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Duncan Lewis Solicitors launches a High Court challenge into the inadequacy of initial health screenings in Immigration Removal Centres (13 March 2018)

Date: 13/03/2018
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Duncan Lewis Solicitors launches a High Court challenge into the inadequacy of initial health screenings in Immigration Removal Centres

Duncan Lewis Solicitors have launched a High Court challenge, on behalf of our client, into the inadequacy of initial health screenings in Immigration Removal Centres, and failures in the Rule 34 and 35 processes.

The challenge has been initiated following the detention of a client who was a victim of torture. Under the Home Office’s Adults at Risk in Detention Policy victims of torture should not be detained unless there are strong immigration considerations that outweigh the risk factors to the individual. In order to identify victims of torture, Home Office policy requires all detainees to undergo an initial health screening within two hours of admission into any immigration removal centre. There is also a requirement for all detainees to have an appointment with a GP within 24 hours of admission, unless they do not consent to this.

A Rule 35 assessment must be carried out, if it is suspected that a detainee: is a victim of torture; has suicidal intentions, or; that their health is likely to be adversely affected by continued detention. If the doctor who undertakes the assessment has concerns that the detainee fits in one of the above categories, the doctor must complete a Rule 35 report and submit this to the Home Office. The Home Office then considers this report, along with all other considerations, and decides whether the detainee should remain in detention.

In our client’s case, the client was not asked at his initial screening whether he was a victim of torture. He was also not given a GP appointment within 24 hours. In addition, despite his requesting a Rule 35 assessment repeatedly, he was not given a Rule 35 assessment for several weeks. As soon as he had his Rule 35 assessment he was recognised as a victim of torture and released from detention.

Duncan Lewis is arguing on the grounds that the Secretary of State for the Home Department had failed to ensure the lawful and effective operation of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, and had acted unlawfully in continuing to detain the Claimant after he had been granted interim relief. Specifically, we argued that the Defendant had acted unlawfully in not providing the client with a GP appointment within 24 hours of his admission into immigration detention.

It is also submitted that the Defendant had acted unlawfully in failing to ensure the prompt provision of a Rule 34 and Rule 35 assessment when requested to do so. Alternatively, it is argued that the Defendant acted unlawfully in failing to explain the purpose of a GP appointment to the Claimant.

There is also a generic element to the challenge. This focuses on the Defendant being under a proactive duty of enquiry to ascertain whether the individual is suitable for detention. It is claimed that the current initial health screening Rule 34 / Rule 35 processes are unable to fulfil this duty.

The case is due to be heard in the High Court on Thursday, 15 May 2018.

The Claimant is represented by Director Ahmed Aydeed and caseworker Karen Staunton, of the Public Law department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, who have instructed David Lock QC, of Landmark Chambers,Anthony Vaughan, and Miranda Butler of Garden Court Chambers.

Contact Ahmed on 02072752668 or ahmeda@duncanlewis.com.

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.

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