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In The Press Articles

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

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...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Access to justice: The Home Office’s response to Channel crossings, and the use of temporary accommodation and detention during the pandemic (ILPA) (17 December 2020)

Public law director Bahar Ata and solicitor Tom Nunn write an article for ILPA discussing the truncated asylum screening interview process, housing people in temporary accommodation and army barracks as well as focus on detention and removals, and concerns surrounding lack of access to justice.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Met police to compensate child slavery victim arrested after reporting ordeal (The Guardian) (12 December 2020)

The Metropolitan police is to pay £15,500 to a victim of slavery who tried to report his traffickers but was instead arrested for immigration offences and sent to a detention centre. Primisha Chudasama, who represented the individual comments; “Despite clear trafficking indicators, the police failed to question our client on his history of exploitation or ask plainly pertinent questions in relation to some of the indicators. Our client has recently been granted asylum and we are pleased that he can now seek to rebuild his life in the UK using the compensation he has been awarded by the police. We hope that others, in similar circumstances, do not have to go through this process to seek redress from the police.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office unlawfully failing to protect trafficking survivors from hostile environment, says High Court (Multiple Sources) (4 December 2020)

The High Court has ruled that the Home Office’s failure to prevent potential victims of trafficking from being treated as illegal immigrants is in breach of the law. A damning judgement on Thursday concluded that people waiting for their modern slavery claims to be concluded were being stripped of immigration status due to an “unlawful lacuna” in existing policy. Duncan Lewis Solicitors spokesperson comments: “The UK, through anti-slavery legislation and ratification of international conventions, has committed itself to the protection of victims as well as the prevention of trafficking and modern slavery but Home Office policy, as currently implemented, fails to deliver this.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

How the immigration system froze out Commonwealth soldiers (Free Movement) (1 December 2020)

Immigration director Vinita Templeton speaks to Free Movement concerning immigration issues for Commonwealth veterans in the lead up to today’s court hearing. Vinita explains how soldiers from Commonwealth nations have ended up without UK immigration status and her legal action to change this.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Asylum seekers forced to travel miles to sign on with Home Office during lockdown (The Independent) (16 November 2020)

Duncan Lewis Solicitors are in the process of challenging Home Office policy which states that asylum seekers and victims of trafficking must travel on public transport during lockdown restrictions in order to report to officials in person. We argue that in-person reporting should not be resumed in anyone’s case without an individualised review as to whether it is necessary in the circumstances of the pandemic. People who are awaiting a decision on their application to remain in the UK – including modern slavery victims and torture survivors – are required to regularly sign on at a Home Office reporting location. This requirement was temporarily suspended in March because of the pandemic, but in August and September the Home Office sent texts to people stating that they must start reporting in person again “due to the easing of Covid lockdown measures”. Since 5 November, when the government announced a second lockdown – telling people to “stay at home” where possible – migrants with reporting conditions have been informed that they must continue to sign on with the Home Office in person.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Priti Patel not following her own anti-trafficking policy, judge rules (The Guardian) (16 November 2020)

The Guardian reports on how the deportation of countless asylum seekers who arrived in the UK on small boats could be halted after a judge ruled that the Home Secretary was departing from her own policy on identifying victims of human trafficking. Public law solicitor Maria Thomas comments; “This judgment is extremely important for those at risk of unlawful detention and removal in the coming weeks and months.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

AA Nigeria - Article 8, Public interest and error of law (ILPA Monthly) (16 November 2020)

Director Tamana Aziz’s case (AA Nigeria) is featured in ILPA Monthly. After attracting a deportation notice, AA made submissions to challenge the notice, these representations were refused and so he appealed to the First-tier Tribunal (FTT) and succeeded. However, the Secretary of State then challenged the FTT decision to the Upper Tribunal and she was successful. The Upper Tribunal remade the decision dismissing AA’s appeal. AA appealed to the Court of Appeal and permission was granted on 5 June 2019. AA challenged the Upper Tribunal’s decision on two grounds, firstly that there was no lawful basis to overturn finding of FTT the Upper Tribunal was wrong to find an error of law the decision of FTT was not irrational or perverse. In the second ground AA argued that the UT applied the wrong legal test in concluding that the unduly harsh test had not been met, in remaking the decision and substantively refusing AA’s appeal. The full article can be accessed by logging in to ILPA.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Podcast: where are we at with legal aid for immigration appeals? (Free Movement) (6 November 2020)

Sonia Lenegan from the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) discusses the legal action carried out by Duncan Lewis Solicitors to combat the government’s adjusted legal aid arrangements for cases lodged under a new online appeal system. “Duncan Lewis [Solicitors] approached us about wanting to take legal action based on a lack of consultation that had taken place…it was hard work but it was really so good to have everyone working together so well and it really made an impact in terms of the success that we were able to have and at an early stage.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Fijian-born British soldiers lose latest legal fight to stay in UK (The Guardian) (28 October 2020)

The Guardian reports on the High Court’s decision to reject our call for judicial review of eight Commonwealth veterans’ immigration case. Immigration director Vinita Templeton comments that she and council will “…continue to pursue legal redress vigorously for what we consider to be a just and principled cause” An oral hearing has been scheduled for December 2020.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office policy giving people little notice of deportation ruled unlawful (Multiple Sources) (21 October 2020)

The Independent and The Guardian report on how the Court of Appeal found that a Home Office policy on removing migrants from the UK without access to justice, was unlawful. The policy allowed the forcible removal of a migrant from the UK sometimes within hours and in many cases without access to lawyers. Solicitor Raja Uruthiravinayagan commented: “The importance of this judgment cannot be overstated. Access to justice is a fundamental principle of rule of law. Without it, individuals will not be able to challenge unlawful decisions and hold decision-makers accountable. It protects our fundamental rights and freedoms. The delivery of justice should be impartial and non-discriminatory, regardless of who is seeking it, if it is to protect and strengthen our democracy.” Solicitor Philip Armitage who represented an Afghan individual affected by the police also commented; “This is a landmark decision from the Court of Appeal which emphasises that everyone in the UK is entitled to access justice and to seek redress from the courts. Our client for weeks faced removal to Afghanistan where he feared his life was at risk but, through this case, he was able to challenge his removal and he is now a refugee. For individuals such as him, the ‘rule of law’ is not an intellectual theory but a lifeline. This judgment strengthens those protections for everyone in our society.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Duncan Lewis Solicitors featured on Outside Source (BBC) (9 October 2020)

BBC’s Outside Source discussed the recent government and media attacks on lawyers representing asylum seekers which undermine the rule of law. The programme focused on the immigration lawyers who are handling such cases, why their work is lawful, and the impact the comments and media articles have had, quoting our statement; “…lawyers experience abusive behaviour and receive abhorrent and threatening messages online daily for simply trying to do their job and be a voice for the most vulnerable: victims of torture, victims of trafficking and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. This has to stop.” Watch the full feature here   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Legal aid solicitors 'threatened' after Mail on Sunday article (Law Gazette) (9 October 2020)

The Law Gazette reports on our statement addressing the recent attacks on the firm and legal aid which undermine the rule of law and an individual’s constitutional right to access to justice. ‘It would seem that the government along with some media outlets is creating a rhetoric which creates hatred not only of immigration and publicly funded lawyers, but of immigrants generally. The effect of this has very serious consequences to individuals’ lives and liberty. We are now seeing our lawyers experience abusive behaviour and receive abhorrent and threatening messages online daily for simply trying to do their job and be a voice for the most vulnerable: victims of torture, victims of trafficking and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. This has to stop.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lawyers fight back over Priti Patel’s ‘dangerous’ asylum claims (The Times) (8 October 2020)

Public law director Toufique Hossain is quoted in The Times as it reports on the damaging rhetoric Home Secretary Priti Patel has launched against lawyers representing asylum seekers. Toufique brands the relentless attack on lawyers ”callous and dangerous”. He also quotes the philosopher John Locke saying “‘Wherever law ends, tyranny begins.’ This is where we are heading.” The full article can be read here   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

How to pay inheritance tax (IHT) (The Gazette) (6 October 2020)

Wills and probate trainee solicitor Zeen Al-Atroshi writes for The Gazette about some of the most common questions concerning inheritance tax including how quickly should inheritance tax be paid after someone dies, and can it be paid from the deceased’s accounts?   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Brexit – and what after? (ALondon) (6 October 2020)

Efrat Shemesh contributed an article to ALondon on what the future holds for EU nationals who want to enjoy their free-movement right to live in the UK. Efrat explains that after Brexit EU nationals who wish to work and live in the UK will require permission to do so. They will have to make applications for one of the routes available under the Immigration Rules.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home secretary's 'dangerous' rhetoric 'putting lawyers at risk' (The Guardian) (6 October 2020)

Public law director Toufique Hossain comments in this Guardian article. “This relentless attack on lawyers who are simply trying their best to represent clients properly and responsibly, in difficult circumstances, is both callous and dangerous. The home secretary knows this, but chooses to press ahead. Upholding the rule of law isn’t activism or ‘lefty lawyers’ frustrating government. John Locke, the English philosopher, said: ‘wherever law ends, tyranny begins’. This is where we are heading.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Asylum seekers: Human rights lawyers 'not political' (BBC) (2 October 2020)

Solicitor Ann Evans comments on Home Secretary Priti Patel’s continued use of the term ‘activist lawyers’ to describe those in the legal profession who are preventing the removal of asylum seekers. Ann recently represented an asylum seeker at the High Court, where the decision was made to prevent a chartered flight taking 20 asylum seekers to Spain. "We have evidence to suggest that Syrian asylum seekers recently returned to Spain by the government found themselves homeless, destitute and without access to help," Ann said, "and so the question arose whether returning them to Spain was lawful. I think the term 'activist lawyer' is used a lot now, but we were just doing our job. The suggestion that we're somehow politically motivated is not the case at all. Many of our clients have been through a lot of trauma and they're often vulnerable and can't speak English. It's our job to put their case forward where a decision is made by the government that affects them - it's their right to have their case heard before an independent judiciary."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Windrush scheme falls short of righting wrongs (Law Gazette) (2 October 2020)

Public law solicitor Jeremy Bloom writes in the Law Society Gazette about the Home Office’s continuing denial of rights of leave to remain, citizenship, and access to justice for the Windrush generation. Jeremy explains that although many of the breaches committed by the Home office may be historic, the impacts continue to be felt today and further breaches are being committed. Countless people have been refused access to healthcare, housing, or banking facilities, others have lost their jobs, been deported, or been refused access to the UK. The immigration scheme is unduly restrictive and prevents many individuals who have been affected by the historic breaches from regularising their status under the scheme.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Gay woman who was gang-raped after being unlawfully deported to Uganda wins court case against Home Office (The Independent) (28 September 2020)

A gay woman who was unlawfully deported from the UK to Uganda where she had been gang-raped has won in a court case against the Home Office. The 26-year-old was brought back to the UK last year under High Court orders after it was ruled that the decision to reject her asylum claim was unlawful as it did not give her sufficient time to obtain evidence to support her case. The Home Office attempted to challenge the court decision for her to return to Britain, but the Court of Appeal dismissed the department’s appeal on Monday, as well as ruling that the woman was unlawfully detained in the UK for a period of four months.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office U-turns after unlawfully slashing support for trafficking survivors during pandemic (The Independent) (22 September 2020)

The Home Office has made a U-turn on a decision to cut financial support for trafficking victims during the pandemic days before legal action is due to take place. The department was due to face lawyers in court arguing that the government should reinstate support to all potential modern slavery survivors in initial asylum accommodation. However the Home Office made changes to its modern slavery guidance to state that this group would continue to receive support, although the rate was reduced from £35 per week to £25.40. The government said it would also backdate payments for all potential victims of modern slavery housed in initial asylum accommodation to the date in July when payments were stopped. Rachael Davis, comments: “The government left hundreds of survivors of trafficking without any financial support for two months during a global pandemic. Survivors should not have to fight so hard to receive the little financial support to which they are legally entitled.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

UK judge halts Home Office flight to remove asylum seekers (The Guardian) (17 September 2020)

A senior high court judge, Sir Duncan Ouseley, has halted an entire Home Office charter flight hours before up to 20 asylum seekers who crossed the Channel to the UK in small boats were due to be forcibly removed to Spain a country they had already passed through. Under Dublin III regulations one European country can return asylum seekers to another that they have previously passed through if there is evidence of this in the form of fingerprints or other proof. The flight was grounded due to concerns that the asylum seekers might be left destitute in the streets of Madrid in a similar fashion to another group earlier this month. It is believed to be only the second time an entire Home Office charter flight has been grounded by a high court action. A Duncan Lewis spokesperson welcomed the decision; “We hope the Home Office will take this high court decision on board and consider carefully their removal policy to Spain.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Solicitor Sunday Aladetoyinbo takes part in BBC Radio 1Xtra discussing housing matters (15 September 2020)

Housing solicitor Sunday Aladetoyinbo recently took part in the BBC Radio 1Xtra discussion “’Rona: What’s the future of renting?” where he discussed the impact lockdown has had on those who are renting. Sunday offers expert advice and opinion on some of the most pressing matters including asking landlords for a reduction in rent and the likelihood of a surge in evictions.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office reinstates financial support of less than £4 a day for trafficking victims (The Justice Gap) (3 September 2020)

The Home Office has decided to reinstate financial support for trafficking victims after removing it earlier in the pandemic. Modern slavery survivors will receive a reduced rate of £25.40 from 28 August, down from £35 a week, and will backdate payments to July, when support was stopped. Campaigners have welcomed the move but said that support was ‘nowhere near enough’. Rachael Davies ‘Survivors should not have to fight so hard to receive the little financial support to which they are legally entitled. The government left hundreds of survivors of trafficking without any financial support for two months during a global pandemic.’   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

‘No earthly reason’: Thousands of refugees denied sanctuary in UK after settlement scheme frozen during lockdown (The Independent) (2 September 2020)

The Home Office is being urged to reopen resettlement programmes amid warnings of refugees being stuck in limbo overseas. Public law solicitor Sheroy Zaq warns that people who had been accepted as refugees by the UK were waiting “in limbo” overseas as a result of the continued pause on the resettlement programme, and that this was “symptomatic of this government’s shameless attitude towards foreign suffering”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lawyers ‘painted as villains by Home Office’ over migrant crossings (Multiple Sources) (2 September 2020)

The Home Office is facing criticism following its claim that ‘activist lawyers’ are hindering its efforts to deport migrants. This comes after the Home Office published a video in which it explained how it was working to remove people with no right to remain in the UK. The video showed a graphic of aeroplanes leaving the UK with the caption “We are working to remove migrants with no right to remain in the UK” adding that lawyers representing migrants were trying to disrupt the asylum system. The video has since been deleted following criticism from legal professionals and others. The row followed news that a flight holding 23 migrants scheduled for Thursday was halted after a high volume of last-minute legal challenges prevented its departure. Duncan Lewis Solicitors represented a number of the 23 and all were classed as a risk to themselves or others in detention. Public law director Toufique Hossain comments – “Yet another attack on lawyers who are simply doing their best, under exceptionally difficult circumstances, to assist deeply vulnerable clients. This isn’t an attack on activism, it is an assault on the rule of law and people’s constitutional right to access justice. The Government can keep saying what they are saying, but we’ll continue to do what we are doing.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

'No formal evaluation' of digital system for immigration appeals (The Law Gazette) (2 September 2020)

A digital system piloted on a small scale last year to manage immigration and asylum appeals was parachuted into the justice system without any formal evaluation, a public law charity revealed. The Gazette also comment on our Harrow-based public law team serving the government a letter before action regarding new legal aid fees for appeals lodged under the online procedure.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lord Chancellor concedes Legal Aid Regulations are unlawful (11 August 2020) (ILPA) (26 August 2020)

The Lord Chancellor has accepted that the making of the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 was unlawful. This was in response to a judicial review brought on behalf of the claimants by Duncan Lewis’s Toufique Hossain, Simon Robinson and Jeremy Bloom, in which they instructed Chris Buttler and Eleanor Mitchell of Matrix Chambers, and Ali Bandegani of Garden Court Chambers.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Procedural muddle: family case came before 15 judges (The Law Gazette) (20 August 2020)

A reported family law case, R v P (Children: Similar Fact Evidence), involving allegations of controlling and coercive behaviour came before at least fifteen judges, the Court of Appeal reveals in a judgment highlighting the importance of judicial continuity. The case concerns a father’s application for contact with his two young children. The mother opposes contact, alleging that the father subjected her to extreme coercive and controlling behaviour, and sexual abuse including rape. Solicitor Michelle Lubelle of the Harrow office’s family department is representing the mother in this case.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

A brief guide to wills and estates in Spain (The Gazette) (18 August 2020)

Zeen Al Atroshi of the wills and probate department discusses Spanish succession laws and how to obtain probate in Spain. With approximately 380,000 British citizens currently living in Spain Zeen outlines the importance of making a will and offers advice on how to draft a will under Spanish law, Spanish succession laws, and how to apply for probate in Spain.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The domestic violence concession: for the few, not the many (Free Movement) (18 August 2020)

Public law solicitor Sulaiha Ali has written about the long-awaited Domestic Abuse Bill for Free Movement which recently progressed to the House of Lords stage of becoming law. Sulaiha notes that whilst many have been hailing the Domestic Abuse Bill as a “landmark” cross-party success, many black and minority ethnic-led specialist women’s services argue that it fails to account for one of the most vulnerable groups in our society: migrant survivors of domestic abuse who do not have recourse to public funds.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lord Chancellor revokes immigration fixed-fee regime (Solicitors Journal) (14 August 2020)

The Solicitors Journal has reported on our victory in the battle to overturn the government’s fixed fee regime for immigration and asylum claims. The Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 set a £627 fixed fee and came into force on 8 June. The regulations applied to the remuneration of legal aid providers for appellants whose asylum and immigration appeals are being dealt with under an online procedure, which was rolled out in mid-March after a pilot phase. The Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC revoked the new regulations having agreed that inadequate consultation was conducted prior to roll-out of the regime.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Possession proceedings after the lockdown (The Landlord and Lawyer Podcast) (13 August 2020)

Housing director Bernadette Chikwe featured in episode 2 of The Landlord and Lawyer Podcast discussing the new Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Direction setting out how claims are to be dealt with after the coronavirus lockdown stay ends after 23 August 2020. The episode discussed the new rules themselves, considered the relative merits of ‘digital first’ and ‘court hearing first’court procedures, discussed legal aid and what tenants are entitled to, and also discussed whether there should be a housing court, among other housing issues.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Public law department’s work to stop charter flight removals to France garners widespread coverage (Multiple sources) (13 August 2020)

The public law team in Harrow has been featured in a number of media outlets regarding their work representing some of those who are due to be on the planned charter flight to France which will be the first to deport asylum-seekers since the beginning of the lockdown. Director Toufique Hossain appeared on Good Morning Britain and spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Solicitor Jamie Bell also made a radio appearance on The Times Radio, and Lily Parrott was quoted in Morning Star explaining the situation for many of the deportees that the team is representing. “Many are victims of torture, sexual assault or trafficking and many suffer from mental health issues. In these cases, getting specialist legal advice to help navigate the system may be the last protection a person has.” The team’s work has also been featured in The Times and on Yahoo Sports.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Government U-turn over immigration fee reform (Law Gazette) (12 August 2020)

The Lord Chancellor is to revoke a controversial fixed fee regime for immigration and asylum appeals work after our public law team commenced judicial review proceedings. The Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, which came into force in June, introduced a £627 fixed fee. We served a letter before action on the Lord Chancellor challenging the lawfulness of the regulations and issued judicial review proceedings last month, outlining that the Lord Chancellor failed to consult lawfully before making the regulations and failed to gather the information reasonably required to make a proper decision. On 11th August it was announced that the Lord Chancellor will revoke the regulations.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Asylum seeker removal flight to go ahead despite last-minute court action (The Guardian) (12 August 2020)

A charter flight to remove asylum seekers who recently arrived in the UK on small boats is due to take off despite last-minute high court actions in the early hours of Wednesday morning and other interventions which have led to at least 19 people not boarding the plane. The 19 who have a stay of execution now have an opportunity to make more detailed asylum representations in the UK. Helen Baron comments; “We are extremely relieved that 19 clients at risk of removal on August 12 have had their removal directions deferred by the Home Office, stayed by the court or confirmed that the Home Office never in fact set directions for their removal. Many are extremely vulnerable and have suffered further trauma from being detained and their fear of removal after surviving horrors in Yemen, Kuwait, Iran and Afghanistan as well as en route to the UK. We will continue to fight for their protection in the UK.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office spends more than £1m deporting hundreds of people at height of lockdown, figures show (The Independent) (10 August 2020)

The Independent reveals that the Home Office spent more than £1m on deporting hundreds of people during the height of lockdown, despite government instructions warning against all non-essential travel. Trainee solicitor Helen Baron told The Independent that the sum of money spent was ‘outrageous’ and added, “It is horrifying to think how many lives they have put at risk prioritising immigration detention and forced removals during a pandemic.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Refugees tell of brutality as people-smuggling across Channel booms (The Guardian) (7 August 2020)

Toufique Hossain speaks to The Guardian in light of the recent reports from refugees of increasingly brutal tactics used by people-smugglers transporting thousands across the Channel in small boats, as calm seas and the Covid-19 pandemic create a boom in the trade. Toufique comments; “Refugees are fleeing death, war and torture. That is why they are prepared to risk life and limb, death by drowning, imprisonment and enslavement along the way. Far from dismantling the hostile environment, Priti Patel is taking it to its extreme.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office restarts deportation of asylum seekers despite coronavirus fears (The Independent) (7 August 2020)

Asylum seekers are set to be deported for the first time since coronavirus took hold in the UK, prompting concerns that the Home Office is “playing politics with public health”. Trainee solicitor Lily Parrott is representing one man who is scheduled to be on a charter flight to France after he arrived in the UK in May, crossing the Channel in a small boat from Calais. Lily comments; “These asylum seekers risk facing destitution and homelessness. Further, we have not been assured that the people being removed are being done so lawfully or that the Home Office has checked whether they are at high risk from Covid-19.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Landmark decision on “particular social group” (Free Movement) (4 August 2020)

Free Movement have taken an in-depth look into one of our recent reported cases DH (Particular Social Group: Mental Health) Afghanistan [2020] UKUT 223 (IAC) The case affirms the supremacy of the Refugee Convention 1951 over EU law by reference to the Convention’s object and purpose; recognises for the first time in UK asylum law that a “person living with disability or mental ill-health” may qualify as a member of a particular social group (PSG); and it clarifies the correct legal approach, overturning previous unhelpful tribunal authority, approving obiter comments of the House of Lords as well as affirming the UN Refugee Agency guidelines (helpfully annexed to the decision) making it easier to establish a PSG in all cases. Solicitor Stefan Vnuk represented the appellant.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Trafficking victims’ financial support slashed unlawfully during coronavirus pandemic, lawyers warn (The Independent) (4 August 2020)

Hundreds of trafficking survivors have had their financial support slashed unlawfully during the coronavirus pandemic, lawyers warn. We issue the Home Office a pre-action letter requesting that it reinstate financial support to all potential victims in hotel accommodation, after we successfully challenged cuts to support for five individuals, whose support was subsequently reinstated. Ahmed Aydeed comments; “Instead of increasing basic support for victims of trafficking during this pandemic, the home secretary has unlawfully cut the basic subsistence payments made to them. Survivors of trafficking are entitled to this support and desperately need it to enable them to recover and escape from their traffickers.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

British trafficking victim sues Priti Patel alleging abuse of personal data (The Guardian) (4 August 2020)

A British victim of trafficking is bringing a case against the home secretary, Priti Patel, arguing that her department unlawfully accessed personal information including details of her intimate thoughts. The woman was drugged, abused and trafficked on a number of occasions for the purposes of sexual exploitation and drug trafficking. She has suffered extensive sexual and physical abuse, and was exploited to undertake criminal activities. She has been confirmed by the Home Office to be a serial victim of modern-day slavery. The case she is bringing focuses on the Home Office’s claim that it owns the extensive data collected on victims of trafficking by charities contracted by the department, under the victim care contract. Public law director Ahmed Aydeed said that at one point last year the woman was detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act. She was due to be discharged but had nowhere to go to. Aydeed challenged the Home Office to provide accommodation and argued that the government had a responsibility to do this as she was a victim of trafficking. In the course of acting for his client, Aydeed says it became clear the Home Office had obtained sensitive information about her from the database that he considered irrelevant to her trafficking case. This included details of her thoughts and feelings.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office breaking law by leaving destitute asylum seekers homeless (The Independent) (24 July 2020)

Under asylum law, the Home Office is required to grant housing and support to asylum seekers who are waiting on their claims, or whose claims have been refused but who aren’t able to leave the UK. A number of recent court orders reveal that the government has been told it must house destitute individuals whom it has a legal duty to support. Ahmed Aydeed speaks to The Independent about such cases that he and his team have been involved in. “The home secretary, in all these cases, accepts clients are destitute and need urgent support, yet does nothing for months. Charities are having to fill the gap, and we’re receiving urgent referrals where that is simply no longer possible.” He says, adding; “Our clients were lucky that they received this additional support from these wonderful charities, but I’m extremely concerned for those who do not receive this support and do not have legal representation. We’ve had cases where there hasn’t been a charity to fill the gap, and we’ve had to issue proceedings on the weekend to ensure clients aren’t left destitute. Who knows what’s happening to people who do not have legal representation.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Asylum seeker to sue Home Office after falling ill with Covid-19 (The Guardian) (21 July 2020)

An asylum seeker who became infected with Covid-19 after an outbreak in his accommodation – despite assurances from the Home Office that he would not be at risk from the virus there – is taking legal action against the government. Isabella Kirwan who is part of the Duncan Lewis public law team representing the man bringing the challenge says; ”Residents of Urban House are at grave risk of contracting Covid-19. It is clear that they are unable to properly protect themselves in conditions that are manifestly unsafe. The Home Office has yet again failed an extremely vulnerable group of individuals.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Uneasy Street (The Law Gazette) (20 July 2020)

Housing director Bernadette Chikwe is featured in the Law Gazette’s article highlighting the vulnerabilities of the under-resources legal ecosystem which sees housing law as one of the most exposed areas. Bernadette draws attention to some of the benefits of the recent Coronavirus Act 2020, which came into effect on 25 March, in which landlords must now give at least three months’ notice before they can start proceedings to evict tenants (an emergency measure in place until 30 September). “Clients do get more time, if, for example, they lost their jobs or were furloughed, to get their financial circumstances in order.” She says.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office removal window makes access to justice ‘practically impossible’ (Law Gazette and The Justice Gap) (8 July 2020)

Both The Law Gazette and The Justice Gap have reported on the challenge to the Home Office’s immigration policy that campaigners say imposes too tight a timetable for people facing deportation to get proper access to justice. The challenge is brought by Medical Justice represented by Public Law Project, and ‘FB’, an individual who faced removal under the policy who is represented by Duncan Lewis Solicitors. It is argued that the Home Office policy is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Dublin III regulations preventing those being removed from having a fair chance to put their case forward and has led to ‘tens of thousands’ of deportations .   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office increases support for trafficking victims after lawyers argue rates are 'discriminatory' (The Independent) (2 July 2020)

The Home Office has increased support for suspected modern slavery victims after facing a legal challenge claimed the current levels were discriminatory and left vulnerable mothers unable to afford basic essentials. Solicitor Shalini Patel who brought a judicial review against the Home Office to challenge the fact that a significantly lower level of financial support is provided to victims of trafficking who are pregnant or have children and do not claim asylum, compared with victims of trafficking who claim asylum, comments; “For victims of trafficking this period brings back memories of long-term trauma. A number of women are pregnant when they enter the NRM and a number of those fall pregnant as a result of sexual exploitation. To have discriminated against this extremely vulnerable group for so long has been another shameful chapter in the government’s treatment of trafficking survivors. I am glad this challenge has brought about a long-term change.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Boxer trafficked as child wins right to stay in UK after 16 years (Multiple sources) (1 July 2020)

Reuters and other international sources, including the Nigerian Tribune, report on our client, former England boxer, Kelvin Bilal Fawaz, who was trafficked from Nigeria as a child and forced into domestic servitude has won the right to remain the UK after a 16-year legal battle. Sumbul Phillips comments on the positive outcome; “It has been an incredibly positive outcome for Bilal, but also serves as a reminder to everyone that there are hundreds of others, being overlooked all too easily by the government.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Asylum seeker set to challenge “illusory” right to work rules (Free Movement) (22 June 2020)

The High Court has granted permission for a judicial review challenge to the rules on when asylum seekers are allowed to work in the UK. The challenge, which argues among other things that the decision to refuse permission to work outside the Shortage Occupation List was “irrational, unreasonable and breaches the Claimant’s rights under Article 8” of the European Convention on Human Rights. Solicitor Sulaiha Ali comments; “…the current rules only create an illusory right to work for asylum seekers, as very rarely will they be able to work in a job listed in the Shortage Occupation List.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office ordered to pay for hotel for family in unsafe accommodation (The Guardian) (12 June 2020)

A high-court judge has ordered the Home Office to pay for a hotel for a vulnerable asylum seeker and her two young children, after twice placing them in unsafe accommodation over the past 10 months. The woman and her children were placed in Home Office accommodation in August 2019, but made numerous complains about the conditions. Concerns were also raised by the children’s school, social services, lawyers, and charities. After nearly 10 months, they were moved to a hotel in east London which was dirty, infested with insects, and was impossible to carry out physical distancing. Public law solicitor Maria Thomas comments; “Our client was subjected to harassment, racist abuse and overcrowding. Despite her pleas for help the home secretary did nothing to resolve this and placed her and her children in a hotel which was unhygienic, unsafe and failed to comply with the government’s guidelines for social distancing.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Public law director Vinita Templeton discusses Commonwealth veterans on BBC Radio 5 (10 June 2020)

Public law director Vinita Templeton discussed her work assisting Commonwealth veterans who served in the British Army and now face extortionate immigration fees after they maintain that they were not made aware that they needed to apply for indefinite leave to remain immediately upon discharge. Vinita clearly points out that this issue is not simply an oversight of the Home Office; “They [the Home Office] know very well what the position is, this is not the first time that this has come up, last year the issue of fees was supported by close to 140 MPs who signed and presented a letter to Sajid Javid seeking a waiver of these fees and the response was a clear cut ‘no, we do not believe that Commonwealth soldiers should be treated in any other way than other migrants to the United Kingdom.’ That is the official line and is something that was published as a formal response to that letter presented to the Home Secretary. So no, it is not an oversight at all.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Public law director Toufique Hossain takes part in BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action programme (BBC Radio 4) (10 June 2020)

Public law director Toufique Hossain spoke to Joshua Rozenberg on BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action programme discussing the legal challenge against Home Secretary Priti Patel launched by Detention Action. Toufique explained the reason behind the legal action. “We took the view based on expert evidence, that people in the detention estate being held under immigration powers would be at real risk of serious harm and indeed death because the expert reports said that the way in which the coronavirus would spread rapidly through a detention facility meant that the only real option would be releasing people held under immigration powers in great numbers.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

‘Hammer blow for access to justice’: Trafficking victims will be left with no legal representation under ‘ill-considered’ new rules, lawyers warn (The Independent) (8 June 2020)

New rules on legal aid mean that trafficking victims and vulnerable asylum seekers will be unable to access legal representation. The Independent reports on how Duncan Lewis Solicitors is threatening to sue the Ministry of Justice over its failure to consult on the changes, warning that without any apparent evidence base, the amendment increases the likelihood that legal aid providers will be under-compensated for their work and places access to justice at risk. Toufique Hossain notes; "Years of cuts to public funding have decimated the legal aid sector, and these latest amendments make the situation untenable for migrant lawyers. There is now too great a risk that legal aid lawyers will simply be unable to represent those who need help the most, having a devastating effect on access to social justice."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The 10-year British Army Veteran from Fiji charged thousands for NHS treatment (talkRADIO) (29 May 2020)

talkRADIO spoke to our public law director Vinita Templeton (07:54), who represents eight veterans who are taking action against the MoD. She highlighted the continuing problems that many former Commonwealth soldiers have faced. She comments: “it’s just an issue that needs to be resolved and it’s not good enough for the government to simply resolve it on a piecemeal basis and try to sweep it under the carpet, which is what is being done and that as far as we’re concerned [is] the reason why we are pursuing this legal action - we don’t feel that is good enough, we feel that this has to change”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lord Chancellor could face JR over immigration fee change (The Law Society Gazette) (29 May 2020)

The Law Society Gazette reports on our Harrow-based public law team serving a letter before action on the Lord Chancellor challenging the lawfulness of the Civil Legal Aid (Remuneration) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (the Amendment Regulations) on behalf of four of its clients. The legal team includes Toufique Hossain, Jeremy Bloom, and Simon Robinson. They have instructed Chris Buttler and Eleanor Mitchell of Matrix Chambers and Ali Bandegani of Garden Court Chambers.  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office deporting migrants who cross Channel in small boats (The Guardian) (22 May 2020)

The Guardian reports that the Home Office has launched an initiative – known as Operation Sillath - to deport migrants who cross the Channel from France to the UK in small boats. Lily Parrott, trainee solicitor in the public law department, is working on a legal challenge concerning Operation Sillath and the return of asylum seekers to France. She comments; “We are increasingly concerned about a trend that we have seen where the Home Office seeks to remove people from the UK to France after they arrived to the UK by boat. We feel that this is being done illegally and on the basis of a conflation between the Dublin convention and a UK-France treaty about border management. This would be an egregious breach of European law that allowed many asylum-seekers to be wrongly removed from the UK.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Appeal judges dismiss challenge to Home Office paying immigration detainees £1 an hour (The Justice Gap) (21 May 2020)

The Court of Appeal has dismissed our challenge to the Secretary of State for the Home Department’s policy of paying immigration detainees a fixed pay rate of £1 an hour in order to work in detention. “This is a very disappointing decision for our clients,” said Philip Armitage of Duncan Lewis Solicitors who represented the appellant. “The £1 an hour rate of pay for detainees has now been in place for twelve years with no increase. Our clients were undertaking key work within the IRCs, including cleaning to ensure the centre was hygienic, and all they are asking is that the value of that work is respected by the Home Office.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Court rules bar set too high for NHS surcharge and visa fee waivers (The Guardian) (21 May 2020)

Our public law team have brought a case in relation to the Home Office’s fee waiver policy, with the Upper Tribunal declaring that the current policy is unlawful. Saul Stone, the solicitor who acted in the case comments: “This is a landmark judgment which will provide some reprieve to the thousands of people who apply for waivers of extortionate Home Office fees each year. This group is likely to include many low-paid migrant NHS workers who have been unable to demonstrate that they are destitute but nevertheless cannot afford the fees required to apply to stay in the UK. If you are granted a fee waiver for your immigration fees, you are also granted a fee waiver for the health surcharge – it goes hand in hand.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office to review detention policy after admitting trafficking victim was locked up unlawfully (The Independent) (19 May 2020)

The Home Office is undertaking a review of its immigration detention policy after admitting that it held a Vietnamese trafficking victim in a removal centre unlawfully. Ahmed Aydeed, who represented the victim of trafficking comments on the outcome; “After finally escaping her traffickers, our client was criminalised and falsely imprisoned by our government. The Home Secretary has now accepted her wrongdoings, but continues to detain thousands of survivors of human trafficking and slavery every year in these horrific immigration detention centres,” adding; “We welcome the Home Secretary’s agreement to review the deficiencies within her current policy in line with our submissions and evidence. These policies are extremely important as they impact on thousands of survivors of human trafficking and slavery.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

British army veteran faces £27,000 NHS hospital bill (The Guardian) (19 May 2020)

A Fijian-born, Commonwealth veteran who served for over a decade in the British army has been told that he must pay over £27,000 for NHS hospital bills following an emergency operation to remove a brain tumour. Taitusi Ratucaucau is classified as an overseas patient and therefore ineligible for free NHS care. He joined the British army in 2001 and has been continuously in the UK since being discharged from the military in 2011, living here with his wife and three daughters, and paying tax and national insurance. His lawyer, director Vinita Templeton comments on the case and the situation of those in similar circumstances; “All our clients are afraid that seeking medical will result in the Home Office being notified of their situation, and in being faced with medical bills that they cannot afford.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Student housing: do I still need to pay if I've left? (The Guardian) (7 May 2020)

Housing director Manjinder Kaur Atwal offers expert advice to university students who have been forced to leave their student accommodation or privately rented rooms empty as a result of university closures due to the government lockdown.She points out that the outbreak of Covid-19 is unlikely to prevent a tenancy from continuing. “If students have entered into a contract for a fixed period of time, which is yet to expire,” she explains “there may be a break clause allowing them to terminate the contract before the end of the fixed term, after providing the required notice. Students are advised to negotiate with their landlord immediately, as the obligation to pay their rent will continue in accordance with their contract, they could remain liable for any rent due up to the expiry of the notice period.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

"£5 a day is not enough": Asylum seekers surviving on ‘scandalously low’ financial support during pandemic (The Independent) (5 May 2020)

The Home Office faces a legal challenge over asylum support rates during the UK lockdown as the current conditions create a ‘support gap’ for those who are having to survive on just £37 a week. Our public law team in Harrow has issued a pre-action letter to the Home Office arguing that the support gap that has been opened up by the current conditions must be filled by temporarily increasing the support rates to level that would ensure purchasing power at least equivalent to that in the pre-pandemic period. When the Home Affairs Select Committee asked if she would consider increasing support rates by £20 a week, Home Secretary Priti Patel claims that she has seen no evidence that asylum seekers are struggling to meet their basic needs on the current rates. Director Toufique Hossain argues that the evidence is overwhelming that asylum seekers are living in desperate circumstances and that the levels of support are ‘insufficient’. “Priti Patel can no longer hide behind her ignorance.” Toufique told The Independent, “This existential shortfall was pointed out to her during the recent select committee hearings and her answer betrayed that once more she was not across her brief. Now that the home secretary has seen the evidence from refugee charities and the information contained in our pre-action correspondence shining a bright light on the desperate measures being adopted by asylum seekers to survive in this period, we hope she will change course, urgently.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office facing legal challenge over failure to support new asylum seekers during pandemic (The Independent) (23 April 2020)

Immigration trainee solicitor Raman Kumar is quoted in The Independent as hundreds of asylum seekers are being forced to choose between travelling to London to submit their claims, or surviving without the support they are entitled to as a result of a lack of an alternative submission process during the lockdown. Raman, who is representing an Afghan man who was told that he could not arrange a screening interview to apply for asylum for his family of seven until after the lockdown has been lifted, reveals that this is going to be challenged by judicial review, adding that the Home Office had “failed to operate lawful policies during this time of public health emergency”.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Firm fights off ‘unlawful’ policy to send clients 120 miles away (The Law Gazette) (23 April 2020)

Duncan Lewis Solicitors is featured in The Law Gazette’s article on how the president of the first-tier tribunals attempted to bar the firm from hearings in Birmingham after two of our directors were appointed as judges there. The president issued a policy that all cases in which an appellant was represented by Duncan Lewis were to be transferred 120 miles to Hatton Cross in West London. Duncan Lewis had submitted that the policy was unlawful.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

350 freed from immigration detention (Inside Time) (15 April 2020)

Public law director Toufique Hossain spoke to Inside Time in light of the Home Office releasing 350 immigration detainees from immigration detention centres following the legal challenge led by the Duncan Lewis public law team on behalf of charity Detention Action. As a result of this, one-third of detainees have been released in response to the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the total population within in detention centres down from 1,100 to 750. Toufique comments that; “this litigation has brought about the release of hundreds of detainees, preventing many from suffering serious harm.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

“The government’s help for renters is not enough.” (RT TV) (26 March 2020)

Housing director Manjinder Kaur Atwal was interviewed by RT TV on how the government intends to assist renters during the coronavirus outbreak. She explains how the package introduced by the government in an attempt to protects both renters and landlords during the uncertainty of the pandemic. “The government announced help for renters due to the coronavirus; unfortunately, the legislation itself does not follow through” she explains.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Coronavirus: 'Symptoms' at three immigration removal centres (BBC News) (25 March 2020)

The BBC reports on how three immigration removal centres in the UK are housing people with symptoms of coronavirus. Immigration lawyers are aware of the Home Office continuing to arrest people and place them in IRCs during the coronavirus pandemic, something that due to the inability to remove people to their countries of origin because of the lack of deportation flights, is putting all those held in immigration detention at risk of contracting the virus. Public law director Toufique Hossain comments; "…it is now abundantly clear the Secretary of State has no lawful basis to detain simply because removals can no longer take place."   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Charter flight deportations: the Wild West of immigration law (Legal Action Group) (24 March 2020)

Public law solicitor Maria Thomas discusses the recent charter flight deportations with Legal Action Group, calling for an end to this legally and morally dubious practice. Maria explains how Duncan Lewis issued proceedings for 14 individuals on 10 February 2020, seeking, first, to prevent anyone from being forcibly removed to Jamaica pending the publication and implementation of the Windrush lessons learned review. As well as arguing that there was a heightened risk to anyone being removed by charter flight, as a result of the intense publicity and media scrutiny surrounding this type of deportation. The generic challenges failed, but seven of our 14 clients were taken off the flight on the basis of individual facts, either by court order or deferred by the secretary of state herself. The remaining seven benefited from the Court of Appeal order, and all 14 are now in the process of preparing their fresh claims. Maria’s key message is that “…deportation by charter flight is unnecessary and unjustifiable, and amounts to mass expulsion, which – for good reason – is unlawful under international law.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office releases 300 from detention centres amid Covid-19 pandemic (The Guardian) (23 March 2020)

The Guardian reports on the unprecedented release following legal action arguing that the Home Office is failing to protect immigration detainees. Duncan Lewis Solicitors Immigration and Public Law departments were instructed to bring the legal action by Detention Action in what is thought to be the first legal action against the government relating to the coronavirus outbreak. The action was bought on behalf of all those who are particularly vulnerable due to age or underlying health conditions, as well as for all detainees to be tested along with the suspension of all new detentions. Public health expert Prof Richard Coker of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine provided an expert report, commissioned by Duncan Lewis, in which he warns that prisons and detention centres provide ideal incubation conditions for the rapid spread of the coronavirus, and that about 60% of those in detention could be rapidly infected if the virus gets into detention centres.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Fears over coronavirus risk in prisons as first UK inmate case confirmed (The Guardian) (19 March 2020)

A report by Professor Richard Coker of the London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine warns of the risk of Covid-19 spreading at a fast rate through locked establishments such as prisons and detention centres, this comes following the news that the first case of coronavirus in Strangeways prison in Manchester. This report was commissioned by Duncan Lewis Solicitors as we embark on what is believed to be the first legal action concerning Covid-19; calling on the Home Office to release many detainees from immigration detention due to the high risk of contracting the virus should they remain locked up. Public law director Toufique Hossain comments; “The government is sitting on its hands, keeping detainees locked up during this pandemic, contrary to its earnest public health instruction and exposing detainees to a severe risk of infection. The time for swift action is overdue.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

MOD must 'urgently resolve' Right to Remain for Commonwealth veterans, MPs warn, after Royal Navy becomes latest force to be pulled into immigration row (The Telegraph) (18 March 2020)

MPs are warning that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) need to urgently resolve the Right to Remain issue for Commonwealth veterans after the Royal Navy became the latest force to be pulled into the immigration row, The Telegraph reports. Mark Waiganjo served in the Royal Navy as a medic for seven years and has accused the MoD of failing to inform him of the correct procedures he was required to follow in order to process his immigration status to permanent residency in the UK. His lawyer, immigration director Vinita Templeton comments that his case also has the “insurmountable” cost of application fees on top, which for himself, his wife and two young children would cost nearly £10,000.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

England rugby players’ ex-soldier father stuck in Fiji because of immigration rules (Multiple sources) (11 March 2020)

Multiple sources internationally, including The Guardian and Fijivillage, are reporting on the news that a number of Commonwealth army veterans – including Ilaitia Cokanasiga, father of England rugby player Joe Cokanasiga – have taken legal action after they were classified as illegal immigrants following their discharge after the army failed to inform them that they needed to make an immediate application to the Home Office for leave to remain in the UK. Mr Cokanasiga sought advice from immigration director Vinita Templeton who confirmed that the immigration stamp on his card was invalid. Vinita comments; “Mr Cokanasiga’s situation highlights just how widespread this issue is, and how ex-servicemen can unwittingly remain unaware that their exemption stamp does not confer a valid right to remain in the UK after being discharged. This is a family that has benefited the United Kingdom hugely, but has been severely let down by the government.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Lawyer in the news: Toufique Hossain, Duncan Lewis (The Law Gazette) (9 March 2020)

Public law director Toufique Hossain was featured in The Law Society Gazette. The feature outlines his role in obtaining a court injunction last month on behalf of Detention Action, to stop the Home Office deporting individuals on a charter flight to Jamaica. Toufique relayed his thoughts on the case stating: “We have experience in urgent removal work but what we wanted to achieve here was ambitious. To take on several individual cases and develop an important strategic challenge at the same time was intense work.” On the widened media interest in the Jamaican cases he notes: “…what has perhaps made this story so striking is that the media, and the public at large, now see that the government’s deportation regime is not populated with tabloid caricatures, but our neighbours and friends. Deportation is cruel and the net is case wide.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Commonwealth veterans accuse UK of leaving them in immigration limbo (Multiple Sources) (9 March 2020)

The Guardian and The Times report on how a group of ex-soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking legal action against the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over systemic failures. Immigration Director Vinita Templeton is bringing the action on behalf of eight men who claim that the army failed to inform them that they needed to make an immediate application to the Home Office for leave to remain in the UK on discharge. This is despite a clear MoD requirement that the process should be explained to all non-British veterans in the period before they leave the army. The extortionate and unaffordable costs of Home Office application fees have further prolonged their state of limbo. Vinita comments: “I have seen unimaginable suffering by servicemen. Their state of limbo since learning that their immigration status is actually unresolved, sometimes years later, has brought about loss of jobs, fear of accessing public services, and for, some homelessness.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Want to divorce but can't afford a lawyer? Here's 12 ways to reduce, defer or pay your legal fees if you have little or no money (This is Money) (6 March 2020)

Child care director Emine Mehmet is featured in This is Money’s article on alternative ways to fund a divorce for those who cannot afford a lawyer. The article, details twelve ways for those with little or no money to reduce, defer or pay their legal fees when going through divorce proceedings. Emine offers prudent advice to those hoping to obtain legal aid funding for their divorce, pointing out that although legal aid funding for divorce was withdrawn in 2013, it remains available for cases where abuse has occurred; “You have to give one of the prescribed forms of evidence. It's not just a case of one call to the police. Some people may not have the proof as the very nature of relationships may be that they were unable to get it.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Man died in 'plain sight' at detention centre (BBC News) (5 March 2020)

A jury at the inquest into the death of a Ghanaian man at an immigration removal centre near Heathrow has found that neglect was a factor, finding that there was gross failure across all agencies to provide appropriate care for someone unable to care for himself. Prince Fosu was suffering from hypothermia, dehydration, malnourishment, and psychosis when he died at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre in 2012. Public law director Ahmed Aydeed comments; “The government is simply refusing to accept that immigration detention does not work.” He further highlighted the continuing issues surrounding the care immigration detainees receive; “…healthcare staff, staff at immigration detention centres, and also Home Office staff who make decisions on detention are not adequately trained to deal with these cases.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

The Home Office is about to deport a ‘torture victim’ who claims he endured slavery in the UK (The Canary) (28 February 2020)

The Canary reports on a detainees at Harmondsworth (WS) who is expected to be aboard a deportation charter flight to Pakistan, despite the fact that he claims to have been subjected to torture whilst in Pakistan and a victim of modern slavery in the UK. Public law caseworker Dunya Kamal explained that when WS submitted his own modern slavery claim it should have been investigated by the Home Office’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM). “On receipt of the modern slavery claim, the HO [Home Office] should decide whether or not to make a referral to the NRM and then a Competent Authority should make a reasonable grounds decision.” She explained.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

How do I convince the Home Office I am a lesbian? (BBC) (27 February 2020)

Immigration director Zofia Duszynska is featured in the BBC’s account of Angel’s story about how she fled Zimbabwe in fear of her life after police discovered that she was a lesbian five years ago. Since fleeing, Angel (not their real name) has had to convince the Home Office that she is gay. The Home Office's decision on whether to grant or refuse asylum depends on whether the interviewer finds the asylum-seeker's account authentic and believable - but each interviewer may have his or her own assumptions about what an authentic and believable account should look like. Zofia comments on how interviewers previously had a tendency to ask intrusive questions about sexual behaviour; “Now rather than physical descriptions, decision-makers require an emotional journey, for applicants to describe how they discovered they were gay and the emotional impact on them.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Jamaicans whose removal was ruled unlawful by courts still detained and apart from families two weeks on (The Independent) (27 February 2020)

Jamaicans who were granted last-minute reprieve from a deportation flight two weeks ago are still in detention and unable to reunite with their families, in what lawyers have said could be an unlawful move by the Home Office. Public law caseworker Georgia Banks discusses her client’s situation; “The Home Office shamelessly brought him to the airport by ambulance on the night of the flight but the High Court ordered a stay on removal. Today he will be released and be able to return to his family.” On the fact that many remain detained, she added; “Without the specialist bail tribunal’s intervention, they remain locked up. There is no lawful basis justifying prolonged detention as their removal cannot take place within a reasonable timeframe.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Potential modern slavery victims among dozens facing imminent removal on charter flight to Pakistan (The Independent) (26 February 2020)

Public law director Toufique Hossain speaks to The Independent after numerous asylum seekers, thought to be victims of torture, are set to be forcibly removed to Pakistan on the third charter flight to leave the UK in as many weeks. Toufique pointed out that he and his team had seen a number of last-minute referrals of victims of modern slavery, trafficking and torture on the flight on Wednesday. “The Home Office know this. They’d rather wait for the courts to intervene than do the right thing.” Toufique said; “The Home Office continue their relentless practice of mass expulsion by way of charter flights, undeterred even by recent clear examples where removal would have been unlawful.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Torture victims who endured slavery escape deportation by matter of hours after lawyers intervene (The Independent) (26 February 2020)

The Independent reports on how at least 16 people who were issued removal directions have been granted a last minute reprieve after it emerged they were trafficking victims and should not have been detained. Immigration trainee solicitor Isabella Kirwan, said she and the team had successfully deferred the removal of six people due to be on the flight, all of whom had disclosed indicators of exploitation to the Home Office which she said should have triggered referrals to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), the UK's framework or identifying victims of modern slavery and trafficking. “The Home Office intended to remove these refugees from the UK without even looking at whether they had been forced into labour or had survived of human trafficking before arriving in the UK,” she said. “The clients all disclosed indicators of exploitation to the Home Office which should have triggered referrals into the NRM for the Home Office to investigate this further. All of the clients we took on were Eritreans who had passed through Libya. The Home Office has a legal duty to protect refugees who have survived torture and human trafficking. They are routinely failing in this duty.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Graduate, 26, fell in love with HSBC manager, 56, before sending disturbing messages (Mirror and multiple other sources) (26 February 2020)

The Mirror reports on how, Ms Salt, a 26-year-old graduate trainee fell in love with her older manager, before it turned into a terrible ordeal. Crime solicitor, Marina Williamson who represented the client told the court that “she [Ms Salt] met the victim during a six-month internship at the bank and little did she know it would end up in the terrible ordeal that has ended here. He was a senior at the bank, thirty years older than her and she was quite vulnerable, quite young. She fell deeply in love with him and that is part of the reason she behaved so badly at the end.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office attempted to deport man unfit to fly shackled in an ambulance (The London Economic) (26 February 2020)

The London Economic reports on the cruelty of the Home Office’s deportation policies as an attempt was made to deport a 56-year-old father of three despite medical concerns about his fitness to fly. Public law solicitor, Maria Petrova-Collins who represents the man due to be deported to Jamaica comments: “Experts from Medical Justice certified my client as unfit to fly and he was granted individual stay of removal by the High Court hours before the charter flight departed on that basis. The Home Office was ready to deport the client without any evidence that his medical condition and fitness to fly had been investigated…He sleeps with an oxygen mask and suffers from a long list of medical conditions, including but not limited to extremely high blood pressure, respiratory failure and chronic kidney disease. In fact, the Home Office has been fully aware of his medical condition from the outset…yet is still opposing the client’s bail application and placing his life at risk by maintaining the decision to detain him. Such conduct should be heavily criticised not only as being clearly unreasonable but also inhumane.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office to deport vulnerable asylum seekers (The Guardian) (20 February 2020)

The Guardian reports on Home Office plans to depot vulnerable asylum seekers and suspected victims of trafficking on a charter flight. Lawyers within the public law department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors have obtained last minute high court injunctions preventing some suspected victims of trafficking from flying on today (20th February 2020). The flight will be going to Switzerland, Germany and Austria under Dublin convention legislation and EU rules that require asylum seekers to claim asylum in the first safe EU country they arrive in. Public law director Toufique Hossain raises the point that injunctions often have to be filed in the high court at the eleventh hour by legal aid lawyers as a result of previous lawyers letting people in detention centres down. Toufique comments that: “Access to justice is even more critical in these circumstances.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

British woman repeatedly trafficked for sex after Home Office failures (The Guardian) (18 February 2020)

A high court judge has been forced to compel the Home Office to house a vulnerable British sex trafficking victim who had been re-trafficked by county lines drugs gangs on numerous occasions and was about to become street homeless after the Home Office failed to fulfil its legal obligation to provide her with safe accommodation. Public law solicitor Rachael Davis, who is representing the victim comments; “The failure to provide our client with the specialist support and accommodation to which she was legally entitled has had devastating consequences, including her having been repeatedly re-trafficked, sexually assaulted and financially exploited. Our client was recognised as a victim of modern slavery as long ago as June 2019, yet she was not provided with a safe place to live until January 2020 – and only once we had obtained a court order compelling the secretary of state for the home department to do so. It is wholly unacceptable to refuse to provide specialist support and accommodation to a victim of modern slavery because their needs are too complex. Ultimately these are the people who need it the most.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

BID exposes Immigration Detention in Prisons at ‘Behind Locked Doors’ (BID) (14 February 2020)

Public law director Toufique Hossain presented at the ‘Behind Locked Doors’ event held by BID (Bail for Immigration Detainees) which aimed to expose immigration detention in prisons. Toufique outlined the two challenges the Duncan Lewis public law department is currently working on, the first being the challenge to the lack of safeguards in prisons for vulnerable detainees and the second being the lack of access to legal advice. “They are clearly vulnerable; many of them are torture survivors or victims of trafficking. Those detainees if they were in immigration removal centres could use the safeguards there. At least if you’re detained in immigration detention you can go to the health care units in IRC’s and then eventually try and go to the Home Office and say that you have evidence that you’re a victim of torture so you need to be released… In prison, and this was confirmed in a report by Stephen Shaw the former prison ombudsman, the prison rules don’t offer the adequate protection and so we took that and tried to challenge the failures and lack of safeguards in prisons.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Appeal court gives 11th-hour reprieve to detainees due to be sent to Jamaica (Multiple Sources) (14 February 2020)

Lawyers from the Duncan Lewis public law department have been extensively featured in the media concerning the charter flight deporting over fifty people to Jamaica. Public law director Toufique Hossain is quoted in The Guardian concerning our representation of Detention Action who brought the legal challenge against the deportation owing to the lack of O2 phone network at Heathrow detention centres which left detainees unable to exercise their legal right to contact their lawyers. Toufique comments; “For weeks now detainees’ complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Their removal looms large, hours away and yet again it takes judicial intervention to make the Home Office take basic, humane and fair steps to allow people to enjoy their constitutional right to access justice.” Caseworker Dunya Kamal is also quoted in The Independent, commenting; “This is yet another example of the callous and cruel way in which they have approached this charter flight.” During a radio interview on BBC Radio 5 Live’s The Emma Barnett Show, solicitor Maria Thomas highlighted the fact that a number of the detainees committed their crimes “…in the context of being victims of trafficking, specifically county lines trafficking.” This, she explains, shows that; “…there are real questions to be answered before proceeding with this type of forcibly removing a number of people and this mass expulsion.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Home Office admits mobile phone outage in detention centres as deportees unable to contact lawyers (The Independent) (10 February 2020)

The Independent reports on how a mobile phone outage at removal centres has prevented people from accessing crucial legal services to challenge their deportation, days before a charter flight is set to leave the UK. Public law and immigration solicitor, Marina Khan who represents one of the detainees, Mr Bepart-Woollett, comments on the outage, stating “…we were trying to contact him every day since he instructed us.” As a result, Marina was unable to submit her client’s documents to the Home Office during office hours as she did not receive them in time. She notes that “…the delay was unreasonable…it’s caused a lot of undue stress and frustration for our client. He’s been totally deprived of contacting his legal representatives and unable to access legal justice and advice from us.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Government under pressure over Jamaica deportation flight (Multiple sources) (7 February 2020)

A number of media outlets including BBC News and The Dumbarton Reporter are reporting on how potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery are among those due to be deported to Jamaica by charter flight next week. Public Law director, Toufique Hossain is representing 13 of the people due on Tuesday’s (11 February) flight and comments that he has “serious concerns” regarding the vulnerability of the people on the flight. One of his clients has been in the UK for many years and was convicted of a drugs offence when he was young. It was an offence he claims he was forced to commit by older gang leaders and Toufique notes; “…this sort of exploitation and forced criminal activity does very much go into the realms of trafficking and modern slavery.” As such, there have been calls to halt the flight until true facts of each situation have been established and in keeping with the UK’s obligations under the Refugee Convention.   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

How modern slavery victim was left in limbo for five years by Home Office (The Independent) (7 February 2020)

The Independent reports on the case of Awais Raza, an Afghan national who fled violence, forced labour and sexual exploitation in his home country, but subsequently faced a different challenge securing protection and support from the Home Office. Immigration Director, Gabor Nagy who represented Awais and referred his case to the National Referral Mechanism comments that although the Home Office claims to treat victims of trafficking as a priority in relation to their asylum claims it continues to question and delay their right to be granted protection and support in the UK. Gabor notes “…the whole process from start to finish took the Home Office an unacceptable five years while my client was left in limbo with his severe PTSD. The waiting around has affected him so much that he still required counselling and physiological intervention long after he has been granted refugee status in the UK.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Brexit is happening today: what exactly does it mean? (alondon.net) (31 January 2020)

Trainee solicitor Efrat Shemesh has written an article for alondon.net on the implications of Brexit, notably how it will affect free movement and EU nationals who wish to exercise their free movement rights in the UK. Efrat writes; “Brexit will end the free movement of EU nationals into the UK and British nationals into other EU member states. This article will only deal with the implications on EU nationals who wish to exercise their free-movement right in the UK.”   Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Wrongly deported Sudanese asylum seeker flown back to UK (The Guardian) (17 January 2020)

The Guardian reports that our client, a Sudanese asylum seeker, who was wrongly deported by the Home Office has been flown back to the UK, after his departure from Khartoum was delayed by a gunfight. The man is a non-Arab Darfuri and as such his life is at risk from the Sudanese regime. Home Office country guidance states that all non-Arab Darfuris seeking asylum in the UK should be granted refugee status. Despite evidence of his origin, after spending 11 weeks in immigration detention, the Home Office forcibly removed the client to Sudan where he was then forced to go into hiding. Duncan Lewis commissioned a report from the leading authority on the man’s tribe and the Home Office accepted that the new evidence amounted to a fresh asylum claim, conceding that the decision that led to his removal was unlawful, and agreed to fly him back to the UK. Solicitor Jamie Bell is quoted; “The Home Office had clear evidence of this man’s ethnicity but chose to ignore it. It was with great joy that we welcomed him back to Heathrow yesterday. He and his supporters had fought a 14-month battle for his return since the dreadful mistake to remove him in October 2018.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Swansea charity worker who fled DR Congo wins asylum fight (BBC News) (15 January 2020)

BBC News reports on our client, a charity worker who arrived in Swansea after fleeing the Democratic Republic of Congo, has won his asylum battle to remain in the UK. Otis Bolamu was arrested and detained by UK authorities in December 2018 and was released on appeal after thousands signed a petition to let him stay in the UK. Duncan Lewis’ public law team confirmed on January 14th 2020 that he had been “finally granted asylum”, and thanked the community support from Swansea and Wales in turning the case around in a tweet, noting that the petition to allow Mr Bolamu to remain in the UK was “…signed by 68,000 people.”  Read more...

Duncan Lewis:InThePress

Thousands of asylum seekers not reporting rapes due to Home Office stigma and ‘culture of disbelief’ (The Independent) (7 January 2020)

The Independent reports on how thousands of rape victims seeking protection in the UK are facing stigma from the Home Office, which is preventing them from reporting their sexual assault. Public Law director, Toufique Hossain comments on the issue, stating that “there is a culture of disbelief” and further notes that those within the Home Office “simply don’t believe women.” He further adds that “…the confrontational environment and tone of questioning in interviews are all geared for rejection. The starting point is the woman is not telling the truth. The vast majority of women who get to the UK and claim international protection have sadly suffered some sort of sexual or gender-based violence or trauma.” Having worked in legal aid for almost two decades, Toufique notes that the emergence of ‘legal aid deserts’ in parts of the UK has made it difficult for some women to get support, and as such, they are being forced to turn to private lawyers who they cannot afford to pay for the medical legal reports required to prove sexual violence.  Read more...

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