High Court rules Iraqis’ detention unlawful


Two Iraqis have won a judicial review against the Home Office in a test case which may benefit many others who could not and cannot be deported or removed to Iraq.

Pierce Glynn represented Mr. Ibrahim and Mr. Omer who were detained for 14 months and 20 months respectively after they had completed sentences for low-level criminal offences. Delivering his judgment on 13th April, Mr. Justice Burnett relied on the traditional approach of Hardial Singh, finding that both Claimants should have been released after a period of around 12 months, when it became apparent that they could not be removed within a reasonable period. This finding relied on the fact that there were no plans to commence enforced removals to regions other than the northern Kurdish region, as demonstrated by the detention reviews in these cases.

However, the judge rejected the compelling arguments of barristers Mark Symes and Amanda Weston that the detention was unlawful because of the Home Office’s secret policy on foreign national prisoners. He also did not accept that Iraq was ‘an active war zone’, which would have meant that detention and enforced removal were an unlawful breach of a published policy. The main factors he took into consideration were that the conflict was localised, and that the policy was only concerned with countries for which removals to any region was impossible. However the judge has granted our clients permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal on these important issues. Source: Pierce Glynn

For a copy of the judgement (download pdf) click here.