High Court declares secret Home Office detention policy unlawful – Shu Shin Luh acting

The High Court has ruled that a secret Government policy, which the Home Secretary used to repeatedly prevent two mothers and their children, lawful residents of the UK, from re-entering the UK, is unlawful.

The existence of the secret policy was revealed during the legal proceedings through evidence provided through evidence gathered by charities and lawyers. The evidence presented showed a practice at the border of detaining individuals with valid leave to remain in the UK and questioning them about their NHS debt, even though the debt does not affect their right to re-enter the country. Despite numerous requests during months of litigation, the Home Secretary refused to confirm or publish the policy.

In a detailed judgment issued on May 26, 2023, Mr Justice Chamberlain determined that the Home Secretary had unjustly imprisoned the women and their young children without any valid justification. Furthermore, it was found that the Home Secretary had failed in her duty to consider the impact of the policy on protected groups under the Equality Act 2010, particularly women who are disproportionately affected by NHS charges. The Home Office disclosed the policy during the litigation process but did not acknowledge that it should have been made public. By the time of the hearing, the Home Office had retracted the controversial policy, and it is currently undergoing revision. The judgment can be accessed here.

MXK, SXB and their children are represented by Shu Shin Luh led by Dan Squires KC of Matrix Chambers and instructed by Janet Farrell and Erica San of Bhatt Murphy.