Protecting children seeking asylum from being detained based on appearance (BF (Eritrea) v Secretary of State for the Home Department)
A person seeking asylum arrived in the UK at the age of 16. Officials thought he looked over 18 and he was held in immigration detention. He was later found to have told the truth about his age. The Home Office’s own rules say that unaccompanied children should not be detained. The person seeking asylum unsuccessfully challenged this in the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber), and again in the Upper Tribunal. He then appealed the UT’s decision in the Court of Appeal. We intervened in the Court of Appeal to challenge guidance from the Home Secretary which said that people seeking asylum who look over 18 can be treated as adults.
Hillingdon Council’s housing rules said that a person must have lived in the area for at least ten years before they could apply for a house. The council refused two people, a refugee who had been given permission to stay in the UK and an Irish Traveller, on these grounds. We saw this as discriminatory and we intervened in their cases in the Administrative Court and the Court of Appeal.
Challenging the ‘two-child limit’ rule (R (on the application of SC and CB and their children) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 provides that child tax credit and its replacement universal credit will not be payable to any 3rd or subsequent children in a family born after 6th April 2017 (subject to some exceptions). This is known as the ‘two child rule’.
SC and CB each had a baby after 6th April 2017 and do not receive any tax credits for those children.
Immigration status and the right to rent a property (R (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department)
As part of the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ towards those without leave to remain in the UK, the Immigration Act 2014 prevents landlords from renting property to people who do not have leave to enter or remain in the UK. A body representing the interests of immigrants challenged this, arguing that the law breached both equality and human rights legislation because it causes landlords to discriminate against potential tenants on the grounds of their nationality and/or their race. This may happen, for example, because landlords think they do not look or sound British, even if they are not disqualified from renting.
A severely disabled man had his care package cut by the local council. It meant that he would lose a team of carers who had been supporting him to live independently for 20 years. We intervened to support his legal challenge that the decision broke equality and human rights laws and breached the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Home repossession: what reasonable adjustments should mortgage providers make? (Green v Southern Pacific Mortgage Ltd )
A woman who became unable to work because she was depressed asked her mortgage provider to transfer her from a repayment mortgage to an interest-only plan. This would have reduced her monthly payments sufficiently that her housing benefit would cover it. The mortgage company refused. She challenged their decision, arguing that they had discriminated against her by refusing to make reasonable adjustments on the grounds of her depression.
A woman who was homeless had a range of serious mental health problems applied to the council to be housed. The council determined that she did not have the mental capacity to apply as homeless. She challenged this through the courts. The County Court had said it was bound by the outcome of an earlier case which found that people who lack capacity cannot make homeless applications.
Immigration rules: extending domestic violence protection to refugees (R (A) v Secretary of State for the Home Department)
The wife of a refugee was granted temporary leave to remain in the UK. When domestic violence forced her to leave her husband, immigration rules meant she was no longer eligible for indefinite leave to remain. Had her partner been a British citizen or had settled immigration status, she would still be eligible for indefinite leave to remain under the Home Office’s domestic violence concession. However, the concession did not apply to partners of refugees. The woman unsuccessfully challenged the rules in the Court of Session (Outer House), and brought an appeal to the Court of Session (Inner House).
A man with mental health conditions attempted to appeal the outcome of an unsuccessful Employment Tribunal case. He missed the deadline by one hour and his appeal was refused by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). He took his case to the Court of Appeal, arguing that the EAT had discriminated against him.
Challenging the Home Secretary’s review of the way payments are calculated for asylum seekers (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.