Leonie Hirst acts as asylum seeker at Napier Barracks obtains court injunction that he must be re-housed

On Tuesday 2nd February, the High Court ordered that an asylum seeker and potential victim of trafficking who is housed at the Napier army barracks in Kent must be urgently re-housed in alternative adequate accommodation within 24 hours. Leonie Hirst was instructed on the case by Sue Willman, Emily Soothill, Ahmed Ali and Rosa Potter from Deighton Pierce Glynn.  Adam Wagner is instructed in two other similar cases.

The Claimant is an asylum seeker and potential victim of trafficking who claimed asylum in the UK in August 2020. He has been accommodated in Napier Barracks since September 2020 and, although the Home Office agreed to transfer him to alternative accommodation on 19 January 2021, they had still not done so two weeks later.

The use of Napier Barracks to house hundreds of asylum seekers in recent months has been highly controversial due to unsafe and unsanitary conditions which have been made worse since a major COVID-19 outbreak. The Court considered evidence about the unsafe and insanitary conditions at the barracks, with 14 men sharing a room, lack of heating, poor sanitary conditions, and risk of COVID-19 infection, and about the impact of a recent serious fire, which has forced the Claimant to sleep on a mattress on the floor of another shared dormitory and left the barracks for a number of days with very limited electricity, no hot water or heating despite freezing temperatures and limited food and drinking water.

The Court ruled that the Claimant had made a strong prima facie (at first sight) case that the accommodation at Napier Barracks was wholly inadequate for him and highlighted in particular the “prison-like” conditions at Napier and the risk of COVID-19 infection.

The case will now proceed to a hearing at which the court will decide whether to grant permission to apply for judicial review.