Immigration detention

Immigration – Detention. The claimant’s detention for immigration reasons had been unlawful following a decision that he be granted conditional bail. The Administrative Court held that, whilst the defendant Secretary of State had been entitled to a period of grace in the circumstances of the present case in order to provide the accommodation necessary for the claimant to satisfy the conditions, once it had been clear that there was no prospect of removal within a reasonable time, the continued detention of the claimant had been unlawful.

The claimant Tanzanian national was convicted of a sexual offence for which he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. The defendant Secretary of State deemed it conducive to the public good that the claimant be removed from the country. He was detained under the Immigration Act 1971 (IA 1971) and a deportation order served. The First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) (the FTT) granted the claimant bail subject to residing in approved accommodation arranged by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State sought to find suitable accommodation as well as sought to obtain the necessary Emergency Travel Document (ETD). It was estimated that the time-scale for obtaining an ETD was three months. Despite the FTT granting bail, the claimant was not released from detention for over three months when an address was confirmed. The claimant challenged the lawfulness of his detention between the date of the bail decision and his release.

Issues and decisions

Whether the detention of the claimant was unlawful.

There had come a time when the Secretary of State had not been able lawfully to exercise the power of detention in respect of the claimant. From the grant of conditional bail to release, a period of about five weeks at most could lawfully elapse before release had to be effected on the facts of the present case. The period of grace within which the Secretary of State could execute the necessary administrative requirements for release had to be extended in circumstances such as the present case (see [125], [148], [149] of the judgment).

Having been told that there was a maximum three-month time frame for an EDT, when, three months later, there had been absolutely no development and no EDT, the Secretary of State could not have said that there was a realistic prospect of removal within a reasonable time (see [152] of the judgment).

Accordingly, there had been a period of detention that was unlawful.

Source: LexisNexis

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