Garden Court Chambers Brook House Inquiry Team jointly wins Highly Commended Halsbury Rule of Law Award at LexisNexis Legal Awards 2023

Friday 24 March 2023

We are delighted to announce that the Garden Court Chambers Brook House Inquiry Team has jointly won 'Highly Commended' for the Halsbury Rule of Law Award at the LexisNexis Legal Awards 2023.

View the full list of winners here.

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We dedicate this recognition to the courage of those people detained at Brook House and whistleblowers who seek accountability in defence of the rule of law for the systemic abuse and misuse of immigration detention powers at Brook House and beyond.

Lawyers representing former detainees who were mistreated and abused at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre and lawyers representing NGOs were shortlisted for this award.

Congratulations to all members of the Garden Court Chambers Brook House Public Inquiry Team: Stephanie Harrison KC leading Louise HooperGordon Lee, Kirsten HeavenUna Morris, and Alex Schymyck.

Congratulations to all of the other Brook House legal teams at Duncan Lewis, Bhatt Murphy, Deighton Pierce Glynn, Landmark Chambers, Doughty Street Chambers and Matrix Chambers. We are hugely grateful to Medical Justice and Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group for their immense contribution to the Inquiry and for supporting our nomination for this award.

The abuse at Brook House was exposed by a BBC Panorama undercover report by Callum Tully, a former G4S guard, in 2017. Following the Panorama broadcast, the legal teams and NGOs had been working tirelessly to secure an effective investigation into the abuse at Brook House. This culminated with a Statutory Public Inquiry being instituted in 2019.

This followed a landmark High Court ruling on the investigative duty under Article 3 ECHR. ECHR, which declared the Home Secretary’s proposed investigation into immigration detention abuse at Brook House was inadequate, see here for more details on this judgment. This resulted in the widespread mistreatment of detained people, many of them suffering from severe mental illnesses and who should never have been in detention at all.

The final Inquiry report is anticipated soon. It is hoped that the final report vindicates the bravery of those detained persons who suffered such appalling abuse at Brook House and that fundamental change will follow.

Available to watch below, the APPG on Immigration Detention. Over 60 people, including parliamentarians, people with lived experience, lawyers, medical experts, NGOs and journalists, attended the advance briefing on the Brook House Inquiry, held on 13 December 2022.

Please be aware: the above video contains materials of a sensitive and distressing nature. This includes discussion and video footage of incidents of racism, offensive language, physical violence towards detained people and suicide.

Medical Justice, who provide the secretariat for the APPG, has also published a written briefing which summarises the key issues and evidence from the Brook House Inquiry.

The briefing was written by Laura Profumo of Doughty Street Chambers, with additional input from Stephanie Harrison KC of Garden Court Chambers and Hamish Arnott of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.

You can download a copy of the briefing here.

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