Duncan Lewis’ Public Law team in Harrow are representing five detainees who have lodged a wide-ranging challenge at the High Court to the lock-in regime and living conditions at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre (IRC). The G4S-run detention centre, near Gatwick Airport, was recently the subject of a BBC Panorama documentary showing undercover footage of violent verbal and physical abuse by officers towards detainees.
What are they challenging?
What are they asking for?
- Our clients are challenging “lock-ins,” the practice of locking detainees in their cells for up to 13.5 hours a day as well as the conditions in detention, especially with regards to sanitation.
- The claimants are arguing that the lock-in regime and cell conditions violate fundamental human rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), including:
Article 3 (right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment);
Article 5 (right to liberty);
Article 8 (right to a private and personal life); and
Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion).
- As well as arguing that conditions go against the ECHR’s corresponding right under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
- They also submit that the regime and conditions in Brook House IRC are discriminatory and without due regard to the Equality Act 2010.
Why is this challenge important?
- The claimants are asking the Courts to declare the lock-in regime, conditions in detention, as well as their own detention, unlawful.
- They also seek a mandatory order that the Home Office stops the lock-in regime and improves conditions in detention.
- For interim relief (until the Court makes a final ruling), the claimants have asked the Court to order their release, a suspension of the lock-in regime and for an immediate improvement in detention conditions.
- If the case is successful, this may significantly improve current conditions in detention.
- Similar lock-in processes operate at other IRC’s and we at Duncan Lewis are looking into this.
- The interim relief hearing is due to be take place on Friday 17 November.
The claimants are represented by the Harrow Public Law Team; counsel includes Stephanie Harrison QC and Raza Halim, both of Garden Court Chambers.
For more information please contact Harrow Public Law Director Toufique Hossain
Tel: 07920 077037