All those held at the Manston Short-Term Holding Facility in Kent have now been moved to new accommodation. The Manston facility was emptied after a woman held at the facility, Detention Action, and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU), initiated the first legal action against the Home Secretary for unlawful detention and mistreatment of people held at the site.
On 1st November 2022, an urgent, pre-action letter was sent to the Home Secretary on behalf of the woman then held at Manston and Detention Action explaining in detail why in their view the duration of detention, lack of access to legal advice and conditions at the site were unlawful. The PCSU, representing Border Force and Home Office staff involved in the operation of the facility, subsequently joined the legal challenge.
The claimants entered into repeated correspondence with the Home Secretary, pressing for a substantive response to their concerns and warning that they were preparing to litigate unless assured that no one was nor would be held at the site for more than 24 hours. The Home Secretary ultimately responded with confirmation that the Manston Facility was being emptied. No announcement has yet been made as to whether the site will now be permanently closed.
The claimants are represented by a team of barristers: Anirudh Mathur and Jesse Nicholls of Matrix Chambers, Agata Patyna and Camila Zapata Besso of Doughty Street Chambers led by Laura Dubinsky KC; and by a team of solicitors at Duncan Lewis headed by Toufique Hossain and Sheroy Zaq.
Detention Action’s press release can be found here.