Rahul Bhatia and Penelope Baird of Bhatia Best Solicitors recently represented the Claimant in R (SA) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1787 (Admin).
An important case where Mr Justice Fordham gave guidance on when hotel accommodation being provided for asylum seekers under s.95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 becomes ‘inadequate’, and thus unlawful. The case focuses in particular on the use of such accommodation for pregnant women and families with young children.
The Claimant is an asylum seeker who, when she came to the UK, was pregnant and had three children (then) aged 10, 9, and 3. The family were destitute with no access to accommodation and so the Secretary of State for the Home Department (“SoS”) accepted she had a duty to provide her with accommodation and support under the 1999 Act. The family were allocated to a single room in a hotel. The family remained in the hotel environment up to and after her giving birth and had been residing there for 8 months by the time the claim was filed. By the time of the hearing before Fordham J they had been residing there for 15 months.
Fordham J found that the accommodation was inadequate; the fact of the Claimant’s pregnancy, the ages of the children, the facilities available in the accommodation, and the sheer length of time they were residing in the hotel all playing important factors in determining the inadequacy of the accommodation.
Fordham J granted a mandatory order requiring the SoS to move the family to dispersal accommodation (normally a house or flat of their own) within 5 days.
The full judgment was handed down on Friday 14 July 2023 and can be read here: SA, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1787 (Admin) (14 July 2023) (bailii.org)
Rahul and Penelope were assisted by Counsel, David Gardner of No5 Chambers.’. You can access his comments and profile here.
This case is one of the many handled by our Public Law Department where some of the most vulnerable in our country are being let down by the system. Our Public Law specialists are here to hold government agencies to account over failures to abide by the law.