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Legal action planned against UK Government on behalf of Windrush Generation

Law firm Leigh Day have confirmed that they are preparing a potential group action against the Government on behalf of people, who fall under the definition of the 'Windrush Generation'

Posted on 02 May 2018

Law firm Leigh Day have confirmed that they are preparing a potential group action against the Government on behalf of people, who fall under the definition of the ‘Windrush Generation’, over the effects of the hostile environment policy devised by the Home Office to implement the provisions of the 2014 Immigration Act, which was put in place whilst Theresa May was Home Secretary.

The law firm confirmed that they were awaiting details of the Governments proposals for a compensation scheme and have urged the Home Office to expedite this following the resignation of Amber Rudd as Home Secretary.

According to the lawyers involved in the potential legal action, they will be arguing that the policies put forward by the Home Office in 2014 were discriminatory and unlawful as they were in breach of the Human Rights Act as they were ‘inhuman and degrading’ and contrary to Article 3 and Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

The Windrush Generation immigrants, who arrived pre-1971 acquired, without the need for documents, an automatic indefinite right to remain.

However they have been especially unable to comply with the onerous documentation requirements demanded by the Government policy due to the time that had elapsed since their arrival, in that they are far less likely than later immigrants to have retained documents, and the destruction of landing cards by the Home Office has also added to their difficulties.

The law firm is currently investigating the potential of the group claim on behalf of a number of people, who identify as Windrush Generation Britons. The potential range of issues facing the Windrush generation include being unlawfully detained and deported, losing jobs or employment rights, being denied medical treatment, due to the ‘hostile environment’ policy.

Jamie Beagent, from the Human Rights team at Leigh Day, who is representing the Windrush clients, said that any compensation scheme set up by the Government would need to be robust and fully and fairly compensate every individual for the particular harm and loss that they have suffered including the loss of dignity.

Mr Beagent added that the promise of compensation by the Government, alongside the setting up of a dedicated helpline for those affected, amounted to little more than an exercise in crisis management.

He said: “Whilst we welcome the news that the Government intends to set up a compensation scheme for these British citizens, we know very little more. We are also sceptical that such a scheme will adequately recompense our clients for what they have been through and what they have lost and seems to be a failed crisis-management ploy.

“We urge the Government to provide further details, including a timeframe for the scheme, and if these are not adequate we will be bringing a group action, under the Human Rights Act, on behalf of these member of our society who have been treated so badly by a Government which sought to make the rest of society hostile toward them.

“Whilst Amber Rudd may have resigned, it must be remembered that it was the current Prime Minister who made this policy real for many thousands of British citizens.”