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Have you been subject to a search at the UK Border? It may have been unlawful (31 March 2017)

Date: 31/03/2017
Duncan Lewis, Main Solicitors, Have you been subject to a search at the UK Border? It may have been unlawful

When entering the UK the UK Border Force retains the right to search persons they deem suspicious or believe to be carrying restricted or prohibited items under section 164 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA).

UK border officials may carry out this search on the basis of prior intelligence, or they may, after interacting with an individual, believe that there are grounds for a Search of Person (SOP). The officers conducting the searches are required to record the reasons they believe it was necessary to stop the passenger and subsequently search them. However, regularly records are not made, leaving them open to accusations of discrimination.

By law, any passengers required to submit to a SOP under section 164 must be informed of their rights. That is the right to appeal the search to either the officer conducting the search, an independent superior or to a Justice of the Peace. On the SOP record form (called BOR1412) there is information regarding the appeal rights of passengers being searched under Section 164 of CEMA. It is a prerequisite of a SOP that passengers sign this form to demonstrate that they have been informed of these rights.

However in a staggering 70% of cases the SOP record form is not signed by the passenger at all – this is a serious breach of legislative authority by the UK Border Force and a clear abuse of power. If you have been stopped at a UK Port of Entry and were subjected to a rub-down (also known as a pat down), strip or intimate (also known as cavity) search that came out negative and were not told that you had a right to appeal against the search, then you may be entitled to bring a claim for damages for an unlawful search.

If this is the case please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of expert Immigration Solicitors on 02072752780 or email gaborn@duncanlewis.com

Gabor Nagy is a Director in the Duncan Lewis Immigration Department. He handles all aspects of immigration and asylum work alongside Public Law. Gabor is qualified under the Law Society Immigration & Asylum Accreditation Scheme as a Senior Caseworker, which allows him to specialise in Immigration & Nationality Law and provide specialist legal help for publicly funded work under the firm’s LAA franchise.

Duncan Lewis’ Public Law department, recommended by Legal 500 2016 for its depth of experience in immigration and civil liberties challenges, is now well established and known by the Legal Aid Agency, the Courts, and the Treasury Solicitor. This enables us to quickly and effectively obtain funding, manage cases with the Court (get quick listings, direct access to Court lawyers) and communicate effectively with team leaders at Treasury Solicitors.

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