A client of Duncan Lewis Solicitors has been granted permission to challenge the continued imposition of conditional bail against him in circumstances where he can be neither lawfully removed nor lawfully detained pending the outcome of various investigations and civil proceedings into abuse and mistreatment he suffered in immigration detention.
In an order by Sir Ross Cranston, the High Court determined that an ‘authoritative ruling’ was required on whether an individual can remain on Home Office immigration bail, under Schedule 10 of the Immigration Act 2016, where that individual cannot be lawfully detained. The hearing will be heard on an expedited basis and will give guidance on the extent of the limitations on the Home Office’s powers to grant immigration bail and its compatibility with Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
Our client, anonymised as FAM, was an asylum seeker detained at Brook House IRC where he was subjected to serious mistreatment, including being strangled by a detention officer. The abuse was captured on film by an undercover reporter and broadcasted in September 2017 in a BBC Panorama documentary. His vulnerability was well known by the Home Office, having obtained independent evidence of torture whilst detained through a Rule 35(3) report, and subsequently providing a psychological report which confirmed that detention was significantly worsening his mental health.
He was released at an interim relief hearing pursuant to unlawful detention proceedings in 2017. He was subsequently placed on conditional bail by the Home Office, with restrictions on his right to work, requirements of residence and reporting, as well as - originally - electronic tagging.
In the aftermath of the broadcast of the BBC Panorama documentary, our client went on to challenge the Home Office’s failure to institute an Article 3 compliant inquiry into the abuse and mistreatment he and other detainees suffered at Brook House. He additionally brought a civil damages claim for false imprisonment, assault, battery, and misfeasance in public office. In September 2018 the Home Office appointed the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) to undertake a ‘Special Investigation’ into the mistreatment at Brook House. Our client is currently one of two detainees challenging whether this is sufficient to meet the UK government’s obligations under Article 3 ECHR, with a final hearing on that issue starting in May.
In 2018, FAM made a fresh claim for asylum and then an application for discretionary leave pending the outcome of the various investigations and litigation. His discretionary leave application was originally refused in September 2018 where the Home Office stated that his fresh claim would not be considered until the outcome of ongoing litigation and that he would not be removed whilst all these issues remained outstanding. Further correspondence in February 2019 from the Home Office again made assurances that he would not be detained or removed prior to the conclusion of his ongoing litigation action.
Judicial Review proceedings were brought on 12 March 2019 on the following basis: