SZ -v- Secretary of State for the Home Department (anonymity order)

Administrative CourtHigh CourtKing's Bench DivisionAnonymity Order

Claim number: AC-2023-LON-000136

In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
Administrative Court

23 November 2023


Mr Tim Smith sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge


The King on the application of


Secretary of State for the Home Department


Notification of the Judge’s decision on the application for permission to apply for judicial review (CPR 54.11, 54.12)
Following consideration of the documents lodged by the Claimant and the Acknowledgement of Service filed by the Defendant
ORDER by Mr Tim Smith sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge

  1. The Claimant is permitted to rely upon the Reply filed in these proceedings.
  2. The application for permission to apply for judicial review is refused in respect of Ground 1.
  3. In respect of Ground 2, within 14 days from the date of this Order the Defendant shall notify the Claimant of his decision following a reconsideration of the original negative Reasonable Grounds decision in the Claimant’s case.
  4. Pursuant to CPR rule 39.2 the identity of the Claimant shall not be disclosed directly or indirectly, and the Claimant’s name shall be anonymised as “SZ”.
  5. Pursuant to CPR rule 5.4C a person who is not a party to the proceedings may obtain a copy of a statement of case, judgment, or Order from the court records only if the statement of case, judgment or Order has been anonymised.
  6. There be no order as to costs.


1) It can clearly be inferred from the SFG that the Claimant claims to be a victim of modern slavery/human trafficking. Even though the Defendant is still reconsidering his decision as to whether Reasonable Grounds exist, I am content (having regard to the guidance in CPR 39.2) that it is appropriate to protect the Claimant’s identity in this case
2) The Claimant’s application to rely upon his Reply is sensibly not resisted by the Defendant and I agree that it is appropriate that he should be permitted to rely upon it
3) Turning now to the grounds of challenge, in relation to Ground 1 it is not arguable that the Defendant has failed to discharge his statutory duty to provide accommodation and support. This is not a case in which the evidence reveals any special medical or other circumstances which require a dispersal of the Claimant to other accommodation. I agree with the Defendant that the grounds for dispersal cited by the Claimant are matters of personal preference rather than medical or other necessity. It is therefore inappropriate to prioritise a dispersal of the Claimant above cases of genuine necessity. The contrary is not arguable
4) In relation to Ground 2, whilst on 11th September 2023 the Defendant in his pre-action protocol response agreed to reconsider the negative Reasonable Grounds decision in the Claimant’s case, in that same letter he indicated that a decision following a reconsideration could be expected “within a deadline of 4 weeks, absent special circumstances”. So far as the Court is aware there has still been no decision, nor any indication that special circumstances warranting a delay exist. I agree with the Claimant that the Defendant’s commitment does not render Ground 2 academic, especially in circumstances where a decision is overdue by at least 5 weeks and no reason has been advanced for the delay at all. The Defendant has effectively conceded the substance of Ground 2 but has failed to deliver on the agreement to reconsider. I consider that it is appropriate to require greater rigour to the reconsideration process, hence paragraph 3. of my Order
5) This is a split decision, with permission being refused for Ground 1 and Ground 2 succeeding in substance. I therefore consider it appropriate to make no order as to costs, having regard to the guidance in CPR44