High Court finds detention to be unlawful with substantial and aggravated damages awarded for breach of Hardial Singh principles

Friday 12 January 2024

The Claimant was represented by Greg Ó Ceallaigh of the Garden Court Chambers Immigration and Civil Liberties Teams and Irène Nembhard of Birnberg Peirce.

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Judgment has today been handed down in Jasseh v Home Office [2024] EWHC 31 (KB) in which His Honour Judge Roberts found that the Claimant had been unlawfully detained on two separate occasions, for a total of 267 days.

The Claimant is a Gambian national. He was detained twice under immigration powers after serving a custodial sentence. Throughout both periods, the Gambian authorities had in place a moratorium on enforced removals from the UK and there was no functioning Electronic Travel Document process. The Home Office produced two witnesses, neither of whom had any direct involvement in the Claimant’s case.

HHJ Roberts found the majority of the first period of detention to be unlawful on the basis that there was no realistic prospect of removal to The Gambia within a reasonable timeframe, with the Clamant awarded substantial compensatory damages.

In relation to the second period, HHJ Roberts found that the Claimant had been detained for an unlawful purpose, namely to source release accommodation. As a result of the “high-handed and obstructive attitude to sourcing accommodation” the Claimant was awarded substantial and aggravated damages for the entire second period of detention.

The judgment is available to download here.

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