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High Court grants Manston detainees permission for judicial review

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In late 2022, thousands of migrants were detained at Manston Short-Term Holding Facility in inhumane and degrading conditions and for periods which exceeded statutory time limits. Evidence indicates that the then Home Secretary knew that conditions were deteriorating and thousands of detained persons were being held unlawfully, but she did not take steps to alleviate the situation. The previous Home Secretary since accepted that the situation at Manston gave rise to arguable breaches of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

On Tuesday 5 December, two groups of Claimants who had been detained at Manston during that crisis period (comprising a total of 16 individuals including several children) were given permission in the High Court to seek judicial review of the Home Secretary’s failure to institute an investigation into those events which would meet the requirements of the investigative obligation under Article 3 ECHR. The Home Secretary sought to argue that existing investigation proposals were adequate to meet the investigative obligation, but the Court concluded that was at least arguably not the case.

Anirudh Mathur and Jesse Nicholls represented one set of Claimants, led by Laura Dubinsky KC (Doughty Street Chambers), and instructed by Toufique Hossain and Sheroy Zaq (Duncan Lewis).

The same team, alongside Agata Patyna and Camila Zapata Besso (Doughty Street Chambers), previously acted for a woman held at the facility, and others, during the crisis period. In November 2022 they initiated the first legal action against the Home Secretary for unlawful detention and mistreatment of people held at the site, which led to Manston being emptied later that month.

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