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Torture victims win legal challenge against Home Office

Medical Justice (and Ors) -v- Secretary of State for the Home Department[2017] EWHC 2461 (Admin)


Survivors of torture have won a legal challenge against Home Office rules on asylum seeker detention in the UK. 


A 2016 Home Office policy redefined torture to refer to violence carried out by official state agents only.  Under government guidelines, people classed as victims of torture should be housed in private accommodation - provided by the government or family members already living in the country - while their asylum claims are processed.  The new definition led to those tortured by traffickers and other non-governmental forces being locked up in detention centres instead. 


The charity Medical Justice, and former immigration centre detainees, who took the case successfully argued that the definition was too narrow.  The High Court of England and Wales agreed and said the Home Office had acted unlawfully, because the new rules excluded people who were vulnerable to harm in detention.  The court held that the policy lacked a rational or evidence basis. 


The Home Office has said it will not appeal against the ruling, which could affect hundreds of cases.


Read commentary from The Guardian here

Immigration & Asylum