Asylum seeker wins claim for unlawful prolonged detention

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Asylum seeker wins claim for unlawful prolonged detention

From Proof 2: The limits of open justice

A mentally ill asylum seeker has won a claim against the Home Office as the High Court declared that it was unlawful for him to have been held in detention for a prolonged period of time.

The Home Office was ordered to pay £100,000 to the asylum seeker who can only be identified as AKE for legal reasons.

AKE, an Iranian national who entered the UK illegally in 2012, suffered from bipolar affective and post-traumatic stress disorder. On being refused asylum and then exhausting his appeal rights, he was detained for two periods between 2015 and 2018 totaling 838 days.

AKE was denied treatment to assist with his mental health conditions which the High Court concluded was a breach of the government’s duties under the Equality Act 2010. Rather than allowing AKE to receive the necessary treatment for his mental illness, he was kept isolated at the detention facility. This led to AKE’s mental health deteriorating and he was eventually sectioned under the Mental Health Act after being released from detention.

Stephanie Harrison QC, Shu Shin Lush and Anthony Vaughan of Garden Court Chambers noted that “on discharge from hospital, the Home Office imposed bail conditions on AKE even though they had no lawful power to do so and he continued to lack mental capacity to understand and comply with them”.

AKE’s solicitor, Hamish Arnott of Bhatt Murphy law firm, said: “It was only by luck that AKE obtained legal assistance toward the end of nearly three years of immigration detention. Without the intervention of a charity, he would have languished in detention for an even longer period, unable to access the help he desperately needed. AKE is yet another example of the need to impose clear statutory limits and criteria on this draconian power.”

This decision is in line with previous Court of Appeal judgments which hold that the immigration detention system discriminates against migrants with mental health problems ultimately breaching the Equality Act 2010.

Read the High Court order here.