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High Court finds GPS tagging of migrants constituted an unlawful interference with their right to private life

Published:

The High Court has today handed down judgment in ADL and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2024] EWHC 994 (Admin).

This case concerned the Secretary of State’s round-the-clock GPS surveillance of people on immigration bail, carried out using an ankle-worn GPS tracker which logs their location every minute and generates a detailed record of their movements.

Each of the four claimants was released on immigration bail subject to an electronic monitoring condition, enforced by way of GPS tracking. They challenged the imposition of that condition, as well as the retention of their data, on the basis it breached their right to a private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”).

Mr Justice Lavender held, amongst other things, that the failure to consider whether the imposition of the condition would be impractical or contrary to ECHR rights meant that the interference with those rights was not “in accordance with the law” for the purposes of Article 8. The Judge also recorded that there was no good reason for the Secretary of State’s departure from his published policy by failing to conduct quarterly reviews, though he refused the Claimants permission to amend their grounds to challenge the failure to conduct reviews in accordance with the policy. In respect of several of the claimants, the Judge also held that GPS tracking and/or the retention of data derived from that surveillance constituted a disproportionate interference with their Article 8 rights.

Chris Buttler KC, Aidan Wills and Rosalind Comyn represented the Claimants, along with Karen Staunton of 4KBW, instructed by Duncan Lewis Solicitors.

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