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Home Secretary misinterpreted policy on supporting victims of modern slavery

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The Claimant was a potential victim of modern slavery and an asylum seeker who, during the Covid-19 pandemic, was housed by the Secretary of State in full-board asylum accommodation. This claim concerned the proper meaning of the Secretary of State’s policy for providing financial support to victims of modern slavery before the policy was changed on 28 August 2020.

The Claimant argued that under the policy (Modern Slavery Act 2015 – Statutory Guidance for England and Wales), he was entitled to a total payment of £65 per week, comprising asylum support and modern slavery support. The Defendant contended that the Claimant was entitled to only £35 per week under the policy.

The High Court, allowing the Claimant’s claim, found that paragraph 15.37 of the Defendant’s policy meant what it said: a potential victim or victim of modern slavery in receipt of “financial support under sections 95, 98 or section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (‘asylum support’)” was entitled to a trafficking payment from the Secretary of State in the sum of £65 per week, less any weekly cash payment received in asylum support.

Chris Buttler QC and Ayesha Christie represented the Claimant, JB.

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