Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Detention of mother and 3 children in breach of policy found unlawful


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In the case of Onos v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] EWHC 59 (Admin) Mrs Justice Laing held that the decision to remove a Nigerian lady and her three children was a lawful one but that the decision to detain the family at the Cedars facility prior to removal was unlawful. Notice of removal was served on the family with insufficient notice (Wednesday for a flight on Saturday) and the period of detention exceeded that permitted under the policy, which was 72 hours. Ministerial authority or authorisation for the detention was not lawfully sought or given. Compensatory damages were awarded.

The judgment emphasises that strict adherence to the terms and spirit of the family removals process is required.

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.