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Major reforms to immigration detention decision-making proposed in report of the Joint Human Rights Committee

7 February 2019

Stephanie Harrison QCAmanda Weston QCShu Shin Luh

Following a wide-ranging inquiry into the use of immigration detention by the Home Office, the report of the Joint Human Rights Committee of both Houses of Parliament is now available.

The report proposes major reforms to immigration detention decision-making, including better access to legal advice, more protection for the vulnerable and improved detention conditions.

They said that more needed to be done to make detention estates “less like prisons” recommending that there should be an end to the distressing nature of indefinite detention and that decisions to detain need to be made independently from the Home Office.

Five proposals to reform the immigration detention system:

  1.  The decision to detain should not be made by the Home Office but should be made independently.
  2.  Introduce a 28-day time limit to end the trauma of indefinite detention.
  3.  Detainees should have better and more consistent access to legal aid to challenge their detention.
  4. More needs to be done identify vulnerable individuals and treat them appropriately.
  5. The Home Office should improve the oversight and assurance mechanism in the immigration detention estate to ensure that any ill-treatment of abuse is found out immediately and action is taken. Concerns over the distressing effect of indeterminate detention

Read the supplementary written evidence from Garden Court Chambers: IMD0033 and IMD0058.

The full report is available on the parliament website and there is related coverage in the Guardian and the Independent.

Members of the Public Law Team Stephanie Harrison QC and Amanda Weston QC gave oral evidence to the Committee with assistance from Legal Researcher David Neale, and the Garden Court Chambers Public Law Team provided written evidence. Shu Shin Luh of Garden Court’s Public Law Team was a Specialist Advisor to the Inquiry.

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