Case No: CO/3085/2022
In the High Court of Justice
Queen’s Bench Division
25 August 2022
The Honourable Mrs Justice Ellenbogen DBE
The Queen on the application of
Secretary of State for the Home Department
On applications by the Claimant for anonymity and for urgent interim relief
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant
ORDER by The Honourable Mrs Justice Ellenbogen DBE
1. The identity of the Claimant in these proceedings shall not be published.
2. Pursuant to CPR Rule 39.2(4), there shall not be disclosed in any report of these proceedings, or other publication (by whatever medium) in relation to these proceedings, the name or address of the Claimant or any other matters which could lead to identification of him or his family.
3. In any report of these proceedings, or other publication (by whatever medium) in relation to these proceedings, the Claimant shall be referred to as “ABC” and any matters which could lead to the identification of the Claimant or his family shall be redacted.
4. Pursuant to CPR Rule 5.4C:
a. a person who is not a party to the proceedings may obtain a copy of a claim form, judgment or order from the court records only if the same has been anonymised and redacted in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 3 of this order;
b. if a person who is not a party to the proceedings applies for permission to obtain a copy of any other document or communication, such application shall be on at least 7 days’ written notice to the Claimant’s solicitors;
c. any interested party, whether or not a party to the proceedings, may apply to the Court to vary or revoke paragraphs 1 to 4(b) of this Order, provided that any such application is made on written notice to the Claimant’s solicitors and that 3 days’ prior written notice of the intention to make such an application is given.
5. The Defendant shall file and serve any response to the Claimant’s application for urgent interim relief, together with any supporting evidence, by 4.00pm on Tuesday 30 August 2022.
6. The Claimant’s application for urgent interim relief, together with any response and evidence filed and served by the Defendant in accordance with paragraph 5 above, shall be placed before a judge of the Administrative Court on Wednesday 31 August 2022, by no later than midday. At that stage, the judge may determine the Claimant’s applications, or give directions for further submissions and/or an oral hearing.
7. Costs reserved.
1. This matter is before me as ‘immediates’ judge.
2. The Claimant is a Vietnamese national. In 2017, he travelled to Russia to find work. It is said that it later transpired that this had been through a trafficker in Vietnam. Once in Russia, he was locked up, forced to work long hours, unpaid, and beaten frequently. Following his escape, another Vietnamese individual assisted him in travelling to Moscow and, from there, to Ukraine, where he was joined by his wife. They later had a child. The Claimant set up a business, using funds borrowed from a loan shark, but the family was later forced to leave Ukraine, by reason of its war with Russia. The Claimant states that they travelled, first, to Poland and then to Germany. In Germany, he was located and threatened by the loan shark from whom he had borrowed money, who forced him to travel to the UK in order to work to pay off the loan, with the threat that, were he not to do so, his wife and child would be killed. Leaving them in Germany, he, therefore, travelled to the UK, via France, and has had no contact with his wife and child since his illegal arrival, by boat, on 7 June 2022, at which point he was arrested. He has been detained ever since.
3. On arrival in the UK, the Claimant claimed asylum, a claim which, it is said, the Defendant ‘voided’, without explanation to the Claimant, on 10 June 2022. The Claimant contends that that term has no meaning, in fact or law. On 19 July 2022, he was referred to the NRM, receiving a positive reasonable grounds decision on 2 August 2022. On 22 July 2022, the Claimant submitted an application for Asylum Support NASS accommodation to the Defendant, which remains outstanding. On 8 August 2022, a bail in principle hearing was listed, but the application was withdrawn, in the absence of accommodation. On 10 August 2022, the Defendant was asked to confirm her position regarding the Claimant’s asylum claim and release from detention. It is said that no response was received to that request.
4. A PAP letter was sent to the Defendant on 17 August 2022, seeking an urgent response by midday the following day. To date, no response has been received. On 24 August 2022, the Claimant’s solicitors sent a further letter to the Defendant, enclosing the Claimant’s healthcare records, received that day from the IRC, and noting their instructions that the Claimant suffered from anxiety and depression, together with flashbacks and nightmares of events which had taken place in Russia. That same day, they lodged a claim for judicial review, challenging the Defendant’s (1) failure to treat him as an adult at risk under the relevant policy; (2) failure to undertake an assessment under rule 34 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001; (3) allegedly unlawful detention of him; and (4) allegedly unlawful voiding of his asylum claim. Lodged with that claim was an application for urgent interim relief whereby the Defendant would be ordered to: (1) conduct a proper assessment of the Claimant, in line with her Adults At Risk In Detention policy; (2) reinstate the ‘voided’ asylum claim within 24 hours; and (3) source, and release the Claimant to, approved accommodation, within 72 hours. In the alternative, the Court was asked to consider granting an immediate ex parte order for the relief in (1) and (2), truncating the timetable for provision of the Acknowledgement of Service (in the absence of the Claimant’s release), in advance of an urgent interim relief hearing, listed on the earliest available date.
5. This matter concerns the Claimant’s wellbeing as someone who is said to be vulnerable and suffering from poor mental health, exacerbated by his ongoing detention. It is appropriate that the need for interim relief be considered with some urgency, however, the court will be assisted by the Defendant’s response to that application, which, so far as consistent with that urgency, she must be given appropriate time to provide. The time allowed by paragraph 5 of the above order, together with the order made by paragraph 6, strikes that balance. I do not consider it to be necessary or proportionate to grant interim relief in the meantime.
6. The Claimant is a potential asylum seeker, who claims to be a victim of trafficking and whose family outside the UK are potentially at risk. On those bases, I grant the anonymity order sought in the Claimant’s statement of facts and grounds; the potentially competing rights to freedom of expression and a fair trial (the principle of open justice) are protected by my giving liberty to apply, to the Defendant and to other interested persons (which would include representatives of the Press and other media), in respect of that part of the order.