High Court declares unpublished Home Office policy to stop and detain those with NHS debt to be unlawful


The High Court has declared unlawful an unpublished Government policy used by the Home Secretary to repeatedly stop and detain two mothers and their children, as well as other lawful residents of the UK, seeking to re-enter the UK at port. The policy was uncovered through evidence gathered from charities and lawyers. Evidence filed in the claims revealed a practice at the border of detaining for examination those with continuing leave to remain about their NHS debt, even though the debt is not capable of preventing their re-entry to the UK.

In a detailed judgment handed down on 26 May 2023, Mr Justice Chamberlain held that the women and their young children were unlawfully detained. He also found that the Home Secretary had breached her duty to consider the impact of the policy on the groups protected under the Equality Act 2010, including women, who are known to be disproportionately impacted by NHS charging.

Dan Squires KC represented both Claimants with Shu Shin Luh, and was instructed by Janet Farrell at Bhatt Murphy.

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