Challenging the Home Secretary’s review of the way payments are calculated for asylum seekers

Case name: R (Nyamayaro and Okolo) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department

An asylum seeker lost 30 per cent of her financial support after the Home Office changed how it calculates payments. She raised a Judicial Review, which was unsuccessful. She appealed. We intervened in the case because we were concerned that the Home Secretary hadn’t given enough consideration to the impact on human rights or equality laws.

Legal issue

Is the amount of asylum support payable discriminatory following the Home Secretary’s review of the way payments are calculated?

Background

The claimant was an asylum seeker and single mother of three children.

A change in the Home Office methodology for calculating financial support for asylum seekers meant her payments were reduced by 30 per cent.

She raised a Judicial Review to challenge the Home Office. We intervened in the case but she was unsuccessful. She was given permission to appeal the decision.

Why we were involved

There are around 45,000 asylum seekers in the UK. They are entitled to very minimal support and the changed method of calculating their support had potential to leave many even worse off.

We were concerned that the Home Secretary had not properly considered equality laws or asylum seekers’ human rights and wanted to make sure that O and others weren’t being discriminated against.

We used our powers to intervene in the case in the Court of Session (Inner House), arguing that the Home Secretary had not paid enough attention to protecting human rights or to the public sector equality duty. This requires all public bodies to consider the need to eliminate discrimination.

What we did

We used our powers to intervene in the case, arguing that the Home Secretary had not paid enough attention to protecting human rights or to the public sector equality duty. This requires all public bodies to consider the need to eliminate discrimination.

What happened

Despite the woman's case being unsuccessful, the court agreed that the PSED plays an important role in preventing discrimination.

Who will benefit and how

Increased awareness of the duty will encourage judges to give PSED more thought and in future could help anyone who is a victim of discrimination by a public body.

Date of hearing

Date of outcome