As a direct access immigration barrister practising in London I have always found it hard to stomach that those who merely seek a better way of life are routinely locked up pending the outcome of their applications. My view is that those who want to come to the United Kingdom and contribute to our culture and pay their way ought to be allowed. I am aware that there is a need to control the boundaries to the state, however the United Kingdom has done well out of running its own immigration policies over the last few hundred years and it seems a little harsh to now say that those who want to come in are not allowed.
What makes it harsher is when the Secretary of State decides to detain people. The Courts have been visited on a number of times with cases that relate to the legality of detention and some have been won by Applicants but equally some by the Home Office. Currently, the Home Office are able to detain certain people in certain highly controlled situations.
However, what was shocking was the BBC program on the abuse at the Immigration Removal Centre at Brook House at or near Croydon. This program was shocking given the nature of the abuse shown.
What I would say, as to repeat the offensive behaviour is disturbing is that there are some 13 such centres in the United Kingdom. Such action as was displayed could no doubt lead to an action being brought against the detention centre and by extension the government.
I have had unlawful detention claims settled in my favour with the consequences that clients have benefitted financially from the Secretary of State unlawfully locking people up. I can only assume that the behaviour witnessed in the program will lead to further claims or at the very least to those who were frightened to speak up for fear of not being believed speaking up and being heard.
I would suggest that anyone who has been detained in such a centre or knows someone who has been detained in such a centre and who has been the subject of such ill treatment to get in touch with me or another reputable lawyer and to seek advice as to whether they are able to bring a claim based on ill treatment. The one thing I would urge anyone is not to sit in silence and suffer particularly if the abuse has been of a severe or sexual behaviour.
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