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Help Refugees loses Dubs amendment case, will appeal


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Help Refugees has lost its challenge to the Home Office’s delay in relocating child refugees under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. The decision in R (Help Refugees Limited) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWHC 2727 (Admin) was handed down today. The charity immediately committed to an appeal.

The judicial review took aim at the Home Office’s dilatory approach to the ‘Dubs amendment’. That section, inserted into the 2016 Act after dogged campaigning, committed the government to relocate unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from elsewhere in Europe to the UK.

Help Refugees argued that there had been no proper consultation with councils on how many children they could take; that the number ultimately accepted was “arbitrary”; that the children were denied “fundamental procedural safeguards”; and that the slow pace of the whole operation made a mockery of the amendment’s instruction to act “as soon as possible“. The AIRE Centre was an intervener in the case.

Treacy LJ and Ouseley J, sitting in the Divisional Court, found against the claimant on all four points.

Rosa Curley of Leigh Day, for Help Refugees, said that

This litigation has already brought about very significant advances. 130 extra places for vulnerable children were added as the direct result of this litigation. The Government was also forced to accept that the children to be transferred under the Dubs Amendment were additional to the children the Government already had to transfer under EU law. Our clients continue to believe that the way in which the Dubs amendment has been implemented is seriously defective. We have sought permission to appeal.

The celebrated section 67 — one of very few saving graces from the 2016 legislation — is closely associated with Lord Dubs, the Labour peer and former child refugee who was the driving force behind its passage. He and fellow campaigners hoped that the Dubs amendment would benefit around 3,000 unaccompanied children on the continent, but the Home Office has managed only 480.

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