SOAS University of London

The Bar Council commissions SOAS research to assess the realities of immigration detention

11 December 2017

The Bar Council has commissioned research from a migration researcher in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS University of London to assess the access to justice of people in immigration detention.

Dr Anna Lindley, Senior Lecturer in Migration, Mobility and Development, carried out interviews to gather the experiences of legal professionals working closely with detainees.

The report, 'Injustice in Immigration Detention', points to flaws in the legal and policy framework including the absence of a statutory time limit on detention; poor decision-making and lack of accountability at the Home Office; inconsistency in people’s ability to challenge their detention through the courts; and obstacles to obtaining legal aid and representation.

The Chair of the Bar Andrew Langdon QC said: "This is a very detailed and well-researched report drawing on interviews with judges, barristers, solicitors and a range of specialists.

"It shows that there is a growing sense of frustration with how the Home Office manages immigration detention. The Home Office is one of the great offices of state, but the quality of its decision-making is unacceptably poor. Dr Lindley's research paints a picture of officials acting with little accountability, unable or unwilling to pursue obvious and viable alternatives to detention.

"If we cannot remove or detain people fairly and in accordance with the rule of law, we fail to live up to the standards we expect of others.”

Dr Clara Della Croce and Ousman Noor, Senior Teaching Fellows in the SOAS School of Law provided input on the project. The report was launched at a Bar Council and Refugee Tales event Ending Indefinite Detention on 30 November.

The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes the Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services, fair access to justice for all, the highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and the development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The reports has been widely reported in, among other publications, The TimesThe GazetteBuzzfeed and Politics Home.

The full report can be viewed here.

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Injustice in Immigration Detention 2017