to numerous firms without adequate checks having been done.” *Name has been changed   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lawyer in the news: Ahmed Aydeed, Duncan Lewis (The Law Society Gazette) (25 October 2021)

Our public law director Ahmed Aydeed is The Law Society Gazette' 'Lawyer in the news' for his work representing a trafficking victim in the High Court in a challenge to the home secretary’s discretionary leave to remain policy for victims of modern slavery.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Trafficking victims should be granted leave to remain in UK, high court rules (The Guardian) (12 October 2021)

“Thousands of victims of trafficking who have been left to languish in the immigration system for years should be granted leave to remain, the high court has said in a landmark ruling. The trafficking victim’s lawyer, our public law director Ahmed Aydeed, welcomed the ruling. He said: “We’re glad our client, and other survivors of trafficking, will no longer be left to live in this half-world, this legal limbo that has stripped them of their dignity and exposed them to further exploitation. Recovery is a vital form of relief for survivors of trafficking, and this will go a long way to assist victims in their physical, psychological and social recovery. Our client and other survivors will finally have access to education, training and they’ll finally have the right to work. Not only will this assist survivors of trafficking but it will also provide a direct financial benefit to the public purse.””   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office wasted millions on asylum camp that was never used (The Independent) (10 October 2021)

Toufique Hossain, director at law firm Duncan Lewis, which had been preparing to challenge the use of the camp, said: “Wasting such vast sums of money, especially during a pandemic, in which so many in this country suffered and needed assistance, needs to be explained.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

UK asylum seekers in hotels should have been given money for phone calls, judge rules (The Guardian) (4 October 2021)

“A Home Office decision not to give thousands of asylum seekers money to make calls to friends and family during the pandemic has been ruled unlawful by the high court. Public law director Ahmed Aydeed, who represented the asylum seeker in the case, said: “The home secretary, throughout the pandemic, failed to meet the essential living needs of asylum seekers. She chose to ignore the advice of her civil servants and has again been forced by the courts to do the right thing. We are glad our clients finally have access to everyday essentials and can communicate with their families again.””  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office planned speedy removal of Vietnamese trafficking victims (The Guardian) (29 September 2021)

“The Home Office detained more than 100 Vietnamese nationals who arrived on small boats in May but planned to speedily remove them from the UK despite them being potential victims of trafficking, the Guardian has learned. Public Law solicitor Tom Nunn, who dealt with some of the cases, expressed alarm at the mass detentions. “The DAC process can only be used for cases [the] Home Office believes are doomed to fail based on their reasons for claiming asylum. The Home Office’s own internal guidance suggests that this process cannot be used for Vietnamese nationals who are in fear of moneylenders or traffickers. All of those we came into contact with were claiming asylum for these reasons.””   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Know Your Rights: Rent Arrears (Toynbee Hall) (16 September 2021)

Toynbee Hall interviews our Housing Legal Executive Janette Plummer on what to do if you are facing rent arrears or eviction.  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office hotels for asylum seekers ‘akin to detention centres’ – report (The Guardian) (16 September 2021)

“Conditions in hotels used by the Home Office to accommodate asylum seekers during the pandemic are akin to detention centres, according to a report that also says accommodation is often sub-standard and sometimes unsafe…Jeremy Bloom, solicitor at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, who has brought legal challenges about conditions in hotel accommodation, said: “The findings of this report very much chime with what we are seeing on the ground. I have seen the poor quality of accommodation lead directly to suicide attempts by asylum seekers, who are often extremely vulnerable and who suffer from PTSD, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.””   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Afghan who arrived in UK at 14 ‘left in limbo’ under Home Office policy (The Guardian) (30 August 2021)

An undisclosed block on processing claims for asylum from Afghanistan has left thousands of vulnerable people ‘in limbo’ and should be deemed ‘unlawful.’ The block on making decisions on Afghan protection claims for those currently in the UK was discovered by our public law solicitor Jamie Bell, who is challenging it on behalf of a 26-year-old man, who fled persecution in the country at the age of 14. The block on processing protection claims has been extended to immigration tribunals and affects more than 3,000 people. Bell told the paper’s reporters that the people “affected by this are those who have suffered for years and are suffering even more now. My client has been left in limbo.” A pre-action protocol gives Priti Patel until 2 September to respond and argues that the block is ‘unlawful’ because it is unpublished and unannounced.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis Caseworker Emily Chalk digs into the confusing world of SEND reports and explains how parents can get clarity (Special Needs Jungle) (6 August 2021)

Communication with parents accessing Special Educational Needs and Disabilities support is often confusing and can lead to the wrong, and potentially damaging care, being delivered. Sadly, families often feel trapped by the bad decisions made by the authorities and unable to change them. Too often they report failures by relevant experts to explain their recommendations clearly throughout the creation of the Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan. However, help is available if you know where to look, Duncan Lewis’ child care caseworker Emily Chalk tells the Special Needs Jungle charity online, with barrister Steve Broach.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office failed to put in place system to protect detainees with HIV (The Guardian) (3 August 2021)

The Court ruled that the Secretary of State for the Home Department (SSHD) failed to put in place appropriate legal and administrative systems for protecting those with HIV detained under Immigration Act 1971 powers, in breach of the systems duty under Article 3 ECHR, and failed to take all reasonable steps to avoid a real and immediate risk of harm to the Claimant by timeously administering HIV medication, in material breach of her operational duty under Article 3 ECHR. Lead solicitor Jamie Bell, who brought the legal challenge, said: “This is a remarkable precedent and marks the first time wherein the systems operated by the Home Office within immigration detention were found to be so flawed as to amount to inhumane and degrading treatment in breach of Article 3 of the European convention on human rights.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office challenged over ‘sped-up’ removal of Vietnamese nationals (The Guardian) (3 August 2021)

Our public law solicitor, Tom Nunn, who is bringing the legal challenge against the Home Office for fast-tracking the removal of some Vietnamese people from the UK, told The Guardian: “The concern is that a large number of Vietnamese nationals are being placed in this sped-up asylum process despite the fact that many are showing clear indicators of trafficking.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lawyer in the news: Vinita Templeton (The Law Society Gazette) (26 July 2021)

Our Public Law and Immigration director Vinita Templeton is The Law Society Gazette' 'Lawyer in the news'. She ‘represented a group of Fiji-born soldiers who lost their legal status after being discharged from the British Army in a legal battle against the Ministry of Defence and Home Office seeking an acknowledgement of historical injustices, unfair processes and extortionate application fees’. Vinita commented: “The court refused permission to apply for judicial review, deeming the claim to be out of time and without merit as it raised allegations of maladministration and not illegality. However, the case garnered media attention and public support. Remarkably, momentum continues with an ongoing campaign, which triggered a review of immigration policies applicable to foreign and Commonwealth service personnel, including a public consultation about the size of the Home Office application fees.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Legal bids mean UK deportation flight to Zimbabwe takes off just one-third full (The Guardian) (22 July 2021)

The High Court stays removal of our client on charter flight to Zimbabwe. Judge agreed Emergency Travel Document (ETD) process may violate client’s Article 3 rights on return. Wider claim to stay flight refused as Judge did not have individual facts of those not before her. It is arguable that anyone who has been interviewed for an ETD could have a prima facie claim to stop their removal. Our challenge to further removals to Zimbabwe continues. Legal team: Our Toufique Hossain, Simon Robinson, Georgia Banks and Sophie Lucas, instructing Sonali Naik QC, Ali Bandegani and Raza Halim of Garden Court Chambers.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Fijian-born soldiers given right to live in UK despite legal battle loss (The Guardian) (12 July 2021)

Our clients, a group of Fijian-born soldiers, who sued the government after being classified as illegal immigrants have been granted leave to remain in the UK, despite losing their legal battle against the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office. The legal team “described this as a moral rather than a legal victory”. Our immigration and public law director Vinita Templeton comments: “Whilst we did not succeed in our legal challenge, the case brought to the fore an injustice that had previously been swept under the carpet. Thanks to my clients’ brave action, this case has also triggered or at the very least brought forward a review of immigration policies relating to Foreign and Commonwealth service personnel, including a public consultation regarding the extortionate Home Office application fees.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Asylum seeker removed by Priti Patel must be brought back to UK (The Guardian) (6 July 2021)

The High Court says the home secretary must bring back a Sudanese man so his trafficking and torture claims can be investigated. Our public law solicitor Maria Thomas, who represented AA, welcomed the judgment, commenting: “It is highly likely that there are many other individuals in a similar situation who were unlawfully removed and now face destitution, homelessness and the risk of being returned to a country where they are at risk of serious harm or even death”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

When Crime and Family Collide (Pink Tape) (25 June 2021)

We were recommended to represent a mother who was 15 years old when her child was conceived and the father was 14 years of age at the time of conception. This factual matrix is common within care proceedings. In this case the parents were brother and sister. In a judgement given by HHJ Atkinson Y (disclosure to MPS [2021] EWFC B33 the judge outlines the links between care proceedings when there is a police investigation. Director Forida Hakim representing.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis issues JR proceedings over immigration reforms (The Gazette) (11 June 2021)

The Gazette reports on our announcement yesterday that our public law team has issued judicial review proceedings on behalf of five clients over the Home Office’s New Plan for Immigration consultation, which closed last month. Simon Robinson, trainee solicitor, is assisting the claimants, commented that the Home Office could be ordered to reopen the consultation if the challenge is successful.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office ordered to move torture victim out of ‘prison-like’ hotel (The Guardian) (1 June 2021)

The High Court ordered the Home Office to move a torture and trafficking victim out of a “prison-like” hotel surrounded by an 8ft wall. Judge Coe QC heard an application for urgent action known as interim relief against the Home Office after officials failed to move the man, known as AA, from the Crowne Plaza hotel near Heathrow airport to more suitable accommodation. Maria Thomas welcomed the court’s decision. “We represent many victims of modern slavery in the Crowne Plaza who have struggled and felt unsafe for months in conditions they describe as ‘prison-like’ and ‘dehumanising’. This has led to a significant deterioration of their mental and physical wellbeing.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Can you buy your parents' house under market value? (The Gazette) (21 May 2021)

Wills and probate solicitor Zeen Al Atroshi looks at the tax implications of buying your parents’ property in an article for The Gazette. Zeen looks into disputes, pre-owned asset tax, capital gains tax, and other risks associated with gifting a property.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

High Court finds colossal interference in Windrush rights by Home Office (LexisNexis) (13 May 2021)

Jeremy Bloom’s article about the Home Office’s interference in the right to family life of a Windrush victim has been featured on the LexisNexis website. Concerning the case of Mahabir and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department, Jeremy gives his verdict on the outcome.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office unlawfully stopped family joining Windrush woman (Multiple Sources) (7 May 2021)

The Home Office unlawfully prevented the children and husband of a Windrush generation woman from joining her in the UK, separating the family for almost three years in a manner the high court ruled represented “a colossal interference” in her right to family life. Solicitor Jeremy Bloom comments on the outcome of the case: “This is a fantastic outcome for the Mahabir family and for all those who are unable to come to the UK to join members of the Windrush generation simply because the Home Office refuses to waive their exorbitant application fees. The judgment makes it clear that the Home Office talks a good talk on Windrush, but in reality the scheme is riddled with limitations and fails to properly consider the human rights of those it aims to help. A genuine commitment to righting the historical wrongs committed would not have to be enforced by a court judgment in this way.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Yemeni family's asylum claims to be looked at together after Home Office U-turn (The Guardian) (27 April 2021)

A family had been told they could not remain together in UK as the father travelled by plane whilst the sons came by boat. The government change of heart emerged days after an announcement from the home secretary that how people enter the UK would have a bearing on the progress of their asylum claim. Priti Patel said asylum seekers should stay in the first safe country they arrive in rather than travelling onwards to the UK. Hannah Baynes, the family’s solicitor, comments “We are pleased that after months of uncertainty, the Home Office has agreed that Hassan, Hamzeh and Hazem’s asylum claims can be considered in the UK and that there are no longer any plans for them to be removed to Spain. The past few months have been particularly stressful for them, and so it is good news that the brothers can now remain living in the UK with their father, whose asylum claim is already being processed in the UK. It is unclear exactly why the Home Office decided to do this; all that we have been told is that this is due to their individual circumstances.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Comment: immigration issues should be covered in the Armed Forces Bill (Free Movement) (27 April 2021)

Immigration director, Vinita Templeton, co-authors an article for Free Movement discussing Commonwealth soldiers in the armed forces and the Armed Forces Bill. The article highlights Vinita’s recent group action lodged on behalf of eight Fijian veterans as well as the general consensus that non-British soldiers in the armed forces should be able to get ILR — if not British citizenship — as easily as possible.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Linda Barker appears in an episode of 24 Hours in Police Custody (21 April 2021)

Crime solicitor Linda Barker’s client is the focus of an episode of 24 Hours in Police Custody. The episode, entitled The Search for Justice, focusses on an incident in Luton where a man is shot in the chest by a complete stranger. The same suspect threatens a woman. With a gunman on the loose, a frantic manhunt is launched to catch the shooter before he strikes again.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Priti Patel’s detention policies found to breach human rights rules (The Guardian) (15 April 2021)

Court finds Home Secretary accountable for failures to ensure that deaths in immigration detention centres are investigated properly. In a landmark ruling, two judges found the Home Office unlawfully tried to deport a key witness to the death of a man in a removal centre before they were able to give testimony. Mr Lawal, who was a close friend of the man who died, had been detained in the same wing at the time of his death. He and a number of other detainees were able to instruct lawyers shortly before the flight and deter his removal on the basis that they were key witnesses. Lawal’s legal challenge, which resulted in the ruling, focused on whether the home secretary can remove a potential witness to a death in custody before it is clear whether they will be needed as a witness. Public law solicitor Jamie Bell comments; “This case demonstrates the cavalier attitude of the Home Office when enforcing removals. Despite a tragic death within a detention centre, the home secretary did not hesitate to maintain her plan to remove potential witnesses by charter flight, ignoring anyone who wished to come forward to give evidence.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

He should be on the frontline of the pandemic response. Instead, he is facing deportation (CNN) (8 April 2021)

Microbiologist, with a specialism in infection control, Charles Oti has spent four years working for the NHS. Following the breakdown of his relationship with an EU national, Oti’s residence permit was revoked without his knowledge and after returning to the UK from a trip to Nigeria, he was detained at the border and ordered to leave. “It is difficult to understand why the Home Office would want an individual with such vast experience in infection control to be forcefully removed from the UK during a pandemic." says Maria Petrova-Collins. "We hope that the Home Office reviews this matter compassionately and properly considers the evidence put to them."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

How to pay inheritance tax (IHT) (The Gazette) (22 March 2021)

Wills and probate trainee solicitor Zeen Al Atroshi writes for The Gazette about inheritance tax, discussing how to pay inheritance tax when someone dies, how it can be paid from the deceased’s account, and other important aspects of inheritance tax.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Asylum seekers threatened with homelessness for not complying with ‘unlawful’ 23-hour curfew, court hears (The Independent) (12 March 2021)

Asylum seekers housed in hotels have been threatened with homelessness and police action if they do not comply with an “unlawful” 23-hour curfew, the High Court has heard. Asylum seekers housed in hotels have been threatened with homelessness and police action if they do not comply with an “unlawful” 23-hour curfew, the High Court has heard. In a brief ruling, Judge Tim Corner QC said the Home Office had agreed that it should write to accommodation providers and asylum seekers “making clear [...] there is no 23-hour curfew”. Public law solicitor Sheroy Zaq comments; “one of many deeply regrettable examples of the Home Office and its contractors attributing less worth to the liberty of asylum seekers when compared to the rest of the population. It should not take the court’s intervention to remind the Home Office and its contractors of what the law says. Today, it did.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

We’re losing hope: The refugees waiting for the homes they were promised in Britain (The Independent) (1 March 2021)

Families who fled their countries were told they would be given a new life in Britain only for resettlement to stop for the pandemic. A year on, they still have no news of their future. Trainee solicitor Isabella Kirwan who represents a number of refugee families says that may of her clients are living in situations of, “extreme destitution, struggling to survive each day”. She says: “They have legitimate reasons as to why their cases are extremely urgent. Many have life-threatening medical conditions. Many are at risk of being forcibly sent back to Syria. The UK resettlement scheme needs to work effectively and expeditiously, so it can play an important role in preventing families be forced to make perilous journeys. On these journeys, vulnerable people are pushed into the hands of traffickers and are exploited.” Toufique Hossain, Isabela Kirwan and Ella Tritton are the lawyers working on this case   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Bernadette Chikwe on BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours (1 March 2021)

Housing director Bernadette Chikwewas interviewed as part of the BBC Radio 4 consumer programme You and Yours on 24 February 2021. Bernadette shared her expertise in her capacity as a duty solicitor in possession hearings at Central London County Court. This is a particularly important subject whilst there is a still a ban on evictions. Bernadette discussed the number of tenants making use of duty solicitors and the future of possession hearings in the coming year.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Woman ‘evicted from asylum accommodation’ in sub-zero temperatures (The Independent) (24 February 2021)

A woman was evicted from her asylum accommodation and forced to leave with no alternative housing provision, prompting concerns round the rules enforced in hotels managed by Home Office contractors during the pandemic. The woman’s lawyer, Maria Petrova-Collins, had been preparing to intervene in the case before her client was able to return to the hotel and said this was ”not an isolated example.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office drops plan to house asylum seekers in 'prison-style' camp (The Guardian) (12 February 2021)

The Home Office has abandoned controversial plans to house nearly 200 asylum seekers in what campaigners have described as a “prison-style” camp on the site of an immigration removal centre. Lottie Hume, a caseworker at Duncan Lewis Solicitors who had launched a legal challenge against Home Office plans for Yarl’s Wood, welcomed the news. “The plan was rushed through without due care or attention to legal obligations and the discriminatory impacts. It is yet another example of the home secretary’s callous approach of providing substandard accommodation to asylum seekers to appease and inflame anti-migrant opinion,” she said.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office drops plan to house asylum seekers in 'prison-style' camp (The Guardian) (10 February 2021)

The Home Office has abandoned controversial plans to house nearly 200 asylum seekers in what campaigners have described as a “prison-style” camp on the site of an immigration removal centre. Lottie Hume, a caseworker at Duncan Lewis Solicitors who had launched a legal challenge against Home Office plans for Yarl’s Wood, welcomed the news. “The plan was rushed through without due care or attention to legal obligations and the discriminatory impacts. It is yet another example of the home secretary’s callous approach of providing substandard accommodation to asylum seekers to appease and inflame anti-migrant opinion,” she said.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Coercive and controlling behaviour in similar fact cases (F v M) (LexisNexis) (9 February 2021)

Family analysis: In F v M, the Family Court analysed allegations of coercive and controlling behaviour in great detail. In his judgment, Mr Justice Hayden provided guidance on the scope and ambit of coercive and controlling behaviour and the limitations of Scott Schedules in such cases. Michelle Lubelle, solicitor at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, examines the judgment.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office put refugees in barracks after fears better housing would ‘undermine confidence’ in system (The Independent) (9 February 2021)

The Home Office has placed hundreds of asylum seekers in military barracks in Kent and Pembrokeshire following fears that providing them better accommodation would “undermine confidence” in the system. Those being housed in Napier Barracks in Kent and Penally Barracks in Pembrokeshire have reportedly had poor access to healthcare and legal advice and there are additional concerns over coronavirus safety. Duncan Lewis solicitor Sophie Lucas comments on the Home Office’s decision; “Instead of attempting to combat bigotry and hostility towards asylum seekers, the Home Office have pandered to prejudice. Penalising an already extremely vulnerable group of people in this way is unlawful,” she said.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Housing director Manjinder Kaur Atwal takes part in LexisNexis webinar (LexisNexis) (29 January 2021)

Director Manjinder Kaur Atwal recently took part in a LexisNexis webinar concerning the changes in residential tenancy law 2020. During the online seminar, Manjinder – along with other expert speakers – explored the law concerning unlawful eviction in detail, with topics including; causes of action; preparing unlawful eviction cases; and remedies.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Unlawful searches at the UK border (ILPA) (29 January 2021)

Immigration director Gabor Nagy writes for ILPA (Immigration Law Practitioners' Association Ltd) in regards to Brexit and what rights EU nationals have at the UK Border. The article is also based on his experience over the years and the frequently asked questions from his clients.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Mediation - A third party can help you avoid court – Property Magazine (NRLA) (25 January 2021)

Housing director Majinder Kaur Atwal discusses mediation as an option for landlords and tenants during the uncertain times of the Covid-19 pandemic. Mediation is a process that the brings the two sides together in the presence of an impartial third party to reach a resolution without having to resort to going through the courts. “Most of the time when a landlord asks to repossess the property, there’s hostility between the two parties – especially if the eviction notice comes from a solicitor. I advise clients that mediation is the easier option than going to court,” says Manjinder.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Yarl's wood to get extension to house asylum seekers (RT UK) (19 January 2021)

Public law solicitor Jeremy Bloom takes part in an interview with RT UK to explain why he is bringing a case against the Home Office over their plans to place asylum seekers in Yarl’s Wood. ”The problem is whether this accommodation is suitable for asylum seekers,” Jeremy says. “When we speak to individuals who are housed in that accommodation we hear a very different story [to the government’s]”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Covid: Asylum seeker camp conditions prompt inspection calls (BBC News) (14 January 2021)

The Home Office decided to house up to 250 asylum-seekers at a military training camp in Penally, Pembrokeshire, from September. However, some housed at the camp have claimed that conditions at the site are unsafe and that they are being put at risk of coronavirus. This has prompted Plaid Cymru to call for an urgent inspection, but the Home Office says the site is safe and “Covid-compliant”. Solicitor Tom Nunn, who is representing some of the residents at the camp, argues that the camp should only be used as short-term accommodation for single, asylum-seeking males with no known vulnerabilities."The majority of them have been detained and/or tortured in their country of origin, many have been exploited on their journey to the UK and a large number have fairly severe mental health problems," he said. "It should not be the case that the only effective way of being transferred out is through making submissions through lawyers, and we are concerned about a large number of individuals who for a myriad of reasons may be unable to obtain this representation."   Read more...

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