High Court rules system for allocating bail accommodation to detainees operating unlawfully

The High Court ruled on 21 July 2016 that the Home Office system for allocating bail addresses to high-risk immigration detainees is operating unlawfully.

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The three successful claimants in the case were represented by Stephanie Harrison QC, Anthony Vaughan and Greg Ó Ceallaigh of Garden Court Chambers.

According to Garden Court Chambers, the claims were brought as part of a test case following a report by Bail for Immigration Detainees (BID) which found systemic problems and delays in the provision of bail accommodation to high risk immigration detainees. See the report here.

Each claimant in the test case was classed as a “high risk” applicant because each had served a sentence of imprisonment for serious offences and poses a risk of harm which limits the type of accommodation which can properly be offered.

Garden Court Chambers says that each claimant had waited at least 18 months for allocation of bail addresses, with two of the three being released onto the streets with no accommodation at all because the length of their detention meant it risked becoming unlawful. Without a bail address the claimants could not apply to the First-tier Tribunal for bail.

In the judgment in Sathanantham & Ors, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anor [2016] EWHC 1781 (Admin). Mr Justice Edis ruled that “[t]here was, in each of these cases, unacceptable delay,” and the system itself was being operated in a manner that was unlawful, and that it is “essential that the system is overhauled.”

Garden Court Chambers noted in its press release: “This ruling sets out the governing principles, and, where other individuals are experiencing such delays, it will be necessary to identify the point at which the ‘least worst’ accommodation option should have been accepted and offered to the individual.

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