Successful judicial review challenge to Prevent duty policy

27.01.17 | |


A local education authority has admitted racially discriminating against two young boys and breaching their human rights when a school called the police after one of them told his teacher he had been given a toy gun as a present.


The brothers, aged seven and five and of mixed Indian and Middle Eastern heritage, were detained by the school, and then questioned by uniformed officers in March 2016, after the school raised concerns they might be at risk of radicalisation because they had received toy guns. Other students and teachers were made aware of the matter, which led to the boys having to move school. They became withdrawn and frightened as a result of the incident and its consequences. The 7 year old said “I don’t want to say the wrong thing, the teacher will call the police again.” and urged his younger brother not to speak in a foreign language. 


A judicial review claim was issued on behalf of the boys, arguing that the action taken was discriminatory, and in breach of their rights under the ECHR. They also argued that the policy regarding the Prevent duty was unlawful, in part because it lacked detail and required action to be taken in too wide a range of circumstances. 


The claim was settled, after the Local Education Authority admitted the action taken was unlawful discrimination and violation of articles 8, 9 and 10 ECHR. The LEA also admitted that the guidance was contrary to the Convention, and changed its guidance to schools over Prevent, removing a mandatory instruction that they refer any concerns over radicalisation to police and requiring them to exercise professional judgment and consider other options.


Adam Straw represented the successful claimants, instructed by Debaleena Dasgupta from Liberty. 


Media coverage: The Guardian

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