High Court rules in IS (Bangladesh) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, highlighting the delicate balance between public protection and the welfare of vulnerable individuals in immigration detention.

Citation: [2023] EWHC 3353 (Admin)
Judgment on

Introduction

The case of IS (Bangladesh) v Secretary of State for the Home Department is a judicial matter reviewed by the High Court concerning immigration detention and the balance between public protection concerns and the welfare of vulnerable individuals. Mrs Justice Lang DBE. presided over the case and delivered a judgment addressing crucial issues of immigration policy, mental health considerations, and risk assessment in the context of immigration detention.

Key Facts

The claimant, IS (Bangladesh), challenged his continued immigration detention given his history of self-harm, suicidal ideation, and mental illness. The issues revolve around the proper application of the Adults at Risk in Immigration Detention policy, potential delays in deportation proceedings, and reinforcement of bail conditions. The claimant had been in detention for nearly five months amidst an appeal and a positive Reasonable Grounds decision under the National Referral Mechanism (NRM), suggesting he is a victim of modern slavery.

The court applied several legal principles in deciding this case:

  1. Adults at Risk in Immigration Detention policy: The policy presumes against the detention of vulnerable individuals and stipulates that detention should only occur if immigration control factors outweigh identified risk factors.

  2. Realistic Prospect of Removal: Detention is only justifiable if there is a realistic prospect of removal within a reasonable time frame.

  3. Risk Assessment: The court examined the impact of detention on the claimant’s mental health, considering professional evidence regarding the deterioration of the claimant’s mental condition in detention.

  4. Public Protection and Compliance: Weighing the risk of harm to the individual against immigration considerations, including the claimant’s mental health against the risks of re-offending or absconding, and the potential risk to the public.

  5. Alternatives to Detention: The court looked into the viability of alternative measures, such as electronic monitoring and reporting requirements, to ensure compliance while planning or arranging removal.

  6. Nationality and Borders Act 2022: The act prevents removal from the UK until a Conclusive Grounds decision is made in the context of modern slavery claims.

The decision also references the case of Humnyntskyi v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] 1 WLR 320 regarding accommodation provision under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Outcomes

The judgment results in a bail grant to the claimant, conditional upon further determinations related to his accommodation and needs. The decision stresses the need for a comprehensive risk management assessment and contemplates the involvement of the Probation Service and the MSVCC Referral Team to address accommodation issues and support the claimant’s release, recognizing his vulnerability and mental health challenges.

Conclusion

Mrs Justice Lang’s judgment emphasizes the delicate and complex balance between ensuring public safety and addressing the needs of vulnerable individuals in immigration detention. The judgment reinforces the importance of thorough risk assessments, adherence to established policies protecting at-risk adults, and considering alternatives to detention. This outcome demonstrates the court’s careful scrutiny of detention decisions against the UK’s legal and policy frameworks concerning immigration, health and welfare, and human rights considerations.

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