Immigration – Trafficking people for exploitation - R (on the application of DS) v SSHD

Immigration – Trafficking people for exploitation. The defendant Secretary of State’s policy, requiring that a person whose claim to be a victim of human trafficking had been rejected, could only have the decision reconsidered if one of a class of bodies interceded with government on the person’s behalf, was not lawful.

The claimant Albanian national reached the UK and a local authority’s social services department referred her to the National Referral Mechanism (the NRM) as a potential victim of trafficking. A positive ‘reasonable grounds’ decision was made, indicating that there were reasonable grounds for believing her to be a victim of trafficking. However, the defendant Secretary of State did not believe the claimant’s account and issued a negative ‘conclusive grounds’ decision.

The claimant wrote a pre-action protocol letter to the Secretary of State, demanding the withdraw of the negative conclusive grounds decision and the taking of a fresh, lawful decision taking into account new evidence which had not been obtained when the decision had been made. The Secretary of State declined and said that it was open to request a reconsideration via a first responder or a support provider involved in the case.

In the present judicial review proceedings, the claimant challenged the Secretary of State’s policy, Victims of modern slavery – Competent Authority guidance, requiring that a person whose claim to be a victim of human trafficking had been rejected, could only have the decision reconsidered if one of a class of bodies interceded with government on the person’s behalf.

The judgment is available at Bailii

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