Released but not yet free: the Home Office immigration curfew system

Legal Updates

This post was written by Ravi Naik, Public and International Law Solicitor and Head of Public Law at ITN Solicitors.

Ravi acted for the Claimant in the “Gedi v SSHD” case discussed below.  This article (and the more detailed case analysis written for the Justice Gap) are part of Unlocking Detention, which runs until 18 December 2016.

The Home Office’s immigration curfew system presents an anomaly of the Home Office’s detention regime, providing a mechanism to detain people at home when they would otherwise be free.  The curfews imposed a condition that the person had to be at the residence named in their bail conditions between certain times.

This system was challenged through this firm in the case of Gedi v SSHD. In that case, the Court of Appeal held that the Home Office had no authority to impose such curfews. Rather, the evidence uncovered during the course of the case was that the Home Office had merely assumed it had the relevant power. The Court of Appeal found that that depriving someone of their freedom requires “the clearest legislative authority”.
The Court of Appeal emphasised the need for legislation and oversight “for a requirement of this nature”. The evidence has borne this out; curfews were imposed indiscriminately, for varying hours and often for 12 hours a day.

As a result of the ruling, the Home Office no longer had the authority to impose such curfews on individuals. However, despite this clear ruling, the Home Office refused to remove the curfews from people.

We have acted for a large number of people who the Home Office refused to release from their curfews. We brought a number of challenges to the continued imposition of the conditions. In each case, the Court ordered the Home Office to remove the curfew. The Home Office appear to have finally taken their head out of the sand and have now issued guidance to caseworkers to remove the curfews.

Given the practice of the Home Office, we are however concerned that there may be others who remain detained under a curfew. All such people are entitled to and deserve their freedom. If you know anyone who remains subject to an immigration curfew, please get in contact with solicitors as a matter of urgency. Our firm are more than happy to assist and we would encourage anyone effected to contact us as soon as possible.

Contact Ravi Naik, head of Public Law at ITN Solicitors:
Phone:  020 8522 7707
ITN Solicitors are based in London but can take on cases from across England and Wales.


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