The moral of this story is contained within the title, as a direct access immigration barrister, I am often asked at the last minute if I can assist with removals or injunctions. My advice would be yes, but please give me as much notice as possible.
The reason for this is that the Home Office have instigated a new policy, if that is the right word, whereby they issue a refusal / removal notice which says that no action will be taken for 7 days / 72 hours but then removal will take place any time thereafter.
On Thursday evening I got a call from the friend of a woman who was terrified. She was on her way to visit her friend in Yarslwood who was due to be removed the following day. I made a few enquiries and it transpired that she had been detained for about 10 days and had been the victim of terrible domestic violence.
She had solicitors, and they had sent a pre action letter, however this, in line with the new policy, did not stop the removal directions. On Thursday night a fax was sent saying she was to be removed on Saturday. Again no JR was lodged and I was instructed on Saturday morning to go for a telephone injunction.
As usual with telephone injunctions I prepare outline submissions, I find it really helpful and can assist the Judge. It was a little nerve wracking but I had the extremely reasonable Warby J who had clearly read all the relevant papers and granted the injunction with only a few hours before the flight.
The moral for the story is really as soon as the HO provide any form of refusal / notice I would advice going for JR straight away (obviously after the pre action letter). Had the Judge not been so reasonable or had I not been available then my poor client, who had been the victim of horrendous domestic violence would have been removed from the UK.
If you, a family member or friend are facing removal I would advise getting in touch with me or another reputable lawyer as soon as possible in order to give the person the best chance of avoiding removal.
Please please seek professional legal advice before the removal directions are set.