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Empire Windrush

Lawyer specialising in actions against the Home Office says government faces legal challenges from the 'Windrush Generation'

Human rights lawyer says Home Office could face numerous compensation claims from Commonwealth immigrants

Posted on 18 April 2018

A leading human rights lawyer has said the government faces a number of fresh legal challenges over its handling of cases involving the ‘Windrush Generation’.  

These could range from legal challenges over the failure to recognise individuals as having the right to live in the UK, to claims for damages for detention and deportation; and even being forced to bring back people who have been wrongly deported.

Jamie Beagent, from law firm Leigh Day, has represented a number of Windrush clients, caught up in the hostile environment policy. 
These include successfully representing a pensioner refused British citizenship despite having come to the UK as a young boy and worked here all his life.

In another case he secured the release from detention and an associated financial settlement for the son of Commonwealth immigrants detained under immigration powers for four years because he did not have the paperwork to prove that he was born in the UK, which had been lost when his mother died. 
Leigh Day also represented the son of Commonwealth immigrant parents who was repeatedly detained under immigration powers and denied a British passport, after his parents had returned to their country of origin. Despite extensive documentary evidence the Home Office refused to acknowledge his status as a British Citizen and this was only resolved only when DNA tests were arranged by Leigh Day.

Jamie Beagent from the human rights team at Leigh Day, who represented those claimants against the UK Government, said:

“The so-called Hostile Environment policy, which has been government policy for a number of years, is the culmination of decades of increasingly draconian immigration law and policy.  

“When many of the Windrush generation arrived there was no need to apply for any formal leave to reside in the UK.  Over the years more and more barriers to immigrants have been thrown up and increasingly draconian legislation and policy adopted. 

“These policies have been shown to be not only morally reprehensible but have created an environment where many of the Windrush generation continue to be subjected to unlawful treatment.

“The destruction of landing cards from those arriving as part of the Windrush generation, making it harder to prove their point of entry into the UK, is the latest in a long list of government failures these people have endured over a long period of time.

“The Home Office must now be clear on just how many people have been wrongly deported and subjected to other unlawful restrictions.  We will only then know the scale of the legal challenges the government faces as a result of these policies.”