As a firm, Duncan Lewis currently represents a number of individuals who are subject to immigration control, but are detained within the prison estate as opposed to within immigration removal centres. We have commenced judicial review proceedings on their behalf, primarily arguing that the Lord Chancellor, the Director of Legal Aid Casework and/or the Secretary of State for the Home Department are squarely discriminating against those held under immigration powers who are detained within prisons when compared to detainees in immigration removal centres.
The most significant impact of this discrimination is that individuals detained within the prisons are precluded from accessing justice in the form of effective legal representation. The danger of this is that without professional legal support, immigration detainees in prisons risk losing out on legitimate legal action which could alter the outcome of their case. It could also mean that they are eligible for compensation for unlawful treatment, of which they are not aware, and unable to dispute.
Within immigration removal centres these individuals that are presently held within the prison estate would, at the very least, have access to regular legal advice surgeries carried out by immigration practitioners. As specialists in these matters and with an extensive team of outdoor clerks, Duncan Lewis regularly attend immigration removal centres to provide advice and support to those that need our assistance. If immigration detainees in prisons had access to this regular support, they would be afforded the same opportunities as those currently available to those in immigration removal centres and would have a greater chance of success in their case.
The Lord Chancellor has recognised the need for provision of legal advice in an immigration context to those detained within immigration removal centres. In line with the statutory duty contained within Section 1 of the Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, the claimants in these proceedings argue that on review this duty also extends to those facing the prospect of being subject to immigration control, but detained within the prison estate. For this reason, we argue that they should be given access to the same justice already afforded to those detained in immigration removal centres.
The fact that these provisions are already in place, but are not being made available to immigration detainees held in the prison estate demonstrates neglect on the part of the aforementioned authorities. The judicial review we are bringing aims to identify the party/ies at fault, to ensure that responsibility for correctly implementing access to quality legal support for all immigration detainees – regardless of where they are detained – is accepted and actioned.
The claimants are represented by Toufique Hossain, Sheroy Zaq and Jeremy Bloom of Duncan Lewis. Chris Buttler of Matrix Chambers and Ali Bandegani of Garden Court Chambers act as counsel.
Please contact Sheroy Zaq at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0203 114 1166 for further information.