High Court finds Home Office decision to abandon key Windrush recommendations discriminatory

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Our Joint Head of Chambers, Grace Brown acted for the claimant, Mr Donald, led by Phillippa Kaufmann KC and instructed by Dr Connie N Maina Sozi of Deighton Pierce Glynn.

Our Nicola Braganza KC and Bijan Hoshi acted for the intervener, Black Equity Organisation (BEO), instructed by Public Law Project.

Link to full judgment: Donald, R. (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2024] EWHC 1492 (Admin)

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Judgment in Trevor Donald’s substantive judicial review was handed down today. Mr Donald had challenged the decision of the former Secretary of State for the Home Department, Suella Braverman, to not proceed with three of the recommendations made in the Wendy Williams Windrush Lessons Learned Review.

The three recommendations are:

  • Recommendation 3: To run reconciliation events which would enable Windrush victims and those impacted by the Windrush scandal to articulate the impact of the scandal on their lives, in the presence of trained facilitators and/or specialist services and senior Home Office staff and ministers.
  • Recommendation 9: To introduce a Migrants’ Commissioner responsible for speaking up for migrants and those affected by the system directly or indirectly.
  • Recommendation 10: To review the remit and role of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration to include consideration of giving them more powers with regard to publishing reports.

Although the challenge to Recommendation 3 was not upheld, In her detailed and comprehensive judgment, Mrs Justice Heather Williams DBE found that the Secretary of State’s decision to not proceed with her planned response to Recommendations 9 and 10: (1) breached a ‘procedural legitimate expectation’ as there was no consultation with the Windrush community or indeed Wendy Williams, (2) indirectly discriminated against Windrush victims and thereby contravened the Claimant’s Article 14 ECHR rights, read with Article 8, and (3) breached the Secretary of State’s public sector equality duty as set out in s.149 of the Equality Act 2010.

The ruling tracks the Government’s reasoning process leading up to Ms Braverman’s decision and, in some respects lack of reasoning, and contains some stark conclusions, including:
“…I accept that it was conspicuously unfair for the Home Secretary to arrive at the challenged decision not to proceed with the implementation of Recommendation 10 stated in the CIP, without representatives of the Windrush community and Wendy Williams having been consulted on whether to abandon the plan to appoint a reviewer of the ICIBI role”.

“…the decision not to proceed with the CIP responses to Recommendations 9 and 10 amounted to indirect discrimination, given the particular impact on Windrush victims as compared to the rest of the population at large…”

See press coverage: BBC NewsEvening Standard

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