Bail accommodation failures led to unlawful detention of man despite grant of bail in principle

Thursday 26 July 2018

The claimant, Mr Diop, was represented in the High Court by Anthony Vaughan of the Garden Court Chambers Public Law and Immigration teams, instructed by Stephanie Hill of Leigh Day.

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A Senegalese man who was granted bail in principle by a judge, but was then kept in detention for almost a month because of the Home Office’s unlawful failure to provide him with bail accommodation, has today won his claim for damages.

The High Court ruled in R (Diop) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 1934 (Admin) that the Home Office, “was not acting fairly and rationally in administering the section 4 bail accommodation scheme,” and had unlawfully delayed the processing of his application for accommodation for over 13 months.

As a result, the Court found that the Claimant had been unlawfully detained from the grant of bail in principle on 10 November 2017 until his release on 7 December 2017, two days after a bail address was offered to him under section 4(1)(c) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

Accepting the Claimant’s case that the Home Office delays and failures amounted to a material public law error, the judge ruled that the Home Office, “[S]hould have secured section 4 bail accommodation by the time that the [First-tier Tribunal] granted the claimant’s application for bail,” and that, even after bail in principle was granted, “little was done until the end of the 14 day window to find accommodation. It was only after that date… that the search for accommodation can be said to have been earnestly promoted.”

The Court took into account the earlier case of R (Sathanantham) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 1781 (Admin) in which the High Court had found that, “The section 4 bail system does not work for high risk offenders,” and that it was “essential that the system is overhauled.” Instead of overhauling the system, the SSHD had simply abolished entitlement to bail accommodation under section 4(1)(c) of the 1999 Act, although this did not stop the fundamentally defective bail accommodation system from continuing to operate until the provision was repealed in January 2018.

The Court found that the Claimant’s detention was unlawful from 10 November 2017 on the additional basis that it was then, “apparent that there was no prospect of the claimant’s deportation within a reasonable period,” and, from that date, “it should have been evident to the defendant that, unless the Senegalese embassy changed its position, the claimant could not be removed readily from the UK, and timeous arrangements should have been made for his bail accommodation.”

The Claimant’s applications for bail were made by Bail for Immigration Detainees.

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