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Public law and Regulation

Case reports and guidance on public law and professional regulation issues

29 MAY 2013

Kamara v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 959 (Admin); (2013) PLLR 058

Immigration - Detention - Removal - Asylum

After a caseworker had identified that no further progress could be made with the Claimant's removal, he should have been released. His detention for a further four months was thus held to be unlawful.

26 April 2013

Administrative Court

Collins J

(1)        The Claimant arrived in the UK from The Gambia on 22 June 2001. He attempted to obtain entry using a forged Gambian passport and claimed asylum. The Claimant initially alleged that he was a Gambian national and sought asylum for fear of persecution by the authorities. The Claimant later claimed to be a Sierra Leone national. The Claimant's asylum claim was refused and he then disappeared and remained in the UK unlawfully. From 10 July 2009 until 10 December 2012 the Claimant was held in immigration detention. On 20 July 2012, UKBA caseworker suggested release on the basis that no further progress could be made. The Claimant's detention continued nonetheless on the basis of a risk of absconding.

(2)        The Claimant alleged that his detention had been unlawful since January 2011 when he had provided the Defendant with information allowing for him to obtain Emergency Travel Documents (‘ETD').

(3)        HELD: It had been reasonable for the Defendant to consider that the Claimant was a Gambian national. As the Claimant was in detention, the delay replying to questions put by his solicitors in July 2011had been unacceptable. 

(4)        There was no evidence that the Defendant had pursued the contact details that had been provided of the Claimant's relatives in Sierra Leone.

(5)        The Defendant had been entitled to have scepticism about the claims made by the Claimant given his previous dishonesty. Nonetheless, the Court criticised the manner in which the Claimant's case had been handled, namely the delays involved.

(6)        A considerable period would have elapsed during which the Claimant would have been lawfully detained.

(7)        Although the justifiable period of detention varies from case to case, the Claimant should have been released in August 2012 after the caseworker identified that the ‘end of the line had been reached'.

(8)        As such, the Claimant's detention was unlawful for a period of 4 months. 

Claim succeeded

Key paragraphs

[13] - Reasonable believe nationality.

[19] - Not pursued contacts.

[24] - Scepticism.

[24] - Risk absconding.

[26] - Unlawful detention.

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