A new report commissioned by the Bar Council regarding immigration detention, demonstrates that the system operates in a wholly unfair way. In the last 3 years, an average of 30,000 people have been detained each year under immigration detention. This is often from poor decision-making and lack of accountability from the Home Office.
The detainees are being held in detention centres which are built to category 3 prison conditions, in inhumane and degrading situations. The statutory framework to manage detention is flawed and there are inadequate routes to challenge the decision to detain. Many detainees develop mental health and physical health issues during their time in detention.
The Minister of Immigration, Brandon Lewis has confirmed that EU nationals applying for settled status (during the Brexit transition) will not have to wait for months for their registration to be complete. All EU applications will be dealt with in a matter of weeks, and the process will be straightforward using an online portal system, similar to that used to renew driving licences. Registration is due to start in the second half of next year.
Settled status will be available to EU nationals who have lived lawfully in the UK for five continuous years. A formal application will have to be made and approved by UKVI for EU nationals to attain settled status in the UK.
The government has announced its long-awaited review of LASPO (the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012).
The legal aid cuts were among the most controversial changes made by the government, forcing the Government to agree to the post-implementation analysis. The cuts removed advice and assistance from almost all social welfare cases including benefits, employment, housing (except homelessness), immigration (except asylum) and family (except in cases of domestic violence).
Announcing the review, Lidington said: “Our legal aid system is a fundamental pillar of access to justice, accounting for more than a fifth of the Ministry of Justice’s budget.
Seven victims of torture won a case against the Home Office over a policy which saw Asylum seekers fleeing persecution wrongly locked up in immigration detention centres across the UK.
They argued a government policy named “Adults at Risk” which was introduced in September 2016 defined torture too narrowly, meaning many vulnerable people were imprisoned despite doctors submitting evidence of torture and ill-treatment to the Home Office.
The judge ruled that the policy “lacked a rational or evidence basis” and that it “excludes certain individuals, whose experiences of the infliction of severe pain and suffering may indeed make them particularly vulnerable to harm in detention.”
The home office will now have to review 340 cases of detainees that have been persecuted but did not meet the new torture definition.
Ousman Noor’s previous project, the Habeas Corpus Project, which provided free representation for Asylum Seekers and Migrants, was unfortunately dissolved in December 2016 due to lack of funding. The project which was founded in July 2004 by Ousman, has helped over 200 Detainees with legal assistance and 37 were released.
Mr Noor has now taken on a new role as a teaching fellow, teaching Immigration and Asylum Law to students studying Law and Human Rights at SOAS. As part of the module, Mr Noor has implemented a practical project funded by SOAS which supports students in helping detainees make applications for funding from the Legal Aid Agency.
A company was fined a record £400,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in May 2017 after making nearly 100 million nuisance calls. The company repeatedly called individuals over an 18 month period with speculative enquiries about road traffic accidents and PPI compensation claims. The company withheld its identity throughout such calls and called during late and unsociable hours, often calling the same individual multiple times.
The company is Keurboom Communications Ltd, based in Bedfordshire. The ICO received over 1000 complaints leading to the company being prosecuted in the Luton Magistrates Court. The ICO followed the prosecution with its record fine.
The Court of Appeal has upheld the government’s right to revoke British Passports for individuals suspected of terrorism in the case of XH & AI v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 41. The case was heard in December 2016 and delivered several months later. A full copy of the judgement can be found here.
The Appellants, XH and AI both had their passports revoked in 2014 and received letters stating:
This letter is to inform you that the above passport has been cancelled and you are no longer permitted to use this document to travel to and from the United Kingdom.
The wife of an oil and gas trader has been awarded £453 million in financial remedy proceedings upon divorce against her former husband. The husband is 61 and the wife is 44 and the marriage lasted just over 20 years.
The amount includes a lump sum payment of £350 million (and the assets the wife currently holds of £10,165,162), chattels valued at £2,479,125, an Aston Martin valued at £350,000 and a modern art collection valued at US$112m. The total amount is thought to comprise 41.5% of the total matrimonial assets.
The hearing took place in the High Court of Justice in December 2016 with the judgement delivered several months later.