4th Jul 2023


Thomas Roe KC and Rowan Pennington-Benton (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) for the Respondent



This is an appeal against the judgment of Lang J ([2022] EWHC 2007 (Admin)) dismissing claims for judicial review brought by SPM, the appellant, against the Secretary of State for the Home Department (“SSHD”). There was originally a second claimant, Women for Refugee Women (“WRW”), a charity which supports refugee women, but WRW has played no part in this appeal.

The appellant’s claim centres on complaints that there was a real risk that her common law rights of access to justice were infringed by what she says were inadequate arrangements for in-person legal visits for detainees at Derwentside Immigration Removal Centre (“Derwentside”) from its opening in December 2021 to 30 June 2022, after which the arrangements changed. She says that her detention at Derwentside was rendered unlawful because of the existence of a real risk of breach of her rights. She advances her claim on her own behalf and on the basis that a judgment in her favour would necessarily apply to other women held at Derwentside in the relevant period, although she does not in any formal sense represent the other women. By way of relief, she seeks declarations that her right to effective access to justice was unlawfully compromised and that in consequence she was unlawfully detained. She also seeks declarations to similar effect in relation to all the other women who were detained at Derwentside during the relevant period. She seeks damages for false imprisonment.

Permission to appeal was granted by Andrews LJ on the papers on the single ground that Lang J had failed to apply anxious scrutiny or give reasons for certain of her conclusions. Andrews LJ refused permission for SPM’s other grounds of appeal. The case had originally involved claims of direct and indirect discrimination but those were rejected by the judge and have now fallen away.

Continue reading this Judgment here.


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