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Judge suspends Home Office removals policy

Judge suspends Home Office removals policy

On Thursday 14th March 2019 the High Court suspended the Home Office removals policy of ‘removal windows’, which enables the forcible removal of migrants from the UK, often without access to legal representation.

This proceeding was brought by the charity Medical Justice, which assists migrants suffering mistreatment in immigration detention. Medical Justice sought permission to apply for a judicial review of the Home Office Removal Notice Window (RNW) policy, and in addition an injunction prohibiting the Home Office from relying on it pending the outcome of the claim.

Lawyers who appeared on behalf of Medical Justice stated that ‘the policy was a flagrant interference with the right to seek justice’. Whilst the representatives for the Home Office argued that the RNW policy had been introduced to prevent people deploying last-minute attempts to sabotage removal under the standard procedure. It is however trite law that everyone should be able to have access to legal representation as this is an overarching principle embedded in the rule of law. Thus, individuals who are facing deportation should be afforded enough time to do so in the interests of justice and fairness.

Despite the submissions made by the Home Office, Mr Justice Walker stated that there appeared to be strong reason for a real concern that the policy unjustifiably impedes access to justice. Accordingly, he granted an interim injunction, suspending the RNW policy until the substantive hearing which starts in the week beginning 8 April 2019. The substantive judicial review challenge will be heard in June or July 2019.

Following this judgement, the Home Office had to cancel 69 removals scheduled for 14th and 15th March 2019. The cancellation of the removals and the suspension of the RNW policy will temporarily afford individuals the opportunity to have enough time to prepare or present their case and or challenge any removal decision.

If you or anyone you know is affected by the RNW policy and/or if you would like further information regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact Yemi Alli on 02477 710218 or email

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