Afghan Child Represented by Duncan Lewis Solicitors Challenges Home Office on ‘Dubs Amendment’: High Court hearing 28 February and 1 March 2018 (7 February 2018)

Date: 07/02/2018

Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Afghan Child Represented by Duncan Lewis Solicitors Challenges Home Office on ‘Dubs Amendment’: High Court hearing 28 February and 1 March 2018

The Public Law team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors are representing an Afghan minor, who lived in the Calais ‘Jungle’, in bringing a challenge against the Secretary of State for the Home Department for failing in her duties under the ‘Dubs Amendment’. The case is due to be heard in the High Court on 28 February and 1 March.

What is the ‘Dubs Amendment’?

Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, known as the ‘Dubs Amendment’, requires the UK government to:

‘make arrangements to relocate to the United Kingdom and support a specified number of unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe.’

The ‘Calais Kids’

The intention in the House of Lords was for 3,000 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to be relocated to the UK. The final Dubs Amendment, passed in May 2016, did not specify a number. The Home Office has pledged to relocate 480 children under the scheme however, as of 23 January 2018, only 230 children have been relocated from Europe to the UK under the provision.

Our client, ZS, is one of the hundreds of ‘Calais kids’ rejected by the Secretary of State by her harsh implementation of the Dubs Amendment.

How has UK government failed in its duties?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department has failed in her duties under the ‘Dubs’ amendment by:

  • restricting the provision with policy that automatically excludes the vast majority of asylum-seeking children in Europe on the basis of their age, nationality and date of arrival in the EU (the cut-off date for arrival was originally 20 March 2016 and is now 18 January 2018);
  • delegating her positive duties to ‘make arrangements’ to the French authorities; and
  • publishing policy which is inconsistent with the practical application of the provision.

Who is ZS?

ZS is the lead claimant in this litigation. He is a particularly vulnerable unaccompanied child from Afghanistan, considered by his support workers to be at high risk of exploitation. When the camp was being demolished in October and November 2016, he and hundreds of other children in his position applied to be relocated to the UK under the Dubs Amendment.

A month later, he was amongst the hundreds of Calais kids who were informed by the French authorities that their applications had been refused. ZS was not given any written reasons for this life-defining decision.

ZS and most the Calais kids remain in France, but, after their treatment at the hands of the French authorities, many still hope to be relocated to the UK.

How is ZS challenging the UK government?

In December 2016, ZS asked the courts to review the legality of the UK government’s refusal of his ‘Dubs’ application. The court decided to ‘stay’ (hold) this judicial review until litigation led by the organisation Help Refugees had concluded. This stay was maintained despite a number of applications to lift it, and delayed the hearing of ZS’ case until it was finally lifted in July 2017.

In September 2017, ZS was granted permission to challenge the Secretary for the Home Department’s ‘Dubs’ policy of November 2016, formulated and published at the time of the Jungle's demolition.

In November 2017, the High Court refused Help Refugees permission to challenge the UK government’s failure to implement the Dubs Amendment by way of judicial review. Help Refugees have now, however, been granted permission to appeal this.

ZS has now also been granted permission to challenge part of the Government’s new policy which remains unpublished. While the High Court refused permission to make a broader challenge to the March 2017 policy, ZS has now lodged an application for permission to appeal this refusal at the Court of Appeal.

Hearing in the High Court

The full judicial review hearing is listed to be heard on 28 February 2018 and 1 March 2018.

Counsel: Sonali Naik and Bryony Poynor of Garden Court Chambers

Solicitors: Toufique Hossain, Krisha Prathepan and Jamie Bell of Duncan Lewis Solicitors

Read More about ZS and work of Duncan Lewis Solicitors in Calais ‘Jungle’:

Patrick Page: ‘REJECT-NO FAM’: our fight for the abandoned children of Calais (20 February 2017)

Diane Taylor in The Guardian: Calais child asylum seekers launch legal action against UK government

Duncan Lewis Public Law Solicitors

The Duncan Lewis Public Law Department has been recommended by Legal 500 2017, with particular praise for their work successfully challenging policies under which vulnerable individuals are detained in immigration detention centres. By way of judicial review, the Public Law Department challenges decisions made by public bodies which would otherwise be non-appealable. These can be central or local government, or other organisations carrying out public functions.

The Public Law team have experience in all aspects of judicial review claimant work, including obtaining emergency orders and other interim relief to prevent breaches of human rights, following up judicial reviews with actions for damages in both the County and High Court and successfully pursuing judicial review matters to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

Our Public Law solicitors conduct all stages of such matters from initial pre-action correspondence to filing, conducting and settling claims and costs negotiations and litigation. Duncan Lewis solicitors carry out both publicly and privately funded work.