As a Direct Access Immigration barrister in London I am acutely aware of developments that occur in relation to unlawful detention. That being said, I was pleased to read a story in the Guardian stating that the government is set to review its asylum policy after admitting Congolese woman held at Yarl’s Wood, should not have been detained.
The government admitted the woman, a Congolese asylum seeker who was arrested in 2014 when she was five months pregnant, should not have been detained. Under current guidelines, pregnant women are treated as vulnerable people who are unsuitable for detention and should only be detained “exceptionally”.
This is not the first time that the Home Office has been criticised about its practice of detaining pregnant women: a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons, there were 99 expectant mothers detained in Yarl’s Wood in 2014 and only nine were removed from the UK. However, the government’s acknowledgement of its failures can be considered an important development and recognition that the system has to change.
Paul Turner is a highly regarded direct access immigration barrister and is the head of Imperium Chambers, Grays Inn Buildings, Grays Inn, he also practises from Mansfield Chambers, the Chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, 5 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1LG and a door tenant at 39 Park Square Leeds LS1 2NU and is licensed by the Bar Council to provide advice and representation directly to the public.