Policy of removal windows suspended

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Yesterday, the High Court suspended the Home Office policy of “removal windows” after a successful legal challenge by the organisation Medical Justice (represented by the Public Law Project and Doughty Street Chambers).

Since 2015, the Home Office has been able to inform someone they are liable to removal, and then remove that person at any given point during a three month removal window.

This is a change to the former legal obligation of issuing “removal directions” which would specify the date, time and flight number of the removal. Although the Home Office still in some cases issued “courtesy letters” containing this information, there was no legal obligation to do so apart from those cases where the removal window cannot be used.

The Home Office could give you notice that you were liable to removal, and could not lawfully remove you during that notice period. The general notice period is seven calendar days if you are not detained, or just 72 hours if you are detained. The 72 hours must include at least two working days. The last 24 hours must include a working day unless the notice period already includes three working days.

Once that notice period is over, the three month removal window began and you could be removed, without notice, at any point during it.

According to Home Office submissions made in the case, they would now have to cancel 69 removals scheduled for yesterday and today.

The removal window was suspended as a consequence of permission being granted for Medical Justice’s judicial review of the policy – suspension of the policy was granted as “interim relief”.

The full hearing will be in June or July this year.

Congratulations to Medical Justice and their legal team!



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