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‘Adequate’ accommodation for asylum seekers questioned again in the High court
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One of the latest cases to be brought to the High Court concerning accommodation standards for asylum seekers in the UK states that the UK is in a “crisis” and that the “current influx of refugees is presenting the government with very difficult challenges as regards their accommodation and support”. The point was made by Mr Justice Mostyn in an anonymity and interim order in the case of AH and another v Secretary of State for the Home Department CO-893-2023.
Mostyn J confirms what ‘adequate’ means for asylum support accommodation and the use of hotels:
As for the general complaint that the accommodation does not meet the necessary standard of adequacy I have carefully considered the written submissions of Mr Payne KC and the authorities to which he has referred.
It cannot be disputed that the current influx of refugees is presenting the government with very difficult challenges as regards their accommodation and support.
The law requires refugees to be accommodated and supported at that level of adequacy which staves off a condition of destitution. Obviously, the level will vary depending on the demands being made on government from time to time. Equally obvious is that there is an irreducible minimum level of adequacy.
In the current crisis I am quite sure that the accommodation provided in the hotel, while being very far from perfect, does not fall below that irreducible minimal level of adequacy.
I have been particularly struck by the argument that were this claim to succeed it would mean that these claimants would in effect jump a long queue at the expense of other equally meritful, perhaps even more meritful, refugees.”
He goes on to confirmed that “in a less crisis-ridden world the accommodation in which the claimants find themselves is close to the frontier of adequacy”. Given the number of challenges we see being brought regarding hotel accommodation, perhaps the new alternative accommodation plans for certain asylum seekers in vessels and barracks will fall foul to more legal challenges that can not be so easily overcome.
An injunction brought by Braintree District Council to prevent the transformation of RAF Wethersfield into asylum accommodation is already due to be heard in the High Court today, Wednesday 18 April.