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Revealed: unpublished guidance on detaining vulnerable migrants


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Lawyers have uncovered internal Home Office guidance on detaining vulnerable migrants. Duncan Lewis Solicitors and Garden Court Chambers secured the previously unpublished documents, which discuss how the Adults at Risk policy should be interpreted and applied, via a hard-fought Freedom of Information request.

The gist of the guidance is that caseworkers should not second guess medico-legal reports unless there are “clear mistakes or errors”, nor “specifically challenge the doctors’ clinical opinion”. The lawyers say that their request for the information was

prompted by concerns that, in practice, the Home Office was routinely failing to treat MLR reports as amounting to Level 3 evidence despite express findings by psychiatrists that detention was causing, or was likely to cause, harm to the individual’s mental health.

A note by Duncan Lewis and Garden Court summarising the internal guidance and how it might be help with detention challenges is available here (pdf). Practitioners can also download the full Freedom of Information response, which includes emails from the Adults at Risk Returns Assurance Team, here (pdf). Contact Lewis Kett or Grace Capel with follow-up questions.

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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.