Lack of access to lawyers for immigration detainees being held in prison is unlawful, High Court rules

26 February 2021: Independent: Judge says ministers failing to provide adequate legal advice to people held under immigration powers in jails in breach of law, after man left without lawyer for 10 months and forced to represent himself

The legal aid provision for immigration detainees held in prisons is unlawful, the High Court has ruled, after it emerged a man was unable to access a lawyer for 10 months and had to represent himself.

The claimant challenged the legal aid arrangements for immigration detainees held in prisons on the basis that they are less favourable than those in place for people held in immigration removal centres.

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Hostile Environments: The Oil Industry, Ecological Crisis and Migration

10 February 2021 Rethinking Security: What has oil extraction got to do with migration to the UK? Birmingham volunteer worker (and member of QARN Steering Group) Rosemary Crawley tells the story of one woman driven to leave her home in the Niger Delta, and her experience as she came to seek security in Britain.  

Sanctuary and hope

Women with Hopea small Birmingham charity for women caught up in the UK immigration system, includes within its purposes the provision of a safe space in which women can relax, learn and reflect. A wealth of evidence testifies to the particular harms and disadvantages faced by women migrants, both in terms of their experiences in their various countries of origin and in the countries in which they subsequently seek sanctuary. Immigration detention and not being believed are just two of the additional traumas that so many women face once they arrive in the UK. Their need for a safe space to talk about these and other experiences and be heard is extremely important. It was in just such a space that Gloria’s story of life in the Niger Delta emerged.

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UK’s £1,000 child citizenship fee ruled unlawful by appeal court

18 February 2021: Guardian: Court upholds ruling that Home Office failed to assess best interests of children in setting the fee

Home Office fees of £1,000 for children to register as British citizens are unlawful, the court of appeal has upheld in a landmark ruling.

The high fees that children or their parents are expected to pay to secure British citizenship have been controversial for many years. Children who have a right to register as British citizens but may be prevented from doing so due to the high cost or lack of access to legal advice risk losing out on rights and benefits.

Thursday’s ruling found that ministers had failed to assess and consider the impact of this fee on children and their rights, pointing out that for some families it was “difficult to see how the fee could be afforded at all”.

The Home Office charges £1,012 for a child to register for citizenship. However, the process costs about a third of that, at £372. The Home Office says the profit is used to fund other areas of its work.

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Plan to reform the Human Rights Act

Link to proposal to ‘reform’ the Human Rights Act, and consultation (closes 8 March 2022), here:

Another disgraceful and shameless move to break away from the rules that have been accepted as protective,  fair and just, in the existing Human Rights Act.

The Government commissioned the following report as an advisory starting point – see the Executive summary here:

Updated 9 February 2022: Upholding human rights in the UK: EDM (Early Day Motion) #974: tabled on 09 February 2022

Motion text

That this House notes that the Human Rights Act 1998 gives expression to values that are fundamental to the way of life in the UK, such as protecting the right to protest, freedom of expression and respect for privacy; is concerned by warnings from human rights organisations such as Amnesty UK, Justice and Liberty that the Government is undermining basic rights and liberties enshrined in the Act; notes with alarm that the Human Rights Act Review is taking place within the context of a series of other legislative moves by the Government to enhance the power of the Executive, including measures to curtail judicial reviews, which will reduce scrutiny of Government behaviour and opportunities for legal redress; believes that any growth in Declarations of Incompatibility with the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights would lead to lengthy delays in human rights concerns being addressed and restrict access to justice; and therefore calls on the Government to continue to uphold human rights and ensure that everyone can seek timely redress in the UK courts if rights are breached.

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Early Day Motion EDMs #1442 Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination, and #658 Leave to Remain status

Please ask your MP to support EDMs # 1442 and #658.

Updated 8 February 2021: Early Day Motion 1442 tabled on 3 February 2021: Undocumented migrants and covid-19 vaccination

Motion text: That this House believes that access to essential healthcare is a universal human right; regrets the continued existence of structural, institutional and systemic barriers in accessing NHS care experienced by undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications; considers that an effective public health response to the covid-19 crisis requires that the most vulnerable can afford to access food, healthcare, and self-isolate where necessary; understands that some of the most vulnerable people in society will not access vaccination against the virus, since to disclose their identity to the authorities would risk their arrest, detention and deportation; fears that without urgent Government intervention this will lead to further avoidable premature deaths, especially in the African, Asian and Minority Ethnic population; and therefore calls on the Home Office to grant everyone currently in the UK at this time who are undocumented migrants and those awaiting determination of their asylum, visa and immigration applications indefinite leave to remain, and to be eligible in due course to receive the covid-19 vaccination.

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