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Public Law Solicitors

Duncan Lewis Secures Damages for a British National Unjustly Detained by the Home Office (22 May 2024)

Date: 22/05/2024
Duncan Lewis, Public Law Solicitors, Duncan Lewis Secures Damages for a British National Unjustly Detained by the Home Office

Following a legal challenge brought by Duncan Lewis Solicitors, the Home Office has settled a claim for significant damages. This claim was made on behalf of a British national who was wrongfully detained by the Home Office for 9 days.



Our client (A) is a British national of Gambian origin and has been living in the UK since 2004. He was naturalised as a British citizen in 2011. In September 2018, A was returning home from Israel via Norway. Upon arrival at Stansted Airport, A presented his British Passport at the electronic gates. The machine at the gate refused entry and he was asked to present himself to the Immigration Officer. The Immigration Officer questioned A about his journey and his previous addresses.


A was then taken aside and questioned relentlessly. He was accused of being a liar and refused entry. A was informed he would be detained and removed back to Norway. The Home Office approved the detention on the basis that A was not the rightful holder of his passport.


The Home Office attempted to remove A to Norway on the very passport that they believed he falsely possessed. A maintained during this period that he was a British national but the Home Office ignored his plea. He spent the first 4 nights in a short-term holding facility at the airport before being transported to Brook House Immigration Removal Centre. 


A’s MP, Jeremy Corbyn, also wrote to the Home Office to enquire about his detention. The Home Office continued to interview A in relation to the passport and continued to threaten removal from the U.K. However, they failed to undertake any investigation on the rightful holder of the passport. Despite legal intervention, the Home Office maintained the decision to detain A.  9 days into detention, A was released on immigration bail subject to him reporting the next day.

Seeking Redress for the False Imprisonment


A attended Stansted Airport and his passport was returned to him. He received an email shortly after informing him that he was the rightful holder of his British Passport. Despite this clear oversight by the Home Office, A received neither an apology nor any acknowledgment of their error. As a result, A brought false imprisonment proceedings instructing Duncan Lewis. The Home Office denied liability but agreed to pay significant damages to A for the 9 days he had been wrongfully detained.


This case underscores Duncan Lewis Solicitors' commitment to advocating for justice and challenging wrongful detentions. By securing significant damages for A, Duncan Lewis demonstrates its dedication to protecting individual rights and holding authorities accountable. This victory not only highlights our expertise in handling complex immigration and false imprisonment cases but also reinforces our role as a champion for those who have been unjustly treated.


A was represented by Solicitor Haroon Kamidad and Director, Bahar Ata of the Duncan Lewis public law team instructing Greg Ó Ceallaigh KC of Garden Court Chambers. The story has captured media attention and is anticipated to be widely reported in the coming weeks.

About the Solicitors


Haroon Kamidad is a Solicitor within the Public Law and Immigration department. He has significant experience in dealing with vulnerable clients including those in detention, those suffering from complex psychological issues, and victims of torture and trafficking.


Bahar Ata is Director with in the Public Law department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors. Recognised by the Legal 500 for her “expert eye for spotting the winnable issues in unattractive cases,” Bahar is highly experienced in a wide variety of complex and high profile public law and immigration cases.


Bahar Ata is shortlisted in the Public Law category of the Legal Lawyer of the Year award 2024. Find out more here


For advice or assistance on a public law matter, contact Bahar at bahara@duncanlewis.com or via telephone at 02070147398

Duncan Lewis Solicitors


Duncan Lewis has the leading public law and immigration practice in the UK. The team frequently takes on and successfully brings challenges in some of the most high profile cases in the UK, including in relation to the Rwanda plan and Manston House. The company was recently crowned Law Firm of the Year 2024 at the LexisNexis awards, and noted for its commitment to providing justice for all.

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