Court of Appeal gives positive judgment for mentally ill immigration detainees.

28.01.14 | |

In a judgment handed down today the Court of Appeal has overturned Sales J's interpretation of the Home Secretary's policy of detaining people with serious mental illnesses in immigration detention: R (Das) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWCA Civ 45.

In Das v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 682 (Admin) Sales J held that people with serious mental illness could be held in immigration detention unless their condition deteriorated to the extent that they had to be hospitalised under the Mental Health Act 1983. The Court of Appeal rejected this interpretation finding that before detaining someone the Home Office must carefully consider a person’s mental health, their treatment needs and whether those can be met in detention and how long it is likely to take before removal from the UK.  Although a seriously mentally ill person can be detained in ‘very exceptional circumstances’ that must be strictly interpreted and will only apply in cases where, for example, the person might murder someone. The Court of Appeal relied on the evidence from Mind and Medical Justice, who intervened jointly, to find that there was no basis for linking the meaning of the immigration detention policy with the threshold for admission to hospital under the Mental Health Act, holding that such an approach fails to reflect mental health practice. A detailed summary of the judgment is available here.


Martha Spurrier acted for the interveners, with Dinah Rose QC and Tim Buley. Martha was instructed by Hamish Arnott at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors and Sue Willman at Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors.

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