High Court finds failure by Ministry of Justice/NOMS to have due regard to race and equality duties in implementing a policy on the transfer of certain foreign national prisoners

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Share This Page

Email This Page

On 17 February 2010 the High Court delivered judgment in the case of R (on the application of Equality & Human Rights Commission) (Claimant) v Secretary of State for Justice (Defendant) & Secretary of State for the Home Department (Interested Party) [2010] EWHC 147 (Admin). The case concerned whether the National Offender Management System of the Ministry of Justice had

"due regard" to the requirements in section 71 of The Race Relations Act 1976 and section 49A of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 prior to the conclusion of an agreement (which constituted a change in policy) with the UK Border Agency. This agreement contained a number of provisions which provided for a category of male foreign national prisoners to be transferred from the prisons in which they were serving their sentences to a number of named prisons, primarily Dartmoor, Guys'Marsh and the Verne. Prior to the conclusion of the agreement NOMS did not carry out any race or equality impact assessment. An impact assessment was carried out retrospectively. Mr. Justice Wyn Williams stated that, "In my judgment, on balance of probabilities, NOMS did not have due regard to the duties under section 71 of the 1976 Act and section 49A of 2005 Act prior to the adoption and implementation of the SLA. My reasons for reaching that conclusion can be stated quite shortly. First, no document has been disclosed by either NOMS or

UKBA which suggests that due regard was paid to the statutory duties in the months leading to 1 May 2009. No formal impact assessments of any kind were undertaken. Just as importantly no documents have been disclosed which show the sort of systematic approach suggested as being necessary by the statutory codes". However, the court did not find that the retrospective impact assessment was flawed.

The Claimant was represented by Stephanie Harrison and Kirsten Heaven of Garden Court Chambers.



We are top ranked by independent legal directories and consistently win awards.

+ View more awards