High Court rules length of Moroccan national's detention unlawful

Tuesday 16 September 2014

The High Court has found that the final eight months of a Moroccan national's 22-month immigration detention were unlawful. The claimant was represented by Greg Ó Ceallaigh.

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Mr Fardous wanted to be returned to Morocco after having previously claimed asylum on a false basis in both the UK and Norway. He was nevertheless detained for 22 months while efforts were made to obtain a travel document.

He was deemed to be at risk of absconding, and so was placed in immigration detention in September 2009. After continued difficulties in obtaining travel documents, the claimant was eventually granted bail in July 2011. While he accepted that his detention was lawful at the outset, he claimed that it became unlawful at some point thereafter.

Detention became unlawful because the risk of absconding had reduced over time. It was clear that he wished to be removed and was making significant efforts to secure his own removal, including contacting the embassy daily. The UKBA had made efforts to obtain documents from the Moroccan authorities from August to October 2010, but when these attempts failed, under Hardial Singh principles, detention ceased to be lawful. This should have been identified at a detention review in November 2010, and thus the last eight months of detention were deemed unlawful.

A full copy the judgment is available here: Mustafa Fardous v Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Greg was instructed by James Elliott at Wilson Solicitors LLP.

The case has been reported both on Lawtel (subscription required) and by the Evening Standard.

Greg Ó Ceallaigh is a member of the Garden Court Immigration Team, the Civil Team and the Public Law Team.

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