Permission granted to seek public inquiry into systematic abuse at Brook House Immigration Removal Centre

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Stephanie Harrison QC led Garden Court's Stephen Simblet and Raza Halim, and Landmark Chambers' Alex Goodman. They were instructed by Duncan Lewis Solicitors to represent MA.

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High Court judge, Mr Justice Holman, has granted permission to two former immigration detainees to seek an independent public inquiry into the evidence of systematic abuse in Brook House, an immigration removal centre (IRC) near Gatwick.

MA is a highly vulnerable victim of torture with serious mental ill health who, while in detention, repeatedly self-harmed and was suicidal. He was filmed being subject to repeated physical and mental ill-treatment, including derogatory abuse by G4S guards, in footage broadcast on the BBC's Panorama programme in September 2017. MA is obviously vulnerable and was detained for over 3 months, during which time his mental health significantly deteriorated. This happened despite Theresa May's commitment as Home Secretary to improve safeguards for vulnerable detainees following the Shaw Review in 2016 and the suspension of the Detained Fast Track (DFS) system in 2015.

Judge Holman made clear that it was plainly arguable that the Home Office had acted unlawfully and in breach of its duty under Article 3 ECHR to refuse to commission an effective independent inquiry into the grave mistreatment MA experienced when detained and in the custody of the Home Office. He expressed some "strong concerns" about what the Panorama evidence exposed.

The case has been reported in the media including the Guardian, the Independent and the Morning Star.

This follows findings by the same judge earlier this year that the Home Office had acted unlawfully and contrary to its duties under s 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and Articles 9 and 14 of the ECHR in operating a lock-in regime that discriminated against Muslim detainees at Brook House IRC. See also: High Court rules on “discriminatory and unlawful practices” at Brook House. Muslim Immigration detainees forced to worship in degrading conditions.

Stephanie Harrison QCStephen Simblet and Raza Halim are all members of the Garden Court Chambers Public Law and Civil Liberties and Human Rights Teams.

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