A Home Office policy that gives people 72 hours’ notice before they are deported from the UK has been ruled unlawful by the courts.
More than 40,000 people have been removed under the policy, including members of the Windrush generation, some of whom the Home Office was later ordered to bring back to Britain after it was ruled that they weren’t given adequate access to justice.
In a unanimous decision published on Tuesday, the Court of Appeal quashed the policy, saying it provides “no adequate opportunity – or, indeed, any opportunity at all – for the individual to take advice and lodge a judicial review challenging that decision before he or she is at risk of removal”, and ruling it to be “arbitrary and thus in any event unlawful”.
Campaigners who brought the legal case said it had “denied justice on a massive scale, causing serious harm to extremely vulnerable people and risking life” and said the ruling brought the UK “back towards equal access to justice for all”.
The ruling concluded that “the right to access the court is an absolute and inviolable right… the right to access to the court is not a relative right to be balanced against other rights and interests”.