High Court quashes DPP decision not to charge employers in domestic servitude case


Re: L v Director of Public Prosecutions [2020] EWHC 1815 (Admin)

The Claimant challenged the decision of the CPS on behalf of the DPP not to bring charges against her former employers for arranging her entry into the UK in circumstances in which they intended to exploit her, contrary to section 4 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004.

The Claimant had obtained work for a Mr and Mrs Aljaberi in Abu Dhabi through an agency. Mr Aljaberi wanted the Claimant to accompany his family to London and the Claimant contended that he had told her he would reimburse her £1000 monthly for the work done in London. The Claimant was only remunerated £100-£200 per month. The Claimant contended that she was mistreated during her employment. The Home Office had concluded, on the balance of probabilities, that the Claimant had been recruited for the purpose of domestic servitude and had been deceived as to the salary she would receive in the UK and hours she would be required to work. The CPS, however, had decided not to charge Mr and Mrs Aljaberi which the Claimant challenged in the present proceedings.

The Court allowed the claim and quashed the decision not to charge the employers. It held that proper decision making in a charging context requires the prosecutor to assess the available evidence against the elements of the potential offence. In this case the decision maker’s approach was fundamentally flawed.

Chris Butler was involved in this case.